The creation of Gender, Civil Society and Parliamentary Affairs Unit within NEPAD Secretariat in 2004 represents a significant step towards engendering the NEPAD’s development agenda. The Unit works to implement strategies, tools and approaches to mainstream gender within all the sectoral priorities, programs and projects of NEPAD Secretariat. The Unit has developed a gender mainstreaming manual which will be critical to support efforts to mainstream gender within NEPAD sectoral strategies, programs and strategies and at Regional Economic Community (REC) level. The Gender Unit will continue to collaborate with the African Union Commission (AUC) Gender Directorate to ensure that policies and guidelines developed by the AUC are implemented within NEPAD Priority Sectors and at Regional Economic Community (RECs) level.
The Gender, Civil Society and Parliamentary Affairs Unit is responsible for the following;
To spearhead gender mainstreaming within all NEPAD Policies and programs
To ensure that civil society organizations (CSOs) are mobilized to effectively participate in the NEPAD implementation process
And, to maintains an increasingly interactive link with African Parliamentarians.
The overarching objective of the Gender unit is to ensure that gender equality is brought to the centre of development efforts in Africa, to identify challenges and constraints with regard to addressing gender issues in the implementation of development policies and strategies.
Projects under the Gender Unit: The NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment
The Gender Unit is also implementing the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment. This project is financially supported by the Government of Spain through the Ministry of Foreign Cooperation (MAEC). The NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment aims to empower African women with the financial resources needed to unlock their economic potential, fight poverty, create wealth and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, economic growth and sustainable development. The Fund provides grants to support projects that are aimed at empowering African Women and promoting gender equality. The NEPAD Spanish Fund disburses 10 million Euros to various projects in Africa every year. Current grants range from 30,000 to 500,000 Euros.
So far the Fund has disbursed grants to 46 projects in 23 Countries. In monetary terms 6.3 million Euros was disbursed to these projects.
The projects are focusing in the following areas;
small and medium enterprise development,
vocational skills training,
eradication of gender based violence,
elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education,
promotion of human rights,
promoting participation of women in environment conservation practices and management,
sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention services, and
promoting participation of women in decision making processes and bodies.