INGENAES kick-off work began in Bangladesh in late January with an interdisciplinary team from the consortium (Andrea Bohn, Dee Rubin, Kathy Colverson, Nikki Grey Rutamu and Maria Jones). Prior to the trip the team worked closely with the USAID Mission in Dhaka to identify possible stakeholders who might benefit from collaborating with INGENAES.
In a span of 2 ½ weeks the team met with nearly 30 different stakeholder organizations that included NGOs, public and private sector organizations, government agencies, and research centers. The team interviewed several groups from different projects to learn about the organization’s activities in Bangladesh and identify the most important issues that are hindering the integration of gender and nutrition into agricultural extension. By the end of the interview period the team had compiled a list of the issues and potential activities identified during the interviews and categorized them according to the four INGENAES Action Areas*.
The Stakeholder Workshop
To further hone in on the findings revealed in the interviews, INGENAES organized a Stakeholder Prioritization Workshop to share results, collect new ideas, and prioritize activities of most interest to the participants. 37 participants from 20 different organizations, including CARE, BIID, mPower, BRAC, FHI360, WorldFish, and from USAID, gathered to review and discuss key observations and findings collected during the INGENAES team interviews. The workshop focused on identifying activities of relevance to participants, which would add value to their existing work and align with the desired outcomes of INGENAES and the various funding agencies. Some examples of possible collaborative activities from the workshop are: a) Determining what factors are needed to strengthen institutions to be more gender responsive and nutrition sensitive; b) Developing simple processes and indicators for measuring women’s empowerment; c) Identifying the most effective ways to change cultural perceptions on intra-household nutrition patterns and to increase women’s empowerment.
With input from USAID, the team is in the process of analyzing the results from the workshop and interviews to select the best activities that will benefit both partners in Bangladesh and also help achieve the desired outcomes of INGENAES. This will help towards the development of a final work plan of these activities, who will be involved in each activity, and a timeline will be drafted and shared with partners. Next, faculty, technical experts, and graduate students from the consortium partners will be identified and engaged as needed to implement activities with partners.