Centre for Development Studies

Fairtrade cocoa production and gender in Ghana: a participatory video approach

Principle Investigator: Roy Maconachie

Research Team: Co-Investigator, Dr Elizabeth Fortin (University of Bristol), Simon Wharf - Principal filmmaker (University of Bath), Mrs Eunice Adu-Darko - Lecturer (Central University College, Tema, Ghana), Catharine Russell - Monitoring and Evaluation Manager (Fairtrade Africa). 

Project Partners: Fairtrade Africa

Funding Body: British Academy

Project Rationale and Aims:

This project critically explores the role of women in Fairtrade organizations and communities, and the obstacles they face in participating in Fairtrade value chains. Focusing on Fairtrade cocoa production in Ghana, the research employs participatory video – an innovative methodology increasingly used in community development and anthropological research – to undertake a more nuanced analysis of the Fairtrade network, focusing on questions of where the benefits are flowing within its structures, who is being reached, and how this may have gendered impacts on addressing poverty and powerlessness. In doing so, the project aims to understand how Fairtrade certification may have wider impacts beyond women’s farming activities, how it may affect women's decision-making power in their households, and how this may (or may not) play a role in re-negotiating the gender identities of men and women.

The qualitative video material generated will inform key academic and policy debates on gender and Fairtrade, but will also be disseminated to a range of stakeholders within the Fairtrade system.

Project Outputs and Impact:

Outputs will be targeted at a range of dissemination groups in both academic and non-academic arenas. Dissemination mechanisms for research users in Ghana, the UK and internationally will include:

  1. Digital videos - A full length 20 minute digital video on gender and Fairtrade cocoa production in Ghana will be produced. Two shorter videos of 5-8 minutes long will be created for dissemination at each of the 2 producer sites studied.
  2. Journal articles - Two articles will be produced for leading international development studies journals.
  3. International conference presentations (e.g. the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting and the Royal Geographic Society Conference).
  4. A screening workshop will be held at both of the 2 cocoa production sites studied in both Phases 1 and 2 of the project. The screening workshop in Phase 1 will provide an opportunity for the women who participate in the research to present their videos and discuss how this may have enhanced knowledge about gender and Fairtrade. The screening workshop in Phase 2 will allow the women to provide feedback on a draft of the final 20 minute video.

The proposal for this research was designed in consultation with colleagues at Fairtrade Africa, who have shown enthusiasm and support for the work. The video outputs will be disseminated throughout Fairtrade networks, and that the project findings will be incorporated into Fairtrade activities and programming in Ghana. The PI has also been invited to screen the video at the Africa Fairtrade Convention in Nairobi between February 22-26 2016, and to contribute to discussions at a gender forum at the event.

For more information about this project please contact:

Name: Dr Roy Maconachie
Title: Reader
Department: Dept of Social and Policy Sciences
Location: 3 East 3.28
E-mail: r.maconachie@bath.ac.uk
Phone: work+44 (0) 1225 384524