Lessons learned in gender justice (2)

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Lessons Learned in gender justice AN INTERNAL KNOWLEDGE PUBLICATION 2008-2013

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Contents FOREWORD………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 02 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………………………………………………… 03 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY… … …………………………………………………………………………………………… 04 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND INTERCULTURALITY PROGRAM ………………………………………………………………………………… 06 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE WATER PROGRAM …………………………………………………………… 09 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE SISTERS ON THE PLANET INITIATIVE …………………………… 11 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE DARFUR STOVES PROJECT …………………………………………… 14 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE DECENT WORK PROGRAM ……………………………………………… 17 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE SAVING FOR CHANGE PROJECT … … ………………………………… 20 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE PROGRAM TO PREVENT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE… … …………………………………………………………………………………… 23 GENDER JUSTICE IN THE FLAIR PROGRAM … … ………………………………………………………… 26 ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS……………………………………………………………………………… 30 GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS…………………………………………………………………………… 31 NOTES………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 32

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foreword It is my great pleasure to present Oxfam America’s Lessons Learned in Gender Justice: An Internal Knowledge Publication. This is a compilation of our learnings from Oxfam America’s gender justice initiatives between 2008 and 2013. The analysis is based on critical review of successes, challenges and opportunities in putting women’s rights at the center of programmatic and advocacy initiatives. Oxfam America’s mission is to Right the Wrong of Poverty and Social Injustice. We strongly believe that Gender Justice is indispensable to addressing poverty and key to achieving human progress. This necessitates the sharing of power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace, and in the wider local, national and international communities. This compilation of case studies attempts to showcases OA’s efforts to challenge existing power inequalities and to ensure that women claim their rights and gain access to power through specific programmatic interventions. Over the decades, despite the emergence of numerous strategies, it has often been challenging to promote gender justice in developmental efforts. Our experiences, as revealed in these stories, indicate that great endeavor is needed to challenge existing patriarchic institutions, cultures and agendas. However, it is crucial that we engage in critical self-reflection in order to document our learning, make adjustments where necessary and continue to move our agenda of gender equity forward. Of course this short document does not capture everything we are doing! We hope that it will be the precursor to a regular compilation of lessons learned for the edification of our mission and our commitment to gender justice and equity. A debt of gratitude is owed to all the OA staff and partners who have invested in putting gender justice at the center of our programs. Many thanks to our strategic partners from the Center for Gender in Organizations at Simmons College, for their efforts to summarize a large body of work and critically draw out valuable lessons. Sincerely,

Ray Offenheiser


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

At the House of Culture of Santa Tecla in El Salvador, students watch and perform plays to learn about preventing gender violence. Oscar Evenor Leiva Marinero

acknowledgements This knowledge document was a highly collaborative effort by staff throughout Oxfam America and its allies. First and foremost a thank you goes to programmatic and Sisters on the Planet staff: Paul Ahouissoussi, Santiago Alfaro, Sahar Ali, Annaka Carvalho, Adam Abdalla Bushara Eisa, Esther Ekoue Ekoue, Retta Gudisa, Melida Guevara, Laura Inouye, Tibebu Koji, Sarah Kalloch, Selome Kebede, and Rachana Program Manager, Dara Cheng. This learning publication would have been impossible without your candid insights and reflections. Appreciation goes to the Community Finance Team, particularly Sophie Romana and Clelia Anna Mannino, for their help in creation of the Saving for Change case, the one case featured in this series as a global project.

Kudos goes to the Communications team, specifically Sarah Livingston and Carl Soares, in their aid to making this a clear, communicable document read by agency-wide audiences. A final thank you goes to our team of consultants including the Center for Gender in Organizations, copyeditors, translators, and graphic designers. Lessons Learned in Gender Justice was commissioned by the Regional Programs Department of Oxfam America. The current RPD Boston Gender Team staff members are Muthoni Muriu, Alivelu Ramisetty, Krystina Nguyen, and Maria Ezpeleta. Program Policy Advisors who supported the process are Tigist Gizaw and Eloisa Devietti.

Thank you to the LEAD team members Haneen Malallah and Rashmi Sharma for their efforts in making this a living learning product that the organization can use.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY WHAT OXFAM AMERICA HAS LEARNED ABOUT GENDER JUSTICE The purpose of this report is to identify lessons that Oxfam America (OA) staff members have learned in their work toward gender justice. This is an internal learning document that identifies successes and challenges experienced by OA staff in 2013 and recommends strategies that could aid OA’s future work. In compiling this report, the Center for Gender in Organizations reviewed internal OA documents from 2008-2013 and conducted interviews with OA staff involved in five programs, one project, and a campaign initiative. Community Finance and Regional Programs Boston collaborated to analyze evaluations for documenting a global OA project. Each of the following case studies includes a brief description of the OA activity, its impact, challenges faced, and recommendations for change. These projects were often specific to a region and reflected the unique gender and cultural dynamics of the places where the work took place. Four common themes emerged that are valuable tools for future program development: 1. Engaging both women and men in the design and implementation of OA’s work helps ensure active participation and buy-in from the communities. This was notably important in two cases: the Horn of Africa Regional Office (HARO) Darfur Stoves project1, and the Ethiopia Water program. In each case, making sure that local women and men took part in shaping and carrying out an initiative has been and will be vital to its success. For the Darfur Stoves project, interviews revealed that one obstacle to full adoption of the new stoves was a design that did not take into account local cooking habits. In the Ethiopia Water program, many women have not had access to local water supplies. Engaging participants early on in the design and implementation of initiatives like these would significantly enhance the impact of OA’s work.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

2. Success in promoting gender equity and justice in a region requires a comprehensive understanding of local gender issues. In the former South America Indigenous People’s Rights and Interculturality program, OA staff quickly discovered that different indigenous groups paid varying amounts of attention to gender equity and gender justice in their human-rights campaigns.2 As a result, interventions needed to be tailored specifically to the gender dynamics at play. The Decent Work program of OA’s United States Regional Office (USRO) conducted gender analyses to understand why gender discrimination existed within their partner organizations and how it might address it. The partners sometimes did not have the resources or incentives to reduce discrimination. Understanding the complexities of gender relations and identifying levers for change in these and other OA initiatives will strengthen OA’s ability to influence both partners and rights holders.3 3. Working towards gender equity needs to be an inclusive process. The Program to Prevent Gender-Based Violence (PPGV), launched by the Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean (CAMEXCA) Office, has developed gender-training programs for young boys and girls and for judicial professionals across the region. Understanding gender violence is a central element of these programs, yet few men enroll in them unless their job requires it. To change perceptions of gender and genderbased violence, new efforts are needed to draw men into these programs. A potential model is with the staff of Rachana, an OA partner working with the East Asia Regional Office (EARO). Inspired by OA’s commitment to gender equity, Rachana worked to expand its own programs on behalf of farmers in Cambodia, adding an emphasis on gender fairness. Women and men at all levels of both organizations shared amongst colleagues their own experiences of gender inequality and discrimination. This helped Rachana staff members to see that gender inequality is a global problem that all of us have witnessed and that all of us can work to correct.

High school children in Santa Tecla in El Salvador talk about safety in the public park, since the introduction of the Campaign for the Prevention of Gender Violence: “Entre Vos y Yo… Una Vida Diferente (Between You and Me… a Different Life).” Jeff Deutsch / Oxfam America

4. Women taking action together are a powerful force for change. As OA’s Sisters on the Planet initiative has expanded to focus on gender equality across all OA programs, a consistent theme has emerged: being part of a group of women advocating for change is a uniquely powerful experience. To date, in the Sisters Climate Change and GROW campaigns, the Sisters Ambassadors have significantly expanded OA’s reach. They have established relationships with U.S. legislators and publicized OA’s work in media outlets. In WARO’s experience, on a local but no less powerful scale, savings groups have also had an important impact on the lives of women. Women who have joined savings groups are not only accessing financial services, but anthropological research has shown that Saving for Change helps women build confidence and village-level solidarity.4

These themes collectively underscore the value of including rights holders, especially women, in building and refining OA-sponsored programs, projects, and initiatives. Doing so not only ensures that their voices are heard but also helps weave the programs and projects into a community’s fabric for years to come.

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GENDER JUSTICE IN THE INDIGENOUS RIGHTS and Interculturality PROGRAM SUMMARY The mandate of the concluded Indigenous Rights and Interculturality Program was to protect the political, economic and cultural rights of the indigenous people of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Central to this program have been efforts to support the empowerment and political leadership of indigenous women both within their organizations and outside, in political leadership positions. Working with organizations at the local, national and international level, Oxfam America offered leadership and capacity building training to indigenous women. Some of these women went on to serve as international representatives at UN Conferences on issues of indigenous rights and gender equity. The diversity of agendas among indigenous groups and the gender norms within them were obstacles to achieving gender justice. Nonetheless, greater inclusion of men and women at local, national and international levels in the dialogue about gender equity within indigenous cultures holds promise for achieving gender justice in the future.

THE INITIATIVE OA’s South American office approved the Program Strategy Paper for the Indigenous Rights and Interculturality Program in 2010. The goal of the program was to facilitate “laws and state institutions in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru to foster the exercise of indigenous people’s rights, especially the right to participate and contribute to public decisions; eliminate political factors that impede free access to and management of indigenous territories; and reduce discriminatory practices that block indigenous peoples from accessing essential services.”5 6

Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

Within the Indigenous Rights and Interculturality Program, the focus was on gender equality, with an emphasis on increasing women’s participation in decision-making both inside and outside their organizations. Specifically, the program encouraged the creation of interorganizational women’s groups within indigenous organizations. The aim was to advance the women’s agenda by identifying the issues most important to them amid the larger battle for indigenous rights. The program also focused on strengthening women’s leadership skills and empowering them with a voice in the larger advocacy efforts taking place in the region. These women become role models, pushing the women’s agenda to the forefront of indigenous-rights campaigns. Moreover, the program aims to open up opportunities for women to serve as representatives in national and international forums focusing on these rights. Oxfam America has partnered with indigenous women’s organizations to help train women in leadership skills, public speaking, and decision-making. In addition, women received targeted training in diplomacy and advocacy.

IMPACT AND RESULTS As a result of Oxfam’s work, five indigenous inter organizational women’s caucuses were created or strengthened. The Confederation of Indigenous People of Bolivia (CIDOB) changed their bylaws to require that half of all elected officials be women. The National Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining (CONACAMI) increased their women officials from 1 to 4.

Marlith Amasifuen Ishuiza and her child Bryan Sangama join other community members to enjoy fruit they grew in their traditional garden. After listening to indigenous women’s concerns about the loss of their ancestral crops, Oxfam and AIDESEP created a pilot project through which five Kichwa communities in the Peruvian Amazon could cultivate traditional gardens as a way to adapt to changes in the climate. Percy Ramírez / Oxfam America

Women leaders from these organizations had a chance to put their training to work and lobby at national and international conferences, including the UN’s Rio +20. The women have also learned proposal-writing and budgeting to better prepare them to build their rights organizations effectively. As a result of these efforts, strong coalitions have been built across indigenous organizations throughout the region. Groups such as Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA) and Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations (IOTC) are working together to promote gender equity. They recognize the importance of training women to be part of national and international advocacy efforts. For example, the IOTC has developed an internal women’s group that is focused on strengthening its members’ decision-making skills.

LESSONS LEARNED The research, design, and implementation of the Indigenous Peoples and Interculturality Program have revealed important lessons learned in the advancement of indigenous women’s rights: •

Women’s organizations need to be better funded if they are to continue piloting projects targeting their specific needs.

More programs that train women in lobbying and advocacy are needed to increase their participation at the local, national and international level.

A monitoring system is needed to ensure that the women’s agenda is part of the larger indigenous agenda and lobbying efforts.

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES As a result of embedding gender and interculturality throughout OA’s program efforts, attention to gender equity has grown in the indigenous peoples and interculturality movement in South America. The Indigenous Rights and

More programs that train women in lobbying and advocacy are needed to increase their participation at the local, national, and international level. Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 7

Interculturality Program examined the specific barriers to participation that women face, such as low self-esteem and a lack of female role models. It addressed these challenges by developing workshops that equipped women to be more vocal and visible in their organizations and communities.

CHALLENGES The struggle for indigenous rights is very complex: the needs and agendas of indigenous groups differ at the local, national, and international levels. The gender norms and level of interest in focusing on issue of gender equity vary greatly as well as not all indigenous groups have the same perspectives on gender and gender equity.6 This made developing a coordinated set of gender equity focused interventions difficult, thereby limiting the ability to sustain wide scale success in gender mainstreaming.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

RECOMMENDATIONS While there are myriad indigenous women’s organizations, advocacy for women at the national level for better access to education, natural resources, and health services, is essential in order for the women’s agenda to truly emerge. In order for gender justice efforts to be effective, programmatic efforts need to engage both men and women in the process. Women must not only be encouraged to join and lead women’s organizations, but must also have representation within larger, male-dominated organizations and lobby groups. This will require more in-depth education of both men and women.

In order for gender justice efforts to be effective, programmatic efforts need to engage both men and women in the process.

Ifa Kacha, 27, and Onje Folle, 20, with baby Promiya Ifa, in their garden as part of a backyard irrigation project in the Bora district, East Shewa, Ethiopia. Eva-Lotta Jansson / Oxfam America



Access to water is vital for the livelihoods of farmers in Ethiopia, especially smallholder farmers living in poverty. Oxfam America’s Ethiopia Water Program has had a dramatic impact on women and their families by helping to make water (and other important resources) more accessible. That being said, local attitudes about gender remain obstacles to women’s full access to water resources. OA staff members and their partners need to continue to take into account the nuances of gender and gendered power relationships as it affects their programs, with particular focus on including women at every stage of design and implementation.

In evaluating program outcomes in Ethiopia, the following lessons have been learned about improving gender justice:

THE INITIATIVE Access to irrigation presents more challenges to women than to men. Women are usually responsible for gathering water for their families, but they have traditionally had no say in the design of irrigation programs.7 Oxfam America developed the Ethiopia Water Program to address the growing problem of food insecurity caused by erratic rainfall. OA has worked on pilot water projects in Ethiopia since 1994, and it launched a full-fledged, water program in 2010.8 During this decade, the program aims to put in place an improved water infrastructure. It is also helping to establish and strengthen local Water Users Associations.

IMPACT AND RESULTS Since the Ethiopia program’s inception, more than 150,000 individuals, of which over 20% are women, have enjoyed improved access to water for irrigation, livestock and domestic use.9 This has helped families’ livelihoods and health dramatically. In OA project areas, at least one-third of the leaders of Water User Associations are female. This ensures that women have a voice in the design and management of these water systems.

When women have a say in allocating water resources, access is more apt to be equally available to women and men. Local policies are sometimes an obstacle to OA’s work. In Ethiopia, a new law limits NGOs’ advocacy work on women’s rights. As a result, OA and its partners have had to develop new strategies to reach their objectives of women’s economic and social empowerment.

There is a distinction between how different stakeholders understand and adopt gendermainstreaming concepts. Conducting a gender analysis in a particular community can shed light on local attitudes about gender. That information, in turn, can be useful in designing fair and effective gender mainstreamed long-term programs.10

Conducting a gender analysis in a particular community can shed light on local attitudes about gender. That information, in turn, can be useful in designing fair and effective gender mainstreamed long-term programs.

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The Jalala Women’s Assocation including Chairman Mashu Babure (in yellow) Eva-Lotta Jansson / Oxfam America

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES In the Ethiopia Water Program, the practice most worth replicating has been engaging and championing women at all levels. Ensuring that women help shape and manage water-access projects has significantly benefited them, their families, and their communities.

CHALLENGES Through the course of this project, it has become clear to OA staff that female smallholder are marginalized through limited access. It is customary to construct irrigation projects far from villages. These types of projects usually have big canals and serve a large number of farmers. Access to water is scheduled. Because of this, women farmers can find themselves assigned inconvenient time slots—a significant obstacle to women who also have household responsibilities. An additional challenge specific to the region is that access to water for productive use is associated with land ownership. In Ethiopia, men usually own the land. This makes it challenging for women to have access to irrigation and to join water user associations, since access and representation is provided solely to landowners. This speaks to the importance of understanding the context in which OA programs take place and the ways that power relationships play out. This kind of understanding is crucial to effecting change on behalf of women’s rights. 10

Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

An additional challenge for the Ethiopia Water Program has been the turnover rate of staff at the partner and government level.11 This transience of OA partners has slowed the progress of gender equity in the region. While the Horn of Africa Regional Office already includes capacity-building around issues of gender equity in its program budgets, a shortage of local partners with the relevant training due to turnover means that increased funding for new capacity-building may be needed.

RECOMMENDATIONS Incorporating women’s input in all phases of OA programs not only validates the voices of rights holders but also ensures their long-term participation in the programs. Moreoever, identifying ways for landless families to access water and help manage its allocation is crucial to making sure that all women and families have the water they need.

Incorporating women’s input in all phases of OA programs not only validates the voices of rights holders, but also ensures their long-term participation in the programs.

GENDER JUSTICE IN THE SISTERS ON THE PLANET INITIATIVE SUMMARY The Sisters on the Planet initiative has broken new ground as an Oxfam America campaign strategy. Recruiting prominent women to act as spokeswomen for OA campaigns has helped broaden the organization’s legislative reach. In addition, it has tapped into a deep commitment to act on the part of women around the world, a commitment that can be channeled into future OA campaigns. Developing evaluative metrics for these women’s impact beyond just legislative campaigns could help OA enlist the support of other influential women as well as potential funders.

THE INITIATIVE The Sisters on the Planet (or “Sisters”) initiative was launched in 2008 as part of OA’s overall campaign to address climate change. It has since broadened its focus to include advocacy on behalf of all OA programs.12 In an effort to amplify women’s voices in the United States legislative arena, especially in regard to gender equity in the U.S. and abroad, Oxfam America’s Organizing and Alliances department has begun recruiting “Ambassadors.” These are notable women—from Nobel laureates, members of Congress and business women to philanthropists, actors, scientists and faith leaders—who speak up on OA’s behalf about the need for action. Initially focused on climate change,13 the Ambassadors now serve as spokeswomen for all of Oxfam’s campaigns. The goal is to highlight the disproportionate impact of poverty, climate change and other development challenges on women around the world. The Ambassadors also encourage the public to join the fight to support women at home and abroad. Strategies for raising awareness of OA campaigns are as diverse as the Ambassadors involved. In additional to regular lobby days on Capitol Hill, Ambassadors have hosted film screenings to educate the public about how climate change disrupts women’s lives differently than men’s. These screenings have reached thousands of Americans across the country. Ambassadors

have also participated in large-scale fund-raising events and garnered media coverage for their commitment to championing the rights and opportunities of women living in poverty.

IMPACT AND RESULTS Sisters on the Planet has become OA’s premier organizing vehicle for achieving legislative change.14 Participation in International Women’s Day Advocacy Days and other special lobbying days on Capitol Hill has increased dramatically since the Sisters initiative began, from eight attendees in 2009 to 73 in 2012. Through Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill, Sisters has helped OA to gain access to policy makers and to develop longterm relationships with them. The initiative has also helped draw significant offers of legislative support.15 The 2012 International Women’s Day event culminated in a meeting with Senate majority leader Harry Reid, one of more than 100 congressional meetings that OA participated in that day. Sisters was able to recruit Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, to serve as keynote speaker for OA’s International Women’s Day summit. This led her to write on the White House blog: “Our work with organizations like Oxfam has resulted in more international support for food security, more game changing innovations, and more importantly, more people living without hunger.” She also stated that “President Obama will continue to partner with…extraordinary organizations such as Oxfam, as we continue to save lives and improve communities.”16 Sisters Ambassadors also helped elevate the discussion of the unequal impact of climate change on women, given their inclusion of a gender lens in all of their advocacy efforts. With the GROW campaign, Sisters emphasized the contribution of women farmers to feeding the world. This supported adaptation finance and feed the future programs aimed at women.

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During Oxfam’s 2012 Sisters on the Planet International Women’s Day Summit in Washington DC, March 7-8, 2012, more than 70 leading American women came together with women leaders from around the globe to discuss ways to support women worldwide as they fight hunger and poverty. Ilene Perlman / Oxfam America



The Sisters program taught OA staff two key lessons about designing new initiatives:

The sheer number of women engaged in the Ambassadors program is impressive. So too is their enthusiasm in working on Oxfam America’s behalf, be it contacting legislators, speaking publicly about OA’s work or participating in OA events. A critical part of that success has been the ability to adapt the initiative’s design to the realities of the people affected.19 Ensuring that OA programs, projects and campaigns take into account the real-world experiences of the rights holders they aim to help, especially where gender equity is concerned, will greatly improve these projects’ chances of success.


Woman-to-woman contact is a powerful ingredient in any campaign.17 While the efforts of men are welcome in OA campaigns, Ambassadors have consistently felt that being part of a group of influential women lobbying for their gender internationally is a uniquely valuable opportunity.

Making sure from the start that an initiative is adaptable allows OA staff to respond better to feedback.18 Sisters has evolved constantly in response to the feedback of its Ambassadors. Having a flexible campaign structure ensures that an initiative can grow and develop new legislative relationships that will be useful for years to come, in this and other campaigns.

Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

CHALLENGES While successful, the Sisters initiative did face several specific challenges aside from the usual hurdles that all U.S. legislative proposals faced, given the challenging political climate in Washington. While recruiting women who could campaign effectively was central to the initiative from the start, many Ambassadors proved to have an array of skills useful to OA that went beyond strict campaigning. As a result, OA staff

Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors of Rosalyn Musa: Program Manager, The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET); Mwanahamisi Salimu Singano: Campaigns & Advocacy Officer for Economic Justice, Oxfam; Anna Oloshuro Okaro: Farmer and Leader in Maasai community in Tanzania. Strong advocate for development, effective champion of change and tireless advocate for women, Okaro is the recipient of Oxfam’s Women’s Leadership Award. Ilene Perlman / Oxfam America

need to alter and sometimes expand campaign tactics to take advantage of their spokeswomen’s particular strengths. The initiative’s adaptability has allowed for this expansion fairly easily, but more staff capacity than initially expected was needed to work on these on-going program changes.

RECOMMENDATIONS Because the Sisters initiative has broadened its original legislative focus, it is recommended that it develop success metrics for each of the new ways in which Ambassadors are deployed. This will assist OA staff in making the case for the value of the program to new Ambassadors as well as to potential funders.

Ensuring that OA programs, projects and campaigns take into account the real-world experiences of the rights holders they aim to help, especially where gender equity is concerned, will greatly improve these projects’ chances of success.

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GENDER JUSTICE IN THE DARFUR STOVES PROJECT SUMMARY In the Darfur region of Sudan, Oxfam America in partnership with Darfaurian NGO Sustainable Action Group (SAG) has played a critical role in providing safe and affordable cook stoves to women and families living in refugee, or internally displaced person (IDP), camps as well as to people in rural areas near the main towns. Despite its success in helping distribute these new stoves, they have not completely replaced older stoves due to the new stove capacity limitations and the dire need for family income to buy food. By involving local women in designing stoves that suit them, while also providing earning opportunities to women who train others to use them, there is a greater chance that individuals in Darfur will adopt safer and more energy-efficient stoves.

THE INITIATIVE Since 2003, more than two million people have been forced to seek safety in IDP camps in the Darfur region.20 Because cooking responsibilities fall to women, they are also responsible for gathering firewood for their traditional cook stoves. This practice reinforces persistent poverty due to the health dangers of living with smoky cooking fires and the environmental degradation of using dwindling biomass resources to fuel them.21 In arid rural Darfur, women may travel for several miles to find firewood. Trips to collect wood can last up to seven hours and leave women, and daughters who may travel with them, vulnerable to violence and harassment22 by males. To address this issue, Oxfam America partnered with California’s Technology Innovation for Sustainable Societies (TISS) in 2008. This partnership was formed to distribute TISS’s new fuel-efficient metal stove, called the Berkeley-Darfur stove, to women and families in North Darfur.23 OA and SAG jointly identified, recruited and trained residents to assemble


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

the Berkeley-Darfur stoves locally. These residents were able to earn money while helping to build safer and more fuelefficient stoves for local residents.24

IMPACT AND RESULTS To date, this project has distributed more than 30,000 Berkeley-Darfur stoves to families in northern Darfur. Evaluations have confirmed that access to these stoves has dramatically reduced the need for firewood as fuel. Families are cutting their fuel costs in half, thereby saving more than $1,500 per family over the five-year life of the stove.25 Women and girls make fewer trips outside the camps to gather firewood, which lessens the risk that they will be subject to sexual harassment or violence. According to OA staff member Adam Abdalla Bushara, “The women I met in El Fasher are all using their stoves and really like them.” The Berkeley-Darfur stoves’ efficiency has also let women cook meals much faster than they could with traditional stone fires. The savings in time has let some women look for paid domestic work to improve their families’ livelihood. To help families learn how to use the new stoves, the Darfur Stoves project has also developed an income-generating program through which women living in the IDP camps are paid to train others how to use the stoves. This provides families increased opportunities for livelihoods as well as ensuring they are able to use stoves that present fewer health and safety risks for women and their families.

LESSONS LEARNED OA and its partner organizations have learned a great deal from the Darfur Stoves project, especially about how they can improve outcomes for women. Among the specific lessons learned: •

Including women as trainers has raised the number of women and families adopting the new stove while helping families earn vital income.

Darfur Stoves project with partner SAG (Sustainable Action Group). Oxfam is working with partners to create sustainable solutions to humanitarian problems in Darfur by utilizing technology that is respectful of the culture and environment. Liz Lucas / Oxfam America



Enlisting local small businesses in the distribution of the Berkeley-Darfur stoves helps create jobs for individuals living in the IDP camps while providing income to these locally owned businesses. Including a baseline or control group in the rollout of such a project can help partners identify where real change has resulted.

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES Understandably, changing the way people have cooked for generations is a challenge. Recruiting IDP camp residents as trainers of their fellow residents helps reduce the perceived risk of switching to a new cooking stove. This is a model that cn be applied generally to bringing about desired change: using rights holders as trainers in new behaviors not only encourages women and families to make changes that benefit them directly but also provides much-needed income for the recruited trainers and their families.

CHALLENGES Unfortunately, the increased use of the Berkeley-Darfur stoves has not fully eliminated the use of the old stone fires.26 Two out of three people interviewed in a program evaluation reported that they use the new stove alongside the traditional stone fire. The Berkeley-Darfur stoves are seen as too small for some large family events, like weddings. The new stoves also do not fit all of the cooking pots used by camp residents in the area.

Including a baseline or control group in the rollout of such a project can help partners identify where real change has resulted.

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Oxfam partners are working with community members to assemble and distribute fuel-efficient stoves –a project aimed at reducing stress on the environment, reducing the need for women and girls to take risky journeys into the countryside to gather wood, and – for those able to buy firewood in the market – reducing economic strain. Elizabeth Stevens / Oxfam America

RECOMMENDATIONS Since some families that received the stoves have opted to sell them for income to buy food, it is recommended that families with particular financial hardship be prioritized. It is also recommended that impoverished families receive stoves at a reduced price if women in the family agree to train other women to use them. Ensuring that the new stoves are used improves health outcomes for women and reduces the risks of violence that women can face if they have to leave the camps to collect firewood. To address the size and capacity issues presented by the Berkeley-Darfur stove, OA and SAG should work with women in the Darfur camps to design larger models of the stove that are coated to prevent rusting over time. Women should participate in the design of cooking pots for use with the stoves as well; these pots could be sold in the IDP camps. Involving local women in this design process may lead to design improvements that will better meet the needs of camp residents and increase the likelihood of the Berkeley-Darfur stoves becoming the primary cooking stove in the camps.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice



The Decent Work program, an effort led by OA’s United States Regional Office (USRO), has enlisted a broad base of partners and allies to reform the way food is produced in the U.S. The program’s goal is to ensure that workers’ rights are recognized and respected by the farm industry. In the last couple of years, as Oxfam America firmed up its commitment to gender justice, USRO staff members sought ways to mainstream gender into its Decent Work program, with limited results. One of these measures was to have a gender focal point who would help guarantee a gender lens to program strategies and decisions. In some cases, a measure was put in place that explicitly addressed gender issues. To be more successful in effecting change in the U.S. farming industry, OA staff members need to conduct more rigorous gender analyses, ensure that a strong gender point person is included, and identify male and female allies early on in working with partners.

The Decent Work program’s Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) brings together a wide array of stakeholders in the food production industry to “develop standards, training processes and a certification to protect farmworkers and produce safer, healthier food.”29 OA staff enlisted female staff and farmworkers from partner organizations to conduct a gender review of the draft EFI standards. As a result, gender-specific measures were added to the standards30 and to a new workertraining program. This training program is now mandated to enroll female trainees in proportion to the total number of women who work on a given farm. According to Laura Inouye, the USRO program’s deputy director, several female farmworkers who took part in a recent Decent Work leadership training workshop “turned out to be the strongest leaders based on how much content they were able to absorb and their responsiveness to the training.”31 OA recommended adding a female farmworker to the EFI steering committee, but the leadership has yet to do so.

THE INITIATIVE The plight of female farmworkers, who are about one-fifth of all farmworkers in the U.S.,27 is particularly difficult. Women are more apt to be associated with family responsibilities than with an ability to work effectively in the fields. For this reason, female farmworkers face significant hiring discrimination, in addition to unequal pay and wage theft. Added to that are challenges of sexual harassment and violence in the workplace as well as gender-specific health and housing issues.28 To address gender issues among women farmworkers, the OA staff took several steps. These included developing a gender baseline study and reaching out to groups around the country that work with female farmworkers in order to identify points of leverage by which to create greater equity.

Meanwhile, OA staff members’ discussions with partner organizations about gender issues led two partners, both farmworker unions, to take action on their own. With OA’s support, one farmworker union conducted a survey of staff and board members to evaluate their own gender practices. Based on the survey findings, the union hired a consultant to help it develop a plan to ensure its operations were fair and inclusive. The other farmworker union recently voted five women into board leadership positions.

LESSONS LEARNED Work to date on infusing a gender-justice focus into the Decent Work program has taught important lessons about the tactics that are effective. The most useful ones that OA staff members have identified are:

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 17

In August 2013, participants attended a meeting of the EFI Leadership Team at the Andrews & Williamson strawberry farm in Watsonville, CA. Andrews & Williams is one of the first farms to pilot the EFI model. Mary Babic / Oxfam America

Conduct a thorough gender analysis at the time that a program’s strategy is first developed. This is important even in a male-dominated industry like farming. Start a conversation about OA’s commitment to gender justice at the beginning of any new initiative. This leverages OA’s power as a funder and collaborator to ensure that gender issues are on its partners’ agendas.

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES Having a point person on the OA staff who keeps a focus on gender issues has helped guaranteed that gender justice is on the agenda in all program discussions.32 Staff turnover can make this more difficult, but designating a staff person with this task can have a dramatic impact on achieving gender justice. To date, OA’s partners working for farmworker rights have few women in leadership roles. This has been an obstacle to ensuring that gender issues are prominent in the Decent Work program. Nonetheless, progress has been made by identifying and engaging male allies within the partner organizations who can serve as champions for gender justice.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

CHALLENGES Despite public commitments to do so, the Equitable Food Initiative has failed to identify and appoint any women to its steering committee, let alone appoint women to other leadership positions. As a convener of other partners, EFI’s failure to fulfill its own commitments to gender equity has reinforced other partners’ resistance to change. Developing organizations specifically for female farmworkers, both locally and nationally, remains a challenge as well. Existing organizations for women are committed to gender justice, but they are primarily service providers, ensuring

Conduct a thorough gender analysis at the time that a program’s strategy is first developed.

women’s basic health care, food, shelter and safety. These are certainly important issues, as female farmworkers often struggle to secure these services for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, attention to a broader worker-equity agenda has consistently been a less urgent priority and is severely under-resourced.

RECOMMENDATIONS In the future, strategies for developing new programs for U.S. farmworkers must include a detailed theory of change with respect to how best to promote gender equity within the US farming industry. OA’s existing partners in the Decent Work program could advocate on behalf of worker rights, if they chose to, but new and influential partners with a stronger gender focus are clearly needed. A deeper understanding of the levers for achieving gender equity in the farm industry will help ensure that partner organizations have at least started to move toward gender mainstreaming. This will give OA a basic platform on which it can build.

In the future, strategies for developing new programs for U.S. farmworkers must include a detailed theory of change with respect to how best to promote gender equity with the US farming industry.

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 19

Gender Justice in THE SAVING FOR CHANGE PROJECT SUMMARY Saving for Change (SfC), Oxfam America’s signature savings-led community-based microfinance project, was started in 2005 in order to serve the financial needs of the rural poor, particular women. The project has been highly successful in increasing savings, food security, investment in livestock, and confirming an outreach to the poor.33 Savings group members often value the solidarity and social capital they build as much as the financial products to which they gain access.34 Traditionally, however, SfC has not been a gender-focused project nor have the gender dynamics within the project been thoroughly explored. To achieve equality in the lives of women group members, OA needs to do a profound analysis of gender roles, create synergies with other initiatives, and pursue rightsbased avenues such as advocacy.

THE INITIATIVE More than 2.5 billion adults worldwide lack access to formal financial institutions which includes 75% of the world’s poor.35 Recently, microfinance institutions have been a major positive force in giving millions of poorer people access to credit, unfortunately rural communities are disadvantaged in terms of coverage. SfC was designed to serve those in rural areas and is based on the knowledge that villagers are not “too poor to save.” In a methodology designed by Oxfam America, Freedom from Hunger, and the Strømme Foundation, local partners send field agents trained by OA into villages to organize groups of 15-25 members. The members – primarily women– form a group that saves, lends, and divides funds among its members at the end of a savings cycle. Group members elect their own leadership, set their bylaws, and decide collectively how to achieve their goals. As the group fund grows, members take small loans of $10-$50 and pay interest on the loans. This interest provides a return to members’ savings. By starting with saving rather than borrowing, SfC helps group members reduce their vulnerability by building an asset base.36


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

As requested by SfC members, the project has branched to include “SfC+” modules of Agriculture and Business and Citizenship trainings. These new services were launched in early 2011 in Senegal and Mali. Success stories have already emerged of women immediately applying what they have learned to new business activities. In El Salvador, experience has shown that women need to develop and strengthen their skills in advocacy and economic empowerment to improve their quality of life. To this end, SfC partner organizations facilitate the trainings of group leaders with a focus on rights and advocacy.37

IMPACT AND RESULTS To date, SfC has grown to include approximately 580,000 members across five countries – Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mali, and Senegal – that have over $13 million in savings.38 In Mali alone, there is at least one Saving for Change group in more than 6,400 villages (or 47% of the communes which are administrative divisions including villages and hamlets) and average return of those groups is 36%.39 Beyond access to financial services, anthropological research has shown that SfC helps women build their solidarity and confidence and gain respect.40 The groups create tremendous solidarity and social capital through regular meetings and women report more self-confidence. Additionally, we have seen examples in Cambodia and Mali in which women are more included in household financial decision-making.

LESSONS LEARNED Findings from evaluations of SfC have demonstrated an increase in savings, food security, investment in livestock and confirmed an outreach to the poor.41 Lessons from interviews and experience are that: •

Groups provide a safe place to save, easy access to credit, and social capital amongst members

Women from the Fala village Saving for Change group clap and gesture to show respect for members as they speak, at the group’s weekly meeting. Rebecca Blackwell / Oxfam America

Though income mobility has not been proven yet, members have stated how belonging to a saving group makes them more confident (women borrow in confidence from their peers when an emergency arises rather than going around the village begging for money) and gives them more options to actively manage their lives. Research needs to be inclusive of gender dynamics in order to better understand the context surrounding a project. In SfC, this includes understanding the perspectives of not only women, but men and other stakeholders.


Previous research on SfC and other saving programs indicate that they are a transparent and sustainable complement to formal and informal financial services.

The methodology is simple, efficient, and scalable. Because saving groups are self-selected and selfmanaged by rights-holders, they are a cost-effective model, requiring minimal infrastructure.

The methodology has undergone extensive and rigorous adaptation and evaluation. This allows OA and its partners to utilize hard evidence to validate strengths and weaknesses of the project.

Saving groups can be integrated platforms, serving as an effective and complementary approach to financial inclusion and other development initiatives.

Saving groups are as much about building social capital as bolstering financial inclusion. In fact, saving group members often value the solidarity and social capital they build as much as the financial products to which they gain access.42

CHALLENGES SfC focuses on women, but it is not a gender-focused project nor have the gender dynamics within the project been thoroughly explored. For example, women often report having an increased role in household decision-making, but the actual dynamics of this still need to be explored. Initial results suggest women often take part in decisions around every day expenses;

Research needs to be inclusive of gender dynamics in order to better understand the context surrounding a project.

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 21

Women from the Banakoro village Saving for Change group - dubbed Sabougnuma, or good deed-hold their weekly meeting. Rebecca Blackwell / Oxfam American

however, important purchases are still decided by men. A current study in Cambodia will evaluate how and if SfC influences women’s leadership within their households and communities. The project also leaves a “social capital puzzle” presented by contrasting results in the evaluation of SfC in Mali. Anthropological findings show that members do perceive having more village-level solidarity as a result of their membership in SfC, but data from the randomized controlled trial (RCT) do not demonstrate any impact of SfC on social capital. These seemingly disparate findings could be explained in part by the fact that many RCT questions measured whether women had formed new relationships, whereas all of the anthropological findings pointed to the strengthening of existing relationships.

RECOMMENDATIONS Promising connections have developed from SfC given its regional and cultural contexts. In the Agriculture Pilot in Mali, there is an interesting and productive dynamic between women and men. Although the program includes mostly women, men are very interested and have been involved in the allocation of plots to women and the creation of nurseries. Evidence points


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

to the need to train both men and women together to continue their collaborative work.43 This example is just one of which SfC groups can serve as key entry points for initiatives that take gender dimensions into consideration. Additionally, examination could look into the “sexual politics” of borrowing as the power balances between family members may shift or be confirmed if women group members are actually taking loans for the men in their families. This could mean an increase in a woman’s ability to make household decisions, but it could also disempower a woman if she is serving as a means for a man to receive capital. A deeper dive could be taken into exploring gender role dynamics as well as ultimately how empowering Savings groups truly are. Groups can also serve as strong platforms for advocacy. It is critical to involve governments, so that savings groups can keep on flourishing in an environment where they are supported by the government and where their rights as consumers are protected. Along with enabling women to have a voice at the local level, there is also a need for advocacy at the national level to preserve this informal financial inclusion system that increases the resilience and food security of women and their families.

GENDER JUSTICE IN THE PROGRAM TO PREVENT GENDERBASED VIOLENCE SUMMARY Since 2005, the Program to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in El Salvador (PPGV) has worked to eliminate gender-based violence there. While there have been major successes in putting this pervasive social problem on the political agenda through creating policy changes and training community leaders to serve as advocates, there is more work to be done. Indeed, gender-based violence has increased of late, and Oxfam America’s efforts—led by OA’s Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Office—have had to adjust in response. Still, identifying powerful levers for change has allowed OA and its partners to reach over 3,000 public officials and 100,000 youth. The program needs to do more to engage men in the training programs and to tailor educational messages about gender justice to those most apt to inflict or suffer violence.

of Gender Violence, which evolved into the PPGV. The program engages both men and women, with a particular focus on young people. It seeks to recruit them as active change agents by involving them in teaching and training programs, media and arts campaigns, intersectoral councils and networks. The program also raises awareness among politicians and public officials so that they can be advocates for the prevention of gender-based violence and help bring change to policies and practices. The program’s four strategic objectives are: •

to support the construction of more fair and equitable gender relations;

to contribute to preventing, punishing, and eradicating gender-based violence (GBV);

to influence and sensitize public officials and key political and social actors to promote changes in the effective application of public policies as well as daily practices; and

to generate critical thinking about the prevention of gender-based violence.44

THE INITIATIVE In 2005, Oxfam America joined forces with six other development and women’s rights organizations in El Salvador. Together, they launched the Campaign for the Prevention

Training of individuals in positions of power amplifies the program’s ability to raise awareness and sensitize the public to the importance of gender justice and the negative impacts of genderbased violence.

Throughout the entire program, the gender component is essential, as the sole purpose is to raise awareness of the causes and prevalence of gender-based violence and to work with Salvadoreans to combat and prevent this violence.

IMPACT AND RESULTS This program helped set in motion policy changes that ultimately resulted in new national legislation. The Special Integrated Law for a Life Free from Violence for Women, passed at the end of 2010, was a major policy victory for the

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 23

A demonstration on the Boulevard of Heroes in San Salvador; part of the Campaign for the Prevention of Gender Violence, “Entre Vos y Yo… Una Vida Diferente”(“Between You and Me, a Different Life”). Jeff Deutsch / Oxfam America

women’s movement in El Salvador. The PPGV also contributed to development of the Protocol for the Application of the Domestic Violence Law (also in 2010) to ensure that the law itself would be consistently enforced.

Training of individuals in positions of power amplifies the program’s ability to raise awareness and sensitize the public to the importance of gender justice and the negative impacts of gender-based violence.

One hundred sixty-five public officials and judges and over 3,000 police officers were trained to be aware of gender-based violence, to apply the relevant laws, and to address the problem effectively and compassionately.45 More than 100,000 students have participated in awareness-raising events as well.

Enlisting allies within the government of El Salvador who will push for long-term policy change is a key step toward achieving gender justice.

Providing awareness-raising events and workshops in the schools, whose curriculum is standardized, is the most effective way to influence the attitudes of young women and men.

Another core component of the PPGV program is Ventanas Cuidadanas (Citizen’s Windows). Too often, targets of gender violence avoid seeking help and try to cope with the trauma in private. Low-income women are trained as community leaders to help victims of violence navigate the justice and health systems.46 Ventanas Cuidadanas trained and organized 360 women leaders as part of a national network.

LESSONS LEARNED The campaign has worked at both the municipal and national levels to frame gender-based violence as a nonpartisan issue. OA staff members have learned important lessons about how best to spearhead broad-based cultural change:


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES The campaign prioritized the crucial importance of school settings in reaching young people “both because of the vulnerability of youth to GBV and their potential to respond to positive messages.”47 Sensitizing students to the problem of gender-based violence is essential because adolescence is often when patterns of gender violence begin.

A Salvadoran girl decorates the wall of her primary school, the Centro Educativo Tacuba, which has been declared a school free from gender violence. Jessica Erickson / Oxfam America



The PPGV program has helped raise awareness among people who have been directly involved in gender based violence as well as in Salvadoran society generally. Nonetheless, the problem remains underreported and under-prosecuted throughout the country. Policies that are in place are often not enforced.48 This prevents OA staff and its partners from accurately measuring the program’s impact.

The PPGV program needs to engage men equally in preventing and combating gender-based violence if it is to make El Salvador safer. Working with men on alternatives to hegemonic masculinity and maschismo should be an essential part of the work, along with empowering women to stand up for themselves. Female assertiveness often triggers a backlash,49 so it is imperative that incidences of gender-based violence be monitored and that safety nets exist for women seeking help.

Recently, instances of femicide and sexual violence against girls have risen along with increases in gang violence and organized crime. This has forced the program to adjust its intervention strategies—by limiting where Ventanas Ciudadanas participants can travel, for example, and by focusing more on training rather than direct intervention with victims of violence. Additionally, the program so far has been focusing on gender violence as a problem of heterosexual, gender-normative individuals. There is no discussion of same-sex violence or violence against individuals who identify as homosexual or transgender or any other identity outside of the binary of “man” and “woman.” It is also unclear if existing shelters and support systems are serving these unconventional populations.

Additionally, different programmatic strategies may be necessary on the municipal level, as local power dynamics, differing community support organizations, and lack of government capacity present challenges.50 There may be a need to work outside the system, focusing on safety nets and education more than officials and laws, and on chipping away at patriarchal thinking in families and communities. Rather than working mainly from the top down, assuming politicians will help spread awareness, OA and its partners need to engage individuals at all levels within communities to bring about change in a safe and effective manner.

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 25



Oxfam America initiated the FLAIR program (Farmer-Led Agricultural Innovation for Resilience) to boost productivity and food security for small-scale farmers in Cambodia and northern Vietnam. Improving gender relations among these farmers has proven to be a challenge. OA staff members were successful in engaging with leadership of a partner organization called Rachana to more actively address gender inequities within their own organization. Rachana broadened its strategic goals to include gender equity in all of its programs. The change is already showing promise. This underscores the value of engaging partners early on in concerns about gender justice.

Working with OA, Rachana hired a research consultant to help its staff develop the capacity to address its own gender issues. The consultant also helped to conduct a study for OA and Rachana staff members to understand the gender issues at play in the 10 Cambodian villages where they were then working. A key recommendation was an organization-wide strategy for infusing gender and women’s empowerment into Rachana’s agricultural development programs. That strategy is now being implemented. It helps Rachana’s staff members (1) better understand the complexity of gender norms in the villages where they work, (2) improve their technical capacity to mainstream gender into all aspects of the organization’s programming, and (3) beginning to work at the household level to promote gender mainstreaming in target areas in which they work.

THE INITIATIVE A core initiative of OA’s East Asia Regional Office, the FLAIR program was launched in 2010. The program’s official goal was to transform the farming practices of 1.5 million small-scale rice farmers in Cambodia and northern Vietnam by 2022. This would entail not only achieving food security in the face of climate change but also empowering women and men alike to innovate agriculturally, improve their food security, and secure their livelihoods in the face of drivers exacerbated by climate change.51 Despite many attempts, the program faced persistent challenges in improving gender equity among right holders that they and their partners served. OA did, however, receive a request for support from Rachana, its partner organization, to support a new emphasis on gender equity in its own work as part of its ongoing efforts. Rachana was committed to infusing this emphasis throughout its programs but felt ill equipped to do so on its own. The staff members saw themselves as service providers and as such, felt that working to challenge social norms or creating policy changes in the government were beyond their organizational capacity at that time.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

To effect change at the household level, Rachana has developed a two-day training program. Aimed at couples, it encourages husbands and wives to think about how gender is viewed in their culture and to work together in laying out a Gender Road Map for their families.52 Dara Cheng, program manager for Rachana, says that people who have participated in the training have clearly benefited. “We don’t tell them the right way to do things, but we let them discuss together [what issues they face] and then help them set a plan for what they want. It is a good bottom-up process.”53

LESSONS LEARNED Lessons Learned by OA: In supporting Rachana’s new emphasis on gender fairness, OA staff learned the importance of holding safe, non-judgmental conversations in which people can share their experiences of gender inequality. Both OA and Rachana staff members took part in these conversations, which reinforced the idea that gender inequality is a universal problem, not one unique to Rachana.

Partner RACHANA helped local farmers and a metal shop fabricator develop several prototype mechanical weeders for rice growers employing the (SRI). Chris Hufstader / Oxfam America


Lessons Learned by Rachana: Rachana staff learned how integral gender justice is to the success of other initiatives. Dara Cheng says, “It is really important that other NGOs not overlook gender equity because it will help poor farmers improve living conditions. If we only focus on other things and not gender, then happiness will not come to the families or the community. If we promote gender in the family and the community, things will be much better for families, communities and society. Living without gender equity, a country will not have real peace.”

REPLICABLE GOOD PRACTICES The use of a gender road map was an excellent tactic that other OA staff members and partners can and should consider for their own use. It allows rights holders themselves to identify gender inequities that they want to change. It also prompts them to develop their own strategies for doing so. This engages them as partners in the process and leads to solutions that are bettersuited to their particular situation. It also gives the rights holders a way to evaluate their progress. A strategy for change that is developed in this way is apt to be more effective in the long term than a strategy designed by outsiders.

The complexities of traditional gender norms and the myriad forces that reinforce them were a significant challenge for Rachana staff. One problem was OA’s expectation of faster results than Rachana was comfortable in pushing for. The in-depth research study commissioned at the outset helped identify areas needing focus, but undertaking it delayed actions that could have been taken earlier. Though Rachana and OA were already aware of what needed to be done, Rachana wanted its actions validated through the research study. OA staff members understand the importance of letting partners lead the process, but they concluded that more progress could have been made with a more actionoriented approach.

RECOMMENDATIONS In light of past programs, Oxfam America staff members have no doubt that their partners should take ownership of their own change practices. It increases the likelihood that change will be sustained long after a program has formally ended. This is particularly true in programs aimed at food security. Because women are such key players in food production, gender issues

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 27

Husbands and wives setting up their gender family planning in Cambodia. Dara Cheng / RACHANA

are inextricably linked to food security. It is therefore important to engage partner organizations in incorporating gender awareness in their program strategies from the start. OA partners that succeed in improving gender relations should be encouraged to share their experiences with other partners. While the cultural nuances of gender dynamics are likely to differ across geographic regions, there are likely to be enough similarities to aid in mainstreaming gender awareness across OA’s programs worldwide.


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

It is therefore important to engage partner organizations in incorporating gender awareness in their program strategies from the start.

Husbands and wives setting up their gender family planning in Cambodia. Dara Cheng / RACHANA

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 29

abbreviations and acronyms CAMEXCA Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean CIDOB Confederation of Indigenous People of Bolivia COICA Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River CONAXAMI

‌N ational Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining


East Asia Regional Office


Equitable Food Initiative


Farmer-led Agricultural Innovation for Resilience


Gender-Based Violence


Horn of Africa Regional Office


Internally displaced person


Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations


Oxfam America


Program to Prevent Gender-Based Violence


Sustainable Action Group


Saving for Change


Randomized Controlled Trial


Technology Innovation for Sustainable Societies


United States Regional Office


West Africa Regional Office


Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

Glossary Access—Access to resources implies that men and women are able to use and benefit from specific resources (material, financial, human, social, political, etc). Control—Control over resources implies that men and women can obtain access to a resource and can also make decisions about the use of that resource. For example, control over land means that women can access land (use it), can own land (can be the legal title-holders), and can make decisions about whether to sell or rent the land. Empowerment—Empowerment is about people taking control over their lives. It is about people pursuing their own goals, living according to their own values, developing self-reliance, and being able to make choices and influence; both individually and collectively - the decisions that affect their lives. Empowerment is a process, which can be long and complex. For women and men to be empowered, conditions have to be created to enable them to acquire the necessary resources, knowledge, political voice and organizational capacity. Gender—Gender refers to the socially constructed roles and responsibilities of women and men. This learned behavior makes up gender identity and determines gender roles. These roles and expectations are learned, changeable over time, and variable within and between cultures. Gender Action Plan—A Gender Action Plan is a based on the principle that development initiatives should incorporate the priorities and needs of both women and men and give them equal opportunities to access benefits and services. This is a common framework within which regionand country-specific strategies will be designed and implemented. In this action plan a set of time-bound and verifiable indicators are specified for monitoring implementation progress with clear responsibilities and resources. Gender Analysis—Gender analysis is a variety of methods used to understand the relationships between men and women, their access to

resources, their activities, and the constraints they face relative to each other. It provides a basis for robust analysis of the differences between women’s and men’s lives, and this addresses the possibility of analysis being based on incorrect assumptions and stereotypes. Gender Discrimination—Gender discrimination, may be characterized as unequal treatment or prejudicial treatment of an individual based solely on their gender. Gender Dis-Aggregated data—This implies that all data should be separated by sex in order to allow differential effects on men and women to be measured. Sex disaggregated data is quantitative statistical information on differences and inequalities between women and men. It is the collection of data on men and women separately in relation to all aspects of their functioning – ethnicity, class, caste, age, location. Gender Equality—Gender equality is equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys and is based on the premise that women and men should be treated in the same way. It is the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex in opportunities, in the allocation of resources and benefits or in access to services. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs, and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity among different groups of women and men. Gender Equity—Gender Equity refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men. The concept recognizes that women and men have different needs and power and that these differences should be identified and addressed with different approaches to produce outcomes that are equitable. It refers to the processes used to achieve gender equality. Equity involves fairness in representation, participation, and benefits afforded to women and men.

Gender Equality Results—Gender equality results refer to results that contribute to changing gender relations and reducing inequality between women and men, and boys and girls. These results contribute to the elimination of discrimination; to equal access to resources, opportunities and services; and to the advancement and protection of the human rights of women and girls. Gender Justice—Gender Justice refers to women and men having equal power over their lives. It also refers to living free from violence through changes in attitudes, ideas, and beliefs about gender relations, and through increased levels of women’s active engagement and critical leadership in institutions, decision-making, and change processes. Gender Relations—Gender relations are economic, social, and power relations between women and men. When we talk of social relations, gender relations require us to consider the power, benefits, and opportunities and rights of women and men relative to each other, rather than seeing women or men in isolation. Thus gender relations are the ways in which a culture or society defines rights, responsibilities, and the identities of men and women in relation to one another. Gender Sensitive Indicators— Gender sensitive indicators are developed to capture gender-related changes in society over time using quantitative and qualitative measures. These indicators are designed to respond to unequal gender relations, differential gender and sociocultural needs, and moving towards accomplishing equality for women/men/ boys and girls of different socio-cultural backgrounds in our programs. Resources—Resources are means and goods, including those that are economic (household income) or productive (land, equipment, tools, work, credit); political (capability for leadership, information and organization); and time.

Lessons learned in gender justice | OXFAM AMERICA 31

Notes 1



At Oxfam, “programs” refer to strategically aligned, mutually reinforcing long-term interventions that aim to have a 10- to 15year impact goal. “Projects are shorter-term interventions that, when combined, can make up a program. Oxfam America, LEAD, “ROPE II.” December 2008. Cardenas, Nora, Espinosa, Oscar and Patricia Ruiz Bravo. “Building Agendas: Gender and Indigenous Peoples”. Oxfam America: October 2011, pg. 51. From Jakob Kirkemann Boesen and Tomas Martin, Applying a Rights-Based Approach: An Inspirational Guide for Civil Society, Copenhagen: The Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2007: 11: “Every human being is a rights holder.…A rights-holder is entitled to rights, is entitled to claim rights, is entitled to hold the duty-bearer accountable [and] has a responsibility to respect the rights of others.”


Oxfam America, “Saving for Change-Research Overview.” 2012.


Indigenous Rights and Interculturality Program, Oxfam America, South American Regional Office, Program Strategy Paper, July 2010, pg. 3.


Cardenas, Nora, Espinosa, Oscar and Patricia Ruiz Bravo. “Building Agendas: Gender and Indigenous Peoples”. Oxfam America: October 2011, pg. 51.




Caffrey, Patricia, Mahla, Deepmala and Senait Regassa. “Gender Mainstreaming – Water: Washing Away Poverty and Injustice.” International Center for Research on Women. April 2009, pg 12 Oxfam America. “Harnessing Water for Sustainable Food Security: Ethiopia Water Program.” June 2012. Oxfam America. “Water Program Brochure, Horn of Africa Regional Office.” Undated document.

10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Interview with Sarah Kalloch, April 18, 2013. 13 Oxfam America, “What It Means To Be a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador.” Undated document. 14 Interview with Sarah Kalloch, April 18, 2013. 15 Oxfam America, “Sisters on the Planet 2010 International Women’s Day Lobby Day and Leadership Summit: Internal Assessment,” 2010.


16 Oxfam America, “International Women’s Day Report,” April 17, 2012. 17 Interview with Sarah Kalloch, April 18, 2013. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Callis, Amy, “Berkeley-Darfur Stoves: University of California Project,” undated document, p. 1. 21 Potential Energy (formerly Berkeley-Darfur Stoves), “Why Stoves?” http://www. potentialenergy.org/why-stoves/ (as of July 24, 2013).

35 World Bank, “Three Quarters of The World’s Poor Are ‘Unbanked’” http://econ.worldbank.org/ WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/0,,contentMDK:2317 3842~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~theSit ePK:469372,00.html April 19, 2012. 36 Oxfam America, “SfC Background – Jan 2012v3.” January 2012. 37 Oxfam America “Saving for Change Brochure, 2013.” 2013. 38 The Savix. “Savings Group Information Exchange” http://savingsgroups.com/

22 Callis, “Berkeley-Darfur Stoves,”,p. 1.

39 Oxfam America, “SfC Case Study for WRI.” January 10, 2013.

23 Oxfam America, “Darfur Stoves Project Impact Assessment Report,” February 2011, p. 2.

40 Oxfam America, “Saving for Change-Research Overview.” 2012.

24 Interview with Adam Bushara, May 16, 2013.

41 Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action. “Final Impact Evaluation of the Saving for Change Program in Mali, 2009-2012.” April 3, 2013.

25 Oxfam America, “Darfur Stoves Project Impact Assessment Report,” February 2011, p. 2. 26 Oxfam America, “Darfur Stoves Project Impact Assessment Report, ” February 2011, p. 2. 27 U.S. Department of Labor, “Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2001-2002: A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farmworkers. Research Report No. 9, 3,” March 2005, p. 9. http://www. doleta.gov/agworker/report9/naws_rpt9.pdf. (as of May 15, 2013).

42 Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action. “Final Impact Evaluation of the Saving for Change Program in Mali, 2009-2012.” April 3, 2013. 43 Oxfam America, “SfC Case Study for WRI.” January 10, 2013.

28 Goyen, Lucia, “Baseline Survey of the Women Farmworkers in the U.S,” Oxfam America, November 9, 2011, p. 2.

44 CAMEXCA GBV Brief for Resource Development, “Gender Equity Program in Central America Campaign to Prevent Gender Based Violence in El Salvador,” undated document, p. 1.

29 “The Equitable Food Initiative: Who We Are” web site. http://www.equitablefood.net/#!who_ we_are/c526. (as of May 15, 2013).

45 CAMEXCA GBV Brief for Resource Development, pg. 6

31 Ibid.

46 Roper, Laura. Two Impact Evaluations of the Program to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in El Salvador, pg. 4

32 Interview with Laura Inouye, April 18, 2013.

47 Ibid.

33 Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action. “Final Impact Evaluation of the Saving for Change Program in Mali, 2009-2012. April 3, 2013.

48 Roper, pg. 5

30 Interview with Laura Inouye, April 18, 2013.

34 Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action. “Final Impact Evaluation of the Saving for Change Program in Mali, 2009-2012.” April 3, 2013.

Oxfam America | Lessons learned in gender justice

49 Roper, pg. 7 50 Roper, pg. 10 51 FLAIR: Farmer-Led Agricultural Innovation for Resilience 2010-2022. Oxfam America East Asia Regional Office: Document dated January 2011, pg 20. 52 Interview with Dara Cheng, June 17, 2013. 53 Ibid.


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COVER: Dai Nghia Agriculture Cooperative at the SRI (system of rice intensification) farm in Dai Nghia commune, Chuong My district, Ha Tay province. Chau Doan/ Oxfam America

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