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promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment internationally The norwegian Civil society experience

Table of content Introduction 5 The Atlas Alliance


CARE 8 Caritas Norway


Digni 12 FOKUS - Forum for Women and Development


Norwegian Church Aid


Norwegian People’s Aid


Norwegian Red Cross


Norwegian Refugee Council


Plan Norway


The Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Norges Vel) 26 Save the Children Norway


SOS Children’s Villages Norway


Strømme Foundation


Editorial team: Christine Wiik (SOS Childrens’ Villages) and Line Begby (Norwegian Red Cross) Cover photo: Olivier Matthy, Red Cross. Design: Designsmill Layout: Sigbjørn Kiserud (Digni) Printing: Renessanse Media, March 2015

CEO’s Statements

Introduction The Gender Network The Norwegian Gender Network has been in operation since 2007. Today it consists of some fifteen civil society development and humanitarian organisations. The network cuts across differences in thematic approaches and focus countries. Gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment initiatives are often neglected and meet resistance. Having a network of committed gender experts and women’s activists is therefore important. As advisers, promoters and rapporteurs we strive to ensure that gender mainstreaming and targeted activities are natural parts of the organisations’ development and humanitarian work.

Shared lessons learnt This publication documents the scope of how the organisations work on gender equality. Despite different approaches, some common lessons learnt can still be drawn: • No size fits all. Activities must be adapted to local contexts, cultures and needs with emphasis on ownership, participation and national engagement at all levels to deliver gender equality. • There are no quick fixes. Work for gender equality and women’s empowerment requires long term commitments from all involved parties that go beyond the traditional three to five-year lifespan of most interventions, and also beyond normal practices of monitoring and evaluation. • Gender mainstreaming requires visible and sustained leadership and commitment from senior management, as well as the necessary resources, incentives, and accountability systems. • Earmarked funds for innovative measures, i.e. catalytic funds are needed. • There needs to be a consistent approach to recording results and disseminating lessons.

• Gender equality and women’s empowerment cannot be achieved without the involvement and support of boys and men. • In areas such as education and health there is a good understanding of how gender equality improves results. However, gender equality must be fully integrated in all areas of work: infrastructure, food and nutrition security, agriculture and consumer protection, economic and social development, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, natural resource management and environment.

The Norwegian factor Internationally, Norway is known to be a leading country on gender equality, having gender equality high on the political agenda and in political statements over the years. Norway holds a reputation for being one of the drivers for gender equality in global and multilateral meetings. However, the Gender Network notices that gender equality is often missing from country policy dialogue and that there is a lack of in-country gender expertise and tools to mainstream gender. Understanding the dynamics of change and local and national barriers to gender equality is important to improve the quality of development work. Therefore, we recommend that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad should use the knowledge and experience of competent women and men from the Gender Network organizations and their partners abroad to further push the gender agenda.

Way forward The progress achieved on gender equality and women’s empowerment is constantly under threat from strong forces. It is therefore necessary to keep up the momentum, work with structural barriers and not be satisfied with the current situation. The Gender Network is committed to doing so, and we will continue to exchange experiences and collaborate to improve the way we work.

“nothing about us without us”

– twin track approach to include women with disabilities

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) emphasises gender equality and women’s rights as a central concern. It confirms the situation that research and practitioners have drawn attention to: that disabled women and girls, men and boys face multiple discrimination. In addition to this, girls, boys, women and men have different experiences of disability based on their gender and the place and status they have in their societies. The Atlas Alliance (AA) recognizes this situation and the discrimination that especially women and girls with disabilities experience, both within and outside their home due to social stigma, neglect or negligent treatment or exploitation. The AAs approach is rights-based and thus our approach to gender equality follows the same principles of identifying both the human rights claims of rights-holders and the corresponding human rights obligations of duty-bearers. We base our work on the recognition that in order to achieve gender equality, it is necessary to focus efforts on empowering women to claim their rights, on gender relations between men and women, boys and girls, as well as addressing the need to change discriminatory institutional structures and legislation.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative Reliable and globally comparable disability data are difficult to obtain and systematic underreporting of disability is a serious challenge. We lack the vital research and data needed to know clearly what the issues are and whom we need to target to improve the situation of women with disabilities. The Atlas Alliance is supporting projects on living condition studies through the Norwegian Federation of


The Atlas Alliance

Organizations of Disabled People (FFO) and the research institute SINTEF. In collaboration with local partners in several African countries, we have been able to gather data to be applied directly as documentation of the living standards among people with disabilities and their families and as a basis for comparison with both non-disabled individuals and families without a disabled family member. Facts on people with disabilities and their living conditions may contribute to an improvement of the situation this group is facing in many low-income countries, as has been demonstrated in high-income countries. The studies have been applied to inform policy development, for capacity building, awareness raising and in specific advocacy processes to influence service delivery. As an example, 10 years after the living condition study was conducted in Malawi in 2004, a woman now tells her story of how this initiative changed her life. Martha Hiwa (48), mother of five, says her life changed after she was part of the living conditions study in 2004. At the age of five, Martha had a chronic malaria infection, which led to physical disability and she dropped out of school at the age of 12 as she had no support to get transport to the school 10 kilometers away from her home. Through the living conditions study, Martha became aware of her rights and opportunities, and she participated in several initiatives in relation to the project. This represented a change in Marthas life. She received some funds to start her own small business and she has now developed into a business woman, and made enough money to build a house. She has now developed into a business woman, and made enough money to build a house. This is just one story illustrating how efforts of awareness raising and increased knowledge about human rights can change a person’s life, and how empowerment of women will affect a whole family.

Photo: Ove Helset, FFO/The Atlas Alliance

Another common challenge is the lack of inclusion and participation of women with disabilities. Very often, lack of awareness, limited incentives or facilities, gender-based discrimination and reluctance of senior leaders to provide opportunities to younger persons are elements hindering women and girls with disabilities to actively participate. A member og The Atlas Alliance, the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP), together with their partner Asian Union of the Blind, has identified lack of inclusion and participation as a significant barrier. The organizations initiated a women empowerment project aimed at increasing the active participation of women with disabilities in organizations. This is an ongoing project, but already it shows positive results: Women with disabilities have received training, several women are involved in managing projects and steps have been taken to increase women’s position in decision making bodies.

Key Learnings Working towards realizing human rights for all, we recognize that lack of commitment from governments, lack of knowledge about rights and about the situation for women with disabilities remain the main challenges for gender equality in

general and for including and strengthening the position of women and girls with disabilities in particular. Our experience tells us that there is a need for a twin-track approach in our work regarding gender equality, and the Atlas Alliance support specific and targeted initiatives for women and girls with disabilities as well as gender mainstreaming initiatives. Increased focus on this issue has initiated change and increased efforts of achieving gender equality, and we see that several local partners have developed their own gender policies to strengthen the gender aspect within their work.

Way forward The Atlas Alliance Gender Equality Policy is an acknowledgement of the gendered challenges for disabled people in the societies in which the alliance work. Looking forward, this equality policy remains important in promoting the systematic incorporation of a gender perspective in all the interventions supported by the Atlas Alliance. The Atlas Alliance will continue its focus on specific initiatives for women and girls with disabilities as well as stressing the necessity to ensure that no woman, man, boy or girl, is subject to discrimination in the interventions supported by the Atlas Alliance.

The Atlas Alliance


A Holistic Approach to Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality management skills and marketing of products. In the period 2009 to 2013, this led to the creation of 622 micro-businesses, run by 3,152 women.

CARE promotes gender equality as an internationally recognised human right. Based on clear evidence, we also support the empowerment of women and girls as a key strategy for combating poverty and social injustice. This is defined in CARE International Gender Policy. CARE understands empowerment as the sum of total changes needed for a woman to realise her full human rights. We believe changes are needed along three dimensions: 1. Personal agency: A woman’s own aspirations and capabilities; 2. Relations: the power-relations through which she must negotiate; and 3. Structure: the environment that surrounds and conditions her choices. In order to deliver high quality impact on social injustice and poverty, our approach needs to transform gender roles, alter structures maintaining inequality and promote gender equitable relationships between men and women.

Gender Equality Initiatives In Mali, CARE Norway supports work towards women’s economic and social empowerment. The Village Savings and Loans Associations (MJT) constitute the core of the programme. The groups provide members with the opportunity to save money on a regular basis, access credit and put savings in a social fund that serves as insurance in case of emergencies. The groups are organised in networks in order to strengthen lending ability, increase political influence, etc. As of 2013, there were 1454 groups with 48,610 members in 200 networks. The programme in Mali also supports vocational training and developing women’s business



Another key goal for the programme in Mali is to increase women’s meaningful participation in decision making. The programme trains and informs women on voting, the electoral process, facilitates joint advocacy actions by women networks and work with other relevant groups, such as religious leaders and the media, to increase support for women’s participation. Experience from CARE’s work show that in order to achieve lasting empowerment of women, it is important to address men’s role in changing socio-cultural norms and practices that constitutes barriers to women’s empowerment. Therefore, the programme works with male partners as well as community and religious leaders to challenge damaging norms and practices, through dialogue sessions, working with role models and promoting positive change. In Myanmar, CARE Norway focuses in particular on supporting programmes to prevent gender-based violence, through a rights based approach that addresses its root causes. Socially marginalized populations are particularly vulnerable to these types of violence. The CARE Norway-supported project in Myanmar responds to the unprecedented rates of rural to urban migration, which has created a particularly vulnerable group of rural female migrants who are forced to enter the sex industry. They lack the technical skills to access alternative forms of employment and are especially vulnerable due to the deep rooted and wide ranging stigma, overt discrimination, lack of legal status and punitive legal and policy frameworks, poor living conditions, weak resilience to shocks and barriers to accessing quality services. The programme in Myanmar adopts a holistic approach in that we partner with and strengthen local NGOs such as the Sex Workers in Myanmar

Photo: Nils Mørk/CARE

Niger: These two men learnt from their wives how to establish and run a savings and loans group. This gave them the opportunity of starting their own tailor shop and buy electrical sewing machines. – It is no problem being taught by women, they say. Network (SWIM) to provide necessary services and activities to raise rights awareness. We support community dialogues, including with male partners and police officers, to promote changes in social norms. We strengthen community governance and accountability mechanisms to ensure more accountable relationships, and we help build relationships with national level advocacy organizations, such as the Gender Equality Network (GEN).

Key Learnings In order to achieve lasting change, it is important to design transformative programmes that seek to build equitable social norms, institutions and structures – in addition to seeking gender-equitable behaviour at the individual and household level. CARE Norway achieves this through strategies to understand, challenge and change inequitable power structures and institutions perpetuating gender inequality and to ensure women’s meaningful participation in every aspect of decision making processes.

One important strategy for building equitable social norms is engaging boys and men. It is crucial to recognise that men are also constrained and controlled by the dominant gender norms andvv to provide attractive opportunities for men to explore alternative behaviours. Instead of viewing men and women as oppositional groups, with power transferred from one to the other, CARE’s approach aims to create new structures and change attitudes that foster mutually supportive relationships. These approaches focus on the positive role that men and boys can play, and support men in creating alternative, positive masculine identities supportive of gender equality and women’s rights.

Way Forward Women are particularly vulnerable in emergency situations. In order to empower women and protect them from violence and discrimination, we work to strengthen the integration of long term and humanitarian response, through capitalising on long-standing presence, trust and experience.



Local solutions to global challenges: Dignity and equal opportunities for all

As a member of one of the world’s largest humanitarian and development networks, Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Norway feels a particular responsibility to promote gender equality within the network and among its member organizations. Dignity of the human person, economic justice, and the preferential option for the poor are three important pillars of the Catholic Social Teachings that guide the work of Caritas’ 165 member organizations. Human dignity, independent of ethnicity, creed, gender, sexuality, age or ability is at the foundation of the teachings. Therefore, as women and girls continue to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the world’s poverty, Caritas Norway believes that their situation and concerns need special attention. Caritas focuses on ending poverty, promoting justice and restoring dignity. We believe that progress towards equity between men and women is fundamental to realizing human rights for all, to creating and sustaining peaceful societies, and building socially inclusive and sustainable development. To this end, Caritas Norway has emphasized empowering women as agents of change in their societies, giving priority to issues of education, food security and promoting their important role and participation in employment and economic growth.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative Caritas Norway has over many years worked successfully with international partners to develop policy frameworks to inform the development of programmes, and has contributed to specific results at the grass roots level.


Caritas Norway

In Latin America, Caritas Norway took the initiative to developing a gender equality manual, which was published in Spanish, Creole and English by SELACC – the regional group of Caritas organizations. The foundation of the work was a common understanding among the member organizations that traditional gender roles were an obstacle to sustainable development. National teams consisting of bishops, priests and directors were trained on issues of gender equality, thus ensuring local ownership in the national organizations and at the regional Bishops’ Conference. These teams later replicated the trainings at the local level. Gender equality was identified as a particular focus area for the 2011-2015 programme period, not only contributing to an increased focus within the programmes and projects, but also to more women holding key positions within the Caritas organizations. In 2013 and 2014 with the support from Caritas Norway, Caritas Uganda realized a significant undertaking by preparing a handbook to ensure equal opportunities among men and women. The handbook provides guidance to everyone implementing Caritas Uganda programmes and projects at all levels; from the design and formulation to monitoring and evaluation phases. In a relatively conservative country, it was seen as a great achievement to have the handbook endorsed by the Archbishop of Kampala and the Bishops’ Conference. In Zambia, traditional gender roles and women’s disproportionate illiteracy were acknowledged as key obstacles for women’s participation and gender equality. This challenge was partly addressed through adult literacy courses, and Caritas developed teaching materials for reading and writing, which are being used by Zambian education authorities throughout the country. Another specific result from working at the grass roots level in Zambia was that the proportion of women in leading positions increased from 8 % to 43 % from 2008 to 2012. Women and men participating in awareness-raising projects and seminars reported experiencing

changes in gender roles after their participation. For example, in the diocese of Kasama, 126 out of 156 households reported that they had started sharing decisions and housework more evenly.

Key Learnings Some of the lessons learned by Caritas Norway relate to our specific nature as a faith-based organization, and the variety of contexts in which we work around the globe. Exercising flexibility to adjust to the national and local contexts, situations and needs, is pivotal to mobilize the necessary support, local ownership and to achieve the desired results. The proportion of women in leading positions increased from 8 % to 43 % from 2008 to 2012.

Photo: Aina Ă˜streng, Caritas Norway

Several lessons leart have relevance and applicability in other contexts and programmes, and a few can be mentioned here. Firstly, accountability for gender equality and mainstreaming must be clearly defined and anchored with key stakeholders, both men and women, at all levels of the organization. Secondly, in order to successfully translate the concept into practice, political will within the organization’s management is required for allocating sufficient human and financial resources. It is also important to involve church leaders at various levels throughout

the process, they can provide insight on the theological foundation for promoting human dignity and equal opportunities. Thirdly, as a crosscutting issue, gender mainstreaming must be institutionalized through concrete steps, mechanisms and processes in all structures, processes and programmes of the institution, and be monitored regularly. Lastly, the organization must commit to gender equality not only in its programmes and projects, but also ensure that this is practiced within the proper organization. In some cases, targeted policies and positive legislation may be necessary in order to reverse particularly unequal conditions.

Way Forward Caritas Norway continues to promote the issue of gender equality or equal opportunities for women and men in its projects and programmes. In 2015, the organization will further emphasize the issue by refining its strategy and vision for gender equality. Caritas Norway will continue to put the issue on the agenda nationally and internationally, and contribute to increased discussion and awareness among partner organizations, thus ensuring that the particular concerns of women and men, boys and girls are adequately mapped and addressed throughout Caritas’ programmes and projects.

Uganda: A young woman participates in a discussion on land rights in the Amuru district in Gulu diocese. Caritas Norway


Gender and Faith Based Organizations “If there is commitment nothing is impossible!”

as community based, and two as organisational development.

Key Learnings Digni is a Norwegian umbrella organisation for development co-operation. Digni has 19 mission and Faith-Based member Organizations (FBOs) who work in partnership with mostly churches and FBOs in the Global South. Digni has promoted gender equality and empowerment through mainstreaming initiatives, gender policies, inclusion of gender in capacity building on leadership and organisational development. In our approach to gender equality and empowerment Digni will always emphasize the need for dialogue, cultural and religious sensitivity awareness raising, using an appropriate “language”, and thinking long-term. When gender issue was opened up for discussion, many people, both men and women, turned out to be very engaged in the issue.

Digni Gender Mainstreaming Initiative – The WEGE Programme To promote empowerment of women and gender equality, Digni established a gender programme in 2007. Projects and organizations from Ecuador, Bolivia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Norway joined hands in the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) programme. Each participating partner established their own local project activities and carried them out for three years. Annual meetings and seminars were arranged, where all participants met, developed competence, shared experiences, and learned from each other. The six projects taking part in the WEGE programme were all quite different, but can be categorized into two groups based on where most of their activities were undertaken. Four projects are categorized



What we learned about Gender Mainstreaming in projects and organisations: 1. Make gender a priority Set aside time and resources to create “space”. “When gender issue was opened up for discussion, many people, both men and women, turned out to be very engaged in the issue” (participant) 2. Involve and commit leaders At community and organisational level. Spend time on awareness building. Without their support it is very difficult for change to happen. This may take time when working with religious leaders and organisations. 3. Involve men and women Even though many project activities focused on empowering women, men were also included in the project in activities and were sensitised on gender equality. This is key for sustainability of results and co-operation. 4. Never work alone Create a team! 5. Understand the context Carry out a gender analysis. “To empower without analysing gender relations is to sustain injustice and inequality” (participant- Bolivia) Identify the right entry point. Choose the right methodology.

Photo: Sigbjørn Kiserud, Digni

6. Take the role of religion and culture seriously All participants were church or faith-based organisations. Religion and culture is fundamental to how people live their lives. It is decisive for attitudes, the assignment of gender roles, power relations, norms and value systems, so it needs to be taken seriously. A multiple set of approaches were used, for instance using Bible stories and drama to start a discussion on women’s rights. 7. Use a “bottom-up” approach Awareness raising on gender equality and empowerment at the project level will lead to changes and push for change at the organisational level. Expect this and be prepared for addressing gender issues also at organisational level. In some way, it seems that the activities at project level had “legitimized” discussing gender equality issues at the organisational level. Meeting practical needs at community level became a good entry point for addressing strategic needs and lift up the work for women’s empowerment and gender equality to the organizational level.

8. Be flexible and allow room for experimenting Trial and error is part of the process. If it does not work, try a different approach. 9. Spend enough time on awareness raising and competence building This point can not be stressed enough. It takes time. It takes a lot of dialog and awareness raising. You need to use participatory approaches and have a long term perspective. 10. “No pressure – but a light push” Gender mainstreaming as a long-term continual process. 11. Planning for change makes change possible. Follow up and have a long term commitmentcontinue making gender a priority!

Way forward Digni will be focusing on strengthening the link between gender and rights, promoting rights based approaches using cultural and religious sensitive language and strategies. Creating awareness in organisations, promoting and empowering women for leadership will continue.



Women together change the world

FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development – is a knowledge and resource center for international women’s issues with an emphasis on advocacy, the spreading of information and women-centered development cooperation. FOKUS’ primary goal is to contribute to the improvement of women’s social, economic, and political situation internationally. As of April 2014, the organization consists of 66 women’s organizations and women’s committees in political parties, trade unions, and solidarity and aid organizations. FOKUS bases its work on the knowledge, experience and methods of women’s organizations in Norway. This forms the basis of partnerships with women’s organizations in the global south where the goal is to realize women´s rights and improve their living conditions. This is our contribution to development.

Women’s Empowerment Initiative FOKUS’ program on women, peace and security in Colombia and Sri Lanka aims to increase the participation of women as political actors in peace building within the framework of UNSCR 1325


FOKUS - Forum for Women and Development

and subsequent resolutions. The program also endeavours to ensure that women´s peace and security issues will be addressed within a broad transitional justice framework. In Sri Lanka, the programme takes into account women´s vulnerable situation in the post war context and will encourage and create awareness among women of the means of accessing justice so that they are able to access remedies in an informed manner. In Colombia, the programme seeks to increase collaboration among different women´s organizations and networks, following up the peace negotiations and strengthen the impact of women´s proposals in the peace process. The Colombian programme also promotes legal actions to claim the rights of victims of dispossession of land and sexual violence with the aim to create a benchmark for redress in transitional justice processes. FOKUS cannot force organisations to cooperate, only provide opportunities and create arenas for exchange and policy development.

The knowledge about UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security is weak among grassroots women’s organisations as well as many women´s organisations at the national level in the two countries. Activities aiming at increasing women´s knowledge about the content and significance of the resolutions, and how to hold their governments accountable, is therefore a key element of the program. Another part of the empowerment effort is to pave the way for increased cooperation between women´s organisations. FOKUS cannot force organisations to cooperate, only provide opportunities and create arenas for exchange and policy development. This we do because we believe that the mobilisation of women and their organisations in joint efforts to demand participation will have an impact.

Illustration: Manuela del Mar Villegas

promote participation of women´s organisations in the negotiations has shown results in terms of direct interactions of women’s organisations with the parties, and in terms of women´s demands being included in preliminary agreements made by the parties. The women’s movement is strong but divided, and this last part has been a challenge. The presence of FOKUS in the country, with a continuous effort to build alliances and propose joint efforts while showing respect for organisations’ differences of opinion and approaches has been key.

Key Learnings The UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security combined are extensive. In addition to focusing on the importance of women´s participation in peace processes and protection from gender based sexual violence as a weapon of war, they also cover women’s right to participation in reconstruction processes, and their livelihoods in post conflict societies, like Sri Lanka. This paves the way for framing women’s demands for justice, basic living conditions and economic participation within the framework of the UNSC resolutions, forming a broader understanding and deeper commitment to the agenda on the part of women and their organisations.

Way forward FOKUS has reached important results within capacity building, creating alliances and promoting joint efforts by the women´s movements in the two countries. Building on the experiences mentioned above, FOKUS will continue these efforts with increased focus on advocacy for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions in the two countries.

Photo: Carolina Maira Johansen/FOKUS

In Colombia, the effort of FOKUS and partners to

The presence of FOKUS in the country, with a continuous effort to build alliances and propose joint efforts while showing respect for organisations’ differences of opinion and approaches has been key.

FOKUS - Forum for Women and Development


Applying gender analysis is simply about good programming

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) works with women, men, faith based and other organisations around the world in their struggle to eradicate poverty and injustice. In humanitarian response, we provide Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). NCA is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global humanitarian alliance of church based organisations. Women count for two third of people living in poverty. Gender discrimination is a barrier for girls and women to obtain their rights, in the family and in the community. Traditional practices and religious prescriptions contribute to upholding violations of their rights. By working with women and men in communities to empower women and promote positive masculinities, attitudes and practices are changed. NCA is committed to gender equality in our policy and standards of commitments. This includes the use of gender mainstreaming methods and tools. NCA has adopted the ACT Alliance Gender Equality Policy Principles (2010) based on gender mainstreaming in programmes, gender balance in staffing, using gender analysis, build capacity, adhere to Code of conducts, including zero tolerance to sexual exploitation and abuse. NCA has adapted a right based approach to programming by strengthen rights holder`s ability to claim their rights and advocating towards duty bearers to meet these claims. A specific training tool, The Gender Inclusive Right Based Approach Curriculum, gives practical guidance. NCA and partners seek to include a gender perspective by applying gender analysis or assessment in projects and programmes in planning, monitoring, reviews and evaluations. Five NCA country programs have over the last


Norwegian Church Aid

years done Gender Audit reviews of their programs to inform new plans and programmes. Making use of sex disaggregated data is compulsory in NCA reporting. In a WASH project, women and men might have different priorities regarding toilets and washing facilities which will inform the project design. Separate toilets, lightening, energy saving stoves are all measures provided. Women should be equally represented in water committees. Gender mainstreaming also means targeted projects to increase women`s empowerment and leadership.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative NCA Guatemala is an example of application of gender mainstreaming with a focus on indigenous women in a country program which includes gender analysis, staff and partner capacity building, and sex disaggregated data. Partner organisations developed their own gender policies, provided resources and budget, and partners cooperated for capacity building. Innovative methods were used in a climate adaption project to challenge negative gender norms, machismo and male dominance. New female and male role models appeared in project areas. Indigenous women improved their position through increased participation and leadership. As a result, two examples: An energy saving stove project saw change in gender roles by involving men in household cooking. In another project on emergency preparedness, women felt left out of the established emergency preparedness structure for earthquakes, landslides and floodings. Women established their own rescue committees, trained in first aid and rescue, organised in groups, did regularly rehearsals, obtained certification and became part of the provincial emergency response teams. Two issues were tracked specifically: 1) Participation of indigenous women at all levels of design and decision making, and 2) Protection against gender based violence of indigenous women was part of every initiative. This approach required systematic work over time,

use of new tools, resources, capacity and increased cooperation among partners.

• Managers are accountable to resources, budgets, staff and time

NCA Pakistan implemented a gender mainstreaming project in their Emergency Preparedness and Response program/WASH program, which led to improved quality and more effective responses. The initiative started with a gender baseline on knowledge and commitment to gender mainstreaming by staff, involving field staff. A majority of implementing partners were not aware of gender tools and standards to apply, but felt that their organisations could do more. Management was very committed to gender mainstreaming and employed a new special adviser. Training was provided in the IASC Gender Handbook, a checklist on WASH developed and applied in project planning. Promoting an inclusive and women friendly work environment and recruiting more female staff became a priority. Workshops on sexual harassment, codes of conducts and complaint mechanisms were undertaken. All in all, these efforts made the operational plan for emergency response gender sensitive and responding to the specific needs of women.

• Engaging both women and men in gender assessments and their knowledge and understanding of the context

Key Learnings

• Apply sensitive methods to cultural and religious contexts • Be innovative and seek to break gender stereotypes and avoid stigma • Employ gender advisory staff • Continuously develop and revise tools and standards to fit the context • Providing sex and age disaggregated data is crucial.

Way forward NCA will continue with gender mainstreaming methods and integrate these into right based approaches. We promote sharing of experiences and lessons learned within the organisation and with local partner organisations to make better results – for women and men equally.

Photo: Juan Jose Rabanales/Norwegian Church Aid, Guatemala

• Promoting gender equality must be a policy commitment of the organisation and partner organisation


Norwegian Church Aid


Organised women asserting power

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) works for a just distribution of power and resources between men and women, just as we promote equal distribution globally and within countries. NPA favours that women and men can organise to defend their interests, inform public opinion and influence power holders. In this way, we serve as an ally to partners that advocate and mobilise to promote gender equality and women’s rights, based on their own agendas and challenges in each context where they operate. In our partnerships, NPA sustains dialogue with partners to actively stimulate gender equality policies and practices within the organisation and in its activities. We emphasise that there is no “one size fits all” solution and adapt our support to the needs of the organisations. Organising is a strategy to assert power and it serves as a school in participation and policy development. Women can also reinforce their role through the support NPA offers to partners’ training initiatives, networking, as well as by offering training in the Women Can Do It (WCDI) methodology.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative NPA’s programmes address the strengthening of women’s participation in organisations and in politics and this can be illustrated by the ongoing processes in Myanmar, Bolivia and Colombia. Presently Myanmar has very few women represented in the national parliament (6%). A dozen women are now in discussions with their parties and three have decided to run for office as a result of Women Can Do It training. This training involved 36 women, who are potential candidates for the scheduled elections in 2015, the majority coming from the ethnic minority parties. This is work in progress. Women Can Do It is a capacity building and advocacy project aimed at increasing women’s ability and opportunity to be


Norwegian People’s Aid

influential in private and public life and to take up decision making on terms equal to those of men. It is developed with support from the women network of the Norwegian Labour Party and NPA. For the women who eventually run, WCDI will follow up with additional support and coaching through 2015, as the programme has done in more than 20 countries worldwide. In Bolivia, on the other hand, women have achieved increased representation. In the latest elections, in November 2014, the women organisations mobilized for the implementation of the law that establish that every second candidate should be a women (50%) and for a safer political environment (Law against violence against women). The national indigenous women farmers’ organisation “Bartolina Sisa” has played an important role in this. Since these women established the organization in 1983, many have developed their leadership and organising skills in communities, municipalities, provinces and departments all over the country. NPA has worked with Bartolina Sisa since 2005 and supported their efforts to train, organise and influence. Many have little formal education and the training in history and economics, laws and regulations, how the political system works and on how to participate has been crucial along with the practice in the work of the organisation. Evo Morales won the presidential elections in 2014 with 61%. Of the 80 women elected into parliament, 40 were from Bartolina Sisa. In Myanmar, partner and WCDI training on civic rights, conflict management, general community management skills as well as boosting of women’s self-confidence has proven important to get more women involved as leaders and decision makers in organisations and communities. Here, there has been an emphasis on strengthening the many local Civil Society Organizations in conflict ridden areas. In Colombia, NPA has given emphasis to the strengthening of the national indigenous peoples organization (ONIC), founded in 1982, representing 44 indigenous organisations, about 800 000 people,

experience is present among all, it can be shared but not imposed. This approach has avoided creating parallel processes and made it possible to build on the women’s’ experience, as well as for them to put learning into practice in the organisations where they participate. At the same time, women have filled their participation with content with regards to the broad processes on democracy, peace and

leaders. Since 2007, the school has trained 4265 people and 40% are women. This has strengthened the role of women within ONIC, and it was further advanced by the establishment of the National Women’s Council in 2010. In 2007 the first woman was elected as one of the 10 members of the national council of ONIC, as of 2012 two of them are women. Also, women from ONIC represent the organization internationally and were active in drafting the joint declaration of the second Latin American Indigenous Women Summit of the Aba Yala in 2013.

redistribution as well as to the specific agendas of indigenous women or violence against women. To work with women within mixed organisations, as well as women’s organisations, is both challenging and necessary.

Photo: Norwegian People’s Aid

from various indigenous people all over the country. Approximately half of the members are women, but women have not been equally represented in the leadership. NPA has supported the National Indigenous Training School (EFIN) within ONIC that has been said to be the “seedbed” for leaders. EFIN is a mobile political training programme, moving from one community to the other to train members and

Key Learnings Each process has specific learning points. Seen from the perspective of NPAs international work, a crucial learning is the need to adapt the support for a stronger participation of women to the national and/or organisational processes engaging women and men in each country. Another is to be clear that we can play the role of facilitator and of accompaniment, not that of an expert. Expertise and

Way forward The present strategy states that NPA will work for a society where gender does not determine your social welfare or your influence. NPA supports women to confront traditional roles and to participate in organisations and in the public sphere. NPA will integrate a gender perspective in cooperation with partners, the political advocacy work and in the response to crises. This approach will be upheld and strengthened and the main challenge is to secure that this is done in a systematic manner, as well as to further develop the approach to dialogue with partners on women’s role in internal decision making processes in the organisations and in the public sphere.

Norwegian People’s Aid


Local volunteers, local knowledge, local resources included, informed and assisted. NorCross therefore strives to include more girls and women where this is needed. Norwegian Red Cross (NorCross) supports more than thirty Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) National Societies across the world with the goal to strengthen the resilience of local communities. By working with local volunteers, the National Societies become long term and trusted partners. NorCross’ support is focused on health, disaster risk reduction, violence prevention and organisational development of the National Societies. In addition to providing advice and inputs on gender and diversity mainstreaming to specific projects and programmes, NorCross also supports the National Societies to improve the way they work with gender and diversity. The RCRC Movement’s approach to gender equality is to incorporate gender and diversity issues in all programmes, services and tools, and at all levels, to reach the most vulnerable groups and individuals.

Photo: Olivier Matthy, Red Cross

In many of the countries NorCross supports, girls and women are discriminated against and excluded from crucial areas of life because of the limits set by gender roles. Resilience cannot be achieved if only the male part of the communities is consulted,


Norwegian Red Cross

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative NorCross works with other National Societies in the RCRC Movement both in emergency settings and through long term programmes. Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has been supported since the flooding in 2010. Through consistent partnership and support, especially in the Sindh province in the South, the ability of PRCS to respond effectively to the regular floods has been considerably strengthened. The aid now reaches the affected communities faster with food, humanitarian items, health services and psychosocial support. In many of the disaster affected rural areas traditional attitudes make it difficult for women to receive and access the information and assistance they need. Women are not allowed to leave the homes without a male family member, which among other things impedes their ability to access necessary health treatment. Women are responsible for fetching water, cooking and cleaning, and are therefore more exposed to water borne diseases like

In the Jacobabad district at the border between the Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, PRCS has worked consistently to increase the awareness of women’s rights and the need to include protection issues in humanitarian aid. Two of five staff at the branch office are now women, and they have recruited and retained female volunteers who comprise fifteen percent of the total number. The female volunteers are able to reach out to women in the communities and address sensitive topics such as women’s health, family planning and forced/child marriages. There are also six permanent female members in the local disaster management team to ensure that evacuation plans are adapted to women and children. The recruitment of female volunteers has had a positive effect in the local communities by increasing women’s visibility and showing that they can participate and contribute actively. In order to be a volunteer, several of the women needed to break down cultural and social barriers, also within their own families. However, the female staff and volunteers say that when the families see that they participate and are respected by others through their work in PRCS, earlier attitudes change. Several of the women have as a result been allowed to start attending school. The women become important pioneers for others and contribute to social change. More women now attend first aid courses, and for some of them it is the first time they participate in activities outside of the home without the supervision of male family members. The women say they feel safe and are respected in their communities when carrying the emblem of PRCS.

Key Learnings As exemplified by PRCS, the strength of the RCRC National Societies is how they work in local communities through volunteers. This ensures that the organisations are looked at as long term and trusted partner. Activities are further founded on local knowledge. This makes it possible to raise

sensitive topics in non-threatening ways, by focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable, and by adapting how to talk about women’s participation according to local customs. It is not possible for NorCross to integrate women in activities without the commitment and collaboration of the National Societies. Understanding and support therefore needs to come from the (male) leaders, managers, staff and volunteers in our partner organisations. Based on their role and familiarity with the context they work in, they know best how to include women in activities, and they are the ones positioned to implement plans.

Way forward NorCross will continue to collaborate with National Societies to including gender and diversity issues in all operations, projects and activities. It is however important that good examples and success stories don’t depend on personal preferences and knowledge. Too often integration of gender and diversity takes the back seat compared to other priorities. The need to integrate gender and diversity must be clearly communicated by leaders and managers, and systematically included in routines and processes. NorCross has therefore started collaborations with some National Societies to draft and adopt appropriate organisational policies on gender and diversity. Further, concrete plans of actions with time-lines and responsibilities will be established to follow up on the policies. Lastly, practical tools and manuals will be translated and adapted, and trainings undertaken, to ensure that staff and volunteers have necessary knowledge depending on their specific responsibilities and work tasks. The hope is that this initiative will lead to sustainable and long lasting understanding on how to work on gender and diversity which ultimately will benefit the most vulnerable groups and individuals.

Photo: Olivier Matthy, Red Cross

diarrhoea and cholera than men. As a result, children are also affected, since mothers are responsible for the children’s health and care. To reduce women’s vulnerability it is important to include them and use their capacities at all levels to prevent and respond to emergencies. Through its assistance to PRCS, NorCross has focused on including female staff and volunteers in the organisation to reach women with assistance and information.

Norwegian Red Cross


Gender equality in humanitarian action

Mainstreaming gender and promoting equality is a concerted and long-term effort for Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), with humanitarian field operations in around 25 countries affected by conflict and displacement. 5000 staff provide humanitarian assistance in six core competencies: shelter; education; food security; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA); and camp management , NRC is committed to integrating a gender, age, and diversity perspective into all this work. This entails recognising and addressing the specific roles, needs, risks, vulnerabilities, capacities, and opportunities that women, men, girls, and boys face in displacement and crisis situations. Displaced women and girls are often exposed to greater risk. Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most widespread but least recognised human rights abuses in the


Norwegian Refugee Council

world, and is at the heart of women’s and girls’ marginalisation. Survivors face long-term physical and social problems. Recognising the need to address GBV at all stages of conflict and displacement, NRC is developing its capacity on GBV prevention and response programming. As gender equality cannot be achieved without addressing violence and abuse that marginalises women and girls, NRC takes a multi-pronged approach in gender work. Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread but least recognised human rights abuses in the world.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiatives Gender Mainstreaming To strengthen gender mainstreaming and mitigate risks of GBV in field operations, NRC has developed a methodology and tool to conduct gender assessments of field programme design and implementation. Gender assessments were conducted in education programmes in Colombia and

Myanmar in early 2015, with further assessments upcoming. Findings and recommendations will inform learning and quality improvement, and advocacy on gender in humanitarian response. At field level, there are ongoing initiatives to address gender and GBV, for example in shelter allocation, or by engaging female social workers in household assessments and community outreach. To strengthen accountability for gender mainstreaming, NRC continues to integrate gender into systems and tools such as project cycle management, assessments, programme applications and monitoring and evaluation. NRC also seeks to enhance staff capacity, gender is addressed in staff induction trainings, and sessions on gender markers, which assess gender inclusion in humanitarian projects, are facilitated with the inter-agency GenCap project, where NRC is the roster manager. Gender-Based Violence (GBV) For a three year pilot period (2013-2015), NRC focuses on establishing and integrating innovative GBV prevention and response strategies and programmes into its humanitarian fieldwork. Taking a holistic approach to violence against women, all programmes focus on ensuring that survivors have access to medical, psychosocial, legal, economic and social support resources needed to recover, while whole communities are educated and engaged in the fight against GBV, an investment that will work towards breaking the cycle of violence that is so common in displaced communities. For example, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), the GBV project provides case management and referral services to over a hundred Syrian refugee women who had reported or were assessed as at risk of violence, and community outreach and social programmes for more than seven thousand Syrian women, men, and youth across four refugee camps. Partners working in GBV may have divergent views of definitions, principles and programming models. To avoid misunderstandings, compromised coordination efforts, and - more critically - unsafe or unethical programming, NRC in Gaza in partnership with UNICEF has developed a programme to strengthen coordination efforts and mechanisms ensuring minimum standards are met by all actors.

Women’s Rights to Housing, Land and Property NRC conducts field research and national and international advocacy to increase displaced women’s access to housing, land and property (HLP) rights. This initiative focuses specifically on conflict and post-conflict countries or regions, as this increases women’s vulnerability and ability to claim their HLP rights. Evidence is drawn from country research and NRC’s extensive operational experience as a provider of information, counselling and legal assistance in 20 countries afflicted by conflict and post-conflict for over 15 years. Well-researched legal, policy and practice recommendations are provided for the humanitarian community, donors, and governments and civil society in countries covered by research.

Key Learnings • Gender mainstreaming is key to the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian action. Gender should be considered in assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring of programmes, to ensure equal participation in, access to and benefit from assistance and resources for women, men, girls and boys. Moreover, humanitarian action can have a transformational impact by promoting gender equality and supporting social change. • Humanitarian actors should analyse the effects of crises interventions on gender dynamics, roles, risks, and inequalities, and adapt programmes accordingly, in line with an obligation to provide rights-based assistance and to promote non-discrimination. • Human and financial resources, and technical capacity and support, is needed to ensure gender mainstreaming; this should be a long term commitment for humanitarian donors and agencies.

Way forward Supported by Norad, NRC continues to strengthen gender mainstreaming, including efforts to ensure safe programming and mitigate risks of GBV, and develop GBV prevention and response programming. By the end of 2015, GBV pilot projects are expected to be implemented in country programmes in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Norwegian Refugee Council


The Global Girls Innovation Programme Gender Mainstreaming Initiatives In 2012 Plan launched what is known as The Global Girls Innovation Programme (GGIP). The GGIP supports the enhancement of Plan’s technical capacity on girls rights programming and promotes learning across Plan’s offices and staff. The GGIP comprises of distinct flagship initiatives. These flagship initiatives: 1. Child Marriage and Girls Schooling Plan believes that gender equality is central to achieving our vision for change: a world in which all children, both girls and boys, realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity. Gender inequity varies in its expression from place to place, but in all communities where Plan works, we encounter some form of gender-based discrimination, gender stereotyping and an unequal distribution of power between women and men, girls and boys. This injustice especially affects the lives of girls and women from infancy to adulthood. It contributes to high infant and childhood mortality, to low educational achievement, and to failures to protect children from harm. It also affects the economic survival of families and the participation of children and young people in family and community decisions. Many violations of children’s rights have their roots in gender-based inequality, exclusion and injustice. Injustice especially affects the lives of girls and women from infancy to adulthood. Achieving gender equality is therefore a core objective of Plan’s work as an organisation dedicated to child rights. Plan’s commitment to gender equality is based on the international standards established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


Plan Norway

2. Safe Schools for Adolescent Girls 3. Adolescent Boys: Champions of Change on Gender Equality and Girls’ Rights 4. Safe and Inclusive Cities for Adolescent Girls 5. Adolescent Girls: Active Citizens and Leadership 6. Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls Eacg flagship initiative addresses at least one of the unique barriers faced by girls and support girls to acquire critical assets and skills which girls need to safeguard their future as they go through the transition from their early years, through adolescence and into young womanhood. GGIP addresses both the intersecting barriers and multiple assets in our approach to facilitating girls’ holistic empowerment and rights. Each initiative within the GGIP is part of a research-driven programme. In other words, the GGIP programme is based upon, and generates, research-based evidence on the effectiveness of working on girls’ rights and demonstrates successful models that hold potential for replication and scale-up. All of the flagship initiatives are designed to run across multiple countries. All the GGIP flagship initiatives will adapt the following key elements: • Innovation

Photo: Plan/Nyani Quarmyne

• Putting girls at the centre • Focus on sustainable girls empowerment • Following Child Centre Community Development (CCCD) Operational Standards • Gender transformative programming and working in the three dimensions of change • Gender evidence based programming and strong Monitoring, Evaluation and Research • Geo-targeting • Model development • Strong partnerships with think tanks and academic institutions • Strong advocacy, communication and

Key Learnings In bringing together girls and boys, there is sensitization at an earliest stage. This has in some instances created empathy of the “under dog” for positive collective advocacy, e.g. where boys also advocate for girls’ right to education for example, using the platform of Children’s parliament for instance.

The strong programme impact shown across the Plan global network in 2014 has demonstrated the importance of using research and evidence to enact transformative change. It has also demonstrated the impact of programme models that can be implemented across countries and regions. We must continue to develop an evidence base as well as effective tools and programme strategies that can be scaled up. We must continue to learn from each other’s successes and failures in order to improve the way we design our programmes. Cross-learning between countries and regions, and between country offices and national offices, must be encouraged. Learning platforms, such as the Because I am a Girl Programme Source and technical networks, should be expanded to foster the exchange of lessons learned and best practices.

Way forward As a rights-based organization Plan is committed to work on issues contributing to the violation of child rights. Gender-based discrimination is a major obstacle in the realization of children’s rights and will continue to be a priority for Plan, in our programme work, in our advocacy work, and in our internal procedures.

Plan Norway


Norges Vel’s international strategy tackles some of the most challenging issues of modern times, namely climate change, shortfall of energy, poverty and the need for increased food production. Our work with business development and profitability for small-hold farmers and entrepreneurs - women and men, is placed centrally in our strategy to meet these challenges. We focus on qualities such as creativity, technical expertise and innovation. We work in the intersection between business- and rights-based promotion of gender equality, focussing on a combination of gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment with pro-poor development in relevant value chains – through small/medium scale business development, organisational development and related technical and other trainings to achieve this.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative In all our interventions we seek to address gender imbalances, by encouraging equal involvement of men and women in often informal small scale business operations and organisations, formalising also women’s ownership and steering in any parts of the value chain development - from production and decision-making to holding of leading positions. Women’s empowerment in aquaculture, Madagascar: In coastal areas of Madagascar, women traditionally work in intertidal zones collecting, processing and selling sea cucumbers. Women’s participation was however low in local associations and in the value chain in 2010. Women’s participation was also low in the strengthening of inland tilapia farming, with requirements of formal land access and/or ownership, financial investments


The Royal Norwegian Society for Development

Photo: Cooperative Union Tilapia de l’Est, Madagaskar

Local Business Development Empowers women and men

and entrepreneurship/business development not satisfied. Work and results achiements: Women have been especially targeted for sea cucumber, seaweed and fish (tilapia) farming. They now represent 50% of sea cucumber and seaweed producers, dryers and marketers. Women’s participation is still promoted in formal associations and local businesses for sea cucumber, seaweed and tilapia - through training in financial management, entrepreneurship, saving and credit, business planning and value chain development. 70% women have been trained the last years, and been given support to ensure full participation in ownership of production resources, access to input, production, processing and sales, organisational development, leadership and business management of emerging SMEs and organisations, promoting women’s empowerment. Both women and men have received initial financial support (credits) to start up environmentally friendly and climate resilient aquaculture production. Women have been given special support to acquire land and establish themselves as tilapia farmers, as they traditionally have stronger sociocultural barriers for land inheritance/ ownership. Overall, this has increased the number of women in sea cucumber, seaweed and tilapia farming as supported – and their entrepreneurship/ business development, profits and overall organisation for further growth and empowerment.

Gender mainstreaming in rice production, Tanzania: In rice producing areas in the central parts of Tanzania, women traditionally take part in production and harvesting and are left out of decision making and marketing. In the farmer associations few women were represented in leading position and women generally would rarely speak their opinions or raise their viewpoints at member meetings. Work and results achivements: Efforts were made to increase the overall gender awareness through gender trainings, gender assessments and through the establishment of gender working groups within each association. Additionally, Women Power Groups were established as a means to give women a separate forum to discuss issues of their interest, encourage each other and build confidence in using their voice. These women groups, as well as other, mixed groups, were then assisted to start their own Village Community Banks (VICOBAs). As a result of these interventions women and men throughout the project areas report on more unity in the family and equality in decision making at the household as well as the farm level. Through the Women Power Groups women have stepped up to leading positions and to using their voice at farmers’ associations’ member meetings. Through their VICOBAs women groups have saved several million shillings and have been able to send their kids to school and start small income generating activities such as chicken rearing, bike rentals, increased rice production and local tuck shops to mention a few. Men and women have participated in trainings on system for rice intensification which has led to increased rice productivity by up to 300 percent. Both men and women have been empowered by the gender interventions and report a more satisfactory cooperation and family dynamics as results of the gender trainings.

Key Learnings • Having special focus on support for women to start up entrepreneurial activities – management

competence, finance, land titles, etc. – has proved crucial to engage more women. • Competence strengthening of more women than men in production areas, entrepreneurship, management of finance/ business, savings/ credit access, processing, value chain development and organisation – has led to increased women’s local business development and steering of own income; and improved living conditions, resilience to climate changes and overall poverty reduction for both women and men targeted. • Mixed gender mainstreaming trainings to build awareness and a separate mechanism to reach only the women (eg. specific competence building and women’s associations) has proved very beneficial.

Way forward Gender mainstreaming is continued to be mainstreamed into Norges Vel’s revised international strategy, and a manual on gender mainstreaming of the project cycle management was made in 2013. Norges Vel continues to work to both implement this and aligning work to further learning from other Norwegian and international good practices. Norges Vel today carries out workshops with partners and target groups in our projects on gender mainstreaming, and uses local gender expertise in addition to our own material and competence. We continue targeting women’s participation at least at the same level, or more as/ than men – in order to achieve increased and improved women’s economic and social empowerment through nature based entrepreneurship, SMEs, organisations, and business/ value chain development. We have the ambitions to finalise a field manual/ step-by-step handbook which can serve as support for project responsibles, project partners and producers’ organisations. This has to be used in locally fully adapted manners, to continue promoting gender equality and equity for men and women in all targeted areas.

• If women had the same access to resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 %. This could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 %. (FAO 2010-11 – Women in Agriculture) • Case studies indicate that women have less access to resources than men – and their participation in formal structures throughout the value chain is low (FAO 2012 – The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture)

The Royal Norwegian Society for Development


TRANSFORMING INEQUALITIES, TRANSFORMING LIVES gender approaches require working with whole communities, and at all levels, equally engaging female and male stakeholders in culturally-sensitive gender equality policy and program work. For Save the Children Norway (SCN), realizing our vision - where every child attains the right to survival, protection, development, and participation - means a world where all girls and boys can hold diverse hopes and dreams for their futures, and have equal opportunity to make these come true. Our vision is for a world where both girls and boys are safe from harm, where they are equally heard and valued, and where they have equal access and time to devote to education, to work, to rest, and to play. We strive for a world in which both girls and boys are healthy and nourished, growing up in safe and nurturing environments, and supported equally by male and female caregivers and mentors. Our vision is for girls and boys to support one another in playing an active and equal role in creating positive and sustainable change in their communities, their countries and across the globe. In 2014 SCN adopted a set of Principles for Gender Equality which guide us to ensure that we can program, advocate, partner, and organize for gender equality. These principles are: 1. Equality as a right: Gender equality is an essential component of a child rights approach, and is upheld by international standards articulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 2. Addressing root causes: It is critical to identify and work to transform the root causes of gender inequality. This requires addressing social norms and institutions which reinforce gender inequalities, as well as advocating for and fostering legislation and policies that promote gender equality. 3. Holistic approaches: Acknowledging that gender equality is about relationships, transformative


Save The Children Norway

4. Meaningful participation: Girls and boys are active citizens. They must be equally engaged in dialogue around gender and have equal opportunity to participate and to promote gender equality. 5. Independent and cross cutting: Gender is both an independent area of focus, as well as a critical priority across our thematic areas of focus, global initiatives and breakthroughs. 6. Collaboration and learning: Integrating gender analysis in our research and work opens up new insights and innovative solutions to development challenges that would not otherwise be possible without a gender-focused approach.

Gender Mainstreaming Initiative Save the Children Norway bases its work on thorough analyses of the various contexts we work in to identify the causes of discrimination, social exclusion and marginalization. We focus especially on inclusive education and work to ensure that education reaches all children wherever they live and that communities are empowered to be primary duty bearers in facilitating access to education. Returning to School In many contexts and due to various factors, such as poverty, conflict and/or migration, children leave school for shorter or longer periods of time. Their school may have been destroyed, or they had to flee. Boys may have to leave school for periods of time to help their family collect the harvest or to herd animals, while girls may have to abandon their education early due to domestic duties, early marriage or child birth. Going back to school, whatever the reason for leaving, is difficult. Promoting and piloting flexible education solutions and alternative routes to learning, whilst supporting the development

and/or reconstruction of educational institutions is an integral part of SCNs programming, to enable boys and girls to return to school. In collaboration with local education authorities, Save the Children works towards improving local school management so that schools and communities can address issues around access and quality. We also work with school committees, child clubs and involve the communities

Key Learnings

to identify risk factors and conduct awareness raising activities to increase engagement in the education of the children.

critical to also engage men and boys in order for change to be meaningful and sustainable. After all, gender inequality is about relationships, roles and power. It is therefore essential that all key stakeholders — female and male — participate in processes of change. Being creative and thinking of flexible alternatives for children in difficult situations is key to ensuring access and equality for all children. Save the Children therefore provides alternative education solutions for children and works to make these alternative solutions sustainable.

Photo: Karin Beate Nøsterud, Save the Children

Traditionally, gender-focused work has been primarily targeted toward women and girls. This is because women and girls are disproportionately affected by systemic and severe gender discrimination. By approaching gender in a transformative way, however, Save the Children recognizes that it is

A Focus on Caregivers & Equality There is an inextricable connection between the well-being of mothers and their childre. This is a vital link that Save the Children works to address, recognizing that healthy and empowered mothers are essential if we are to enable a world where all children can fulfill their rights and their potential. Though a focus on women’s roles as mothers is critical, Save the Children believes that this is only one piece of the puzzle. Evidence has clearly demonstrated that engaging men and boys around topics of caring fatherhood, parenting education, positive role modeling, and gender equality completes the circle of care that a gender-transformative approach demands to support the well-being of girls and boys. A focus on ‘positive masculinities’ means creating safe spaces for men and boys, alongside women and girls, to explore their own gender identities and conceptions of what it means to be female or male, as well as ideas about gender equality. Here, issues such as root causes for gender-based violence may be identified and addressed, and positive expressions of masculinities can be promoted.

Way forward Save the Children is continuously working to uphold and improve our focus on gender equality and ensure that we reach out and change the lives of children that are excluded due various factors, including gender related issues. Gender equality is a basic right for all people, including girls and boys. Based on this understanding, Save the Children believes that it is critical to directly address gender discrimination and promote gender equality in order to ensure that no harm comes to children, and to advance our vision for a world where every child attains their equal right to survival, protection, development and participation.

Save The Children Norway


From pilot to policy

How earmarked funds can enforce gender mainstreaming

remains one of the most serious constraints for the organisation. The Grieg Gender Challenge Programme has been developed with the specific purpose of providing support in this area. The most important investment for the first year of intervention was the recruitment of a gender officer in each country. Situated in the National Associations’ office the gender officers give strategic leadership and technical assistance for SOS CV’s work on gender.

SOS Children’s Villages (SOS CV) has a long history of supporting programming to increase equality and non-discrimination for children, girls and boys, as long-term, sustainable development will only be possible when they enjoy equal opportunities. Adopting a gender perspective for SOS CV means focusing systematically on both women and men when analysing quality care and in the planning and implementing of programmes and activities. It means understanding the roles of men and women and their relationships in family care to comprehend more fully the complexity of gender differences in the family. Furthermore, it means a focus on how constraints and opportunities found in the organisation influence knowledge and skill requirements, conditions of work, social protection, family responsibilities and economic and political decision making.

A strategy meeting in 2013 set out to find how to provide useful information to be able to measure the impact of a large number of interventions after a relatively short period. It was decided that the programme will emphasis girls’ access to and benefit from education. Education is at the heart of SOS CV’s long-term investment for a successful life and sustainable development. But when poor parents make a decision about which child is more likely to gain from education, a girl’s immediate usefulness as a caretaker, her worth as a bride, or her contribution through domestic or other labour can be deemed more valuable than an uncertain and unproven return from her education in the future.

One of the key impediments to achieving gender equality in education and sustainable development is that it cannot be addressed in a vacuum.

One of the key impediments to achieving gender equality in education and sustainable development is that it cannot be addressed in a vacuum; rather, the inequalities that exist are products of the larger society. Consequently, the Grieg Gender Challenge

SOS Norway’s Grieg Gender Challenge Programme has been implemented in six African countries; Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique from 2012. The approach used was to initiate a gender-sensitive program that would be mainstreamed into the Family Strengthening Programme. The programme goal is “Equal opportunities for girls, boys, women and men by reducing gender barriers in the communities”. The lack of understanding of “HOW” gender perspectives can be identified and addressed


SOS Chilren’s Villages Norway

Photo: SOS Children’s Villages

Gender Mainstreaming Initiatives

Gender competence of SOS staff Safe and

Formal and

secure learning




for girls


Girls’ access to and benefit from education Correcting gender


stereotyping and

creation and

new images of


gender roles

strategies for caregivers

Programme promotes and sustains girls’ educational needs using a rights agenda beyond the individual level as basis for the different interventions. The model above illustrates the programmes’ priority areas.

Key Learnings We had to be strategic in selecting the development issue on which to work. This required identifying and acting on strategic opportunities that are likely to yield tangible results to people “on the ground.” It implied working on high priority development issues, such as education. A significant advantage of this approach is that the issue already has relevance. It does not need to be proved. It required less effort “to convince” non-believers of its importance. Another advantage of a strategic approach of this type is that it helped order priorities for gender-based input and intervention to achieve the broader development goals. The Grieg Gender Challenge Programme has already demonstrated that the strategic allocation of funds across a large number of countries to support relatively modest efforts can do much to raise

the prominence of target issues and shape policy discussion in the organization. Resources include human resources, effective trainings and tools to identify and measure intended effect. This approach is most valid when combined with systematic efforts to assess the success of the various strategies being tested. The programme is a pilot project for gender mainstreaming for the organization, feeding in to the development of an international gender policy.

Way forward A new Gender Equality Policy was approved by the organization in October 2014. The formulation of a Gender Equality Policy is a clear statement of the organization’s commitment to this topic. In order to assure commitment for the Policy a pilot period of two years will promote organizational learning at the individual and organizational (national, regional and international) levels on how to effectively implement gender mainstreaming in programmes and structures of the organization. This gives the organization an opportunity to «test» the policy, adjust it if necessary and develop relevant tools in order to ensure a smooth implementation and roll out starting in 2017.

SOS Chilren’s Villages Norway


Empowering Girls to Take Charge of their Lives

Strømme Foundation’s (SF) mission is to eradicate poverty. To fulfil the vision of a world free from poverty, our programs focus on empowering people to overcome the root causes of poverty through a rights-based approach (RBA). Both women’s and men’s active participation and full realization of their potential is of fundamental importance to sustainable and democratic development. SF sees the effort to combat gender inequality as essential to achieve its overall goal.

Photo: Per Fronth

Research and statistics clearly show that women


Strømme Foundation

are over-represented in all aspects of poverty, and gender equality is a cross-cutting issue in SF. Our commitment to secure continued efforts in gender equality is expressed through our Guidelines for gender equality, stating that gender equality will be addressed holistically within SF as an organization, as well as in all our programs, including our partner organisations. The importance of gender equality is thoroughly reflected in our Partner Selection Critera, Partner Assessment Tool and M&E system.

Women’s Empowerment Initiative In 2006 Stromme Foundation initiated Shonglap in Bangladesh. Shonglap means dialogue and was designed to empower adolescent girls, who have dropped out of schools, to become resourceful citizens. The education program aims to ensure their

The Shonglap model has proven an efficient tool in the battle against gender inequality and suppression of girls and women. Shonglap facilitates girls’ participation as well as promoting community participation. The girls are empowered through knowledge and skill development and the participating communities take a wider role in social development through protecting girls’ and women rights and promoting equal participation of women and girls. Communities’ active participation is vital in Shonglap implementation process.

Photo: Per Fronth

dignity and rights through acquiring life education and occupational skills in a safe environment.

In the evaluation of the Shonglap pilot, the girls stated clearly that they wanted a similar program for the boys. This led to the introduction of Prottoy, a similar programme for boys. SF strongly believes that in order to ensure gender equality for women, it is essential to also discuss gender equality issues among boys. For Shonglap-girls to benefit fully from their own education, the change we have seen in boys’ attitudes towards girls through Prottoy has been essential for the girls to benefit fully for their Shonglap education.

promote gender equality among the rights-holders in SF projects, it has proven essential to integrate income generating activities (IGA) in the program. SFs project interventions are mainly concentrated in rural areas, affected by high unemployment rates and early marriages. Economic empowerment is an important tool for sustainable results in promoting gender equality. One of the challenges is, however, to ensure that the IGA training does not contribute to cementing existing gender patterns related to occupations by only providing training in female-dominated professions. It is therefore an explicit goal that Shonglap-girls shall receive IGA training in multiple occupational skills, challenging the gender structure in the labour market.

Key Learnings

Way forward

When working with gender equality in an international context, the level of success is closely connected to the projects ability to adjust to local context and needs, identifying the rights holders and duty bearers – and securing community participation and engagement. Involvement of local leaders, parents, government authorities and teachers is essential when creating local ownership and ensuring long-term impact when addressing cultural barriers and attitudes towards gender issues.

For Strømme Foundation the promotion of gender equality at all levels of project planning and implementation is an ongoing process.

The Shonglap model has been replicated and introduced in Nepal, Uganda, Kenya and South-Sudan. Key learnings from introducing gender equality mainstreaming to other contexts are the importance of securing local adjustment and commitment in all phases of project planning and implementation. Different cultures and traditions require different approaches.

Currently we are in the process of developing Cross Cutting Issues training manuals for both gender equality and inclusion. The training manuals are developed by the International Department in collaboration with Regional Offices, based on feedback from the partners.

Gender equality should not be treated as an isolated issue, but needs to be approached through a variety of components, addressing the root causes behind gender inequality, such as poverty. In order to

We will continue to focus our efforts on implementing gender equality as part of our mission of eradicating poverty through our programs. A key task for the future will be to improve our tools for monitoring and evaluating the impact of our gender-related interventions.

Shonglap will remain a core program for SF in our efforts to promote gender equality. The way forward will include facilitating the exchange of best practices between partners implementing Shonglap, building capacities on gender equality among partner staff.

Strømme Foundation


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Promoting gender equality and women's empowerment internationally  

Promoting gender equality and women's empowerment internationally