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Title: Reaching rural women : the institutional challenges of introducing gender-sensitive agricultural extension in India
Author: Benson, Amanda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 3345
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2010
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Despite the high percentage of female farmers involved in Indian agriculture, the extension system has traditionally overlooked their specific farming needs. In India, the transformation of agricultural extension has been strongly influenced by the changing international and national economic, political and social climates. The Indian government has initiated moves toward mainstreaming gender concerns into agricultural extension delivery, but this will be hard to achieve unless there is an improved understanding of how gender issues can be identified and effectively incorporated into agricultural extension programmes and projects. This study draws on data from a range of public, private and non-government organisations; this includes such organisations as government departments and rural development agencies involved in extension delivery as well as private sector companies and the NGO sector. It examines the perceptions of terms such as gender within the institutional framework surrounding agricultural extension delivery and also seeks to identify factors which contribute to barriers which constrain the implementation of gender equitable extension. In so doing it aims to make recommendations on how these barriers can be overcome through an analysis of both existing literature and a synthesis of original research findings. The analysis is based on two distinct phases of fieldwork. The first phase of research comprised of a small preliminary study which was carried out in Pudukkottai district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The first phase of fieldwork was based on 18 qualitative Semi Structured Interviews carried out with various stakeholders from within the organisations which make up the institutional framework which surrounds women fanners. This study investigated how the terms gender and gender sensitive were understood by stakeholders from within these organisations, and also examined how these organisations functioned internally as well as in partnerships with other organisations. This preliminary study found that there was little consistent understanding of the meaning of terms such as gender, scant evidence of collaborative working and little flexibility in project implementation. The second phase of research was carried out in Medak district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The second phase of fieldwork was based on 76 qualitative interviews carried out with stakeholders from four different levels within the organisations which make up the institutional framework, namely state level, district level, community level and the community level project beneficiaries. This phase of research was a unique cross-sector examination of the factors which make up barriers to effective implementation of gender-sensitive projects and programmes. A number of barriers were identified, namely a lack of institutional convergence, a lack of accountability structures, a lack of a formal approach to knowledge management and a lack of a shared understanding of either the problem or the possible solutions. The identification of these barriers helps to set the scene for change through the formulation of recommendations of how to move forwards in overcoming the factors which prevent effective implementation. This process highlighted how the lack of a holistic approach, such as coordinated implementation management, greatly affects the ability of the organisations which make up the institutional framework to tackle implementation barriers and move toward a position of institutional convergence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available