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المنتدى العالمي المعني بالأمن الغذائي والتغذية

Re: Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

Yannick De Mol

About Men’s voice

I wish to share with you elements about the FAO-Dimitra Clubs approach regarding this point mentioned by Clare. Andrea Sanchez already presented the approach last week but if you need more info : http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4706e.pdf or http://www.fao.org/dimitra/en/.

Striving for gender equality is indeed an important prerequisite for viable and sustainable rural development. So, a strong awareness of gender is woven into all the Dimitra Clubs’ activities. Of course, much importance is given to strengthening the visibility of women and their ability to take part in decision-making. But the approach does not focus only on women, a lot of attention goes on the relations between men and women, with strong emphasis on encouraging the involvement of men and on the expression of the respective needs of women and men. Both play an active and equal role in the life of the clubs. It is clearly the most efficient way to trigger gender equality at community level, working with local institutions (traditional and political authorities, producers organisations, etc.) often composed of men. For this process to succeed, identification of the partner organisation (that will accompany the Dimitra Clubs) and capacity development on the long term is essential and can be challenging. Switching to engaging equally women and men takes knowledge of the context, skills and time.

The case of Isangi in DR Congo is interesting on this matter. In the Tshopo Province, in the northeast of the country, traditional schemes of labour division between men and women have been questioned and sometimes broken. Tshopo is covered by the rainforest and watered by the Congo River and its tributaries. On this huge territory, fishing is a key economic activity, traditionally controlled by men. However, recently, women have begun to make their contribution, in the village of Isangi for instance: “equality and the gender division of responsibility were discussed in the club for the first time. We have realized that women can also play a proactive role in fishing activities,” said Henri, one of club’s members. Behaviours have gradually changed and today women carry out tasks that were previously attributed to men, just like fishing. This redefinition of women’s roles by the community increased the household’s fish catches and consequently their incomes. As a result, their diet is now more varied and balanced. This example is mentioned in a video of the series FAO produced last year: http://www.fao.org/dimitra/dimitra-clubs/en/