I. Introduction II. The International Framework

The Gender Strategy for the Agricultural Sector

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The Gender Strategy for the Agricultural Sector, designed in 2005, aims at assuring access to and control over resources, benefits, rights and equal opportunities between women and men, enhancing the capacity of vulnerable farmers to improve food security and family income. The gender mainstreaming approach is implemented in poverty alleviation and sustainable development activities and follows the five-rear Government’s plan (2005–2009), the PARPA, the national gender policy, and the four ProAgri-II pillars (1-access to markets, 2-financial services, 3-technology and 4-natural resources). The main goals of the Gender Strategy for the Agricultural Sector are mainly oriented to achieve food security through its strategic areas “(i. access to and control over natural and productive resources; ii. the development and dissemination of productive technologies with women’s active participation; iii. promotion of food security and nutrition by improving food management conservation and preparation; iv. the strengthening of access to credit by vulnerable segments, including women and the youth, and v. markets)” 18

According to several research results and analysis done in Mozambique the gender discourse has been driven by the country´s political and historical context and until today there has not been profound changes in the social and gender relations (Osorio, 2007). It is acknowledge that the recent approval of the PGEI was a step towards gender justice. However some donors from the international cooperation in Mozambique have made critical evaluations on the gender policy’s implementation19. They concluded that the concrete implications of these policies at ground have been minimal because neither national government nor donors have managed to make the transition from policy statements and legal frameworks to significant progress towards gender equality and women empowerment. Moreover, despite advances in the country, in social sectors such as education and health, evaluations concluded that women are still lagging far behind men in practically all areas. They continue to have less political influence and to be poorer than men. The evaluations also pointed out that on some issues, such as HIV-AIDS the rate is more deteriorating on women compared to men. Finally, it is noteworthy that in the Mozambican context in order to mainstream gender in any field it is important to consider the socio-cultural model that drives society’s identity and attributes roles and rights based on sex and age.


International events supporting gender mainstreaming in DRR&EP 20

Several global-level events, such as the International Disaster Reduction Conference in Davos, Switzerland (2006), the Stockholm Forum for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the High-Level Conference on Risk Reduction, Mitigation and Recovery from Natural Disasters in the Greater Caribbean (2007) The Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance, on Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction, and its Manila Declaration for Global Action on Gender in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (Philippines 2008) and lately The International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, China (2009) have contributed to the increased understanding of DRR and gender as cross-cutting matters into all development sectors.
Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance, on Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
The outcome of this event, the Manila Declaration, highlights the gender negative impacts due to climate change and requests that DRR and CCH measures be gender responsive, sensitive to indigenous knowledge systems and respect human rights. This declaration also recommend to document and replicate best practices, to ensure that affirmative action’s are coordinated to effectively respond to the global issues of gender in climate change, disaster risk reduction and food security.

The Beijing Agenda for Global Action on Gender-Sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction Beijing, China (Beijing, China, 22 April 2009)

The Beijing Agenda highlighted the link between gender, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and post disaster recovery and reconstruction and recommended nine achievable actions before 2015, namely (i) increased political commitment to gender analysis and gender mainstreaming, (ii) development of national policies relevant laws, strategies, plans, and budgets, (iii) linkage between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation from a gender perspective, (iv) gathering gender-specific data and statistics on the impact of disasters, and development of gender sensitive-indicators (v) increased public and media awareness on gender-sensitive disaster vulnerabilities and capacities (vi) support to research on costs, benefits and efficiency of gender-sensitive policies and programmes (vii) application of disaster risk assessments (viii) improved and mainstreamed gender perspective and equal participation between men and women through capacity building and training and (ix) building and enhancement of the capacities of professional organizations, communities and national and local institutions to enable gender mainstreaming in all development sectors.

On the United Nations side all agencies have incorporated gender policies and strategies for mainstreaming gender into their respective development and humanitarian mandates. UNDP focuses more on capacity building and integration of DRR into development planning and programming and UNISDR has the mandate for coordinating the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and the HFA within the UN agencies and the governments (details in Annex 2).


Good practices and lessons learned by local governments in DRR&EP and CCH

The Good practices presented below can trigger new ideas in Mozambique’s DRR&EP activities on how to mainstream gender activities that will gradually lead, in future, to change in gender relations.
Good practices, lessons learned, challenges and potential replication21
The examples below are based on a literature review of several experiences22, being most of them, case studies on the roles played by local and regional authorities in addressing disaster risks with a gender perspective. During the Literature Review, several successful experiences were found and some of them, with potential to inspire Mozambique to develop DRR&EP activities were selected, taking into consideration the five major roles of local governments in implementing DRR&EP, namely i) initiatives using participatory planning and implementation of disaster risk reduction approaches, ii) partnerships and support to local initiatives to build up social capital, iii) household and community action to reduce disaster risks with government support, iv) use of innovative approaches and tools applied creatively in local governments and in communities, and v) working with the youth and children in DRR &EP. Such experiences cover the following countries and areas:

  • Honduras: Grassroots women and communities in disaster risk reduction and environmental and natural resources management activities;

  • India: A model of effective government-community partnership facilitates policy support needed to foster a culture of risk reduction;

  • Indonesia: Using political momentum to engender legislation in the reconstruction context;

  • Mali: Alternatives to desertification, drought and in support to rural women empowerment

  • El Salvador: The “Reducing Vulnerabilities in Ahuachapán and Sonsonate Programme (PRVAS)”

  • India: Disaster through a gender lens: gender issues in disaster response and recovery - a case of meeting strategic interests of women through relief distribution

  • India: Focusing on youth and girl children in DRR&EP and post-emergency livelihood restoration project.

In detail, the following are the relevant characteristics of the experiences:


This project involves grassroots women and communities in disaster risk reduction and environmental and natural resources management activities that reduce both poverty and disaster risk, increasing the resilience of the poor and most vulnerable.

The main characteristics of this project were:

  • Integrated a holistic approach developing strategies to increase food security, to reinforce cultural values and practices, work to improve soil conservation, develop actions to promote environmental protection and biodiversity, to increase women's participation and leadership, and to improve income generation activities.

  • Integrated innovation in cropping practices (Reforestation of coastal lands with native fruit plants such as sea grapes, almonds, etc. helped reduce erosion, made the area less vulnerable to water and sand damage in the event of storm, provided environmental education to school children, improved nutrition and provided a source of income.

  • Local knowledge was valued in terms of disaster reduction with women insisting they could not live on donations and instead needed assistance to make the land productive again and improve agricultural production.

  • Use of women's traditional knowledge allowed direction and information of efforts and created the environment for the emergence of most innovative strategies when local cultural knowledge, particularly women's traditional knowledge is used. For example, women's knowledge about traditional medicinal plants has been the cornerstone of many efforts.

  • Recognition of the community and grassroots women as experts, enabling replication of successes by sharing lessons learned between communities and even with other countries.

  • Grassroots women could assess their own needs and generate their own innovative solutions. This was a key factor leading to the success of the project.

This project, developed in response to a crisis triggered by hurricane Mitch is still under way, in part because strengthening communities to withstand disasters is an ongoing process and also because hurricanes and tropical storms have, since then, continued to batter the north coast of Honduras. Though this project was linked to the local socio-economic context, it can be replicated in other regions/countries where resources are scarce, provided that some adjustments to distinct cultural settings are made.


With a focus on women's activities, the initiative was implemented engaging women as information agents in the Repair and Strengthening programme during the rehabilitation period.

The main characteristics of this project were:

  • Women were trained in construction of disaster-safe houses

  • Women led the community management and monitoring of the construction process, established grievance redress systems, and liaised with local, taluka25and district-level government mechanisms.

  • The organization of women's self-help groups with the task to collect and disseminate information on entitlements and create access to them;

  • The creation of spaces for the advancement of their priorities;

  • Training to prepare women to participate in decision making in local government structures.

  • The establishment of Mahila Mahiti Kendra's (MMKs - Women's Information Centers) where women were provided with training in information collection in leadership and in organizational skills.

Through support and commitment received by the government , the activities developed created and sustained effective mechanisms for ensuring successful recovery and resilience building, and it created and demonstrated mechanisms for transferring knowledge and skills to other disaster-affected and at-risk communities - through peer exchange and community resource teams.


This was a project developed under UNIFEM’s initiative. It emphasized the protection of women's legal rights in relation to risks of losing access to resources (mainly land and property ownership) and protection against future disasters. The project is a policy advocacy for gender equality and strengthening women's legal rights for a better future for Acehnese women and their communities. Following the signing of the Peace Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) on 15 August 2005 women seized and utilized the political momentum to engender the legal procedure as well as created political awareness on the need for gender equality measures that resulted in advocacy for the development of a Gender Policy and Joint Land Titling Policy by BRR (Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstruksi Aceh dan Nias - Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh and Nias). More importantly, the Joint Land Titling Policy has enabled women to register their names in the title deed as exclusive or joint owner of land distributed by the authorities.

The main characteristics of this project were:

  • The use of a particular momentum to ensure gender responsive democratic governance that would indirectly contribute to future gendering of DRR policy and guidelines.

  • Women's groups seizing the opportunity created by the Peace Memorandum of Understanding and advocating on gender equality

  • The new opportunities provided by a disaster situation , to build a better future that protect women and men equally, by country laws and regulations

  • The support received by the media and public opinion to understand the need for affirmative action’s to ensure gender equality in the society at local level.


The Sinsibere project worked to reduce desertification by developing sustainable sources of income for rural women as an alternative to their commerce in wood. These alternative livelihoods included vegetable gardens and making Shea butter products like soap. Besides environmental, literacy and financial education, training in soap making and in making energy-efficient stoves was organized for the rural women. These different trainings provided the women with skills that have made them more confident about themselves, better able to explore alternative livelihood options, and more eager to participate in village decision-making.

The project is based on the Local Environmental Plan that the municipal councils and the local people developed collaboratively, and so, has been a cooperative effort between the project workers and the local communities from the beginning. Literacy and mathematical courses have been organized for the women so that they could be able to manage the micro loans and small commerce, encouraging entrepreneurship.
The main characteristics of this project were:

  • Rural women develop sustainable alternatives to wood trade that act as alternatives to desertification and drought, becoming activities that support their economic autonomy.

  • The importance of giving people the time to change their agricultural practices towards more environmentally friendly sources of income.

  • Cutting and selling wood is a convenient source of income since it can be practiced at any time of the year, while gardening depends on seasonal and climatic factors. People have also had a positive attitude towards the alternative livelihood options, since gardening is less arduous and less dangerous than woodcutting.

  • The empowerment of women and development of women’s entrepreneurship and its impact to educate future generations to combat climate change and desertification risks.

  • Individual ownership can contribute to project success, as the project promoted individual people or families to plant trees on their own land, because most of the trees planted in common land were not successfully maintained.

  • Success increased when seedlings were sold, even if at a very low price, than when they were given for free.

Focusing on youth and girl children in DRR&EP: the case of India

This activity focused on girl children from single women in disaster areas EKTA29, where they were provided with educational support to reduce their economic burden in disaster risk areas. EKTA brought into a safety zone the girls and keep them at school and simultaneously challenged the convention of preferential treatment for boys. The process asserted the right to childhood for girls and the strategy included the provision of educational accessories conditional on regular health checkups and follow-ups by a woman doctor. Besides providing girls with education on disaster prevention, activities linked to the project did more than keeping the most vulnerable girl children at school. It challenged the stereotypes of male preference, underpinned the dignity of single women and girl children and asserted the right to childhood for girl children.

Many single women admitted that this gender-focused intervention allowed them to send their girls to school otherwise they could not have afforded the school expenses. It was quite common for girls to drop out of school because of poverty and/or increased work burden of household chores.
The main characteristics of this project were:

  • A field oriented support: EKTA recruited women staff directly from the dalit30and fishing communities of the target areas and trained them on gender, reproductive health, legal rights, etc. Their brief was to maintain continuous communication with mothers and motivate them to encourage their children to go to school regularly.

  • Promotion of activities to resist to “male” pressures from the community: It was made clear to the community, especially the all male traditional village councils (panchayats) that it would be an either/or strategy: Either the aid would go to the girls of single women or it would be withheld completely.

  • Sesitizations meeting addressing women and men on the importance of providing with education to their girls in the disaster risk areas as a opportunity to strategically advance in the rights of young girls.


The “Reducing Vulnerabilities activities developed through Ahuachapán and Sonsonate Programme” (PRVAS) aimed to improve collaboration between NGOs, local government authorities and local communities. The programme has been setting up and strengthening existing Civil Protection Committees and working on a range of community-based disaster risk reduction projects.

The impact has been seen through the effective communication and collaboration that occurred during a number of localized emergencies. During the 2007 and 2008 floodings, actions were coordinated between NGOs, the Municipal Committee for Civil Protection and the Mayor’s office.
The strategies used were : (i) Investment in the creation and training of teams of community field workers for early warning and information (ii) Empowerment of citizens and space creation for participation and dialogue by educating, organizing and mobilizing communities using a rights-based approach so they could be prepared to be their own advocates to negotiate with local government, (iii) Strengthening municipal and regional level coordination, by creating municipal forums for leaders from the different communities to build alliances and work together.
The main characteristics of this project were:

  • Collaboration between international and national NGOs that pulled donor resources more effectively.

  • Collaboration between NGOs helped in acquiring better exchange of ideas, experiences and methods.

  • Training of field staff and community leaders adapted to their situation.

  • Dialogue and collaboration between local government directly and communities to create sustainability beyond the end of the programme.

DISASTER THROUGH A GENDER LENS gender issues in disaster response and recovery: A case of meeting strategic interests of women through relief distribution32

The approach used by SNEHA, 33 an NGO in Nagapattinam, India, to channel its relief activities, was linking to the Women’s Federation and supporting self help groups (SHGs) when negotiating with the all male traditional village councils (Panchayats). This approach became a strategic opportunity for institutionalizing women’s groups in disaster preparedness. The Women’s Federation had conducted a survey and prepared a gender– disaggregated data base. This proved to be an invaluable tool in the verification of the list prepared by traditional Panchayats. The gender-disaggregated survey made it possible to procure age- and gender- appropriate clothing and other sanitary items for each household in the community.

Tools for unfolding and analyzing gender issues in DRR&EP including CCH were needed, so field practitioners and policy makers could understand the gender situation in the area of implementation. The daily active clock, focus groups, seasonal calendar, yearly activity clock, venn diagram, use and control tool, disaggregated data info and others were used by SENHA and women groups to unfold gender needs and answer questions related to the division of power.
SNEHA’s strategy also included rebuilding in situ houses with community’s participation and this had a positive impact on both women and men. The approach used was to transfer cash on the name of women on instalment basis accompanied by close monitoring to ensure that the money was strictly spent on building the house. This was the first time that women had their own bank accounts. Focal Group Discussions with women and men brought to the attention positive facts such as men reducing their drinking to channelling money into building their homes.
In view of the time women normally return home from work SNEHA in coordination with other CSO extended the Balwadi (childcare centre) timing from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. as a support to girl’s education especially those from widowed women.
The main characteristics of this project were:

  • Activities channelled by women’s organized groups

  • Training women on gender analysis tools and performing this with CSO

  • Non traditional roles for Women and Men

  • Promoting Non traditional roles for Women and Men by supporting Housing Rights for Women and challenging the male-only ownership of the houses, thus addressing the gender strategic needs of women.

  • Alternative livelihood options for women, in non-traditional skills such as masonry, mobile phone servicing, and hand-pump repairing, were enabled by other CSO and in the course of training to be masons, women became functionally literate and learnt the basic calculations necessary for masonry.

The following conclusions from data gathered in the literature review could be taken:

The fact that DRR&EP activities in Mozambique are coordinated by the MAE (which coordinates district/local governments) is in line with best practices. In fact, local governments are better positioned than central governments to develop and test various experiences as well as applying them to unique settings and policy priorities. Being implemented in smaller scale they are flexible, can be more innovative and adapted to a particular situation. In general and throughout these examples, major roles of local governments in implementing disaster risk reduction relevant in the Mozambican context were highlighted, such as:
1) Local governments must play a central role in coordinating and sustaining a multi-level, multi-stakeholder platform to promote disaster risk reduction in the region or for a specific hazard: The active commitment and leadership of a local government is important for the implementation of any local disaster risk reduction measures to deal with different stakeholders and multiple layers of government. Activities to be developed must consider that they will take a long time before having tangible results and local governments have to ensure support among external stakeholders throughout the process including significant political and technical support and publicity.
2) Engage local communities and citizens with disaster risk reduction activities and link their concerns with government priorities: raise citizens’ awareness on disaster risks and consider their concerns. Even the most sophisticated national disaster risk reduction measures (such as early warning systems) may fail, if communities are not properly informed and engaged. Local governments should play a central role in community education and training.
3) Strengthen institutional capacities and implement practical disaster risk reduction actions: While government bodies are responsible for the long-term development and viability of their area, on the other hand, local governments are required to consider and institutionalize disaster risk reduction in their day-to-day operations including development planning, land use control and the provision of public facilities and services.
4) Devise and implement innovative tools and techniques for disaster risk reduction, which can be replicated elsewhere or scaled up nationwide: a local government is better positioned than a national government to develop and test various new tools and techniques, applying them to unique settings and policy priorities, because of its smaller scale and better flexibility. Consider simple and practical tools that can integrate community women and men performing e.g. gender and vulnerability analysis, information on community needs and concerns, collect data disaggregated by sex.
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