20 December 2018
Posteado en : Entrevista
Helena Zefanias Lowe, gender consultant for the Local Development project in Angola, tells us about her role in this project. She also highlights the role that Angolan women currently play.
What is your role in the project?
One of the requirements of the project was to have strategies to ensure that women would also benefit from the Local Development project in Angola, therefore, they have created spaces so that the whole FAS team can receive information on gender and masculinity. My role has been to train these FAS teams on this.
How is this subject being transferred to the FAS staff?
The first thing we did was to make a needs diagnosis and, from there, we did some basic training which FIIAPP workers participated in; 85% of them have been able to participate in some way.
In addition, we looked at how to reinforce female leadership within the project. All the female staff of the FAS have participated in workshops on women’s leadership and some of them have been promoted.
We have also developed some tools, such as a gender strategy, for the entity. The strategy will allow the FAS to use the competence that has been developed and with it, the internal team of 12 gender trainers will be able to know which areas they work in. The proposal is to continue working within the FAS teams and in the municipal structures of Angola, since services are provided to them.
On the other hand, in Angola we are working with the Community Development Agents, ADECOS, so that they are clear on how to reach women. To be an ADECO you must be able to read and write but many women do not. The strategy gives some guidance on this.
What role do women play right now in Angolan society?
Angolan women play a very important role. Angola is a country that has been at war for 40 years and, when there is a conflict, women tend to assume a series of responsibilities when they are alone. This has meant that they have organised themselves quickly and have sought strategies to continue working, not only as mothers and wives, but also as economic agents.
The FAS is working, with the support of the FIIAPP, on productive inclusion. Through it, attempts have been made to finance initiatives for female entrepreneurs.
On the other hand, the political framework is also very important. Angola is better placed than Spain when it comes to women. In this African country there are around 36% women in the Government and in Parliament. The challenge is to ensure that the presence of these women is transferred to other areas in general, e.g. living conditions, health, education… etc.
What benefits can the project bring?
There are several benefits. The FAS works, in principle, with people who have difficulties reaching resources. For example, by putting health centres or schools closer to the community, there is a direct benefit as more children will be able to go to school and be healthy.
Also, there is a benefit from the point of view of the conditions of women, men, and the elderly. There are also benefits when it comes to improving the economy, as well as public works and productive inclusion projects designed to deliver financial products to people, mainly women.
The FAS has defined a positive discrimination strategy, which means putting women first in all the projects it does. In addition, we are working to ensure that women hold management positions within the institution itself.
What role is FIIAPP playing in this gender focus? Is it supervising any gender issues?
The FIIAPP is strengthening the capacity of the FAS to manage this project and ensure that the quality of the work being done meets the objectives that had been defined before. Regarding gender, I provide the resources and as part of the follow-up that the FIIAPP gives to the projects, there is someone responsible forguaranteeing that gender analysis is carried out.
What’s more, the fact that I was present at the FIIAPP headquarters shows the role that this institution wants to develop. In this sense, I believe that it has been a cooperation between both the FAS and the FIIAPP because everyone wins.
Do you consider that society is increasingly aware of the importance of gender equality?
Yes. I think so. There is an increasing amount of awareness and an increasing number of complaints. In Portuguese we have an expression that is “do not put a spoon into the relationship between a husband and wife” We put the spoon into the issue of gender. For me, the greater visibility of the issue of violence, including discrimination at the institutional level, is the result of greater awareness, which is why people are speaking out.
What are the most pressing challenges to make equality between men and women a reality?
The first challenge is for each institution to know what it is they are looking for. I really like an expression that English cooperation uses which is “you have to take care not to leave anyone behind”, and that is our main challenge.
I have worked on gender issues for 40 years. I have been in situations in which people believe that gender equality is for women to start doing what men do and that is not the case. What we want is a just society for all and this is the biggest challenge. At the beginning, the projects always worked with people at the project level and did not touch the home level because they are a private matter, and now we deal with private matters.
What are the objectives of the training you have given to FIIAPP on gender issues?
The training had three objectives. The first was to make a diagnosis of where we are in order to see what needs to be done; I think it is necessary for the institution to have a lot of courage in this regard. The second was to work on tools with the technicians and what we can do to start to introduce these issues in our work, and the third wasawareness, a fairly general workshop.
19 July 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
Civil society plays a key role in the inclusion of people with disabilities, especially women, in Sudan. The main challenge is that they become aware of their rights, also at institutional level
6% of all Sudanese citizens are disabled. Although there are specific policies and laws aimed at this group, they continue to be discriminated in their communities in relation to accessing services or their rights.
The main challenge they face is the limited awareness of these specific rights. Therefore, at present, civil society associations are actively working to make people with disabilities in Sudan aware of their rights and how to obtain them, while promoting policies and laws to boost them.
For example, the right to a better education or access to the labour market are two of the main challenges that they face. Universities and schools in Sudan are not well equipped for people with disabilities. Jobs are available, but there are accessibility issues in the work environment.
In Sudan, in addition to associations for each type of disability, the Organization of Women with Disabilities includes all women, regardless of the type of disability they have. This organization works as a network that promotes the exchange of experiences among women with disabilities, which allows them to understand the needs of their colleagues and work together to help and support each other. The organization’s main objective is the social inclusion of women with disabilities in their communities.
One of the success stories of this project was the case of a girl with visual impairment who stopped going to school and stayed at home for 14 years. The organization has now helped her to finish her school education. They sent her to a specialized institution for blind people, they paid her fees and she has now passed the exam to go to university.
Another woman asked for our help to go to university because the Faculty of Education refused entry because she had a hearing disability: how was she going to work as a school teacher if she could not hear the students? Faced with this situation, the organization went to the University to solve the problem and allow the woman to continue studying, which we hope will allow her to develop her professional career as a teacher in the future.
The fact is that access to employment for women with disabilities is still limited in Sudan. Hence, here at the organization we place a lot of importance on the work we are doing together with Bridging the Gap, a project funded by the European Union, coordinated by the FIIAPP and implemented in Sudan through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS, for its initials in Spanish). In particular, we work in the state of Gedaref to strengthen the capacities of women with disabilities from rural areas and thereby increase their chances of finding a job or creating business opportunities and cooperatives.
These training activities promote the awareness of teachers, families and people with disabilities about the right to education and the inclusion of women with disabilities in the labour market, which benefits society as a whole. They also work to create a better environment, better accessibility and equipment, and to correctly deal with people with different types of disabilities.
In general, the Sudanese community considers disability as a stigma, although views differ. While some people are accepting of disability, others hide their children from friends and family. They are afraid of having children with disabilities, especially girls, because they believe that they will not be able to protect themselves when they are walking down the street from sexual abuse, for example. Therefore, they keep them inside the house, which becomes a prison for them. Access to education and, subsequently, to the world of work, therefore becomes a liberating experience for them.
Bridging the Gap is a good project because it works with both Government authorities and with people with disabilities themselves. This helps Sudanese society to reduce the gap between people with and without disabilities and for this to be reflected in policies and laws.
In this sense, the role of civil society is key since the country’s institutions usually request their support when they have to address disability issues because officials are not prepared to deal with people with disabilities. Nevertheless, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities is working on a Strategic Plan for People with Disabilities in Sudan that, once approved by the Government, should be adopted by all Ministries.
In the past, women have been poorly represented in organizations related to disability in Sudan. But now it is considered that women have the ability and are prepared within communities to talk about their rights.
Akhyar Omar, President of the Organization of Women with Disabilities in Sudan
About the Project
Bridging the Gap has the backing of Sudanese national institutions and is in line with the country’s development strategy, which includes support for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. The project seeks to help strengthen the participation of national civil society organizations and organizations for people with disabilities in policy formulation processes. The Organization of Women with Disabilities continues to work so that these inclusive policies pay special attention to women with disabilities.
21 June 2018
Posteado en : Entrevista
Teresa Salvador-Llivina has been the director of the COPOLAD programme since its first phase in 2011. The second phase of the drug policy programme, which focuses its annual conference on the gender approach, is currently being implemented
How do you value cooperation in drug policies within the framework of the COPOLAD programme?
The broad coverage of the programme in the 33 countries of the CELAC, has presented a significant number of opportunities for cooperation between the European region and Latin America, covering all drug-related policies. COPOLAD is the first European cooperation programme to do this. While the previous programmes focused on the sector and mainly on reducing the supply of drugs, COPOLAD is based on all the aspects included in the European Union’s 2013-2020 Drug Strategy and its 2017-2020 Action Plan.
That is, we have the opportunity to support the development of balanced, evidence-based policies. We can offer practical support aimed at concepts that have recently emerged in CELAC countries. This programme is truly a public health policy and we can disseminate very positive results.
In all these tasks, we receive key contributions from multilateral agencies, such as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD-OAS) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as well as bi-regional NGO networks (RIOD and IDPC).
COPOLAD promotes the inclusion of a gender approach into drug policies. How do you see this progress and what are the main challenges?
From its first phase, COPOLAD has always been a programme committed to the inclusion of the gender approach. In fact, we devoted the annual conference of 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, to the gender approach. This conference was a first opportunity to review the situation relating to key aspects in this field. As a result of the conference, a report on the situation in the participating countries was published in 2014.
Since then, some progress has been made in the theoretical recognition of the need to incorporate this approach in all areas of drug policy. COPOLAD is now assessing that progress through a new report.
The third COPOLAD annual conference is also devoted to women and drug policies. What are the problems facing the institutions involved?
Firstly, the institutions responsible for developing these policies must ensure that the measures are based on evidence. Different types of quantitative and qualitative research must be supported to guide effective interventions that are sensitive to women’s needs and priorities.
Secondly, adequate planning is required to ensure that changes are implemented in the field. Alongside this, institutions have to offer training opportunities to ensure the development of the measures included in national strategies and action plans. These include, prevention with a gender perspective, programmes to reduce damage, measures for social inclusion and reforms in the area of justice regarding drug-related crimes committed by women
Finally, policy changes must be accompanied by appropriate budget allocations for the implementation of certain measures and services.
How can the gender perspective and the empowerment of women improve the effectiveness of drug policies? What needs should be addressed?
The drugs-related problems that women face are complex and affect different social groups. Not only those in vulnerable situations, but women of all ages and conditions. This complexity requires a comprehensive approach, and no policy will be complete, balanced, holistic and effective if it fails to take into account the risk factors that affect women and men differently,
What do you think are the best practices on gender approach in Europe, Latin America and in general?
Some promising examples from the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have been presented at this conference. Some include the evaluation of benefits derived from changes in public policies, developed programmes or new services.
I would highlight the slow but significant progress made over the last five years. At this conference, some positive data on how the new policies are contributing to improving the lives of women are encouraging. In addition to the increase in sector programmes and initiatives undertaken by the countries and multilateral institutions present.
How do you see the role of civil society in facilitating the perception of the need for a gender approach in drug policies?
For COPOLAD, according to the EU Action Plan 2017-2018, a constant dialogue must be ensured between the regional and international networks working in the field of drugs, involving civil society in the implementation and evaluation of the action plans as well as in bi-regional dialogues and cooperation programmes such as COPOLAD.
Therefore, we have a bi-regional network (RIOD) and an international one with non-governmental organisations, such as collaborating agencies. Through these, we try to support the increase in participation by civil society in each participating country
What should the focus of future initiatives regarding gender issues be?
The availability of data necessary to differentiate the specificities of drug-related problems between women and men remains limited, as is the evidence of the effectiveness of the responses made. In this context, the consideration of the gender perspective and the empowerment of women as a key element in drug policies continues to be a challenge that must be faced in practice and across the issues involved.
Therefore, research, evaluation of progress, allocation of necessary resources, training programmes and policy changes to ensure respect for women’s rights will improve their social, family, personal and health conditions. This requires a multi-sector approach capable of addressing the main challenges, ensuring coordination among agencies in which the public sector and non-governmental initiatives – led by civil society – ensure the implementation of strategies and programmes focused on equity, and provide services adapted to the individual needs of each girl and woman in our countries.
31 May 2018
Posteado en : Reportage
A number of projects managed by FIAPP are taking part in the European Development Days 2018, with gender equality as the overarching theme
“Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest” is the slogan chosen for the European Development Days 2018, which will be held next week in Brussels. On 5 and 6 June, the capital of Europe will also be the capital of development.
This is because, this year, the days organized by the European Commission have gender equality as their central theme. As well as promoting the participation of women in the various forums, this edition hopes to make this a safer, more open and more inclusive world for all of them.
The most important development event in the world, which is open to the public, will pack 500 meetings into two days, in which more than 2,600 speakers will take part. Among them will be 7 Nobel laureates and 100 world leaders. FIAPP will also be attending the European Development Days (EDD) to represent four of the projects that it manages: EUROsociAL+, Bridging the Gap, Triangular Cooperation and EUROCLIMA+.
The EUROsociAL+ programme promotes cooperation and dialogue between the European Union and Latin America on promoting public policies to improve social cohesion and reduce inequality in Latin America.
However, for Enrique Martínez, Communication technician for the programme, “these public policies are only effective when they attack the inequality gap between men and women, a challenge and a goal that are strongly etched into the EUROsociAL+ DNA”.
This is why, in Brussels, the programme is sharing three advances in gender equality policies, in Paraguay and Mexico and, at the regional level, in Latin America. In addition European transfer on this subject.
The executive director of the Social Cabinet of the Office of the President of Paraguay, Mirta Denis, the executive secretary of the Mexican Institute for Women, Marcela Eternod, the director of Fundación Género y Sociedad, Ana Isabel García Quesada, and the French State Counsellor, Marisol Touraine, make up “100% female EUROsociAL+ panel as a contribution to this collective journey to full equality”, said Martínez. In addition, the round table discussion will be opened and closed by Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.
The Bridging the gap project is also taking part in the 2018 European Development Days, with a session on Women on the rise – no one left behind!, organized jointly by the EU Social Protection Systems Programme and the NGO Light for the World. This is the presentation video:
The aim of this session, according to Carmen Serrano, the project’s communications technician, is to “show that, in spite of the two-fold discrimination that disabled women face, they are spearheading sustainable development in low-income countries”. Four women will therefore share their experiences of gender and disability issues based on the different viewpoints tackled by the three viewpoints structuring the session: Social protection, leadership and entrepreneurship, and access to work and economic empowerment. It will be moderated by Hisayo Katsui, a researcher into and expert teacher on disabilities.
However, said Serrano, “The aim of presenting “Bridging the Gap” at this great European event is not just to share experiences but to create a dialogue and reflection on the role of women with disabilities in their communities”. This is why they have chosen to use the format of a Brainstorming lab. For 75 minutes, there will be constant interaction between the speakers and the audience so as to collect inputs and ideas on how everyone can create awareness among those around them of the contribution that women with disabilities can make to society.
The Evalúa project, which seeks to promote Public Policy Evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean, will attend the EDD’s for the first time to talk about some of the results obtained since its inception in 2014.
The project coordination team will attend this international cooperation forum to present one of its most recent projects, the results of the evaluation of the Costa Rican Gender Equality Policy. Also, the management, led by the Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN) evaluation team, will be represented by Ericka Valerio, from the Evaluation and Monitoring department.
The project is part of the ADELANTE programme, which aims to improve integration in Latin American and Caribbean countries and to contribute to their reaching their development goals (SDG). The EDD will be an important place for presenting the major conclusions and recommendations of that public policy evaluation and the planned use of this evaluation as an input to the following stages.
According to Alina Orrico, a project technician, “It is especially important to take part in this event, in which there are much fewer Latin American experiences than from other continents and, above all, because it is taking place in a year filled with emotions, demands and allusions to the need to present tangible answers that will guarantee gender equality.”
EUROCLIMA+ is the European Commission’s regional programme to promote environmentally sustainable development in Latin America. This action benefits the most vulnerable population groups, focusing in particular on gender, the impoverished rural population and indigenous peoples.
During the event, a video will be projected on Gender and Climate Change and an information map of Latin America will be drawn using gender-related information.
EUROCLIMA+ helps countries to develop their Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs to the Paris Agreement. NDCs reflect the commitment of the international community to facing up to the effects of climate change.
According to Alexandra Cortés, an expert in Communication and Visibility for the programme, NDCs “promote the inclusion of climate action in a policy framework that can lead to economic growth and social development, in addition to protecting the environment and climatic resilience”.
08 March 2018
Posteado en : Reportage
Agenda 2030 counts on cooperation as a tool for advancing the gender equality that is being publicly demanded
“On International Women’s Day, we must commit ourselves to doing everything possible to overcome entrenched prejudices, support participation and activism, and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women”. These are the words of António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, on International Women’s Day. Another 8 March for reflecting on what has been achieved and what remains to be done in terms of equality.
In 1995, almost 200 governments signed a historic road map in Beijing for achieving equal women’s rights. Two decades later, movements in favour of that equality continue to fill the streets and social networks throughout the world. In the face of this joint and global progress, international cooperation can be a key tool to achieving this equality.
Mar Merita, a technician specialising in gender with the EUROsociAL+ programme – which is funded by the European Commission and managed by FIIAPP – affirms how much innovation has taken place regarding the role of women in the Agenda 2030 framework for cooperation.
From ensuring that children have an equitable and high quality education, through ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls throughout the world, to making equality one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) established by several world leaders for a better world in 2030.
Equality in the EU
Gender equality is also one of the founding values of the European Union, which closely follows these development objectives. It also analyses progress towards these objectives through a periodic study.
The latest one (Sustainable Development in the European Union, 2017) provides data on four specific areas that serve as indicators when evaluating the goal of equality: gender violence, access to education, employment and positions of responsibility.
Gender violence is a reality in the EU in 2012. Where one in three women say they have experienced physical or sexual violence since they were 15 years old. This problem is the cause and consequence of inequality, and the fight against it begins the moment children gain access to education.
However, the fact that men drop out of school earlier and women are more successful in this area is not reflected in the employment rate of recent graduates, which is higher for men. In addition, the proportion of men of working age in employment exceeds that of working women by 11.6%.
Employment is one of the areas that is most linked to gender roles, family responsibilities and traditions. And it is reflected in the wage gap: in 2015, according to the same study, women earned 16.3% less per hour than men. The same difference as 5 years ago.
Progress has a cost in what Mar calls the “third generation of rights”, which would include this difference in wages that continues to be significant in most countries. According to the expert from EUROsociAL+, despite the progress in the recognition of political rights, there is still work to be done regarding social, cultural and economic rights; through which that “real equality” would be achieved.
The distribution of political positions and positions of responsibility also reflects inequality, since women do not usually have as much representation as men in decision-making processes. While the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments has increased since 2003, women still held less than one third (28.9%) of these seats in 2017.
Cooperation as a tool
Many of these issues, such as the wage gap and sexual harassment, are the focus of current events. These have included public denunciations, with a strong international impact, which nevertheless need “processes for dealing with these problems”.
Dominique de Suremain, coordinator of the gender equity policy area for the EUROsociAL+ programme, believes she sees “less visible work for change” when these demands materialise and are reflected in the system.
This is where cooperation comes into play, it has an essential role in the implementation of public policies that take these demands into account. It is important, according to Dominique, “to introduce that concern into the design of the projects” from the outset. It is a cross-cutting issue that must not only be applied in social projects, but it is also relevant for all the themes.
An example would be the gender focus workshop organised by ARAP Ghana – an anti-corruption project managed by FIIAPP – or the inclusion of this perspective in the activities of Euroclima+. In the end, inequality is inherent in the society in which it occurs and it influences the problems that society addresses.
However, this approach is often insufficient to achieve real equality. We must go beyond the diagnosis, the indicators, to quantify how many women have benefited: “We must take advantage of cooperation projects in order to play a proactive role,” according to Dominique.
Perhaps for this reason, EUROsociAL+ is one of the first programmes to create an exclusive thematic area to address this problem. A strong gender component or axis that has direct actions and a team of people exclusively dedicated to it.
Cooperation is based on an exchange of experiences, which is also important for Mar Merita: “you can fight inequality by promoting examples and good practices that arise in countries”, by learning from each other.
“Equality is a universal cause” and a realistic objective that, within the framework of the projects, needs public policies in order to make practical progress. Although in the end what is really important, according to the expert, is to believe in it.
Listen to the programme dedicated to International Women’s Day on our space on Spanish National Radio
18 January 2016
Posteado en : Opinion
EUROsociAL, the cooperation programme of the European Union, has contributed to the creation of a defence protocol to allow foreign women in different prisons in Peru to efficiently access justice and receive better assistance.
In Peru’s prison population, there are two groups especially vulnerable to overcrowding and living conditions in prison: on the one hand, young people, 11% of the total; and on the other, foreign women, 90% of whom are serving sentences for drug trafficking. Under the country’s constitution, it is the responsibility of the Public Defender’s Office to guarantee access free of charge to the right of defence to persons with few economic resources or who are in situations of vulnerability. Within the framework of the regional intervention with public defender’s offices being carried out by EUROsociAL, the Peruvian government considered it a priority in 2014 to improve the situation of these two groups by establishing conduct guidelines for public defender’s offices. To this end, in 2014 EUROsociAL collaborated with Peru’s Ministry of Justice, through the Directorate-General of Public Defence and Access to Justice, to expand to the national level the support of the programme to public defender’s offices by preparing a specific, nationally-applicable, defence protocol.
CONTENT OF THE PROTOCOL
The protocol addresses, on the one hand, the main needs identified in the collective of incarcerated foreign women in prisons, such as translation, up-to-date and understandable legal advising on prison benefits, alternatives for returning to their countries of origin, adequate spaces for caring for sons and daughters, guarantees for maintaining links with their families, and access to adequate medication. In addition, it addresses the specific needs of young inmates, such as receiving differentiated treatment because of their age, access to prison benefits, and contact with their families. The protocol determines concrete actions, as well as general and specific recommendations, that public defender’s offices should adopt to ensure adequate attention to these collectives, from the moment of detention to execution of the sentence.
Prison systems normally do not address the different needs and problems of women inmates. The intervention in Peru is situated in a line of work of the programme with the public defender’s offices which incorporates the gender perspective and aims to impact the justice administration so that it contemplates gender factors that influence the commission of crimes and serving of sentences. In this line, another two protocols prepared in Guatemala and Costa Rica have been approved which address, respectively, the situation of incarcerated women with sons and daughters and family members.