A4NH / East Africa / Gender / ILRI / Livestock / LIVESTOCK-FISH / PIL / Project / Research / Tanzania / Women

Is the empowerment of women livestock keepers the key to improved nutrition? A new study seeks to find out

A cow is milked in Tanga, Tanzania.

A woman milking a cow in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Written by Alessandra Galie
One of the main goals of gender research in the CGIAR research program on Livestock and Fish is improved nutrition. This is also one of the 4 pillars of the program’s gender strategy and one of the 3 system level outcomes of the CGIAR. Good nutrition in the first 1000 days of a child’s life and for lactating mothers is particularly important for the child’s cerebral and physical development. Good nutrition is therefore considered the basis to improve livelihoods and general well-being. Because higher levels of gender inequality are associated with higher levels of both acute and chronic under nutrition (FAO 2012), gender research in research program focuses on enhancing the empowerment of women livestock keepers and consumers.

Animal source foods (ASF) have been shown to offer enormous potential for nutrition in developing countries. At the same time, livestock are a key entry point for women’s empowerment because women can own animals (more than e.g. land, machinery or buildings), and control the milk and its revenues. Therefore, the empowerment of livestock keepers and women in particular provides an effective means to enhance both the empowerment of women farmers and households’ access to nutrition. Overlooking women and gender issues in the livestock sector, on the other hand, implies overlooking the majority of the poor and their circumstances and missing a unique opportunity to contribute to gender equity and improved nutrition.

A team of gender scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health and Emory University, are currently undertaking a survey in Tanzania that assesses the empowerment status of women livestock keepers involved in the Maziwa Zaidi project and the relation between the empowerment of these women and the nutritional status of their household members. With the help pf enumerators from Sokoine University in Tanzania, the survey seeks to analyze key issues in empowerment and nutrition in 461 households in Tanga and Morogoro regions. As part of this survey, a women’s in livestock empowerment index (WELI) was developed to focus on gender issues in key components of livestock development (e.g. feeding, animal health, breeding) while also addressing issues of decision-making about food allocation, revenues, access to markets among others.

Findings from the study will be shared here soon.

Read more stories about our gender work here: https://livelihoods-gender.ilri.org/2015/03/03/resource-ownership/




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