• Sponge cities, an SDGs rap and insurance in ‘sachet’ form: Reflections from #APAN2018

    4 December 2018
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    I spent last week in Manila at the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum (@APANAdapt) and on a steep learning curve – from sponge cities (where rainwater in urban areas is used, stored, purified, re-used, re-purified and eventually released back into the natural system) to using green spaces to achieve climate change ‘resilience for free’, and a rap to help us remember the SDGs.

    My first reflection (because this so often comes last) is about gender. The only sessions that I attended where women outnumbered men on the panel of speakers were, predictably, those on gender and on social protection. There might have been more representation of women’s experiences, knowledge, capacities and voices in other parallel sessions but I was left thinking that there’s a lot of work to be done bringing together gender equity/empowerment with climate change action. Surely we can do better?

    Second, there were lots of calls for building resilience to the worst impacts of climate change from the bottom up, and for working at the local level. An example are financial products that can support poor and vulnerable households such as insurance in ‘sachet’ form from Alagang Cebuana in the Philippines that reaches those who can’t otherwise access or afford orthodox insurance products. At the same time, though, there was simultaneous recognition of the challenges that working locally from the bottom up can create for building resilience and adaptive capacities at scale – the challenge of working locally for global effects, so to speak. My key take-away for this was that we need to shift away from thinking about ways of doing infrastructure as an ‘either-or’: either large-scale, machinery-intensive or locally-designed and build through community participation. A more hybrid approach that brings together these two ways of doing things might help us better find ways of making the local operate at scale.

    Finally, there was clear agreement on the importance of science and scientists, but this this didn’t seem to extend to political scientists. There was very limited discussion of the politics that underpin decisions that governments make about tackling climate change. Following the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Accord under the Trump administration, it’s clear that scientists and technical experts in infrastructure, ecosystems and nature are not enough. Finding ways of influencing governments, understanding policy processes and how to navigate political change and realignments requires a different set of skills. I found the discussion focused on science and technology, at the expense of how to get policy and legislative frameworks in place, and how to include the voices of excluded communities. And, although a scientist at the Forum remarked to me that he didn’t think the meeting was very scientific at all, I think we need to make more space for discussions about policy processes and entry points if we want to make faster progress.

    Prof Rachel Slater

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  • How to achieve gender parity and youth empowerment in the African Continent? The African Union calls on CIDT.

    17 August 2018
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    The African Union (AU) is concerned about the limited representation of women, and youth in the African Union Commission (AUC) and its organs. The AUC is committed to reflect the continent’s diversity, in terms of gender, youth as well as geography. In spite of attempts to increase gender equality, many of the highest positions across the continent are likely to be held by men, and women commonly face barriers to leadership, which are both structural and internal. Moreover, different but pervasive barriers face early career men and women such that the number of employees falls well below the African demographic, which has 65% of the total population of the continent as being below 35 years of age.

    The AU is positioning itself to become a global player and is undergoing institutional reform in order to deliver Agenda 2063. To achieve this goal, the organisation understands the need to invest into growing its women and youth as well as the main male workforce, into globally competitive leaders. For this reason the AU passed a resolution in January 2018 to endorse its decisions on both women’s’ quotas and youth quotas and funding

    In order to sustainably achieve gender parity and 35% of youth in all its organs by 2025, the African Union requested the expertise of the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for International Development (CIDT) to facilitate a four day strategic planning workshop at King Fahd Palace hotel, Dakar Senegal from the 04-07 July, 2018. Dr Fareed, Deputy Chief of Staff -Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson, representing the Deputy Chairperson, H.E Thomas Kwesi Quartey who was unavoidably absent. In his opening remarks, Dr Fareed highlighted the importance of gender and youth in the AU’s agenda. He stressed the fact that the AUC was committed to build an institution of excellence capable of attracting the best of both genders and young persons. In support of the opening words of Dr Fareed, the Director of Women and Gender, Mahawa Kaba Wheeler and the Head of Human Resources & Youth Division Mrs. Ngwenya Prudence Nonkululeko enjoined the high level group of participants to put their experience to practice in developing realistic plans that would allow the commission to achieve its objectives.

    CIDT facilitators led by Mrs Mary Surridge and Dr Aurelian Mbzibain over the four days applied a wide range of tools and approaches which led to the achievement of workshops objective to design a strategic and operational plan to implement Project Parity 2025 and the Youth Empowerment and Financing targets for 2025. All 18 participants demonstrated commitment and engagement through out the process which was critical for the success of the event.

    A brief closing and certificate award ceremony was facilitated by Mrs Genet Shewangizaw and chaired by H.E Ambassador Blaise Banoum on the 7th of July 2017. Two closing remarks were made by the Director of Gender and Youth followed by words of appreciation by Mrs Genet to her team for the support in delivering the workshop. H.E Banoum officially closed the workshop with words of thanks to the organising team, leadership of the AUC, participants and facilitators. He wished everyone well and safe return to all involved. The certificate award ceremony followed and was crowned by a group photo at the end.

    The CIDT wishes to acknowledge the Learning and Development (L&D) team at the African Union Commission (AUC), which initiated the workshop and supported the facilitators to ensure that the facilitation addressed the expressed needs of the commission – particularly, Mariatta Allieu, Genet Shewangizaw and Fatma Yusuf. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by the Director of the Women, Gender and Development Division, the Head of Youth Division, the Heads of Department of Finance and HR as well High Officials from the office of the Chairperson who greatly enriched the proceedings by their presence and contributions. We hope that the operational plans developed will provide the guidelines required to make progress towards the AU’s gender parity as well as youth development targets by 2025.

    Some further scenes at the workshop:

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  • CIDT participate in a round table discussion on Adaptive Social Protection in Nepal

    16 July 2018
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    Rachel Slater at Round Table in Nepal

    How can social protection be utilised to support disaster risk management in Nepal?  On Monday 25th June 2018, Rachel Slater presented CIDT’s answer to that question to officials of the Government of Nepal, development agencies, and the NGO and INGO communities working on disaster risk management and social protection in Nepal.

    The round table and discussion was the final stage in the consultation process of a technical assistance project that CIDT is carrying out on behalf of World Bank.  The aim of the project is to enhance our understanding of how bringing together Disaster Risk Management and Social Protection could improve risk management, preparedness and better respond to shocks.

    Rachel Slater at Round Table in Nepal

    The presentation brought together the key lessons learnt from a number of reviews – of the social protection system, the disaster management system and international experience – and brought out lessons learned from fieldwork in flood, earthquake, landslide and drought-affected districts in Nepal.  CIDT made recommendations about instruments that the Government of Nepal may wish to consider to achieve better disaster management using social protection tools.

    The meeting was preceded by a week of consultations with government ministries encouraging a two way dialogue to ensure recommendations and options going forwards are viable and within the context and scope of Government of Nepal’s capacity.  The next steps will be finalisation of the recommendations by the end of July.

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  • A map, a photograph and a chance encounter in the Nepal Himalaya

    18 June 2018
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    Nepal social protection project

    CIDT’s Rachel Slater reflects on a surprising fieldwork experience in Humla, Nepal, during a recent visit as part of the project ‘Review of policies, systems and programs in social protection and shock response for adaptive social protection’

    Nepal social protection projectWe’ve walked for about 90 minutes along a gravel track from where are staying – a small town perched on a steep slope, nestled below the triangular peak of Chhote Kang and with a perilous drop off to the mightly Karnali River below. We are there to interview people about their experiences of disasters – especially drought and landslides in this remote part of Nepal – and are trying to work out whether we could ‘piggyback’ disaster response funding on existing systems like social security to get money out to households in need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    We climb ladders – old tree trunks with notches cut out of them for steps – to the roof of a villager’s house, and settle down on a tarpaulin as the house owner calls across the village for her neighbours to join us.  I gaze across the valley at snow covered ridge, for a moment wishing I was here trekking rather than working.  I pull out my map, wondering what route I could take up to the highest point and then something remarkable happens.  The house owner snatches the map from me excitedly and exclaims ‘that’s me!’

    Nepal social protection projectIt takes me a while to understand but it turns out our respondent is one of four women in the photograph on the front of the map. We try and work out the odds – that we visited this village, in this rural municipality, in this one of 75 districts in Nepal.  They are long odds indeed.  The photo was taken maybe five years ago as Nepal sought to open up tourism in Humla district to trekkers. Anita, our Nepali research partner, and I immediately change the plan for the interview.  We ask how much has changed in the last five years: weather; access to services – especially children’s education; and whether making a living is getting easier or harder.  There’s a recognition that ‘all good things don’t always go together’, for example, more children are attending school but that means there’s no-one available to tend buffalo, goats, and zhos / zhomos (yaks bred with cows) so less manure for people’s fields. But the overwhelming story is of changes to climate: less snow and more drought (the barley and wheat around the village are about two months behind in their development); and unpredictable weather including devastating hailstorms that destroyed crops three years ago.

    As we return to our guest house later in the day we follow the road newly constructed as part of a programme to guarantee households 30 days of paid work each year.  And although we are still struggling walking at this altitude we have renewed energy for our work.  Given what we have heard about the climate-related disasters that people in Humla are increasingly facing, our attempts to use social protection to support disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery seem all the more important.  All this thanks to our change encounter over a map and a photograph in Nepal’s remote Himalaya.

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  • Evaluation of transformational girls’ education project kicks off with large scale data collection

    15 February 2018
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    CIDT consultants Mary and Rufsana

    In our role as External Evaluator to the five-year Camfed Girls’ Education Challenge – Transition (GEC-T) project, the CIDT team have completed a data collection phase with over 48,000 students, as well as their primary carers and other stakeholders.

    The Camfed Girls’ Education Challenge – Transition (GEC-T) project is being implemented in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia. The project takes a gender transformative approach, directly and indirectly challenging gendered social norms and discrimination enabling a critical mass of marginalised girls to transition to, progress through and succeed at secondary school. Moreover it will create a bridge for girls to transition from school to future employment.

    CIDT is contracted to design and manage the large-scale qualitative and quantitative (mixed method) baseline, midline and end-line evaluations in each project country. We have completed the baseline data collection, which includes school-based surveys with students, teachers and headteachers, as well as a separate household survey, which targets the heads of household and primary care givers of identified marginalised girls. The total student sample size is 48,160, plus primary carers and other stakeholders. Qualitative interviews and focus group discussion were also held in each country, with project stakeholders and beneficiaries, including secondary school girls and boys, school-based stakeholders, community groups, traditional leaders, school-based committees and young women involved in the project.

    The project has the potential for great impact. Whilst the contexts differ in the three countries, the critical challenges that girls face, such as gender discrimination, poverty and location, are similar and often result in multifaceted barriers to girls’ access to and achievement in education. In rural areas gender roles are well defined and women are expected to perform unpaid domestic labour rather than work for an income, which limits their independence. Girls are more likely to be impoverished, denied education, malnourished, used as unpaid domestic labour and in danger of physical violence. Girls are particularly vulnerable during transitions from one stage of education to the next and from school into adulthood.

    Following this successful data collection phase, CIDT consultants (pictured above) Mary Surridge (Project Director/Principal Investigator) and Rufsana Begum (Project Manager/Lead Investigator) are currently in the process of analysing the data and writing up a baseline report.

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  • Capacity building workshop prepares project partners to conduct gender needs analyses

    22 September 2017
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    CV4C gender training workshop

    In March 2017, CIDT conducted a workshop to train representatives from forest governance NGO implementing partners on the CV4C project.

    CV4C gender training workshop

    The purpose of the workshop was to prepare participants to conduct a gender needs analysis of their institution and a gender and forest governance and monitoring analysis of their own countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, DRC and the Republic of Congo).

    The workshop programme covered basic concepts and issues related to gender and forest governance and forest monitoring. The process of conducting a needs analysis was introduced and participants were given the opportunity to practice in local NGOs. Participants also learnt to conduct a gender policy analysis, as well as a national gender and forestry analysis. The workshop was highly participatory and provided many practice opportunities.

    CV4C gender training workshop

    Grace Ollomo from partner Brainforest in Gabon attended the gender training: “We are a partner NGO to the CV4C project, and had not fully considered a gender perspective during the implementation of our activity. However, through this capacity building, gender issues will now be integrated into our activities regarding forest governance in Gabon.”

    Since the workshop took place gender analyses have been successfully conducted in the five project countries in the Congo Basin. Two of the main needs identified by partners in all five project countries were for gender orientation training for their organisations and for the Forest Monitoring platforms; and support for developing their own gender strategies.

    These identified needs are being met by a series of gender orientation workshops conducted in each country. The workshops will also introduce the development of gender strategies, which will be followed in 2018 by technical assistance from the Regional Gender Specialist to assist each implementing partner to develop their gender strategy.

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  • CIDT facilitate learning from 2 years of Plan UK evaluations

    8 November 2016
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    Plan UK report coverCIDT consultants, Ella Haruna, Rufsana Begum and Canford Chiroro, were contracted to carry out a meta-analysis of external project evaluations relating to Plan UK programming over a two year period. The review aimed to draw out the learning from these evaluations, research reports and case studies to better understand and evidence the changes that are happening in the lives of adolescent girls as a result of Plan UK’s work.

    The team reviewed 55 documents and carried out an initial mapping of the evidence available to select qualifying data for inclusion in the meta-analysis exercise, based on an criteria agreed with Plan UK. A rapid review of the evidence selected from 17 countries drew out key learning across different thematic areas of Plan UK’s work including Education, Protection, Economic Security and Sexual and Reproductive Rights; and an in-depth evidence review was conducted. Consultants successfully delivered two feedback workshop to Plan UK representatives in London, and delivered a 37 page learning report.

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  • Independent Qualitative Research Study of Camfed’s Girls Education Challenge Step Change Window Project in Tanzania and Zimbabwe

    3 November 2016
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    Validation workshop

    Validation workshopIn September to October 2016, four CIDT consultants, Mary Surridge, Lilla Oliver, Sarah Thomas and Rufsana and two external consultants in Zimbabwe and Tanzania were contracted to undertake a qualitative study of Camfed’s Girls’ Education Challenge Step Change Window (GEC SCW) project in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, in order to contribute to, and complement the quantitative end line survey and better understand which elements of the project are working (or not), how and why.

    Camfed’s GEC SCW project targets marginalised girls in rural communities of Zimbabwe and Tanzania with an aim of increasing girls’ retention through a full cycle of early secondary education and improving their opportunities to learn.  The project interventions are targeted in 24 districts in Zimbabwe and 11 in Tanzania, in 991 secondary schools, and include:

    • Providing financial support to meet girls’ material needs, combined with targeted local initiatives to tackle obstacles to girls’ retention and ensure a supportive educational environment.
    • Developing and distributing low-cost, self-directed study guides in core curriculum subjects to support academic learning as well as a broader life skills curriculum.
    • Enabling young women on leaving school to play a role as Learner Guides, supporting children in their local schools while gaining status and opportunities.
    • Reinforcing existing local government and community structures to respond to the needs of marginalised girls, safeguard their rights and entitlements and reinforce children protection, and ultimately to influence policy.
    • Pioneering use of mobile technology to capture real-time data about girls, their schools and communities, and to open up opportunities for networking and access to educational resources.
    • Engaging with national education partners to develop and review the approach under the GEC, and to identify opportunities for key lessons and practices to be adopted more widely.

    The consultants travelled to various districts including, Gokwe, Umguza, Kibaha and Harare in Zimbabwe and Rufiji, Morogoro, Handeni and Pangani in Tanzania to conduct their evaluation. They met with a broad range of in-country actors and stakeholders, including schools, headteachers, teachers, District Operations Secretariats/District Coordinators, Community Development Committees, School Development Committees (Zimbabwe only), Ministry of Education District Education Officers, local officials, community groups, male and female students and young girls involved in the project.

    Following the country visit, the consultants successfully delivered a validation workshop in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, with stakeholders, including CAMFED representatives presenting the preliminary findings and will merge both country findings to deliver a final research report.

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  • CIDT facilitates workshops on Managing For Development Results (MfDR) in the areas of Gender and Youth in Africa

    10 October 2016
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    As part of its Africa for Results Initiative (AfriK4R), the African Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results (AfCoP-MfDR) – which is chaired by the African Development Bank (AfDB)* – recently held two workshops to provide participants with practical MfDR tools and strategies for developing a results culture in their groups and communities. These were:

    • The Gender for Results (G4R) Knowledge and Training Event held on August 24-26, 2016 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
    • The Youth for Results (Y4R) Knowledge and Training Event held on August 31-Sept. 2, 2016 in Dakar, Senegal

    The overall goal the workshops was to inform, dialogue with and empower African gender leaders, by enhancing their abilities and roles as change agents to help trigger and accelerate Africa’s transformation. The specific objectives were to:

    • Train the G4R Thematic Group on MfDR in the context of Gender; and train the Y4R Thematic Group on MfDR in the context of Youth
    • Foster discussions on achieving results within the AfriK4R, including discussions on the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (for the G4R group) and on the role of youth in the Agenda 2063 and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    • Offer networking opportunities among members and with donors and/or development organisation representatives, involving exchange/sharing of best practices and success inspiration
    • Agree upon the content and the implementation of the G4R and Y4R Action Plans

    CIDT’s Mary Surridge and Kimberly Kane prepared the materials for the sessions on Gender, Youth and MfDR. Participant manuals on Gender for Results (G4R) and Youth for Results (Y4R) were produced in both English and French, along with case studies and sector-specific examples for the application of MfDR tools such as problem analysis, stakeholder analysis, options analysis, risk management, and LogFrames.

    These materials were well appreciated by the client, having attested that: These Manuals proved to be very useful for the understanding by the AfCoP G4R and Y4R groups. Their tailoring enabled each group to gain a specific case study in their field and this approach resonated with their concerns, issues and needs.”

    CIDT’s Mary Surridge facilitated the two workshops. Participants came from more than 25 different countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Western African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) regions. A total of 36 women leaders and approximately 11 AfDB/AfCoP personnel attended the G4R event; and 40 youth leaders and 8 AfDB/AfCoP personnel participated in the Y4R event.

    Both workshops were extremely well received. They were highly participatory, with the delegates practicing the use of each of the MfDR tools. The quality of the discussion generated was high and the activities provided opportunities for debate and dialogue about the key issues facing initiatives to increase gender equality and the empowerment of female and male youth.

     “We appreciated the diligence of CIDT and its professionalism from inception, preparation to reporting. The AfCoP Secretariat, hosted by the African Development Bank, would therefore highly recommend CIDT to other organizations,” said Dr. Julie Ladel, Chair of AfCoP.

    * Note: AfDB, in partnership with the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), provides support to AfCoP members to strengthen development processes in countries and regional economic communities. It partners with COMESA and WAEMU to accelerate regional policy implementation through MfDR tools and principles.

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  • Completion of CABI Gender Resource Pack

    26 September 2016
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    CABI Gender Handbook Completion

    CABI gender handbook completionIn October to November 2015, a gender appraisal was conducted by two CIDT consultants Mary Surridge and Rufsana Begum, in four case study countries to assist Plantwise to operationalize its Gender Strategy and better embed gender and diversity in the Programme. A follow-up workshop was held with all CABI Country Coordinators and other CABI staff at the Annual Planning in Switzerland.

    Plantwise (PW) is a global programme, led by CABI, to increase food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. Sustainable networks of local plant clinics provide farmers with practical plant health advice, reinforced by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, an online gateway to plant health information. Working in close partnership with relevant actors (mainly government extension workers), PW strengthens national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less and feed more. Currently, Plantwise works in 34 countries.

    As a result of the gender appraisal, Mary and Rufsana were contracted again to further enhance the capability of Plantwise to embed gender and diversity in its programme by building on the findings and recommendations from the gender appraisal. This included: the development of a Gender Resource Pack for all country staff to improve the extent to which they embed gender within their programmes and providing targeted suggestions for amendments to Plant Doctor Training modules to ensure that gender and social inclusion are embedded at appropriate points in the modules.

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