Enhancing the integration of gender into Zambia’s climate change responses

23 October 2017 – As part of the ongoing work to address gender issues in the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans for the agriculture sector in Zambia, FAO Zambia, in collaboration with UNDP Zambia, organized a four-day workshop in Siavonga, Zambia from 18 to 21 September 2017. The workshop was funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) as part of the activities of the Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans programme (NAP-Ag). 

Amongst the 22 participants that contributed actively in the training through sharing personal experiences and working together were staff of national ministries. These included staff of the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Gender; Ministry of National Development Planning; and Ministry of Transport and Communications. In addition, attendees from the University of Zambia and the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute contributed their research-oriented perspectives.

The workshop was designed to enhance the skills of trainees to mainstream (or integrate) gender issues in the planning, design, and implementation of climate change adaptation plans and projects in the agricultural sectors. The workshop content was organized so that participants first internalized why gender matters in climate change adaptation and by the end were confident to communicate the importance of gender equality and carry out gender mainstreaming. Interactive exercises (group work with case studies, role playing) were paired with PowerPoint presentations and extensive discussions to help participants draw on their substantial and varied experience, solidify new knowledge and apply it in practical terms. This workshop is linked to similar workshops that have taken place earlier this year in Uganda and in Kenya in October 2016. The training workshop was led by Sibyl Nelson from FAO Headquarters with additional facilitation by Arthur Asumani and Caoimhe Hughes (UNDP Zambia) as well as Reynolds Shula (FAO Zambia).

The focus of the first day of the workshop was on establishing a common understanding of key concepts and issues, including climate change impacts on agriculture in Zambia and related adaptation policies. Participants also reviewed evidence of the gender gap in agriculture, relevant gender equality policies, and were introduced to the concepts of gender analysis and gender mainstreaming. Later in the day, small group exercises were organized to consolidate ideas on the key gender issues relevant to climate change planning in agriculture in Zambia.  

In Zambia, almost 72% of the population are engaged in agricultural activities, of which almost 65% are women. Despite their role in agriculture, women tend to have less access than men to credit, land rights, and extension services, impairing their productivity and, most likely, constraining their capacity to adapt to climate change.

Days 2 and 3 focused on practicing how to address gender issues in adaptation planning. In small groups, participants conducted and presented their own gender analyses of adaptation policies. They also evaluated ways to better integrate gender into budgeting and planning within projects. These exercises were complemented with team-building and communications exercises to practice the art of persuading others on the importance of integrating gender into adaptation planning for agriculture. 

On the final day of the workshop, participants worked in small groups on the topic of monitoring and evaluation, including reviewing indicators they already work with for ways to better-incorporate measurements on gender-related changes. Substantial time was also spent on reflecting on ways to improve institutional capacity to address gender issues. The workshop concluded with each participant setting his or her own goals, and with a commitment by the workshop organizers to carry out follow up capacity support over the coming months.

“I feel that I can improve the way I mainstream gender in my activities, such as in report writing and budgeting. And I plan to include components on gender in trainings for extension staff – in this way we can reach the farmers’’ said Mr. Mulele Moses of the Ministry of Agriculture, Western Province.

The NAP-Ag Project in Zambia aims to strengthen the formulation and implementation of a NAP across sectors and successfully mainstream climate change adaptation into the agricultural sectors. Priority action areas include (1) guarantee food security through diversification and promotion of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices for crop, livestock and fisheries production including conservation of germplasm for land races and their wild relatives; (2) enhance decentralized climate information services for early warning and long-term projections on the effects of climate change to support sustainable management of the production systems, infrastructure development and public health; and (3) mainstream climate change adaptation into country development plans and strategies.

“I am now more convinced about how I can speak about gender,” concluded Ms. Linda N. Chonya, Ministry of National Development Planning.