SDC (Swiss development cooperation) is collecting and capitalising experiences on the contribution of livestock projects to gender issues. Gender aspects are to be understood as the "practical needs" on one hand (access to technologies, welfare) and as the "strategic needs" on the other hand (revising rules and regulations, long term improvement of women's position). SDC main focus in this study to examine the following hypothesis:
Is livestock a privileged entry point to address and promote gender aspects in rural areas of developing countries?
In this context I would appreciate if you could report and comment your experiences regarding the following points and questions:
1. General conditions: Across all regions in the world, both women and men are engaged in livestock production. However, the division of labour, level of responsibility, and ownership differs widely among societies. Social cultural, economic and political factors as well as institutional structure and legal parameters have a strong influence on the promotion of gender aspects. In your opinion, what are the most important points to consider in this context?
2. Access to land, capital and knowledge: Livestock ownership patterns appear more equitable than that of other assets (land, capital, knowledge). What are your experiences in term of access and/or control of livestock ? What are special points and pitfalls which need to be taken into consideration?
3. Ownership of different livestock species: Men and women tend to own different animal species. Often cattle and larger animals are owned by men, while goat keeping and backyard poultry production are largely women's domains. Do you share this opinion and what are your experiences? Does the number of livestock have any influence?
4. Responsibilities and division of labour: Men and women tend to have different responsibilities regardless of who owns the animal. Women are often responsible for the care of young animals, for keeping stalls clean or milking. Herding, breeding, slaughtering and management and administration are, in many societies, mainly done by men . What are your experiences? Do traditional responsibilities and division of labour change over the time?
5. Role of livestock in household nutrition: If women are involved in livestock production (cows, goats) nutrition level of the family tend to improve. Projects with a gender component in livestock production tend to have stronger impact on nutrition level of the family than gender components in crop production sector. Do you agree with this opinion?
6. Marketing of livestock products and household economy: At household level, transformation of milk is mainly done by women while the sale of (greater quantities) products is often executed by men. If this hypothesis is holds, it means that cash resulting from selling of milk products is controlled by men and often invested in sectors than livestock. What are your experiences in this context?
7. Gender aspect in project formulation: For an increasing number of organisations participation of farmers is becoming an important goal. Many project papers mention the importance of gender aspects and gender aspects are often included in the overall project goals. But looking into the operation plans, gender aspects are often lacking. How do you think gender aspects could be better integrated in operation plans and what would be the consequences?
8. Training and approaches: The overall aim of gender training is to increase the awareness, knowledge, skills, and behaviour in relation to gender of all participants Today mostly participatory methods are used to initiate gender training. Which experiences have you made in gender training (best practices, pitfalls)?
9. Strengthening of gender aspects: In relation to the promotion of gender aspects in rural areas of developing countries, there are two different attitudes. Some people are of the opinion that the approach is more important than the content of the training. On the other hand it is reported that the entry point is very important for achieving sustainable results in gender promotion. In this context livestock sub-sector is a privileged entry point. What is your opinion and your experiences regarding the approach and content of training? Do you think that livestock sub-sector is a privileged entry point and why?
10 Best practices and pitfalls in livestock projects: In your opinion, which are best practices and pitfalls in livestock projects in relation with gender aspects. Please comment your experiences.
I thank you for providing comments on the above mentioned points in English, German French or Spanish. If you have interesting literature to underline your opinion, please forward it to me. Please send your comments until end of march 2000. The findings of the study will be presented on may 12, at a workshop which SDC is organising in Bern on the topic of Livestock's contribution to development.
I am looking forward to your comments
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