Working with Gender Awareness

In November and December 2013, GRM undertook a gender analysis study.  The study revealed a lot of gender inequalities among project beneficiaries.  Among these were that women bore the greatest burden given their already existing reproductive roles.  There was inequitable access and control of resources and benefits from the SAMPII project. 

The study also noted that decision-making positions in the committees were in most cases held by men.   A gender mainstreaming strategy was developed and reviewed during workshops by GRM staff and key stakeholders in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.  Based on the gaps identified in the gender analysis report, this gender training material has been developed.

Although women make substantial contributions to agricultural production, men largely control the sale of crops and animals and use of the income.  The failure to value their work reduces women to virtual non-entities in economic transactions, the allocation of household resources, and a wider community decision-making.

Women have taken up a larger share of agricultural productive work than men; however, this is not reflected in national statistics.

Unfortunately, gender inequalities result in less food being grown, less income being earned, and higher levels of poverty and food insecurity.

The aim of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy is to support SAMP II staff in ensuring gender is mainstreamed.  Training strategies are in place to enhance and raise awareness on gender and improve the access and control of resources and benefits from the project by both men and women.

Each region now has a full time member of SAMP responsible for Gender and HIV Awareness.

REGIONAL STAFF

Ncobile Mdluli, Community Mobiliser, Gender, HIV, Nutrition and Food Security, Swaziland

Ncobile Mdluli joined SAMP in September as part of the group’s programme to drive HIV and Gender awareness throughout the projects in Swaziland, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

One of the biggest challenges Ncobile feels she will face is the gender issue and women’s access to control of resources.  The current status of no control affects food production and food security.

Ncobile aims to get the community to understand that gender is about all people and not just the female population and to tackle the fear that comes with discussing these issues.

Communication is very important and getting both men and women involved in training on gender and HIV is one of the challenges the SAMP initiative will address.

Metsing Tsehla, SAMP Gender and HIV Officer

Metsing joined SAMP just over a month ago (November 2014) to drive the programme’s agenda of improving the lives of community farmers with increased knowledge of gender awareness issues and HIV prevention.

Metsing has been involved in HIV issues for the past 12 years in Lesotho, a country that has one of the highest HIV prevalence in the world, and his knowledge will be put to good use in the SAMP programme.

His role now is to identify the issues that may be prevalent and incorporate these into the SAMP 2 programme.  One of the areas of concern are the fact that women are cleaning, cooking and taking care of the men and children, whilst still working in the fields most of the day.  The Gender equality programme aims to redress the awareness of this together with knowledge of women’s rights and in particular property rights.

In both rural and urban communities women lack the confidence to be leaders and generally see themselves as assistants or helpers.  The SAMP gender initiative aims to build confidence in women, helping them to empower themselves and take up stronger positions within the community.

Metsing will go into the field and team up with the community/production specialist to initiate dialogue and communication.

Vimbai Maposa SAMP Gender and HIV Social Mobiliser

Vimbai Maposa joined SAMP in September 2014 to spearhead the mainstreaming of Gender and HIV in SAMP Zimbabwe. Her role is to ensure Gender and HIV issues are part and parcel of programming in SAMP. It is to raise awareness   of community level project stakeholders and farmers in identified Gender and HIV issues

These include issues of division of labour where women are heavily burdened with household and farming chores. The mobiliser together with team members also has to work on ensuring that women have improved   access and control to resources and benefits from the project. Women are also not actively involved in decision making and leadership in the project.  The mobiliser together with team members aim to build confidence in women, helping to empower them to take up leadership positions in the community.