New research supports a gender-equal recovery through low-carbon innovation

New research supports a gender-equal recovery through low-carbon innovation

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Date: 14th December 2021
Author: CDKN Global
Type: News

Women are disproportionately affected by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. As low- and middle-income countries respond to the needs of their populations and plan for recovery, they have made a commitment to invest in building low-carbon economies. This IDRC-supported research aims to help ensure these responses and recovery efforts are more inclusive and sustainable. 

Following an open, competitive call for expressions of interest, IDRC selected the 12 projects for their relevance, responsiveness to local challenges and clear plans for impact on policies and actions. The projects will  

  • aid pandemic recovery efforts involving marginalised communities  
  • help advance climate action 
  • contribute to women’s increased economic empowerment  

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) will complement the research teams’ efforts in translating research findings into evidence-based policies and practices, with an emphasis on synthesising the knowledge emerging from the entire group of projects. CDKN is managed by SouthSouthNorth, working closely with its partners Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability - South Asia, and ODI.

Read about the projects in the Gender Equality in a Low-carbon World initiative:

Aquaculture of seaweeds and fish: Opportunities for blue economic empowerment and Covid-19 resilience in Kenya 

This research team will introduce integrated fish and seaweed farming to promote women’s economic empowerment and low-carbon innovation. It will design and test model farms based on a participatory analysis of the challenges hindering fisher women’s access to ocean resources. The evidence will help guide policy and investments in gender-inclusive, sustainable and resilient economic activity in Kenya’s coastal region.  

Led by the African Center for Technology Studies, in collaboration with the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, Bahari CBO Network, C-weed Corporation, Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute and Kenyatta University. 

Energy transition for the economic empowerment of women through the horticultural value chain in a post-Covid context in Guinea and Senegal 

This project aims to empower women in the horticultural industry in Senegal and Guinea, through solar-powered systems that would replace manual irrigation or the use of fossil fuels. Cost-benefit analyses, consultation with women and men producers, and training programs will introduce solar-powered irrigation, document its impact and generate the evidence necessary for public and private actors to support its widespread use in women-owned agricultural businesses.  

Led by Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale, in collaboration with the Centre d’Étude et de Coopération Internationale. 

Land restoration for post-Covid rural and Indigenous women’s empowerment and poverty reduction in Cameroon  

This research will generate knowledge on factors — such as the division of labour, control over resources and access to information — that affect how women and minority groups benefit from the ongoing restoration of degraded land in Cameroon. The project’s recommendations will help to scale restoration options that involve women-led tree-based and agroforestry businesses in three agroecological zones, in support of post-pandemic recovery. 

Led by the Centre d’Appui aux Femmes et aux Ruraux, in collaboration with World Agroforestry and Actions pour la Biodiversité et Gestion des Terroirs. 

Prioritising options for women’s empowerment and resilience in food tree value chains in Malawi 

This research will identify and address the underpinnings of gender inequality in fruit and nut production in rural parts of Malawi. Test interventions — particularly with mangos and macadamia — will aim to promote women’s empowerment in this high-potential and low-carbon sector in Malawi, helping to diversify smallholder farming systems and move further away from livelihoods dependent on tree felling, charcoal making and brick burning. 

Led by World Agroforestry, in collaboration with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University. 

Reorienting the private sector to enable climate-smart agricultural solutions to address gender inequalities  

In East African countries prone to recurrent droughts, floods and erratic rain patterns, this research examines solutions from the private sector for women-led agricultural enterprises. Working in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, the research team will assess how business products that ease women’s access to farm inputs — including tools, technology and finance — can help mitigate the effects of climate change and reach large numbers of women entrepreneurs. 

Led by Intellecap. 

ASEAN green recovery through equity and empowerment 

This project aims to contribute to the Covid-19 recovery plan of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by exploring how to promote livelihoods and green job opportunities for women in agriculture. This sector holds much promise for gender equality but was hit hard by the pandemic. Stakeholders from the private sector, civil society and governments will collaborate to design interventions that foster women’s economic empowerment and achieve climate targets. 

Led by the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, in collaboration with Grow Asia Partnership, the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam, the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia and the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network. 

Co-producing a shock-resilient business ecosystem for women-led enterprises in Nepal  

Working with farmers, enterprise leaders, local women’s groups and other stakeholders, researchers will develop and test models to support shock-resilient entrepreneurship that strengthens women’s economic empowerment in Nepal. Their analysis will include the impacts of Covid-19 on women-owned businesses and the constraints on women workers and entrepreneurs in climate-smart agriculture and forestry. 

Led by the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies, in collaboration with Aria Solution and NIMS College Nepal. 

Economic empowerment of women through forest solutions  

Nepal is promoting forest-based entrepreneurship as one of its policy responses to the growing impacts of climate change. This research will develop gender-sensitive and business-oriented solutions for women’s economic empowerment in the country’s private, leasehold and community forests. It aims to identify the barriers that impair women’s participation in forest entrepreneurship and innovative approaches to support women-led, forest-based businesses. 

Led by ForestAction Nepal, in collaboration with Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resources Management, Association of Family Forest Owners Nepal, Federation of Forest based Industry and Trade and Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific. 

Creating Indigenous women's green jobs under low-carbon Covid-19 response and recovery in the Bolivian quinoa sector  

This project will strengthen the sustainability of the quinoa sector in Bolivia through better conditions for Indigenous women producers and salaried workers by enabling an effective transition to net-zero emissions. Researchers will design and pilot interventions to promote workers’ adherence to social-protection programs and introduce climate-adapted agricultural practices and sustainable businesses. 

Led by the Institute for Advanced Development Studies, in collaboration with the Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad Técnica de Oruro and the Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra. 

Promoting women’s empowerment in agricultural value chains for a low-carbon transition in Central America  

Governments and small and medium enterprises in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua are supporting the transition to more sustainable crops such as tomatoes and cocoa. Researchers will investigate the role of rural women in these low-carbon agricultural production chains, the barriers making it difficult for them to supply big buyers and the setbacks they experience because of the pandemic. The goal is to strengthen women producers’ decision-making power and promote their economic empowerment.  

Led by Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social, in collaboration with Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales.

Tourism as an engine of gender-inclusive and sustainable development in Bolivia  

A majority of employees in tourism in Bolivia are women, but few lead businesses in this dynamic industry that was severely struck by the pandemic. Research, the testing of innovations and alliance building will promote sustainable tourism that provides opportunities for women’s economic empowerment. The project will develop a national tourism observatory to continue to guide public and private investments in the sector. 

Led by Universidad Privada Boliviana, in collaboration with Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Innovación en Empresariodo Social Foundation. 

Gaza food connections – Towards resilient women-led urban agroecological farming initiatives  

A research team will support women-led food and agricultural enterprises in Gaza to develop low-carbon solutions that can better address the challenges they face, improve their use of resources and resist shocks. The research will map market linkages and waste production and build collaborations to create an enabling socioeconomic and political environment that favours women’s participation in urban food and farming systems. 

Led by the Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development, in collaboration with the University College of Applied Sciences, the Gaza Urban & Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform and the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience at Coventry University. 

*Some of these selected projects have yet to complete IDRC’s administrative grant-approval process. 

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