Projects at a glance 

  • Improving water use for dry season agriculture by marginal and tenant farmers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains
    Donor: ACIAR
    September 2014-August 2018
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    This project seeks to help these rural farmers capitalize on two crucial underutilizations in the region’s agricultural sector: excess surface and groundwater resources as well as increasing urban demand for high-value dry-season crops like vegetables. As part of creating sustainable, long-term solutions, this project also seeks to empower women and women-headed households that are too often overworked and undersupplied, especially as males continue to emigrate elsewhere for work.
  • Impact of Water Users Association on Water and Land Productivity, Equity and Food Security in Tajikistan
    Donor: USAID
    May 2014-June 2018
    Project Lead: Soumya Balasubramanya
    IWMI is leading the gender component of an impact evaluation study conducted on the Water User Associations (WUAs) created and supported by USAID Family Farming Program. IWMI researchers are studying the role of women in irrigation water management to understand the gendered divisions of agricultural labour and agricultural decision makings at the household level.Influenced by the gender of the head of the households and households from which men migrated, the research hopes to unravel constraints women face in agriculture and water management as a result of increasing male out-migration.  And further build upon how women could be supported and benefited from the initiation of community-based water management interventions such as WUAs helping them contribute to food security.
  • Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI)
    Donor: ACIAR
    May 2014-June 2016
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    The overall aim of the project is to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder agriculture and the reduction of poverty in the Eastern Gangetic Plain by facilitating the adoption of practices that optimize the productive use of water, inputs and labour, while safeguarding soil resources and reducing climate- and market-based risks. This research is led by CIMMYT and a consortia of local and international partners. IWMI’s research component was focused on understanding how water management interventions can supplement conservation agriculture technologies. Migration was a key issue in all of the study communities across eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and mediated farmers’ capacity to adopt climate resilient technologies. 
  • Gender profile of the Ganges basin and watershed case study
    February 2014-December 2016
    Project Lead: Jayne Curnow
    IWMI recently developed a gender profile for the Ganges Basin, mapping district wise key gender and socio-economic indices across the region as a tool for policy makers and practitioners. Spatial analysis of the data identified the striking impact of migration in particular agro-ecological domains within the basin. Later research sought to highlight some of these relationships at a local level in Nepal, a country with considerable ecological diversity. The research focused on a case study basin in Bhojpur district of Eastern Nepal, identifying livelihood trends linked to migration in different agro-ecological domains from 300m to 2500m. The biophysical context (including water access) was found to play a critical role in mediating migration patterns and its relationship with agriculture.
  • ‘Poverty squares and gender circles: unravelling agriculture gaps, challenges and opportunities in the Eastern Gangetic Plains
    Donor: WLE
    January 2015-December 2016
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    This research in Bangladesh, West Bengal and lowland Nepal, explores development interventions in agriculture and irrigation in an era of migration induced feminization of agriculture. At a time when women are playing a critical role in the agricultural sector due to migration, this research seeks to understand whether interventions are harnessing the opportunities, as well as addressing the constraints faced by women in the context of male out-migration. It is guided by the assumption that gendered inequalities persist in the Eastern Gangetic plains primarily because developmental interventions claim to address gender but do not engage with the complexity of inequalities by gender and poverty.
  • Gender, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the Indo-Gangetic Plains
    Donor: CCAFS-Core, WLE
    July 2012-December 2015
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    The project undertook research in lowland Nepal, Bangladesh and India’s Bihar state, to understand the patterns of vulnerability to climate change and the adaptive capacity for women and men farmers respectively, with a focus on agricultural water management. The relationship between migration and climate change adaptation was a critical component of this research. Migration was found to be a response to climatic and other stresses on agriculture. However, at the same time, for the women who stay behind, migration could both facilitate or constrain their resilience to climate shocks. This was linked to one’s position in the agrarian class structure in what is a highly stratified social formation.The second phase of the project focused more explicitly on the relationship between migration and agriculture, seeking to understand the role of class in shaping post migration livelihood changes, how remittances are used, and the impact of migration on labour management and resource allocation on the farm. This second phase also included comparative research in South China in collaboration with South China Agricultural University. In China, in spite of the labour shortages and challenges faced by the older generation in managing the farm, there were also positive lessons, such as the diversion of remittance cash into labour saving technologies.
  • Participatory videos in Nepal: Voicing men and women’s perceptions on climate change
    Donor: CCAFS-Core, WLE
    July 2012-December 2015
    Project Lead: Floriane Clement
    Another component of gaining a further understanding of gender’s role in rural communities was achieved through the use of participatory videos in the Dhanusha district of Nepal. By creating their own films, farmers in Nepal’s eastern Terai were given a direct mouthpiece to voice their experiences and ideas on climate change, adaptation, and the inter-related impact of male out-migration on farming and livelihoods. The use of non-written communication allowed researchers to have a greater impact in a region with low literacy rates, and the series was eventually turned into a 12 part TV series with the help of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ).

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