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FIELD Report 12: Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development: A Framework for Analysis and Implementation

Organization(s): 
ACDI/VOCA
Author(s): 
Cristina Manfre
Jennefer Sebstad
Institutional Sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development
Publication date: 
Saturday, December 10, 2011

Women in rural households play a key role in agriculture and can be instrumental in upgrading the competitiveness of agricultural value chains. However, gendered patterns in generating, allocating, controlling, and spending household income often makes it difficult for women to participate in and contribute to upgrading. Gendered patterns in money management, for example, limit the benefits that accrue to women, and thus their incentives to upgrade. This in turn affects their access to and use of new technologies. Social norms further determine how women are able to build the social and commercial networks and relationships necessary to adapt to changing market conditions and/or new markets.

This report, prepared by Jennefer Sebstad and Cristina Manfre, consultants for ACDI/VOCA through the FHI 360-managed FIELD-Support LWA, considers three areas of behavior related directly to upgrading:

  • Money management: i.e. behaviors that allow for the accumulation of lump sums and the control of money. These behaviors facilitate or impede the ability of farmers to pay for upgrading and benefit from the returns.
  • Business practices: i.e. related to the adoption of new business/agricultural practices and participation in new business models that facilitate access to inputs, services, and information necessary for upgrading.
  • Value chain relationships: i.e. those that support the development of effective commercial networks, entry into new marketing channels, and improved information flow and trust. The quality of relationships between actors in the value chain influences whether individuals or groups trust each other, cooperate, and share information.

While there are no universal gendered “behaviors,” this FIELD Report emphasizes that gender drives behaviors, norms of behavior, and norms of economic participation. It shapes how individuals use and invest their income, conduct business, and maintain and develop relationships with other economic actors.

For practitioners, this FIELD Report provides a framework to allow for a better understanding of current practices in the context of specific value chains or geographies, which is critical in order to address gender-based constraints to upgrading.

A companion piece, FIELD Report #11 presents a set of tools that are designed to study how gender affects the three categories of behavior related to upgrading. They include focus group discussion guides, individual interview guides, a research plan outline and example, and a facilitation guide for consultative workshop with field partners. These tools can be drawn upon to design future research on gendered behaviors in value chains.