Fellowship Number: 
Field Location: 
Rajasthan or Andhra Pradesh, India
Policy Location: 
Hyderabad, India
General Scope of Work: 
Primary research on women's roles in agricultural production and livelihoods
Description of Organization: 

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi-arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agriculture.

ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, with two regional hubs and four country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.  CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org

ICRISAT conducts research protecting the environment. Dryland agriculture has long been viewed with pessimism and hopelessness. Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and dependent on external aid.

ICRISAT challenges this pessimistic view. Working with diverse partners in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa for almost four decades, ICRISAT has found that dryland farmers are ingenious and resourceful. By applying scientific innovations backed up with adequate policy, marketing and other support services, they are able to increase their crop productivity and incomes several-fold, while improving the resilience of their lands and livelihoods. Hence, prosperity can be brought about in the tropical drylands.

Project Description: 

The project comes under the Dryland Systems, a CGIAR Research Program, in India, and is primarily a research program on livelihood and production systems in the drylands, covering parts of Rajasthan in NW India and parts of the Deccan Plateau in Andhra Pradesh in southern India.  The program works closely with development partners in each region.  The focus areas in Rajasthan are in Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaiselmer Districts covering an area of 88,000 km2 and a population of 7 million.  These areas are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable regions of India in terms of natural resource degradation. The focus of our research in these areas is pastoral and agro-pastoral systems.  In southern India, Anantapur and Kurnool Districts of Andhra Pradesh are highly drought-prone regions covering an area of 40,000 km2 and a population of 7.1 million.   Production systems in these areas are more intensive and mixed farming dominates. The overall objective of the dryland systems program is to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and reduce environmental degradation.  This will be achieved through four integrated themes: partnership, targeting, reducing vulnerability and sustainable intensification.

Field Placement: 

During the field placement year, the fellow will be engaged in field study in the target regions with local NGOs who facilitate community processes and are active in livelihoods and advocacy.  The specific objectives will be to investigate and examine the role of women in the production and livelihood systems, both agricultural (especially livestock) and non-agricultural; investigate and understand the constraints and opportunities faced by women under the existing gender and social power relations and hierarchies, and assess their contribution to household livelihoods. 

The fellow will be expected to work directly with women (and men where appropriate) in farming communities through gender sensitive participatory research approaches and other social research processes, as well as interact with local institutions and policy-makers.

Through the active involvement in and exposure to the realities on the ground, the fellow will gain important perspectives during this period regarding gender roles, relations, and the social and power dynamics of the villages as well as influencing factors.  This experience and insight will be directly related to the fellow’s work during thepolicy year, and to help prepare the fellow with his/her research on the policy related to the issue.

Policy Placement: 

During the policy year, the fellow will study the present policies influencing gender issues and assess the impact of policies influencing gender roles, particularly women’s role in agriculture and livestock based activities. The study will focus on investigating and examining:

a) whether investments on labor saving and productivity enhancing technologies in agriculture have relieved women’s drudgery and freed their time for more productive works; (b) how far the rural labor policies have affected the wages of women and men, especially in terms of the wage difference between them; (c) whether the present policies facilitate more opportunities in post harvesting and value addition activities for women; and (d) constraints in the policies that deter the active role of women in decision making and investments. 

The fellow will interact with NGOs and academics who are involved in policy examinations and with rights groups and policy makers to get the maximum information, insights, and analyses.

The main output will be policy briefs or documentation on constraints and opportunities for women in these production and livelihood systems and resulting recommendations and changes required in the policies.

Education/Experience Required: 
  • Master’s degreein Social Sciences, (Political Science, rural sociology, anthropology) Agricultural Economics, Agriculture Development
  • Academic study on gender and development (whether as a substantive focus of another discipline or course work that complemented a degree)
  • At least one year experience of working in South Asia or India on issues of agriculture, livelihoods or gender is desirable.
  • Interest in policy and advocacy work, and strong interpersonal skills required to build solid professional relationships required to make this work successful.