By Mark Bell, the leader for communications and information transfer at the Horticulture Innovation Lab. Bell is also the director of the UC Davis International Learning Center.
The “ASK ME” framework uses 5 elements to help researchers, extension agents, development workers, and educators better work with farmers and meet their needs in a variety of situations.
A = Audience and needs. Assess the relevant needs and wants of the audience. Talk with partners, target groups and stakeholders using methods such as: focus groups, participant observation, field visits, surveys, interviews, key informants, and intuition based on field experience.
S = Solutions. Identify solutions that are appropriate for the farmers’ socio-economic and market circumstances. Test and validate solutions under farmer conditions.
From the leaders of our new gender-focused project, of Penn State and Zamorano universities, here are some tips to get you thinking about gender-responsive projects:
Incorporate and mainstream gender considerations from the inception of the project. Avoid “add and stir” approaches to gender, that is, simply adding gender as a factor without thinking through the range of ways it might infuse your work. A full incorporation might have impacts on decisions about staffing, scheduling time “in the field,” timing of outreach efforts, connecting with “gatekeepers,” and designing gender-specific activities.
Be aware of the cultural context. Constraints that women (and others) face vary between and within societies, regions, localities and households.
Be attentive to interactions between gender and other categories such as race and ethnicity, social class, and life-stage.