The ILRI 2019 Annual Report

Foreword Annual Report 2019

By Jimmy Smith and Lindsay Falvey


By Jimmy Smith and Lindsay Falvey

We are publishing the 2019 annual report of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) during a global pandemic whose impacts on human health and the global economy have already proven catastrophic. Both COVID-19 and recent events around the world have shown that inequalities of various kinds—social, racial and economic, among others—remain powerful forces that need to be addressed. At ILRI, we are committed to ensuring that our research on livestock contributes in a multitude of ways to addressing the current crisis, from preventing future pandemics to helping those most impacted by the present one. We are working on livestock solutions that help re-ignite economies, support health and nutrition, and build up sustainable and resilient food systems in the poorer parts of the world.

This report’s focus on gender is especially timely. Few societies in the world are free from inequalities arising from gender, as few are free from inequalities of race, status and multiple other kinds of division.

Homing in on gender is not simply a matter of focusing on women’s issues, as an earlier school of thought might have done. Rather, our focus is on the whole system of relationships and power dynamics that define the roles that women and men of all ages have in society. Livestock benefit from women’s work and women—countless millions of women in the developing world—benefit from livestock. Interventions, even ones that seem purely technocratic and neutral, such as animal vaccination programs, are often less effective than they could be if gender isn’t considered. Thus, ILRI was delighted this year to be selected as host of the CGIAR-wide platform on gender in agriculture. The platform will initiate a process of genuine change towards greater gender equality and better lives for smallholder farmers everywhere.

ILRI is pursuing equity across its workforce, with the percentage of professional women at ILRI (as categorized by CGIAR) currently at 34 per cent. ILRI’s current board of eleven trustees includes five women, including its chair-elect Elsa Murano, and ILRI’s senior management team of eight includes three women. ILRI is advancing towards 50 per cent participation by women and has put in place a variety of measures to increase the number of women in its ranks, such as ensuring that recruitments do not proceed unless female candidates are considered.

ILRI offices and staff worldwide
ILRI is co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Ethiopia and has offices and staff in more than 14 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas. In 2019, ILRI had 692 permanent staff, 398 male and 244 female, from 40 nations.

This year’s report features several field-based stories that illustrate ILRI’s research ‘in action’. We learn why it can be difficult for women to access vaccination programs for their animals in Ghana, how women are on the front lines of surveying and preventing future zoonotic disease outbreaks in Ethiopia, how young people are making a decent living for themselves through improved dairy production in Kenya and how a new green fodder variety is improving milk productivity and gender equity in India’s smallholder dairy sector. These stories are complemented by research examples from across ILRI’s portfolio, presenting solutions from laboratory to field that showcase ILRI initiatives to support institutions, develop capacity and conduct research on systems and policy solutions.

We do not as of this writing know what impact the current pandemic will have. However, as a scientific research institute dedicated to the people whose lives depend on livestock in the developing world, ILRI has a long record of addressing many of the issues that are now at the very centre of the global agenda, such as disease surveillance and control, climate change and environmental destruction, and hunger and malnutrition.

No matter what challenges may come in the months ahead, we at ILRI continue to focus on delivering livestock research that makes a difference to all.

Better lives through Livestock

How the other half works:
Making a living with livestock

International Livestock Research Institute2019 Annual Report

Photo credit: ILRI/Georgina Smith
Jimmy Smith, ILRI director general (l) with ILRI board chair Lindsay Falvey(photo credits: ILRI/Alexandra de Athayde and ILRI/Susan MacMillan)

Foreword


We are publishing the 2019 annual report of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) during a global pandemic whose impacts on human health and the global economy have already proven catastrophic. Both COVID-19 and recent events around the world have shown that inequalities of various kinds—social, racial and economic, among others—remain powerful forces that need to be addressed. At ILRI, we are committed to ensuring that our research on livestock contributes in a multitude of ways to addressing the current crisis, from preventing future pandemics to helping those most impacted by the present one. We are working on livestock solutions that help re-ignite economies, support health and nutrition, and build up sustainable and resilient food systems in the poorer parts of the world.

This report’s focus on gender is especially timely. Few societies in the world are free from inequalities arising from gender, as few are free from inequalities of race, status and multiple other kinds of division.

read more

A gendered lens: Women, men and the future of livestock


Picture a livestock keeper in the developing world. In all likelihood, you are visualizing a man, perhaps herding cows and goats across a savanna or ploughing a piece of farmland with bullocks. The very term ‘animal husbandry’—which refers to the care, cultivation and breeding of animals—denotes masculine qualities, deriving as it does from late Old English (‘male head of a household’). But of course, it is not only men who keep livestock.

In fact, some two-thirds of the developing world’s hundreds of millions of poor livestock keepers are women, not men. In these countries, women, not men, perform most of the work in farm and herding households that goes into caring for animals. It is these women, not their menfolk, who do most of the day-to-day farm animal management as well as the processing, marketing and selling of the milk and eggs their animals produce. And it is developing-country women, not men, who typically make daily household decisions regarding a family’s chickens and other small stock.

read more

Nicoline de Haan, ILRI gender team leader(photo credit: CGIAR CRP on Water, Land and Ecosystems)

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The animals they keep

Feature stories highlighting ILRI's gender work

ILRI is a research-for-development institute, dedicated to a world free of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. Its projects and initiatives reach beyond the library or the laboratory to the real world. The four stories that follow depict with journalistic flair and photographic detail the opportunities and challenges facing women and men building a better future for themselves through livestock.

The CGIAR gender platform

A renewed platform on gender aims to give greater voice to women farmers in the developing world Hosted by ILRI, the multi-centre collaborative effort will focus on gender equality and transformative food systems

Women farmers in the developing world face a host of challenges, from balancing domestic and agricultural chores to securing access to land and markets. To help women achieve gender equality in food systems, and to sustainably defeat hunger and enhance nutrition, CGIAR has launched a CGIAR GENDER Platform. The platform aims to create a ‘new normal’-a world in which greater gender equality drives more equitable, sustainable, productive and climate-resilient food systems.
ILRI is proud to serve as host for a new CGIAR-wide platform on gender issues in global agricultural research for development. Known as GENDER (Generating Evidence and New Directions for Equitable Results), the platform aims to help transform the way gender research is done, both within and beyond CGIAR, and to help kick-start a process of genuine change towards greater gender equality and better lives for smallholder farmers everywhere.

Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, stated, 'GENDER is well positioned to produce far-reaching and enduring impacts because it will aim to give a voice to the millions of women who today are mostly excluded from the extremely urgent efforts to produce enough, and good enough, food under the climate crisis. Only when both women and men are empowered to transform food systems can they successfully nourish families, communities and entire nations, today and in the future.'
Launched in January 2020, GENDER builds on a wealth of research and learning generated by the previous CGIAR Gender Network and the Collaborative Platform for Gender Research (2011–2019). It includes all 14 CGIAR research centres, 12 collaborative CGIAR research programs and 3 other CGIAR system-wide research support platforms and will forge alliances with change-makers in government, academia, national agricultural research extension systems and non-governmental organizations.

ILRI's gender team

Featured Publications on Gender

It begins in the lab

But extends to the field

Fighting animal disease, planting better forages, preventing the dangerous spread of antimicrobial-resistant infections and improving food safety all require meticulous scientific work. ILRI’s biosciences division provides researchers with the time and resources to carry out that painstaking research. These stories show how ILRI is working to find solutions that will progressively reduce poverty and improve human health.

Building for the future

Making tomorrow’s breakthroughs possible

Tomorrow’s scientific breakthroughs can only happen if we invest in people and institutions today. ILRI maintains a variety of programs to enhance mission effectiveness and stimulate global research on livestock in the developing world. Its internship program has hosted scores of undergraduate interns from the world over—the next generation of livestock scientists. Its Ethiopia campus provides a model of how CGIAR centres can work synergistically. And its pioneering genotyping platform is helping scientists throughout Africa to modernize and strengthen breeding programs.

The right policies

The science of livestock systems

Because they are embedded in structures that extend from the family home to global trade, the economics, policies and social science of livestock systems remain ILRI's focus. ILRI’s scientists are helping the Kenyan government develop land-use policies to ensure a viable future for the country’s millions of pastoralists. They are identifying sustainable, bottom-up, stakeholder-led interventions in livestock value chains. And they are ensuring that farmers in Africa participate in climate-smart solutions that maximize productivity while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

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2019

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Top 2019 science journal articlesfrom ILRI programs

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