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Gender and the Legume Alliance


What is the GALA project about?

The Gender and the Legume Alliance: Integrating multi-media communication approaches and input brokerage, or so called GALA project, is a project designed to support small-scale farming households to achieve sustainable legume intensification, by improving access to information and knowledge on farming techniques. The project started in June 2016 and will end in December 2019.

The project is delivered with financial support from the UK Department of International Development, through the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning in Africa (SAIRLA) programme. The SAIRLA programme is a five-year programme (2015 to 2020) that seeks to generate new evidence and design tools to enable governments, investors and other key actors to deliver more effective policies and investments in sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) that strengthen the capacity of poorer farmers’, especially women and youth, to access and benefit from SAI.

SAIRLA is facilitating research and social learning to generate new evidence and decision-making tools to support policymakers and investors create an enabling environment for women, youth and poorer smallholder producers to engage in and benefit from SAI. SAIRLA works in six countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. The programme is managed by WYG and NRI based at the University of Greenwich.

What problem is GALA addressing?

Proven and scalable sustainable legume intensification practices exist. They can make a positive contribution to addressing food security, without a detrimental environmental impact. However, the extent to which small-scale farming households can implement these new approaches is limited by many factors:

  • lack of access to actionable information
  • inadequate incentives for adoption
  • lack of capacity to implement
  • lack of necessary inputs
  • poor public/private sector policies
  • lack of capacity of farmers to communicate household needs for inputs and services

The lack of access to actionable information and the lack of appropriate links to factor markets (markets involving services such as labour, capital and resources are purchased and sold) are two of the major constraints.

What is this the GALA project doing?

The project seeks to improve poor Ghanaian and Tanzanian smallholder farmers’ access and capacity to use information and knowledge, in order to achieve sustainable intensification.

In Tanzania we are building on a previous project and intensifying production of common beans and soybeans. Whilst in Ghana we are gathering together new partners with which to carry out campaigns on soybean.

The scale-up work in Ghana and Tanzania will leave a valuable legacy in addition to the project providing research for governments, investors and decision makers that can inform the delivery of more effective policies and investments. This should lead to better-targeted, communication for farmers on agricultural intensification and more effective value chains. The research will take particular account of women and youth involved in legume value-chains.

Overall, in order to achieve sustainable intensification, the project team wants to understand what strategies work best when trying to improve smallholder farmers’ access and capacity to use knowledge and information (market, agronomic etc). The team are especially interested in women and youth.

In doing so, the project will test the hypotheses that:

  • different communication channels are more suited to different gender groups
  • providing information to input dealers and farmers can broker links and help improve input supply and demand

The activities will revolve around:

  • establishing a network of Ghanaian and Tanzanian partners around campaign activities
  • mapping and analysing information flows within households
  • consolidating recommendations for the strategy and design of value chain development initiatives
  • generating evidence on the effectiveness of our campaigns
  • making evidence available to decision makers

What are expected outcomes of the GALA project?

As a result of the project, the public and private sectors and NGOs will be able to engage with the evidence from differing communication channels. These help strengthen value chains and enable poor smallholders in Tanzania and Ghana, particularly women and youth, to profit from legume technologies that allow intensification without further land degradation.

Who are GALA project partners? The GALA project is managed by CABI in collaboration with:

Project management and research coordination at CABI are handled by Dr. Silvia Silvestri.

How will the GALA project be sharing lessons?

To facilitate the learning the SAIRLA programme has established a network of National Learning Alliances (NLAs) in each of the target countries. There will also be an International Learning Alliance, a “cross institutional community of practice whose role it is to develop a strategy for influence in policy and for building institutional capacity to share the lessons from the programme at the global level” that comprises members of the NLAs, policy makers, donors, researchers, investors, the private sector and others interested in SAI.

Visit the GALA blog for more stories on the project and the Reports page for more documents produced by the project.

GALA News link