Strengthening women´s and youths’ access to innovation support services (ISS): The 24 h’ cassava retting case in Cameroon

Sarah Crestin-Billet, Armel Rodrigue Kamga Boubda, Hycenth Tim Ndah, Guillaume Hensel Fongang Fouepe, Syndhia Mathé, Andrea Knierim


Strengthening the participation of women and youths in agri-food innovation processes is key to support the development of solutions that meet their needs and that enhance their capacity to drive change in rural areas. We disentangle the 24 hours cassava retting case in Cameroon into three service situations across the ideation, development and dissemination phases. We then assess the intention of inclusion of key innovation support service providers (ISPs) and their approaches, the roles played by women and youths, and the capacity of women and youths to fully benefit from innovation support services (ISS) depending on factors at the personal/agency, relational and structural/environmental levels – an adaptation of the gender-transformative approach (GTA) framework. We find that ISPs wish to target women and youths, but this objective is only assessed in quantitative terms. A deeper understanding of what favors or constrains the capacity to use services and resources of innovative actors at the personal or collective levels would help improve the inclusiveness and quality of ISS, as well as raise awareness of deeper structural changes that are needed at the policy, informal norms and environmental levels. Some women benefit from skills and knowledge, personal traits, as well as from extensive support networks that allow them to overcome the constraining patriarchal norms to innovate. Their capacity to support the active participation of people constrained by e.g. remoteness, health and disability issues or unfavorable gender norms, should be strengthened. This can be supported by extended research and knowledge sharing about innovative solutions found to some specific problems faced by marginalized people across Sub-Saharan Africa. ISPs should also develop, coordinate, and qualitatively assess their activities to help underserved people participate in innovation processes in rural areas.


inclusive innovation process, gender-transformative approach; agricultural innovation system, Sub-Saharan Africa

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ISSN 1869-6945


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