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Gender Inclusiveness

GCFSI is committed to pursuing innovations with a strong potential to transform unequal gender relations and empower women. We aim to improve the effectiveness of our work by promoting gender-responsive programming and gender equitable implementation.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that women benefit from improved food security and enhanced resilience to climate change. While we acknowledge that gender is not synonymous to women, GCFSI also recognizes the central role women play in agriculture in most developing countries, as well as the numerous challenges that hinder their full participation in and benefits from food systems activities.

GCFSI’s Gender Strategy (.pdf) outlines our commitment to strengthening impact through the integration of gender issues throughout the center’s innovation lifecycle. 

Communicating for Impact 

Turning complex research into understandable stories is crucial to communicating the impact of findings or innovations. GCFSI embeds communications training in our programs, working closely with students and researchers to help them talk about their work in everyday language. They practice lightning talks, give presentations, and meet with journalists. 

Systems Thinking

GCFSI's work incorporates systems thinking and interdisciplinary research. Systems thinking enables researchers to look at the agricultural innovation system in its entirety and invites scholars to connect with diverse actors. Our approach to food systems work considers major environmental, economic, and social trends, as well as workforce development needs that impact food security. 

Student Engagement

The Frugal Innovation Practicum gives students from MSU and Malawi's Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources the opportunity to learn about barriers to food security, develop real-world problem-solving skills, and experience cross-cultural exchange while improving their communication and presentation skills.

Offered over the summer, the practicum combines a series of online and in-person classes, local field trips, and applied research. While conducting field work in Lilongwe, Malawi, students work with local food retailers to identify solutions to market challenges that block innovation, limit profits and undermine urban food security. Student teams consult with market committees, the Lilongwe City Council and other decision-makers to develop locally-controlled innovation plans.