Holding a workshop on Gender with local partners in Jacmel, Haiti
“Gender mainstreaming” sounds like a complex concept. But in the end, there is nothing too revolutionary about gender mainstreaming. It is all about good programming. Basically, it consists in taking in account the needs, opportunities and capacities of women, girls, boys and men, in a sex- and age-disaggregated manner in every step of a program, project, or activity. It does sounds logical, to take every one into consideration, because it is the only way to provide a good response, but unfortunately, it is still ignored by a lot of actors in development and humanitarian action. It is true it is complicated, it can be time-consuming, and in some context, time is lacking, but I don’t believe it is a reason to ignore it.
This is why I am in Haiti, to facilitate the gender mainstreaming in AxS activities. It consists in having trainings and workshops with the staff and local partners, to introduce them to the concept, to exchange with them to find an easy way to operate. I first gave one workshop to my colleagues. It was interesting to get their perceptions, and to discuss with them how we could do better in integrating a gender approach in the various projects and activities. I gave another workshop on gender to the local partners, CROSE (Regional Coordination of South East organizations) and ATEPASE (Association of Technicians for the promotion of the agriculture and protection of the environment in the South East). Participants were mainly men, but some women were present. I was here to train them, but in the end, I also learnt a lot. This is what I find interesting in this kind of activity.
I arrived with my knowledge, and the last 3 months in Haiti allowed me to know more and more about the gender situation in Haiti. This training gave me new insights, an invaluable knowledge that I could not have gained if I had not held this activity. Some of the men had really interesting positions and ideas on gender equality and what must be done to change the situation in their own country. I have to admit I never expected such exchange, and I am glad to be proven wrong. It was a really interactive workshop, quite tiring, because in Haiti one must speak quite loud to get his/her point right, but I think it was worth it. And this is what this volunteer mission is about: knowledge exchange.
Written by Irina Blanche
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