Tackling gender issues in sustainable land management

Tackling gender issues in sustainable land management

Toolkit for gender-sensitive approaches in sustainable development projects and programmes

This toolkit provides a framework for main-streaming gender in rural development activities.

It addresses the lack of conceptual and practical tools in the area of sustainable land management. Its modular design allows for individual approaches and targets development staff at the project and programme levels, with the aim of helping them to find practical ways of dealing with gender issues in rural development activities. Case studies and reports on experience gained by NGOs and research projects in the field of rural development in Nicaragua (Miraflor), India (Sampark) and Kenya illustrate the focus on gender in sustainable land management projects.

General recommendations for institutionalising a gender-sensitive approach in sustainable development at the level of projects and programmes:

  • from the beginning, consider both women and men, their experiences, strategic needs, priorities and strategies, and involve key actors in the assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation of interventions. Work with mixed and separate groups, and consolidate findings with local communities
  • neither “communities”, nor “households”, nor “men” and “women” are homogenous units. Analyse the roles of both local women and men in different social strata, and promote restoration or reformulation of balanced social, familial or gender arrangements
  • include gender and environmental issues and women’s specific concerns in the terms of reference for studies, consultancies, and evaluations related to land management at the level of policy formulation
  • support national implementation of Agenda 21 (Rio 1992), the Women’s Platform for Action (Beijing 1995) and other international agreements and conventions
  • collaborate with national institutions such as ministries of agriculture, environment, and social welfare, as well as with women’s organisations, gender studies centres, environmental organisations, and agricultural research centres, with a view to enhancing partnership and bottom-up approaches on gender and sustainable land management issues
  • use the creativity of both men and women to make sure that debating gender issues is acknowledged as an opportunity to promote social consensus for the benefit of all, and does not lead to mistrust and prejudice
  • at the level of organisational development initiate and sustain structural changes that enable gender-balanced participation of staff at headquarters, regional offices, and within partner organisations
  • promote capacity building, training and feedback on combined gender, land use and environment issues
  • ensure ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the social learning process
  • in between the levels take a closer look at how micro-, meso-, and macro-levels interact and where there might be points of intervention for concerted measures
  • address forms of exchange between the levels that disadvantage rural areas and weaken or even destroy local potential for self-regulatory processes and sustainable land management in the local context
  • counter-balance such exchanges through a coordination of political, economic and social forces at every level and in all institutions, and develop concerted measures and frameworks that allow for, and promote sustainable land use at the local level
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