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A joint project between ACIAR and the Indian NGO PRADAN assisting farmers on the East India Plateau has found engaging women as partners in research is a key to success.

Farm families have been able to increase the harvest from their small farms of less than 0.5 hectares by changing the way they manage their land and water.

A recent field trip by the project team revealed that despite a very difficult season in the region, farmers involved in the project were harvesting rice crops, planting second crops, such as wheat and vegetables, and growing fish, by using the stored water.

Including women in the research has transformed their self-image, and many have found greater gender equality. In one village growing rain-fed vegetables is providing cash for education, and other needs, and the number of men migrating for work has dropped by 26%.

PRADAN works in around 3,500 villages across eight of India’s poorest states, many are tribal and lower caste people. PRADAN always mobilises women in the communities to ensure their work is effective.

The 2009 World Hunger Index calls attention to gender inequality and the need to empower and educate women and girls. It found 40% of children in India and Bangladesh were malnourished.

Links to further information:

Partners magazine stories:

The following stories are in Partners Magazine March-June 2008 issue:

  • ‘Agents of Change’ help secure monsoon farmers
  • The power of knowledge lift women farmers to centre stage
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