Gender and development People

Posted February 1999

Afghanistan | Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia | Costa Rica | Gambia | Honduras | Indonesia | Nepal | Namibia | Niger (1) | Niger (2) | Pakistan | Sikkim (India)

Good practices in gender mainstreaming and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

FAO project sheet: Afghanistan

Project titles: "Animal Health and Livestock Production Programme in Afghanistan"; "Promotion of Farmers' Participation through the Implementation of Animal Health and Production Improvement Modules in Afghanistan" (PIHAM).
Project duration: 3 years (1994-1997)
Executing agency/agencies: FAO
Implementing agency/agencies: Livestock in Development (LID)
Source of funds: UNDP


In 1994, UNDP amalgamated two separate livestock/veterinary projects in Afghanistan under the execution of FAO. The subsequent project, "Animal Health and Livestock Production Programme in Afghanistan, moved from a prior focus of rehabilitation to one of sustainable agricultural development, emphasising the active participation of the community in the development process. Activities included animal health and veterinary services; introduction of improved fodder and nutrition; and breeding and poultry development. These activities supported the rebuilding of Afghanistan's self-reliance and production capacities to produce livestock and livestock products backed by self-supporting veterinary services. In response to the need for more participatory approaches to be implemented in the livestock project, FAO developed the PIHAM sub-project in 1995. This project was founded on a generic programme developed by FAO and was based on the experiences of using participatory approaches elsewhere in Asia. Project staff, together with consultants from Livestock in Development (LID), undertook a concentrated process of methodology modification, field-testing, and replication, to arrive at an appropriate participatory approach for use in Afghanistan. Thus PIHAM was born.

Since its inception, PIHAM has acted as one of the key "vehicles for change" for the livestock project and its sub-activities, including the Women's Programme, driving the processes of exchange, reflection, analysis, and adjustment. Through the encouragement of participatory methodologies, it has created a "safe space" necessary for all project staff from the lowest to highest levels to discuss problems and share successes, both across horizontal and vertical organisational levels.

Specific changes resulting from the project

What was planned

To support gender-responsive participatory processes in agricultural planning, particularly in situations where it is difficult for both female and male technical staff to meet directly with rural women. It points to the fact that the knowledge and experience, as well as the needs and priorities of different household/community members must somehow be incorporated in planning. Otherwise, gender, and other socio-economically differentiated barriers to planning processes can have significantly negative consequences for the overall effectiveness of livestock interventions, from the grassroots level up to the policy level.

What was the strategy

The process of implementation was a move away from top-down, centrist approaches to those based on the identified needs of communities and grassroots implementors. The project's introduction of more participatory training, information gathering and monitoring methodologies through PIHAM, had clear impacts for vetenary field units and project staff in terms of highlighting farmers' roles in, and knowledge of, livestock production. Most importantly, this change of approach was instrumental in bringing to the attention of both project staff, and to villagers themselves, the critical role which women play in the management of livestock.

Who was involved

UNDP, FAO and project staff. LID (Livestock in Development, NGO from UK) for training.

Replication/spin effects

The new project phase continues under UNDP-funded "Sustainable Livestock Development for Food Security".

What was learned, factors contributing to success

For more information, contact:
Women in Development Service
Women and Population Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39.06.5705.5102 Fax: +39.06.5705.2004

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