On track with gender

18 april, 2011

 How successful has the gender mainstreaming strategy been since 1995? This is the question that Track with Gender asked in 2008. Five Hivos partner organisations from South Africa, Tanzania, Bolivia, India and Ecuador investigated whether they were on track with gender in microfinance. One of the lessons is that women who receive microfinance grants do not by definition improve their position. For example, it turned out that women do not always have a say in how the money they earn is spent. Or men no longer feel responsible for their families at all because their wives have an income.

Sisters for Life
The Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) in South Africa developed the Intervention with Microfinance for Aids and Gender Equity (IMAGE). IMAGE has trained women (‘Sisters for Life’) for more than ten years in gender roles, cultural beliefs, relationships, communication, gender-based violence and HIV infection. ‘The IMAGE and SEF partnership shows that combining health and social interventions can create powerful synergies and broaden effects in measurable ways’, the case study concludes. ‘The IMAGE program should be promoted with HIV/AIDS, gender and MFIs in other countries with high HIV infection rates and gender inequalities. A slightly adjusted IMAGE program might also be relevant in a setting where gender inequalities are prevalent but HIV infection rates are not very high.’

Despite the successes and breakthroughs in practice, evaporation of gender policies within organizations and resistance of staff to implement gender policies is also observed in practice. The second stage, Moving Forward, was concluded in February 2011 with a wealth of papers and case studies about the new aid architecture, violence against women, value chain development and microfinance.

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