Considering gender is not natural

Even in projects, where participatory methods are regularly applied, it is not clear whether these methods equally approach women and men, poor and richer members of the community.
A survey conducted on two development projects involved with natural resource management in India revealed that PRAs are unlikely to be equally accessible or open to all sections of the community. Initial PRA activities of the projects have rarely involved a full cross section of the village community. In the Kribcondo-British Rained Farming Project very few women attended the firs PRAs, their involvement was discontinuous and they did not have a role in the planning sessions.
 A “Gender Analysis” will reveal specific details
Caution is needed, however, in treating "women" as a single group as shown in the example of TG-HDP time use charts. Women's access to the public meetings of PRA would vary with age, marital status, religion and class.
There is therefore a need for a significant modification of the PRA methodology in terms of social context, timing and techniques and careful adaptation to the local conditions. Participatory methods could increase the opportunities for women's participation. There is a need to create non-public environments in which women staff spend time. Once participatory methods are adapted to the needs of women, they enjoy expressing their needs and abilities through this route.
Two important points must be stated:

  • The results of gender analysis should be used at all stages of the project cycle including discussions with government officials. Gender analysis itself is no guarantee that project objectives will be reached, the information must be used to design appropriate project and interventions.
  • Women farmers themselves should provide the answers to questions about women farmers. Men tend to understate their wives' roles and may be unable to describe accurately the task in which they do not directly participate. Moreover, responses should be verified by direct observation as women sometimes play down their own agricultural role.

Some projects in Asia have already developed successful tools for integrating the gender approach in their activities, however, these activities are generally not related to land use planning (e.g. the gender approach in agricultural extension of the Bondoc Development Program in the Philippines). Nevertheless, these approaches and experiences can be easily adapted to the needs in participatory land use planning.

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