BENEFIT CASCAPE & ISSD collaboration for home garden intervention in Ethiopia

Based on the lessons learnt from initial phase of CASCAPE home garden implementation, access to vegetable seed is one of the key challenges that can undermine the success of home garden intervention.  This issue was raised at the last gender and nutrition training held on February 15-17, 2018. Therefore, this training was organized to facilitate collaboration between BENEFIT-ISSD and BENEFIT-CASCAPE to carry out a seed systems investment in CASCAPE areas where vegetable home gardens are being promoted. ISSD has the potential to support CASCAPE with the methodology and training necessary to identify local sources for vegetable seeds and support in addressing potential constrains for farmers in sourcing those seeds.

The training was organized by BENEFIT-CASCAPE to share experiences and identify areas of collaboration in their respective planning process as well as to identify approaches that should be actively taken in 2018 planning. About 20 participants from national and regional cluster teams, including gender and rural development experts, gender and nutrition focal persons and researchers of ISSD and CASCAPE were part of the training.    The participants discussed about mainstreaming gender and nutrition in agricultural research and extension as well as the linkages of gender and nutrition in agriculture. The training was facilitated by two gender and nutrition advisors from WUR/CDI with the support of gender and nutrition expert from BENEFIT-PCU and gender and nutrition focal person from BENEFIT-CASCAPE national office.

The first day of the training was devoted to learning from ISSD experiences on how to shape gender mainstreaming in agriculture research and translate the lesson into actionable activities for CASCAPE.  The participants also discussed how to use labour saving technologies to promote gender equality and food security, and how to assess the contribution in CASCAPE projects.

The second day focused on nutrition sensitive agriculture. The morning session covered the nutrition situation in Ethiopia, why we pay attention for nutrition, multiple drivers of malnutrition and CASCAPE experience to address malnutrition in its target area through nutrition sensitive agriculture and translate the lessons to actions for ISSD.  In the afternoon the participants learned about the different pathways agriculture influences nutrition and examples of activities that can address issues related to them.  At the end of the day, participants discussed on the linkage of nutrition and gender and how the two concepts influence each other.

On the last day, participants identified potential areas that they can contribute in gender and nutrition in collaboration and in their respective program. Lastly, the participants appreciated CASCAPE’s effort in the BENEFIT collaborative engagement approach in conducting training in crosscutting activities and problem solving discussions.