Research projects

CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research



Professor Tahseen Jafry is involved in a global gender research initiative. GENNOVATE is a cross-CRP, global comparative research initiative which addresses the question of how gender norms and agency influence men, women, and youth to adopt innovation in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). 

Carried out across 137 rural communities in 26 countries, this qualitative comparative study aims to provide authoritative “bottom-up” research to advance gender-transformative approaches and catalyze change in international agricultural and NRM research for development.  Professor Jafry lead research teams in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to investigate  and understand the needs, desires and aspirations of women in the context of wheat cultivation and the challenges they face from climate change, gender norms and agency and technological solutions.

Challenging gender myths: Promoting inclusive wheat and maize research for development in Nepal is a technical note that provides research evidence debunking four myths about wheat and maize production: 

  • Men are the main decision makers;
  • Women don’t do much in wheat and maize;
  • Women don’t innovate;
  • Women lack resources for innovation.

The note also lays out opportunities for moving forward with research and development. Click here to download the document.

Scotland Lights Up Malawi


Around 600 million people in Africa have no access to electricity. Without light, opportunities for learning and socialising are severely limited. When darkness falls millions depend on costly, kerosene, batteries and candles to light their homes, schools and businesses, draining their income, damaging their health and causing fatal burns and fires. It also emits black carbon which has a tremendous impact on climate change. Significantly, the poorest communities burn grass as they cannot afford alternatives.

The project is funded by the Scottish Government and aims to determine and understand the impact of the adoption and uptake of solar lights on people, society and the environment in Malawi as well as developing an understanding of what more needs to be done to enable solar lights to reach all communities. It specifically explores: the impact of the solar lights upon the lives and livelihoods of families in Malawi; who the solar lights currently reach; the perceived factors that enable and constrain uptake and adoption; alternative approaches for the distribution of solar lights; and the perceived changes required by organisations to encourage the uptake of solar lights.

Findings reveal that:

  • Affordability, awareness, access and availability of portable solar lights are all critical challenges that need to be addressed. There is need to investigate potential flexible payment methods and addressing the knowledge gap. Given that the minimum price of solar lantern is MWK5000.00 (£4.80), and given that the income of people in the studied villages can be as little as £1.20 per month is a stark reality that needs to addressed.
  • There is a need to explore and pilot dissemination approaches of solar lights through traditional local leaders and community based organisations and empower women so that they can sell the lights to the villagers e.g. through the self help group approach.
  • We need to turn the sense of injustice linked to ‘the poorest cannot be helped’ to justice by exploring avenues that would allow them to become entrepreneurs such as by establishing community charging stations.

Partners: Scotland’s 2020 Group; Keep Scotland Beautiful: Solar Aid.

Water for ALL


One of the major effects of climate change is that the poorest nations, especially those in developing regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), bear a disproportionate burden of its consequences, and this further exacerbates the challenge in accessing safe domestic water in these regions. This challenge has been compounded by environmentally aggressive and inhumane economic development.

Through the project, the Centre aims to contribute in achieving water access, equity and entitlements in Malawi and Zambia, developing effective socially inclusive, gender transformative and climate just governance systems and supporting initiatives which create and build sustainable capacity. Funded by the Scottish Government Climate Justice Fund, the project seeks to support stakeholders in the water sector to take charge of, control and direct future programmes and projects. In so doing, the water needs; particularly of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society, will be met.

Findings reveal that:

  • Communities are becoming more aware of their relationship between erratic weather patterns and climate change but they generally do not understand why this is happening nor how to respond.
  • Communities are ‘forced’ to exploit their local natural environment for survival thus provoking climate change and water scarcity.
  • The project has established awareness of the linkages between water scarcity and lack of development, employment and poverty.
  • Women and girls continue to be distanced from accessing education due to their role in the provision of water and this is becoming more challenging due to climate change. 
  • The project has facilitated the recognition among communities of the importance of education to understand citizens’ rights and justice in relation to climate change.
  • The project has embraced the willingness of the poorest communities to engage in climate justice through decision-making, informed participation, technical training, education on rights and empowerment.

The research team contributed to the World Social Science Report 2016 through a postcard titled Challenging intersecting inequalities around access to water, which can be downloaded here (pages 135-136).

Partners: Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University; Centre for Social Research, University of Malawi; School of Government and International Relations, University of Lusaka, Zambia.