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Feed the Future



Gender and Youth

Access and control over productive resources as well as the benefits from livestock production, processing and marketing are not equitable. Although women play essential roles from the production to consumption of nutritious foods they are often disadvantaged in terms of access to information, services, or markets that could improve their livelihoods. However, although gender is a key barrier, it is not the only one. In this cross-cutting theme we pursue an intersectional approach that considers gender and age as well as other factors that limit opportunities for individuals in the livestock sector, such as caste, race, religion, education, employment, and socio-economic status. The main areas of focus under this cross-cutting theme include:

  • Women and youth engagement: Research on how women’s and youth engagement in livestock systems contribute to achieving the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy objectives.
  • Women’s and youth empowerment: Research on livestock-related strategies to empower women and improve dietary outcomes for children. This focal area includes how to overcome constraints to technology adoption by women and youth in the livestock sector.
  • Entrepreneurship and private sector engagement: Studies to determine entry points and strategies to overcome barriers to women’s and youth involvement in livestock systems, including researching opportunities for entrepreneurship to generate sustainable livelihoods.
  • Gender and nutrition: Research on the role of boys and men in improving household nutrition.

All recipients of research awards will be required to integrate gender and youth considerations into project design and implementation. Helpful tools for doing so include the Feed the Future Project Design Guide for Youth-Inclusive Agriculture and Food, the forthcoming USAID livestock and gender toolkit, and resources generated during Phase I. Where appropriate, we also plan to use the Women’s Empowerment in Livestock Index tool to measure women’s empowerment. Progress monitoring will involve using specific indicators designed to measure impacts from a gendered intersectional approach.

Phase I resources

Although the importance of gender has been recognized by donors, governments and international organizations, it is important to ensure that gender is integrated into research practice. Each research project is different, but many face challenges when trying to integrate gender into different types of activities at various project stages. Through a webinar series and video training materials, we developed practical materials to help researchers integrate gender at each stage of the project cycle. This includes identifying the benefits of integrating gender into the design, data analysis and reporting stages of the project cycle, and outlining strategies for inclusion in later project stages, even if it had not previously been incorporated. This process can help project teams succeed at gender integration in each phase of the project or help projects get back on track if they have faced setbacks.

Screenshot from Webinars on gender and nutrition

In addition, we have compiled an Annotated Bibliography on gender-related research from the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab’s target countries and value chains related to gender and livestock. It consolidates research that brings a gender lens to the study of the livestock sector and raises awareness of this literature base and potential for new areas of inquiry related to gender and livestock value chains.



New Course for RFA Applicants

The online course Integrating Gender and Youth into Livestock Research was created for applicants to increase their awareness of and ability to incorporate gender and youth issues into the Request for Applications (RFA) process. It is a short, practical combination of research and application that will help applicants improve their proposals and increase their understanding of these critical topics for long term project impact and success.

Journal Articles

Colverson, K.E., Coble-Harris, L., Galie, A., Moore, E.V. Munoz, O., McKune, S.L., Singh, N., and Mo, R. 2020. Evolution of a gender tool: WEAI, WELI and livestock research. Global Food Security, Volume 26, 100375,

Colverson, K.E. 2018. Increasing the Health and Nutritional Outcomes of the Government of Rwanda’s “One Cow per Poor Family” Program from a Gender Perspective. Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8 (2): 31-44.

McOmber, C., McNamara, K., Ryley, T.d., and McKune, S.L. 2021. Investigating the Conceptual Plurality of Empowerment through Community Concept Drawing: Case Studies from Senegal, Kenya, and Nepal. Sustainability 13, 3166.

More Resources

Workshop in Rwanda on Train the Trainers (March 8-10, 2021):

  1. Presentation: Engaging men in supporting maternal and child consumption of milk and other animal source foods in Rwanda
  2. Facilitator's Guide (Word file)
  3. Report: Training of Trainers virtual workshop (Word file)


Infographic: Empowering Women in Livestock Systems

Infographic: Women Livestock Keepers - Making Progress

Workshop in Cambodia on Pork Value Chain:

  1. Integrating gender & nutrition into the project planning cycle of the pork VC
  2. Day One of gender and nutrition workshop
  3. Day Two of gender and nutrition workshop
  4. Case Study for Cambodia: Integrating Gender & Nutrition into Food Safety Issues

External Resources (click)

Leadership of Gender and Youth

 Kathleen Colverson

Dr. Kathleen Colverson, Lead

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (click for Home page) is part of Feed the Future

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.