Team members (from left) Mary Crave, Lori DiPrete Brown, Christopher Olsen, and Sophia Friedson-Ridenour, visit with Irene Obeng at her home near Koforidua, Ghana. Irene recently retired as director of an agricultural training school in Ghana and continues to be an important role model for younger Ghanaian women. Irene contributes to Women and One Health work as she chairs the 4-H Ghana advisory committee and advocates for women farmers.

Women and One Health

Our Project

“One Health” refers to the interdependencies of health among humans, animals, and shared ecosystems. The 4W Women and One Health effort, carried out in collaboration with the Global Health Institute, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of Human Ecology, the School of Veterinary Medicine, UW- Extension, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, brings a gender lens to the global conversation on One Health. The Women and One Health effort is a cluster of interrelated projects that employ participatory methods and women- and girl-centered approaches to contribute to educational programs and assessment methods, and to inform the research agenda. The projects explore the various ways that women can achieve equity and wellbeing, as they contribute to agricultural productivity, animal welfare, family economics, and health.

4-H in Ghana: An Integrated One Health and Gender Empowerment Approach

Girls shucking corn

Project partner 4-H Ghana focuses on teaching youth technologically appropriate practices that will help them approach agriculture as a scientific and viable profession while also building life and leadership skills. (C) M. Crave (2015)

This project, carried out in partnership with 4-H Ghana and AgriCorps, will develop new 4-H lessons so that gender empowerment and One Health precepts are incorporated into the 4-H curriculum as they relate to agriculture, livelihoods, health, life skills and leadership. The team carried out assessment and collaborative meetings in Ghana in September 2015 and May 2016, and curriculum development is now underway with a teach-the-teacher workshop planned for Ghana in October 2016. The project is supported by a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Grant for two years.


Women and One Health: Empowerment of Rural Women in Agriculture

Women farmers ghana

Days are long for women farmers. The decision-making WEAI measures access to land and other assets.The Women and One Health project takes the measures further to integrate broader definitions of empowerment. Ghana 2015, (C) C. Olsen

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is being implemented in more than 16 countries and is becoming the metric that both measures the impact and drives the design of programs to improve the lives of women farmers. UW-Madison research is engaging women farmers and their communities in a discussion about the index so that they can better capture impacts on empowerment and wellbeing. The work also includes measures that assess mastery of one health knowledge, principles and practices that can make agriculture more sustainable and promote the health of humans, animals and the ecosystem. Research funding is from a Global Health Institute Seed Grant.


Critical Links to Human Thriving: A Research to Practice Forum

In April 2016, the Global Health Institute (GHI) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, convened national and international leaders to consider current agricultural and research policies through the dual lenses of gender empowerment and equality and One Health thinking. Women play critical roles in agriculture in many cultures, and their contributions are vital to food security and family economics, which impact physical and mental health and wellbeing in communities. Women’s roles in agriculture also ultimately impact educational opportunities for themselves and their children. This is an important moment to critically examine what a dual One Health and gender-empowerment approach would mean for research and practice moving forward.