Capacity-building, knowledge management for gender equality
A new FAO/IFAD joint programme aims at improving the effectiveness of anti-poverty operations through gender mainstreaming.
FAO and IFAD launched in May 2009 a two-year worldwide programme to promote gender equality through capacity-building and knowledge management. The $1.5 million grant programme forms part of IFAD's global framework for mainstreaming gender concerns in its development projects, project portfolio and thematic work.
The overall goal of the grant programme is to contribute to rural poverty reduction through improved gender equality and women's empowerment. The purpose is to improve the effectiveness of operations undertaken by IFAD and its field partners to reduce rural poverty.
FAO was identified by IFAD as partner – both grant recipient and implementing agency – thanks to the two agencies' common focus on agriculture and rural livelihoods and the longstanding collaboration between IFAD's thematic group on gender and FAO's Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division. The new initiative also builds on previous successful collaboration between FAO's Socio-economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programme and IFAD's Western and Central Africa Division.
The partnership is expected to offer benefits to both organizations on several fonts. First, it will enable them to share resources and establish a dialogue between IFAD and FAO's regional gender focal points. It will harmonize the agencies' policy responses and strengthen existing collaboration with IFAD's regional programmes that use SEAGA trainers and materials. Just as importantly, it will broaden and further develop FAO's capacity-building activities in various fields and at differing levels - such as SEAGA and gender statistics - in collaboration with IFAD.
Regional work plans provide for a range of activities. Capacity building will include stand-alone workshops, for either general or thematic gender training according to need and regional priorities, or training of trainers' workshops to create a network of gender specialists serving both IFAD and FAO country/regional operations. The programme will provides study tours and exchange visits aimed at fostering networking among gender specialists/project gender focal points and promoting horizontal learning with and across regions and countries.
Training/sensitization sessions on gender will be added or incorporated into IFAD-supported country and regional events, such as start-up workshops, regional portfolio reviews, management training sessions, regional/country learning events, multi-donor initiatives and policy forums. On-the-job training and backstopping will be provided through field visits by specialists as well as e-networking with participants in training activities to assist them in applying acquired knowledge and skills to their specific work situation.
Learning and knowledge management activities will include participatory action learning and research aimed at creating networks of gender specialists and project gender focal points, and preparation of case studies for use in advocacy and policy dialogue. Also planned are annual regional competitions, which will identify and disseminate examples of gender mainstreaming successes and innovations and promote an "innovation culture" that makes learning and good practices more widely available to practitioners, policy-makers and the development community as a whole. Activities of global interest will include a final learning and sharing event, and preparation of FAO/IFAD joint policy briefs on key themes relevant to rural women.
To address regional differences - in terms of needs, strategic priorities, maturity and thematic experience in dealing with gender issues - a mix of activities is foreseen. For example, in West and Central Africa, the programme will build on previous regional SEAGA activities to create a critical mass of SEAGA master facilitators to support gender mainstreaming in projects. In Asia and the Pacific, planned initiatives include a microfinance study in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while activities in Latin America and the Caribbean aim at consolidating gender mainstreaming strategies in IFAD-financed projects.