Editorial Chief: Jemimah M. Njuki, Africa Centre for Gender, Social Research and Impact Assessment

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Vol 3, Issue 1, pp 54-81, 2018

What drives capacity to innovate? Insights from women and men small-scale farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Author: Lone Badstue1*, Diana E. Lopez2, Anya Umantseva1, George Williams1, Marlène Elias3, Cathy Rozel Farnworth4, Anne Rietveld2,3, Esther Njuguna-Mungai5, Joyce Luis6, Dina Najjar7 and Vongai Kandiwa1
1International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT
2Wageningen University & Research
3Bioversity International
4Pandia Consulting, Independent Consultant
5International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT
6International Rice Research
7International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, ICARDA
*Corresponding author: L.Badstue@cgiar.org


What are key characteristics of rural innovators? How are their experiences similar for women and men, and how are they different? To examine these questions, we draw on individual interviews with 336 rural women and men known in their communities for trying out new things in agriculture. The data form part of 84 GENNOVATE community case studies from 19 countries. Building on study participants’ own reflections and experiences with innovation in their agricultural livelihoods, we combine variable-oriented analysis and analysis of specific individuals’ lived experience. Results indicate that factors related to personality and agency are what most drive women’s and men’s capacity to innovate. Access to resources is not a prerequisite but rather an important enabling aspect. Different types of women have great potential for local innovation, but structural inequalities make men better positioned to access resources and leverage support. Men’s support is important when women challenge the status quo.

Keywords: Capacity to innovate, gender norms, agency and negotiation, personality traits, diffusion of innovations

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DOI: 10.19268/JGAFS.312018.3
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