Message of the Executive Director on the Occasion of International Women’s Day 2020

The world is about to celebrate women in all their diversity. CORAF pays tribute to women, particularly those working in the agricultural research and development sector, and those working in all agricultural value chains to feed the region.

This day offers an opportunity for CORAF to take stock of the implementation of its Gender Policy, which has recorded significant results, in favor of gender equality in its projects and programs, its procedures, and in its governance system:

  • The implementation of the Agricultural Productivity Program in West Africa (WAAPP) registered 49 percent of female beneficiaries, or 4,536,562 of women out of a total of 9,246,489 beneficiaries. Out of about 1000 students trained, about 28 percent of women benefited from training in Masters and Ph.D. in agricultural sciences;
  • The Agricultural Research Capacity for Development (C4R4D) project, which sought to increase human capital to reach a critical mass for agricultural research in WCA, has contributed enormously to strengthening the capacities and skills of women scientists: 43 percent of grants went to women. Of the 28 students, 12 women (5 MSc and 7 Ph.D.) have already graduated.
  • The Multi-Donor Trust Fund completion report prepared by the World Bank described the inclusion of gender in this program as being very satisfactory, implemented through 17 regional projects in West and Central Africa. Overall, the project reached around 100,000 people in the implementing countries, compared to a target of 82,000 people. According to the report, “The 123 percent achievement is entirely due to the growing number of women involved in innovation platforms.” ;
  • The regional initiative to support countries affected by the Ebola crisis has been described as historic in terms of solidarity and impact. Led by CORAF, this project brought about the unprecedented mobilization of regional actors in support of affected countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea). The Post-Ebola Initiative for the Reconstruction of the Agricultural Sector registered 45 percent of female beneficiaries. According to the project completion report, this significant rate of beneficiaries of women proves that this project was sufficiently gender-sensitive, in terms of women’s access to seeds, and the involvement of women entrepreneurs in the seed sector;
  • CORAF has succeeded in making gender mainstreaming effective in its system of governance. Indeed, for the first time in its history, (i) a woman was elected president of the board of directors; (ii) The Scientific and Technical Committee, which has had only one woman since 2012, today records parity, with six women out of 12 members; CORAF staff went from 33% women in 2012 to 46% women in 2019;
  • Since August 2018, the CORAF gender advisor has been a member of the Independent Advisory Committee, and of the Research Management Committee of the cereals sector development program in arid zones (GLDC). ), an ICRISAT program, which covers Africa and Asia in its implementation, with the role of facilitating the effective consideration of gender issues, as well as the employability of young people, in this program ;
  • In view of its mandate which is to coordinate policies and initiatives for the development of the agricultural research and development system in West and Central Africa, CORAF has shown solidarity by agreeing to put its gender expertise at the service of CILSS, to facilitate the effective consideration of gender dimensions in the implementation of the Regional Support Project for Pastoralism in the Sahel (PRAPS), implemented in Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and in Chad.
  • In collaboration with the AWARD program, CORAF has provided grants to several women researchers. The CORAF women scholarship researchers, who benefited from the AWARD program have all been hired in the Agricultural Research and Development Systems of their respective countries, namely Senegal, the Cote d ‘ Ivory, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cameroon—thus making CORAF proud.