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In early February 2016, GREAT held its inception meeting and theme 1 course planning meeting in Kampala, Uganda, bringing together gender and breeding experts from around the world to launch the project. The meetings marked the first international convening of GREAT since Cornell and Makerere Universities were awarded a $5M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to begin the project, which equips researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa.

From February 4-5, 21 attendees, including GREAT team members from Cornell and Makerere, external project advisory committee members, and invited guests, met for the project inception meeting. Under the facilitation of Maria Nassuna-Musoke of Makerere University, these individuals discussed strategic links between ongoing complementary projects, share learning from the GREAT pilot course held in July 2015 and the recent IDRC (International Development Research Centre) gender desk review, and worked collaboratively to develop a GREAT theory of change.

The inception meeting led to a clearer understanding of GREAT’s role within the gender and agriculture community and fostered future collaboration with existing projects and programs. Attendees provided important feedback and guidance for the new project, sharing lessons learned from their own work and posing tough questions that will help sharpen GREAT’s focus, starting the project off on a strong foot.

From February 8-10, GREAT convened 20 international experts on gender and root, tuber, and banana (RTB) breeding to begin planning the theme 1 GREAT course on gender-responsive RTB breeding. (The first week of this course will take place September 12-21, 2016, and the second week will take place February 13-17, 2017. Fore more information, see Upcoming Courses.) Facilitated by Richard Miiro and Henry Manyire of Makerere University, RTB breeders and gender experts gave input about the most important aspects of a successful gender-responsive RTB breeding course, drawing on experiences leading and attending gender courses. Through breakout sessions and plenary discussion, attendees helped develop a list of must-have competencies, content, and critical training processes for the RTB course. The group also discussed institutional support structures and resources that must be in place for course participants to fully benefit from the GREAT course. As with the inception meeting, many ideas were proposed for possible collaboration with existing projects, further strengthening the GREAT course. The contributions of theme 1 planning meeting attendees will offer invaluable insight as the GREAT team develops curriculum for its first course.

After two productive and thought-provoking meetings, the GREAT team is off to a running start and looks forward to reporting back on the exciting work that lies ahead.

GREAT inception meeting attendees

Inception meeting attendees:

  • Elizabeth Asiimwe, Makerere University
  • Bernard Bashashaa, Makerere University
  • Ronnie Coffman, Cornell University
  • Chiedozie Egesi, Cornell University
  • Jeannie (Margaret) Harvey, USAID
  • Holly-Jane Howell, ALINe
  • Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, AWARD
  • Hazel Malapit, IFPRI
  • Margaret Mangheni, Makerere University
  • Henry Manyire, Makerere University
  • Richard Miiro, Makerere University
  • Maria Nassuna-Musoke, Makerere University
  • Jemimah Njuki, IDRC
  • Apollo Nkwake, AWARD
  • Yvonne Pinto, ALINe
  • Jaron Porciello, Cornell University
  • Helga Recke, Cornell, AWARE
  • Dee Rubin, Cultural Practice
  • Dan Torrington, Cornell University
  • Hale Ann Tufan, Cornell University
  • Michael Waithaka, ASARECA
  • Vicki Wilde, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

GREAT theme 1 planning meeting attendees

Theme 1 planning meeting attendees:

  • Tahirou Abdoulaye, IITA
  • Elizabeth Asiimwe, Makerere University
  • Alex Barekye, NARO
  • Pauline Bomett, AWARD
  • Brenda Boonabaana, Makerere University
  • Chiedozie Egesi, Cornell University
  • Monica Kapiriri, Independent consultant
  • Robert Kawuki, NARO
  • Peter Kulakow, IITA
  • Miriam Kyotalimye, ASARECA
  • Margaret Mangheni, Makerere University
  • Henry Manyire, Makerere University
  • Sarah Mayanja, International Potato Center (CIP)
  • Richard Miiro, Makerere University
  • Netsayi Mudege, International Potato Center (CIP)
  • Adeline Muheebwa, Independent consultant
  • Robert Mwanga, International Potato Center (CIP)
  • Anne Rietveld, Bioversity International
  • Dee Rubin, Cultural Practice
  • Dan Torrington, Cornell University
  • Hale Ann Tufan, Cornell University

About the author

Dan Torrington

Dan Torrington is the project manager at GREAT