My interest is to see rural communities engaging in ways that enable them to actively participate in coming up with practical solutions to the problems that affect their livelihoods. They should not be passive recipients of solutions for external sources. That passion drove me to work with a group of motivated rural women in Kabudula-Lilongwe in Malawi for my MSc. Research Project. The group is attached to the National University of Ireland, Galway 3D4AgDev program, and is actively participating in testing of labor-saving hand-held tools. And my key question was to find out the extent to which the women were involved in Climate-Smart Agriculture practices. The topic of my research was:
“Women smallholder farmer and extension agent prioritization of climate smart agricultural technologies and practices in Malawi“
The overarching research goal was to explore the participation of grassroots smallholder women farmers in the development, testing and adaptation of CSA practices/technologies in relation to four key crops: maize, common beans, soybean and groundnuts.
And the study aimed at achieving the following five objectives:
- To establish the type of changes that had occurred to the crop areas for maize, common beans, soybean and groundnuts, for the women farmers in Kabudula between 2006 and 2016.
- To establish the crop variety traits that influenced the women smallholder farmers’ choices of crop varieties of: maize, common beans, soybean, and groundnuts, between 2006 and 2016 in Kabudula.
- To document the CSA practices in relation to maize, beans, groundnuts and soybeans that the women smallholder farmers in Kabudula been: testing, were already adopting / using, and were still developing on their own, between 2006 and 2016.
- To identify and document the sources of the CSA practices that were being promoted among the women smallholder farmers in Kabudula, in relation to; maize, common beans, soybean, and groundnuts.
- To identify 6 top priority CSA practices for the women smallholder farmers in Kabudula in Lilongwe- Malawi.