Chikondi Manyungwa's picture


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How can the ENABLE Youth Initiative be used to empower young women in agribusiness?

  • Gender inequality in the labor market is evident in most developing countries with observed gender gaps in participation and employment outcomes. Developing countries are faced with the task of continuing to generate employment growth, reducing vulnerable employment, and improving decent work. This requires broad macroeconomic strategy responses to expand employment opportunities, to improve decent work and social protection targeting all gender categories. Active labor market programs including education and vocational training should reach both women and men and that women are supported in non-traditional areas of training. Good practice calls for comprehensive social service provision, including water, sanitation, transport, and various forms of child care, would reduce women’s unpaid domestic and care burden, making it feasible for women to participate in paid work. Thus, equal access to assets such as land, education, and extension services and credit, which can raise productivity, are key components of an inclusive growth strategy. 
  • The main factors facilitating and hindering entry of young women in self-employment include capital, education, skills and markets. Related to these are cultural and social norms around domestic work and care burdens. In addition, women have limited access to resources, including education, training, government services, credit and financial services.
  • The initiative should help organisations to deal with issues of compliance to labour laws which is lacking among private sector employers of young women in aspects of minimum wage, working hours, holidays, occupational safety and health workers compensations.
  • The promising sectors which can employ young women are agricultural commodity trading and value addition; industry and manufacturing and services sectors. However, young women can be engaged in various value chains if properly mentored. These value chains include production, buying and selling of horticultural crops; brick laying; welding; carpentry; motor vehicle and motor cycle maintenance; solar electricity installation; production and selling of fruit seedlings; baking; running saloons; tailoring; restaurants; selling and repairing electronic gadgets such as cellphones.
  • Owing to low education and skills levels among the young women, the initiative need to include financial numeracy and literacy training, leadership skills, business management skills and access to microcredit and market information in its programme.
  • The initiative should support young women in upper primary and secondary schools through internships, career talks and mentor ship with existing micro and small enterprises or youth-led businesses.

Chikondi Manyungwa Pasani



My contributions focus on four questions as outlined below.

How does the gender gap in agricultural productivity occur and why?

The gender gap occurs as a result of women under-representation in decision making and political processes. It is therefore important to look at and understand how gender differences in power within formal decision-making structures (such as governments, policy-making institutions, and community structures) are framed. Given the under-representation of women and the low visibility of women’s perspectives, the fact that women often have different priorities, needs and interests than men is often not apparent.

The importance of incorporating gender sensitive data collection cannot be overemphasized as the information from the data will help to improve planning and decision making for the project. In this case then gender gaps occur as many times projects have a loosely defined impact-outcome-output-activity results framework mapping concrete activities that would address gender issues. The logic between the results could be improved by a clear cause effect or results flow analysis that takes cognizant of gender.

What is the role of agricultural research in bridging the gender gap?

Research would contribute to information generation regarding gendered issues such as family power relations, household dynamics, decision making arrangements, access and control to various types of resources, intergenerational dynamics, underlying causes of violence within a family; differential needs, aspirations and perceptions of women and men, boys and girls. In addition, research would help to unveil the underlying gendered reasons behind each issue, understanding the gender differentials in economic, social, and cultural terms, identifying the opportunities and constraints or even seeking voices of stakeholders and target groups in identifying relevant problem areas.


How should the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy; through its flagship initiatives and programmes be used to reduce the gender gap in agricultural productivity and support a strong foundation for Africa’s agricultural transformation?

The Banks Feed Africa should consider adopting holistic Gender Transformative (GTA) approach  in programming. Such an integrated (GTA) approach would help achieve gender results and accelerate progress better, through coordinated initiatives and synergy, internally within the Bank and externally with partners and other stakeholders. In addition, the Bank should consider formulating a coordinated gender work plan, putting together initiatives taken by all thematic areas within the strategy; identify areas of commonalities in terms of intervention to make them gender-responsive; Work out a synergized strategy and identify areas of analysis and expertise needed; organize regular and systematic capacity building on required areas and strengthen monitoring and evaluation to measure gender impacts. 


Which successful initiatives on improving women’s agricultural productivity could be scaled up by the AfDB?

While economic empowerment programmes where women are dominant are implemented, women still continue to face problems related to culture, access to finances and other services in the agriculture sector. It is inevitable that qualitative indicators as well as quantitative indicators relating to visible changes at community level should be developed together with target groups and other stakeholders to track progress on improving women’s productivity. Undertaken gender-specific empowerment activities with full integration of gender and diversity across all programme and project activities and internal operations.

The AfDB should consider to design and conduct ongoing gender training and more informal gender action learning discussions to improve staff gender capacity, learn what works, and develop a sense of ownership that gender matters to them. Collect gender- and diversity-sensitive indicators regularly during monitoring and evaluation. Qualitative indicators are valuable to measure the informal dimensions of change in gendered power relations.  

In project documentation in particular progress reports and Aide memoires, a track record of changes to gender on a regular and consistent basis to improve project interventions for women’s empowerment and gender equality should be done. Innovative participatory tools might include write shop techniques to engage staff in capturing stories of change to engage beneficiaries and staff to identify the most important factors contributing to change.