Gender in Value Chains

Agri-ProFocus Learning Network



This toolkit intends to motivate and help practitioners in integrating a gender perspective in agricultural value chain development, by providing practical tools for all stages of the value chain intervention. It is the second and adjusted version of an earlier Gender in Value Chain Toolkit published by Agri-ProFocus in September 2012. This version is adjusted based on experiences in using the first toolkit in Agri-ProFocus gender in value chain coaching tracks in Eastern Africa. The chapter on intervention strategies is complemented and contains many interesting and practical tools and approaches ready for use by you as a practitioner.


The toolkit provides an overview of material available on gender and value chains. The tools are selected from manuals produced by USAID, SNV, GIZ, ILO, CARE and other organizations in the Agri-ProFocus ‘Gender in Value Chains’ network. Most resources can be found on the World Wide Web; links can be found on the resources page of the online version of the toolkit.


The Gender in Value Chains Practical Toolkit that you are currently holding is closely linked to another publication that resulted from collaboration within the Agri-ProFocus Gender in Value Chains network, namely ‘Challenging Chains to Change: Gender Equity in Agricultural Value Chain Development’ (2012). This publication was produced by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in cooperation with IIRR and Agri-ProFocus and sponsored by ICCO, Hivos, Cordaid and Oxfam Novib.

Target group

  • Practitioners working with different actors in agricultural value chains.
  • Practitioners that work with organizations that support or influence agricultural value chains, such as NGOs, knowledge institutions, government, BDS, microfinance organizations.


There are three types of tools:

  1. Tools that support data collection and research to gain insight into gender constraints and opportunities within certain value chains.
  2. Tools guiding the facilitation of participatory processes in order to involve male and female value chain actors in the different stages of the project.
  3. Tools describing an approach, a way of working, combining a variety of interventions.



Experiences with the use of the toolkit can be shared via the online platform of the Agri-ProFocus Learning Network on Gender in Value Chains and on the different Agri-ProFocus country platforms.  Also, other relevant tools for gender-sensitive value chain development can be shared here. 


Content of this toolkit

The introduction provides you with the different arguments to practice gender-sensitive value chain development and presents concepts combining value chain and gender thinking. These are the concepts underlying the tools presented in this book.  The toolkit follows the logic of the project cycle and the logic of value chain development. 

1. Context Analysis

This chapter contains tools which can be used to analyze the wider social, cultural and economic context in which value chain interventions will take place.  What are the differences in activities of men and women, what resources do they have access to  carry out these activities, and do they have a say about the proceeds? How does this vary between the different households? 


2. Value Chain Selection

Selecting a value chain or sub-sector on superficial observation basis bears the risk of choosing a sector with little potential for either upgrading or achieving gender objectives. This chapter assists you in selecting value chains which have the potential to contribute to increased women empowerment and gender equality, chains that ‘work for women’. 


3. Value Chain Analysis

In this chapter you will find tools to make women visible in a value chain. The tools in this chapter will help you to get a global gender-sensitive picture of the value chain, the actors involved, their linkages and the percentages of men and women in each chain segment. The tools will assist you in identifying constraints and opportunities for women to participate in the value chain, to analyze the differences in power (positions) in the value chain governance, and to discover opportunities for women to upgrade their position.


4. Intervention Strategies

This chapter is organized according to different entry-points for value chain upgrading: Households; Producer organizations; Businesses; Business Development Service Providers; Financial Service Providers and Development Organizations. For each entry point a variety of practical interventions is presented. 


5. Monitoring & Evaluation

This chapter provides tools to measure the success of your intervention with a specific focus on gender issues. Lessons drawn from this measuring process can serve as an entry point in defining a new, or adjust the old, upgrading strategy.



The online version has a ‘Downloads’ section from which all the tools can be downloaded; per tool, per chapter or the whole toolkit at once. 



The resources section lists all resources used. The online version of the toolkit includes links to the resources and toolkits used.



  • Design your own gender integration process - professional responsibility  

This toolkit is not a ready-made recipe to integrate gender into your value chain development project. Rather, it offers a range of tools that could be used at every stage of your intervention. It is up to the practitioner to decide which combination of tools to use.


  • All tools fit in a process involving different people at different steps.

Most tools describe one step in a process (e.g. the data collection, or the participatory analysis). The design of the other steps in the process and the involvement of the right mix of people in the different steps is the task of the practitioner.


  • All tools will have to be contextualized and fit in this process.

It is the responsibility of the practitioner to adjust the tools to his or her specific situation.

  • Open knowledge - Sharing

The toolkit strives to be a low-threshold portal for the value chain practitioner. We believe in the concept of ‘open knowledge’. We want to make tools not only ‘available’ and ‘accessible’ but also ‘adjustable’. Therefore, we encourage you to use and adjust the tools and to share your experiences and adjustments with us. We are also interested in other tools you may consider useful. Experiences can be shared via the online platform of the Agri-ProFocus Learning network on Gender in Value Chains.


  • Acknowledge Agri-ProFocus

In return, Agri-ProFocus would like to be mentioned as source for the material, so that others can also join our growing network.



The content of this Toolkit has been developed by Angelica Senders of Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services, Anna Lentink of Triodos Facet, Mieke Vanderschaeghe, independent consultant, and Jacqueline Terrillon, coach of the gender in value chains coaching track of Agri-ProFocus in Uganda with support of Roel Snelder of Agri-ProFocus Netherlands

The tools are taken from manuals produced by practitioners and organizations, available in the public domain or made available to the Agri-ProFocus Gender in value chains network. The toolkit relies strongly on manuals produced by USAID, SNV, GIZ , ILO, Oxfam and CARE.

The publication ‘Challenging Chains to Change’ (Agri-ProFocus, KIT and IIRR 2012) is the result of a writeshop process that was organized within Agri-ProFocus and coordinated by Anna Laven and Rhiannon Pyburn of KIT. From all throughout the Agri-ProFocus network, 105 case briefs were collected, selected, written down and edited into a resource book for practitioners.  A PDF version of the book is freely available on (upper left-hand menu, select ‘Publications’). Please note that the download is 10MB. The book can also be ordered as paperback for €25 from

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Introduction Context Analysis Value Chain Selection Value Chain Analysis Intervention Strategies Monitoring and Evaluation Downloads