NGO Another Way (Stichting Bakens Verzet), 1018 AM Amsterdam, Netherlands.
SELF-FINANCING, ECOLOGICAL, SUSTAINABLE, LOCAL INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS FOR THE WORLD’S POOR
Edition 10: 17 May, 2009
08.20 Respect for women’s rights.
The project text does not boast the numerous advantages it brings to women in the project area.
Populist gender-based and feminist slogans are not used.
This project recognises the terms of both the Draft charter for the rights of african women, Addis Abeba 28th March 2003 and of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990 , Human Rights charters and charters on the rights of women and children in general.
See also how how “Women often end up being the shock absorbers of food security” in Quisumbing A. et al, Helping Women Respond to the Global Food Price Crisis, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Policy Brief 7, Washington, October 2008.
For information on the relationship between
women’s rights and the Millennium Development Goals see Corner L., Making the MDGs Work for All – Gender
Responsive Rights-Based Approaches to the MDGs, United Nations Development
Fund for Women (UNIFEM),
On page 7 of her report Ms Corner cites the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations as follows:
“Four basic principles must be met in a rights-based approach. [Source : Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Draft Guidelines: A Human Rights Approach to Poverty Reduction Strategies. http://www.unhchr.ch/development/povertyfinal.html [accessed April 2008]. ”
Ms Corner continues:
“Each explicitly includes gender equality between women and men and a gender perspective that recognizes that women have different roles from men and therefore different needs, priorities and specific rights. The four principles are:
participation in the process of decision-making by all those who are potentially affected, particularly women and poor people;
accountability that enables rights-holders—females and males—to claim their rights and ensures that the State fulfils its obligations as duty bearer;
empowerment that gives women and men the power, capacities, capabilities and access to resources to enable them to change their own lives;
non-discrimination and specific
attention to vulnerable groups. Discrimination is defined as ‘any distinction,
exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or
purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by
women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and
women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic,
social, cultural, civil or any other field. [Source :United Nations. 1979. The
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.(1979),
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm [accessed April 2008]. ”
In her preface to Ms Corner’s work, Dr Jean D’Cunha writes (p. vii) “The MDGs appear as stand-alone goals, blurring multi-sector links between all goals, targets and indicators, including the cross-cutting gender link”
Projects under the Model for self-financing, ecological, sustainable local integrated projects provide solutions to these inter-action issues.
08.20.01 Majority participation of women in the project structures.
The 200 health clubs formed provide organisational platforms form women. These are the very first structures created during project execution. As a result of this local organisation in groups women are put in a position to participate en masse at the meetings where the tank commissions, the first level of social representation, are chosen. All adults from the 40-50 families to be served by each (future) water tank installation participate in these meetings. The tank commissions will usually be formed by 3 to 7 members. As a result of organised voting by women, most, if not all, of the tank commission members are expected to be women.
Each tank commission nominates a member to the well commission to which the tank commission refers. The tank commission nominee can be either a tank commission member or another person from the tank commission area. Since most of the tank commission members will usually be women, they can be expected to nominate a female representative to the well commission. A majority of the 5-9 members of the well commission can therefore also be expected to be women.
Each well commission nominates a member to the central committee of the project. The well commission nominee can be either a well commission member or another person from the well commission area. Since most of the well commission members will usually be women, they can be expected to nominate a female representative to the central project committee. A majority of the 35-45 members of the project-level central committee (the project “parliament”) can therefore also be expected to be women.
The project central committee chooses the members of the project management ( the project “government”). Since a majority of the members of the central committee should be women, women are expected to be well represented at project management level too.
Obviously men are never excluded from participation in the management of the project structures. However the system described should guarantee a majority participation of women in management at all project levels. This is important, as women are in general the most directly interested in and affected by most of the project structures. They stand to profit most from the success of the project.
Management jobs at all levels are fully paid within the framework of the local money system. This may make participation by men less attractive to them as the use they make of their local money income is subject to more stringent social control than might be the case with formal money payments.
08.20.02 Reduction of the work load on women.
The services placed at the disposal of women under the project contribute to a substantial reduction of the work load on them. They no longer need to fetch water. They no longer need to collect wood for cooking purposes. Washing can be done at well-commission level at a distance not usually exceeding 0,75km. Should they so prefer, women can also choose to have a washing place installed next to their own local water tank installations.
Improvement in the living conditions of women will go together with an increase in the health of their children. Children will wnjoy a varied diet. They will be able to go to school . Their general health should improve. Women are expected to have more time available to dedicate to paid productive activities.
08.20.03 Increase in women’s income.
Women, including the poorest, will benefit from the local money system installed and from the interest-free micro-credit system set up. They should have a majority participation in decision-making as described in section 08.20.01 above.
The local money system is based on the perceived value of an hour’s work. Activities take place in a local and competitive environment. The harder, the more difficult or the less pleasant the work, the higher its value on the local market. Women who under the traditional economic environment are less paid to do the heaviest work should be better paid under the local money systems than under the formal money one.
The interest-free micro-credit structure should enable women to make formal money investments for the purchase of capital goods to increase their productivity. The management of the Cooperative Local Development Fund should be controlled by women. Women should therefore be able to ensure that their priorities are respected in the management of the available funds.
Cooperative buying groups are also expected to be set up at tank commission, well commission and project level.
08.20.04 Women’s health.
Women will benefit from improved conditions of health :
First, through the supply of clean drinking water, drainage of stagnant surface waters especially in village centres and around water tanks and wells.
Secondly, through the supply of complete domestic sanitation systems,
Thirdly, through hygiene education courses part of the activities of the Health Clubs of which they will be members.
Fourthly, through the elimination of smoke in and around their homes.
Fifthly as a result of a more varied diet.
Sixthly, (with the passage of some time) through the availability of a complete range of medical services, including the services of a nurse at tank commission level, of a doctor and bicycle ambulance at well-commission level, and of a hospital at project level. Medical dispensaries will be available at well-commission level.
08.20.05 Women’s education.
Women will benefit from improved education facilities as follows:
First, through hygiene education courses part of the activities of the Health Clubs they are members of.
Secondly, through the study rooms put at their disposal at tank commission level.
Thirdly, through evening classes held in the currently available school facilities.
Fourthly, and subject always to the availability of teachers, through the construction of primary schools at tank commission level, and intermediate schools at well commission level.
NEW HORIZONS FOR DEVELOPMENT: SOME SHORT POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS
MORE ON SOME BASIC ISSUES COVERED BY THE MODEL:
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