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Strengthening the Capacity of Women and Marginalized Communities in Africa's Agriculture and Food Systems to Harness the Potentials of Artificial Intelligence Technology

Project Duration: 2023-2024 

Grantor: Gender at Work, Canada.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Ozor; Executive Director, African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS);
Emails: nozor@atpsnet.org; executivedirector@atpsnet.org 

Partners: Kumasi Hive,Ghana and International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya

Grant Amount: US$ 18,910

Project Description 

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) is enthusiastically lauded as one of the solutions to overcome challenges to agriculture in Africa. Women dominate the agricultural work force, making up 60% – 80%, but despite this dominance and significant contributions, the productivity divide between men and women and other marginalized farmers persists across Africa. An unfavorable gender divide resulting from poor access to technology, limited access to land ownership and financial resources, and low education levels contribute to the disparity. The ability to use AI innovation is a function of multiple factors including education, digital literacy, technological and structural competence, and resources, which do not favor women and marginalized farmers. Consequently, AI is likely to further exacerbate the existing gender disparities unless mitigation measures are put in place. This proposal aims to foster gender equity in AI-enabled agricultural innovation with reference to two selected countries under the Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture and Food Systems (AI4AFS) innovation research network. The African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and its Partners, Kumasi Hive and icipe will implement the Innovation Challenge project under two distinct but interrelated work packages, namely; design by inclusion, training, and technical support to improve the adoption and use of AI technologies in AFS by women and marginalized communities in the participating countries (Work Package 1), and development of a set of best practices and recommendations for gender inclusive AI technology adoption for women and marginalized communities in AFS in Africa (Work Package 2).

Goal and Specific Objectives 

The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of women and marginalized communities to benefit from the potentials of AI technologies in Agriculture and Food systems (AFS) in Africa.

The Specific Objectives are to:

  1. Understand existing threats and opportunities for women and marginalized communities regarding adoption of AI technologies in AFS in Africa.
  2. Improve adoption and use of AI technologies in AFS by women and marginalized communities through ’design by inclusion’ and targeted training in the areas of needs as identified in objective 1.
  3. Co-develop a set of best practices and recommendations for gender inclusive AI technology adoption for women and marginalized communities in AFS in Africa.

Key Activities 

  • Design by inclusion’ of AI technology and tools. Have a workshop with grantees, stakeholders, and women and marginalized communities from Nigeria and Uganda to co-design requisite AI tools. The project team will facilitate the in-person workshops in Nigeria and Uganda.
  • Co-develop and co-design training modules on capacity strengthening for the women and marginalized communities based on the identified needs. This will comprise virtual training workshops for the grantees on designing inclusive capacity strengthening training module.
  • Delivery of training programs in need areas. The grantees together with the project team has well-qualified and experienced technical experts, that will deliver equitable and inclusive training on all the key areas that will strengthen the capacity to adopt and use the AI tools by women and marginalized communities.
  • Develop a set of best practices and recommendations for gender inclusive and responsive AI technology and tools for adoption in Africa. The key output from this activity will be a published set of best practices for a gender inclusive and responsive AI technology and tools for adoption in Africa that will aim to highlight learning that may be relevant to other AI4AFS subgrantees in other contexts and countries.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes

  • Enhanced capacity and increased opportunity for women and the marginalized communities to harness the potentials of AI in AFS

PROJECT OUTPUTS

(To be updated)

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