Gender in Development Work, Is It Really New?

gender and development

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gender as a key consideration in development work is not new.

It is just being given greater consideration across different sectors and by more actors.

There is  also a shift in the primary, if not singular focus on the challenges and inequities faced by women and girls to include issues, impacts, and challenges faced by men and boys.

In fact, gender and development has been a topic in academic circles since the 1950s. It gained greater popularity and saw more forward action in the 1970s.

So, is it new to the Caribbean?

Absolutely not, as in the global community there is a greater focus and increased consideration by more actors in development.  One need not go further than The Message (1976), by Neville Martin which included political praise for  Jamaica’s Employment (Equal Pay for Men and Women) Act of 1975.

The lines “He gave I a message to all those people who nuh love progress, say to jook them with land lease, say to jook with land lease, jook them with the pioneer corps, jook them with the pioneer corps,  jook them with JAMAL, then you jook them with free education, jook them with free education, equal pay for women, equal pay for women”; jook them with the minimum wage”. Speaks to gender consideration in development in Jamaica for at least four decades.

In 1998, I joined the USAID funded ACES Project of the Construction Resource and Development Centre (CRDC), a Jamaican not-for-profit and Environmental NGO, that was established in 1983 to deliver and support work for improving shelter standards in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Gender was a key component in the development of all training materials, social marketing, design and development of solutions, as well as in the management arrangement for solutions to be administered by community groups― where applicable.

The Women’s Construction Collective (WCC), a successful project of the CRDC, also established in 1983, with the purpose being― to provide employment, as well as to increase and improve the status and participation of women in Jamaica’s construction sector is another example of gender consideration.  The first cohort comprised of women from the inner-city community of Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica.

WCC shared compound with CRDC and part of my responsibility was to manage the information center that was served by both entities. In fact, though I was on a contract to the ACES Project (Advancing Cooperation for Water, Sanitation, Health and Environment), I quickly came to learn that once with CRDC you were expected to support and promote all its projects, current, and independent. With that came the opportunity to support the WCC and WHAL (The Women’s Housing Advice Line), and the Sanitation Support Unit (SSU).

Given, the connection between water, sanitation, health, hygiene, environment, women, shelter, and disaster mitigation (all areas of priority focus for CRDC)― it made sense that the projects were designed to support each other; and that together they provided a wholistic approach to problem solving under the CRDC banner, as well as through their individual operations.

The Sanitation Support Unit (based in Montego Bay),  was an Urban Environmental Sanitation Program. SSU was also funded by USAID, and as with the ACES Project, the Environment Health Project (EHP) was the Washington DC, based USAID implementing partner.

SSU worked with communities across Jamaica and was a key co-implementation partner to the ACES Project, though its core catchment communities were Rose Heights and Norwood in Montego Bay.

The  focus of SSU was the provision of:

  • safe and affordable sanitation solution that suit the protected the environment (hence the introduction of the VIP latrines, and upgraded models developed under the ACES Project).
  • hygiene and behavior change training, solutions, and improved sanitation infrastructure for improved health;
  • training in related areas, and the delivery of solutions related to safe-rooves and retrofitting of on its own as well as in collaboration with ACES;
  • the disposal of solid waste, food safety, black and grey water were addressed by both projects, and in all instances and for every intervention gender consideration, and gender responsive solutions were a big consideration.

Gender in development is therefore not new, and certainly not new in the Caribbean. My experience at CRDC is also not the only one, but it was among the earliest.

Planners and programme designers have been including gender in development interventions for decades. However, with the growth of the evaluation movement, greater focus on equity and inclusion by donors, and gender mainstreaming as public policy in many jurisdictions has resulted in increased interest and advanced application of gender in development.

Courses such as “Equity-focused and Gender-responsive evaluation”, delivered by EvalPartners, in collaboration with UNICEF, and the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), has also served to increase the consciousness of evaluators and planners, alike when it comes to including gender in development interventions.

Increased focus on development interventions in the sphere of Market Systems Development is also driving the popularity and integration of gender in development in the developing world.

So, why did I even think it necessary to write this post?

I have found that many individuals in human resources, and contractors are very excited by the concept and for some it seems so new that they are in doubt that there are significant pools of individuals with experience in applying gender in development in the developing as well as the developed world.

I have also found that some professionals new to development work or performance management and measurement seem to believe this is a new concept and practice.

While it might be a big deal, it is certainly not new.

Thank you for sharing your early journey into the sphere of gender and development.

We look forward to hearing stories from Canada, the Caribbean, and the developing world in particular.

By Meegan Scott

 


Glossary

Who nuh love progress – who do not like or act to support progress

Jook – jab, poke, or slap (used figuratively in post and song)

Land Lease – A programme aimed a redistribution of land and income in rural Jamaica

A Day in The Life of an International Development Consultant

Churning Out a Complex Development Solution                                                          from an Off the Beaten Path Business Model

thinking 2 robot-507811_1920

 

Today is Day 2 designing a complex social solution.

It is 3:45 am and I’ve just torn myself away from the bathroom mirror.   It is the end of another quick check in on the cute things about my face; and that intense― get-ready-to- work hunt for invisible whiteheads.

You won’t find me reading the news, and checking Emails this morning.

Questions, outcomes, statistics, theories of change, assumptions, metrics, strategies, tactics, and partnerships for ensuring the intervention delivers the intended and desired change are running around in my head.

There goes the reason the bed cannot hold, even after a short visit.

Costing the solution, identifying traditional and creative funding sources are dragging, spinning, loading, rumbling, and pausing in my head like the computer left running last night and the night before.  A kind of abuse that happens to the computer once in a blue moon; but just another super bootcamp for my brain.

I’d set the clock for two, but can’t remember hearing it alarm.  Strange! I checked the alarm button― ahem, someone had turned if off.  And that someone is me!

None of my associates are engaged on this project, it is just my partnering-client and I.  Our last WhatsApp meeting ended after 11:00 last night.  Earlier that day we had a      2-hour marathon interrogating the results chain, and theory of change for the program that will be supported by eight complex projects. That session broke the new idea dam, leaving a rush of idea flow to follow me to bed.  The play for connecting all the dots, spotting the risks, and opportunities are flowing in both our heads. He can now see― how his idea could work.  It has exploded from three themes to eight, each with a supporting project, a multi-sector approach, desired partners, real-time change & benefits, gender lens, wealth generation, and environmental interventions―Whoa!

That is the beauty, reward, and tax for planning such interventions with the end in mind; with the intended beneficiaries at the center; with what success looks like and how it will be measured.  Day 2 is― Day 3 in reality. A group of us had done a virtual brainstorm and backcasting at the second genesis of it all.

It seems never-ending, planning-in opportunities for learning, curating lessons learnt, and plugging them back into strategy and execution for driving success and innovation. Finding creative ways to ensure rights, duties, and responsibilities can be upheld and are affordable in terms of cost related to behavior change and actions.

woman-2994536_research thinkIt’s clear―planning like this makes no bones about disrupting regular sleep and office time. Passion, and deep connections serve to wake you up, and keep you chained to the computer, library, or phone; and web meetings occur long past regular work hours. Research into similar interventions, stakeholder needs, national plans and strategy documents, newspaper articles, dialogue, questions, calls for additional organizational information, re-reading and checking for risks, ambitions, and opportunities― feels endless.

But I’ll complete the results chain by 5:45 am.  Well that’s what I thought!  I am still integrating the financial viability component, I developed after a meeting of minds with my fellow consultant in the Fintech Sector.  This is when the imagination can get wild dreaming up the glimmer and glam of gamified interventions plus real self-sufficiency, financing, stakeholders, and owners that can be brought to the intervention.

My mind pulls up a scene from FAME ( the American TV Show I love), Solid Gold, a Jamaican Festival Performance, an NDTC Production, then a Chorale by The University Singers (UWI, Mona), the Jamaican Folk Singers, and of course a Production at the Julliard School (New York) ―I can see the hook and entertainment unfold in the solution for a complex social problem.  It is now six thirty-seven, and I am still on the results chain. I am also watching the clock; I need to pounce on an opportunity in Stuttgart (6 hours ahead of Toronto).

This is gung-ho backed by strategic thinking and intimate knowledge of the problem. Ever heard of gung-ho backed by strategic thinking? Like multi-tasking we are on top of this one. Trick is― you have to know when and what you can take on together, in both cases.

Energy is high and I could grow the intervention even bigger, but I know that beast must be contained― before complex kills both productivity and the goose that will lay the golden eggs.

Big vision, big dream, big picture, BIG is how we think.  But there goes that voice with the cold splash of wisdom, whispering― SMART, doable, less pain Meegan!  “Too complex―what do you mean?” “It is very doable”.  Ah, no problem, as my client-partner and I go through the crucial questions, reflect, share feedback, and negotiate the programme scope I’ll be reined in somewhat―yes, only somewhat.  That is the trouble with partnering this way, versus a regular client-service provider partnership.

Goodness gracious me, it is minutes to eight, “Looks like exercise isn’t going to happen today”.  I have a sales pipeline to check in on, publication coordination to act on, other solutions to deliver. I make a somewhat shaky resolve to exercise if it is even midnight tonight―we’ll see. Results chain finally done, hurray.  But I’m getting a vibe to get deeper into the costing― “hold your horses, Mam, that is not on your agenda for today”.

It is almost 10:00 am. My eyes take their on-the-hour dart to the clock; first the one on the computer; then the one strategically positioned across the room from my desk. That is the one I trust, maybe because the numbers are bigger it seems to be more accurate in my mind―lol.  The excitement, and extra work on the brain leaves me peckish more often. I am very hungry at ten instead of at one or two in the afternoon.   I still have the executive summary for the project to write, so I am still chained to that deliverable.

Crunchy Chicken piece

Brain rebellion sets in―I want to do something fun, to eat my lunch, crunchy chicken at the top of mind and taste buds. Haven’t had that in a long time. The crave is the price I pay for not exercising, eating, or sleeping on time.  A cup of hot chocolate rescues me from the hauntings for a while.

I yield to hunger and a power nap at 11:00 am.   At 1:00 pm, I have a face-to-face work meeting.  Two hours later I settle down to check Emails, send a reminder about an overdue account, produce creatives for marketing, double check my sales pipeline, and things to do list― I want to make sure nothing important is being left behind.

6:00 pm: half-an-hour executive to executive give back.

7:00 pm:  supper and family chit chat.

8:00 pm:  quick meeting, followed by work on the proposal, and plan for tomorrow.

10:00 pm: Modified exercise, household chores, get ready for bed and tomorrow.

Some days, the flow is not orderly textbook style in this kind of operation, things can get productively messy, and healthy goes on pause―that is reality!

Thanks for having read.. Share your experience of the all but typical day.

Copyright © 2019 Meegan Scott, Magate Wildhorse.  All rights reserved

Marketing Change: Climate Resilience & Green Fund Programs

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