The second Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Workshop was held on 23 and 24 September 2014 at Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) Meeting Hall in Tahachal, Kathmandu. The workshop was hosted by High Value Agricultural Project (HVAP), and facilitated by the IFAD country office.
The main objective of the workshop was to enhance the knowledge of project staff in mainstreaming gender and social inclusion in the projects through capacity building and constructive discussions. A major focus of the workshop was Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) and self-evaluation tools for project GESI activities.
The Ministry of Finance in Nepal formally introduced GRB in 2007 in compliance to which all sectoral ministries and projects are required to categorize their programme budgets based on gender equality. Development projects and donor agencies are extensively adopting GRB. Therefore, with a view to follow the system and to bring gender sensitivity into project budget and policies, GRB was introduced to IFAD projects during the workshop.
The participants were the GESI focal points, planning officers and other interested staff of five on-going IFAD-funded projects in Nepal. IFAD CPM for Nepal Ms. Lakshmi Moola, IFAD CPO Mr. Bashu Aryal and PAF’s Executive Director Mr. Raj Babu Shrestha also briefly attended the workshop. Please see appendix 1 for participant list.
Day 1 | Tuesday 23 September 2014
The first day of the workshop was dedicated to two main agendas: GRB Training and the projects’ updates on GESI activities.
On the first half of the day, Mr. Durga Prasad Khatiwada, GRB expert from UN Women who despite his busy schedule graciously accepted our request, facilitated the training on GRB. The first session of the training was a lecture focused on the concept of GRB, history and strategies of GRB in Nepal, national GRB classification criteria and standards, relevance of integrating GRB in the project cycle, and global advocacy and initiatives on GRB.
In the second session of the training, the participants evaluated their projects against the standard GRB indicators and sub-indicators. Although the self-evaluation cannot be deemed accurate and free from bias, the participants had the opportunity to understand the value of GRB and most importantly, relate and reflect on their project activities against the indicators. The exercise proved to be very useful in stimulating the participants’ interest in integrating GRB in their projects. Please see appendix 3 for scanned copies of the exercise sheets.
After lunch (delicious Dal Bhat at PAF canteen), the projects shared their GESI-related issues, progress and plans.
As LFLP is closing soon, the project presentation focused on best practices for the next phase, which included involvement of both men and women in land development trainings, women’s active engagement in saving and credit management, increase in women’s access to literacy classes etc. The programme is being upscaled by the government of Nepal with the plan to increase participation of Dalits and poorest households in the groups, organize field-based trainings to women and develop more resource persons at local level to improve efficiency of services.
WUPAP on the other hand updated their progress on the previously agreed action plan. Among the highlighted initiatives were orientation on gender issues and trainings on leadership in village development committees. Although it might seem a bit late since the project is closing in 2016, gender inclusion guideline and empowerment guideline are also being drafted.
HVAP highlighted their activities and initiatives against various GESI-related indicators. The project has defined GESI outcomes and integrated corresponding activities. Some of their plans for this year are: to pilot Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in the Business Literacy Classes, to provide trainings on GESI analysis and integration in value chains for all project staff and stakeholders, to recruit an additional GESI expert, to initiate group and coop-level analysis and planning from GESI perspective etc.
KUBK’s progress is quite low, linked to the delay in recruitment of the GESI expert. It was also stressed during the workshop that lack of GESI targeting programme in district offices (e.g. DADO and DLSO) has posed problems since the programme budget is channelized through the district offices. Another concern was the absence of link to NGOs in the project design for social mobilization, for which the project is planning to put forth a proposal for the involvement of NGOs.
PAF’s main concern was the GESI focal point’s limited impact in project interventions. Moreover, the programme does not have gender-focused position and therefore, the GFP exist as an additional or secondary responsibility.
Day 2 | Wednesday 24 September 2014
The second day of the workshop started with the screening of IFAD HQ Gender Desk Webinar series on Gender Markers. Although the plan was to watch only parts of the video, the participants found the topic quite interesting and useful and decided to watch the entire video.
The second agenda of the day was a self-evaluation exercise for analyzing gender equality and women’s empowerment and social inclusion in project implementation arrangements. Not only did the exercise prompt the participants to contemplate, criticize and commend on their project activities through gender lens, it also encouraged engrossing discussions among themselves, some of which could transform into possible opportunities. While WUPAP was quick to give themselves high scores, LFLP evaluated their parameters rather critically to recommend in-depth considerations for the scaled-up activities in the next phase. Please see appendix 4 for scanned copies of the self-evaluation sheets.
After lunch, the team discussed briefly on the need to set up concrete terms of reference (TOR) for GESI focal points. The reason for this was threefold: the need for project management to pay attention to GESI mainstreaming, acknowledge the role of the focal points, and to define a focused and impacting set of responsibilities for the focal points. However, keeping in mind that not all GESI focal points are GESI experts and have other priorities based on their job titles, the team agreed to keep the TOR simple and short but as comprehensive as possible. Since there was not enough time to draft the TOR during the workshop, the team agreed to review the standard TOR for IFAD GESI focal points and share recommendations. Once the TOR is finalized, it will be forwarded to the project management teams for review and approval.
The participants prepared the below list of agreed actions:
Opportunities for the next workshop
The next workshop will be organized in March 2015 by KUBK. Two main opportunities prioritized by the participants were (a) to ensure attendance and active participation of project managers and (b) to organize outdoor/field activities as part of the workshop.
What is IFAD Nepal GESI Community of Practice?
The IFAD Nepal Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) thematic group was formed in December 2013. The core members of the group are the gender focal points of on-going IFAD-funded projects in Nepal. This community of practice aims to strengthen project GESI strategies, resolve GESI-related issues and ensure capacity building of staff to meet the overall project goals through GESI-responsive approaches. The first GESI workshop, titled ‘Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Learning Alliance Workshop’ was organized in April 2014.
Who are GESI Focal Points?
The GESI focal points serve as resource persons on gender-related issues, advocate and/or implement activities to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in IFAD-funded projects in Nepal. In Nepal GESI focal points, together with the PMU, oversee the development and implementation of GESI Strategy (COSOP 2013-2018) in projects.
Leasehold Forestry and Livestock Programme (2005-2014); Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project (2003-2016); High-Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas (2010-2017); Kisankalagi Unnat Biu-Bijan Karyakram (2012-2019) For details: http://operations.ifad.org/web/ifad/operations/country/home/tags/nepal
the quintessential Nepali dishcomprising of mainly lentils and rice