Tools for women’s empowerment? : the case of the forage chopper for smallholder dairy farmers in Uganda smallholder dairy farmers in Uganda

F.B. Lubwama Kiyimba

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


    Labour-saving tools have been advocated as an important means of increasing production and improving the quality of life of rural Africans. They can be very useful in reducing household labour requirements, especially during the peak production season when these requirements are high. Women have been specifically targeted in the development and dissemination of such tools, with the aim of helping them reassign time from farming and domestic activities towards income generating activities. Engineers have always assumed that taking women into consideration in the development and dissemination processes of labour saving tools will guarantee their use and reduce women’s labour time in agriculture, but this has not been effectively achieved. The forage chopper is one such technology that was developed with the aim of reducing women’s labour burdens, and indeed empowering them, only to find out that realities of use are much more complex. With a technographic approach, focusing on a socially active labour saving tool, this research explored how technologies contribute to the empowerment of women. The study was conducted in fourdairying sub-counties of Masaka district, Uganda. The research showed thatit does not make sense to cordon off women as a group and undertake development work with or for them in isolation, because women’s activities are integrated in larger systems and processes. Instead of focusing exclusively on women as individual entities, technology development and dissemination processes should focus as much or more on the social and material context, in order to achieve the goal of technologies that are of truly transformative potential. 

    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Wageningen University
    • Richards, Paul, Promotor
    • Maat, Harro, Co-promotor
    • Zwarteveen, Margreet, Co-promotor
    Award date19 Dec 2011
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs9789461731135
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • agricultural development
    • appropriate technology
    • agriculture
    • forage
    • choppers
    • design
    • small farms
    • dairy farming
    • rural women
    • labour
    • household behaviour
    • uganda
    • east africa
    • developing countries


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