GENDER AND POVERTY DIMENSIONS OF IRRIGATION
TECHNIQUES FOR TECHNICAL PEOPLE
BARBARA VAN KOPPEN
International Water Management Institute, P O Box 2075, Colombo, Sri Lanka E-mail: email@example.com
Identifying technology users and finding effective ways to reach them is intrinsic part of the profession of irrigation engineers and technical people. The user-oriented questions 'who is the user' and 'how to reach him or her' are also a conduit to approach gender and poverty dimensions of irrigation in general and micro-irrigation in particular, as elaborated in this paper. First, key user groups of technology development and use are identified, if poverty alleviation is the ultimate goal: poor smallholders, whose improved access to irrigation is a powerful path to escape income poverty, but also to agricultural growth. Second, ways to reach poor smallholders and to endow them with access to irrigation assets are traced and illustrated: through the design of individual and collective technologies and accompanying pro-poor institutional arrangements of private ownership, collectively ownership or co-management, and of water markets. Further differentiation among the user group of poor smallholders identifies whether farm managers are men or women. This paper proposes generic tools for gender analysis of smallholder irrigated agriculture. Results of various applications of this tool are described that highlight a wide variation of female, dual or male farming systems over the globe. Lastly, concrete cases and generic lessons to reach both men and women, rather than excluding women, as often occurred in the past, are presented.