Gender mainstreaming is a commonly sought after objective but also seldom well appreciated resulting in piece-meal approaches to addressing women and youth empowerment. 50 per cent of the African population are women. NEPAD believes that they should be given the opportunity to fully exercise their rights to sustainable livelihoods, have access and control the means of production and property, as well as decision making so as to enable their development.
Over the last decade, African gender policy debates have increasingly centred on how to mainstream gender in the NEPAD Agency and Regional Economic Communities aligned with the African Union Gender Policy.
This week, NEPAD Agency brought together gender and agriculture policy experts to agree on the specific dimensions which are pertinent to achieving the African transformation agenda. Participants reflected on the implications and desired change and thus made recommendations for the design of strategies, approaches, guidelines and toolkits which will facilitate up-scaling of women and youth empowerment as key deliverables of NEPAD priority programmes.
Speaking at the two-day event which began on September 10, Rosalie Ndeye Lo, Head of the NEPAD’s Gender Programme, said “It is evident that the full and effective involvement of women in agriculture policies and program is the pathway to food security and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. As such it is indispensable to ensure that gender is adequately addressed in national, regional and continental agricultural initiatives.”
NEPAD has selected its Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as the initial programme to demonstrate practical results and impact to gender mainstream. CAADP is the NEPAD Agency’s framework to stimulate increased agricultural productivity and agriculture-led socio economic development and growth.
The workshop outcomes will ensure that a gender component is included in the updated plans. Martin Bwalya, the head of the NEPAD CAADP Programme emphasised that gender should not just be a paragraph in the updated plans but should be included in every stage of the CAADP Process.
“It is important to properly identify and analyse gender issues in Africa, as well as to demystify them in order for us to know how deal with these issues” said Sara Longwe, representing Clarke and Associates Development Consultants, during a presentation at the event.
The workshop delivered recommendations which help the NEPAD Agency to deliver comprehensive implementation support to drive women empowerment in agriculture and agriculture-led development. These may be in the form of technical guidelines and checklists, expert support, information support and analysis and resource mobilization for gender mainstreaming programmes in National Agriculture Investment Plans.