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Transforming Perceptions: Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program Bolsters Gender Equity in Nigeria [NIG497]

Assignment NIG497

Eric M. Washington

When it comes to progress and development, the role of education must be considered. A shift in mindset is often the first step towards a more equitable society. In a bid to instigate this shift in rural Nigeria, Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program recently embarked on a groundbreaking initiative in partnership with the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology (FCAHPT), Vom, Plateau State.

The mission? To educate staff at FCAHPT on the critical importance of gender equity in decision-making, fostering a broader and more informed perspective on gender-related policies. The workshop was led by our dedicated volunteer, Sandra Ross, whose expertise was fundamental to the success of this mission. Upon arrival, our F2F team dove straight into work, holding critical discussions with crucial departments, including the Development and Linkage Unit, the Gender Unit, the Provost, and the college’s management team. The staff was divided into two groups for a thorough three-day workshop. Covering diverse topics such as gender concepts, social construction, terminology, violence, analysis framework, and mainstreaming, this workshop aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of gender equity and its significance in modern society. The educational initiative culminated in a seminar for 309 students, promoting gender awareness and the importance of equity in everyday interactions. Following this seminar, a debriefing session was held with the college leadership, highlighting the improvements and impacts of the assignment.

What were the outcomes? Beyond expectation. The staff members began implementing the gender solutions learned during the training, leading to tangible shifts in perception and behavior. The participants reported making changes in their homes and classrooms, distributing tasks equally regardless of gender. One such success story comes from Isiaku Abdullahi, a Development and Linkage Unit faculty member. Isiaku shared his experience of shifting tasks traditionally assigned to his son to his daughter, promoting a culture of equality in his home.

He shared, “There is an assignment I always gave to the boy every morning, but yesterday when we talked about equity and equality, I decided to treat my children differently from how I normally treated them. I now decided to ask the girl to carry out that task as well as supported her to do it. She ended up doing it better than the brother. This morning she asked me if she would be the one performing that task going forward and I said yes. If there is anything I have taken away from this workshop, it is that aspect of equity and equality.

The F2F program’s initiative shows that change, no matter how incremental, can make a significant difference in our society. Through education and awareness, we can challenge the status quo, paving the way for a more equitable world. While much work is needed, the progress made at FCAHPT is a step in the right direction. The assignment’s conclusion is not the end but the beginning of a more informed and equitable society in Plateau State and beyond.