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Gender Performance Indicator for Irrigation: Concepts Tools and Applications

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Van Koppen, Barbara
Date: 2002
Agency: International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Series: IWMI Research Report no. 59
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3644
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): irrigation
water management
decision making
water users' associations
Abstract: "The challenges to improve the current body of knowledge on gender and irrigation are fourfold. First, in order to accommodate the huge variation in the gendered organization of farming across the globe, policy makers and change agents need generic analytical tools that capture relevant and site-specific issues in any irrigation context, including the role of irrigation agencies themselves. Second, concepts need to be accurate and valid. Water obtains its value only as input in an encompassing farm enterprise. The significance of water for women farm decision-makers, who mobilize inputs themselves, differs fundamentally from its importance for women who are family laborers in farm households managed by their male kin. This needs to be taken into account in conceptualizing water in the gendered organization of farming, preferably quantitatively. Third, analytical tools for gender analysis should be easy to apply in an intervention context. Last but not least, the meaning and merits of 'gender-inclusiveness' need to be clear, widely endorsed and well corroborated by evidence in order to serve as a generic yardstick for measuring 'good gender performance.' "The consensus that women farm decision-makers perform as well as men farm decision-makers, provided women have equal access to resources, is widely accepted. In this context, irrigation institutions that provide water resources equally to women farm decision-makers as to men farm decision-makers have a 'good gender performance.' Such performance boosts the productivity of schemes and increases incomes for both genders. "These four challenges incited the Poverty, Gender and Water Project of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to develop Gender Performance Indicator for Irrigation (GPII). The Indicator was tested in nine case studies in Burkina Faso, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This generic analytical tool answers the question whether irrigation institutions in a particular irrigation scheme are gender-inclusive and, if not, what irrigation agencies themselves can do to affect change. The tool also identifies gender issues that are rooted in a society's agrarian structure-beyond a strict mandate of irrigation water provision alone. The tool is meant for policy and intervention purposes at all levels and for academic use worldwide. "This report presents the underlying concepts of the GPII and methodological guidelines for its application. In addition, salient findings of selected applications of the GPII in Asia and Africa are presented to highlight how the tool captures policy-relevant variation."

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