For any development process to prosper, it is essential to have innovative capacities which ensure the inclusion of tangible and intangible innovations, at the local level into national policies. While gender equality is vital to the accomplishment development of goals, the visibility, however, of women’s work in the growth process is very low; their work unseen and unrecognised. The International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC-CRDI) Fund for Gender and Innovation is playing a pioneering role in identifying and understanding the role of women under the Innovation, Technology and Society Programme. Eight countries which include Afghanistan, Bolivia, India, Pakistan, Palestine, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia are involved in the research under the fund including Development Alternatives (DA) from India.
Discussions at the First International Workshop on Gender and Innovation held in January 2010, led to a need for a networking and knowledge sharing platform to facilitate a common understanding of the background, objectives and research on gender and innovation. Such a platform was envisaged as helping practitioners among the eight recipient countries of the project to contribute to varied aspects of gender and innovation.
The extent of the interest shown by the participating organisations is exemplified through the following statement in the proceedings of the workshop, ‘we would like to have the databases on technical papers, local laws and regulations, survey methods, monitoring and evaluation methods,’ and, ‘have discussions on role and participation of women in policy making and policy evaluating process in developing countries, particularly in eight selected projects’ countries’. There was interest in a public - private domain debate such as women’s empowerment in agriculture, community engagement in development processes and local governance related issues. DA undertook the task of formulating the concept to fulfil this need and expressed its interest to design, develop and maintain a Gender and Innovation Knowledge and Communication Platform with the support of IDRC.
The key objectives of the Gender and Innovation Knowledge and Communication web portal are as follows:
To provide a platform for knowledge sharing and establish dialogue among the project partners.
To provide a tangible knowledge base for the articles, essays, case studies, best practices, news, policies, programmes, etc., on gender and innovation.
To interact constantly through the use of new media and generate awareness on approaches to gender and innovation research.
To map the role of women in innovation processes and develop a ‘theory of knowledge’, i.e., a theory which everybody accepts and holds good to all situation in the area of gender and innovation.
To review the lessons learnt, bring out recommendations and conceptualise beneficial policy changes through knowledge sharing.
Development Alternatives Group
The Development Alternatives Group, often referred to as DA Group, comprises of the Society for Development Alternatives (DA), Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA), and its social enterprises. Established in 1982, with the overall mandate of creating sustainable livelihoods in large numbers, the DA Group activities broadly cover the three primary areas that underline any form of sustainable development process: the design and large-scale dissemination of appropriate technologies, rationale environmental management systems, and equitable people oriented institutions and policies.