A very welcome addition to the technical support for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication – a handbook – has just been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Called “Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development“, the handbook written by Nilanjana Biswas, of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), is a treasure trove of essential background knowledge on women, gender and small-scale fisheries, combined with practical advice and case examples on incorporating gender equality principles in small scale fisheries work. The target audience is broad – from government officers to fishers and their communities, fish worker groups and researchers, as befits a product of the very participatory development process the Handbook team took.
The Handbook is organised in 3 parts:
- Part 1: Understanding gender and the role of women in small-scale fisheries
- Part 2: Responsible fisheries and sustainable development through a gender lens
- Part 3: Ensuring an enabling environment for gender equality and supporting implementation
Among the rich and varied advice and explanatory boxes are such gems as a guide to tried and tested FAO methods for assessing post-harvest losses, and disaster response and rehabilitation issues to target to help women. Throughout, the Handbook has action points for policy-makers and for community service organisations, offering a few key tips on each subject.
A particular highlight is the set of case studies, each containing a description of the case, followed by a gender-sensitive “Let’s analyse this…” section that gets to the heart of the gender issues.
Here is the list of Case Studies:
- Women in fishing communities on Lake Victoria
- Tenure rights of traditional fishing communities in Raigad, India
- Recognition of indigenous community-owned land in Nicaragua
- War-affected women in the fishing villages of the Mannar Coast,
- Self-regulation by women harvesters in the Gulf of Mannar, India
- Mandira Marine Extractive Region, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from India and Sri Lanka
- Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from the European Union
- Diversifying livelihoods for small-scale fishing communities in Uganda
- Pacific Fishing Company on Levuka Island, Fiji
- Migrant Chinese women workers employed in oyster shucking in Japan
- Growing violence and abuse in small-scale fisheries in South Africa
- Reclaiming the Marol fish market in Mumbai, India
- Impact of harbour fishing on fish trade in Kerala, India
- Impact of competition along Lake Victoria in Kenya and on inland
fisheries in Zambia
- Impact of industrialization on women in small-scale post-harvest
fisheries in South Africa
- Issues of cross-border trade for traditional women fish vendors in
- The risks of neglecting women in policy implementation
- Post-tsunami rehabilitation in Aceh, Indonesia
- Impact of mine pollution in Buyat Bay, Indonesia
- Matsyafed in Kerala, India – an apex cooperative for small-scale fisheries
- Impact of seasonal fishing ban on women fish traders in
- Marshall Point, a coastal indigenous fishing/farming community in
- Women fishers fight corruption in the Sunderbans, India
- An example of value chain analysis (VCA) (in Malawi)
- Public hearing on issues of women in the fish trade in Kerala, India
- Enabling women’s participation in meetings in Kigombe, the United
Republic of Tanzania
- Fisherwomen in Brazil organize for their rights
- Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast
- Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME project
Download the full Handbook at this LINK.
Posted in Advocacy, Africa, Asia, Bangladesh, BOBLME, Brazil, Cambodia, Change, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Europe, FAO, FAO, UN Women, World Bank, IFAD, UNIDO and other multilateral, Fiji, Fish post-harvest, Fisheries, Gender, Gender and development, Global, Iceland, ICSF, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kerala, Malawi, Mekong, Men, Mumbai, Nicaragua, Nilanjana Biswas, Pacific, Seafood industry, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Tuna, Uganda, Value chain analysis, West Bengal, Women, Zambia
Many agencies and projects find themselves in the same situation as the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem project (BOBLME), which realised that it had not taken gender into account in formulating its strategies and project priorities. To overcome this gap, BOBLME undertook an ex post analysis of the gender dimension of their work and what to do to catch up on including gender.
These efforts have now been condensed and presented in a new paper by Cecile Brugere called Mainstreaming gender in transboundary natural resources projects – the experience of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project. The experience and the processes used in the BOBLME planning efforts for gender should be of value to other agencies who find themselves starting late to incorporate gender.
The paper is open access in the journal Environmental Development and can be be downloaded here.
Abstract: The Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project aims to improve the lives of men and women depending on the fisheries resources of the Bay of Bengal. Despite the major role women play in fisheries, the contents of the project documents have however remained gender-blind. The paper proposes that the Theory of Change offers a compelling framework to consider how this could be redressed in an ex-post manner, enabling transboundary natural resources projects such as the BOBLME project to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Practical steps are suggested. They include the elaboration of a high-level statement of political will to gender equality and the consideration of gender-sensitive actions and cross-cutting issues covering communication, gender-disaggregated data collection and governance. A commitment to impact through human capacity building and the allocation of adequate budgets for gender mainstreaming, is fundamental to embrace the change process that progress towards gender equality requires. In line with the Theory of Change, the development of a pathway to impact and use of gender- sensitive outcome mapping as a form of monitoring and evaluation are suggested as pivotal in capturing the changes expected from mainstreaming gender in the project and the project’s own influence in progressing towards gender equality in the region. The main- streaming approach proposed could be generalised to other transboundary natural resources projects of a similar institutional and operational structure to the BOBLME project.
Posted in Asia, Bangladesh, BOBLME, Cecile Brugere, Fish post-harvest, Fisheries, Gender, Gender and development, Gender research resources, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Men, Myanmar, Natural resource management, People, Regional, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Women
Ms Rani, wife of a fisher from Toothoor area in Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. Her husband, besides catching tuna, also catches sharks. Ms Rani was speaking in a stakeholder meeting convened by the BOBP-IGO to discuss the shark fisheries management plan. Photo: BOBP-IGO
Most marine and fisheries development projects are gender blind, even though, in recent years, they generally pay much more attention to reaching out to fishing communities. What does a major, multi-country project do when it wants to get serious on overcoming its gender-blindness? For sure, the project partners face a steep learning curve, but the FAO-managed Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project has taken the plunge. In 2012, it commissioned a major study by Cecile Brugere to help them work out where they stood and what to do. BOBLME has now published Dr Brugere’s report – Mainstreaming Gender in the BOBLME Project: gender audit and recommended actions for mainstreaming a gender perspective – and it is a very useful guide with wider relevance than just BOBLME. It is a veritable “how to” and literature review from which new and even experienced practitioners can learn a lot. Also significant is that this is the first of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supported Large Marine Ecosystem projects to undertake a thorough gender audit.
The Regional Coordinator of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BOBLME), Dr Chris O’Brien told Genderaquafish.org that, ” even though BOBLME countries faced many challenges in tackling gender inequalities, now there is some clarity and guidance on what needs to be done. Moreover, the countries are supportive of addressing gender considerations in a concerted way in the next five year phase of the Project.”
Download the report: Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME Project: Gender audit and recommended actions for mainstreaming a gender perspective in the BOBLME project and its Strategic Action Programme (SAP), By Cecile Brugere
Ms Tanvi Vaidyanathan, Consultant working with the BOBP-IGO in the Gulf of Mannar Project. In the picture, Ms Tanvi is delivering a lecture in the Regional CCRF Training programme. Photo: BOBP-IGO.
This paper was prepared to support the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the BOBLME Project and SAP. The gender audit of international and regional instruments the eight BOBLME partner countries are signatories, as well as national development and fisheries policies highlighted uneven progress in tackling gender inequalities and accounting of gender issues, overall denoting a cultural and institutional environment that may not be at all times conducive of gender mainstreaming initiatives. While the majority of the BOBLME Project documents audited were found to be gender-blind based on their sole contents, this was attributed to a lack of awareness rather than an intended oversight. Despite the relative advancement of the project, entry points to mainstream gender in the SAP were identified through:
- The addition of a statement of political will or commitment to gender,
- The consideration of gender-sensitive actions,
- The addition of a section on cross-cutting issues covering gender training, communication, legislation, capacity building at field level, gender-disaggregated data collection and research on gender issues,
- The consideration of incentives and accounting mechanisms,
- The earmarking of a specific budget for gender-related activities at project level and strategic actions.
- The addition of a pathway to impact.
- The use of outcome mapping as a form of monitoring and evaluation.
- The last two are seen as pivotal in capturing the changes that are expected as result of both mainstreaming gender in the project, and the project’s own influence in progressing towards gender equality.
In addition to these, key recommendations for future action by the BOBLME partner countries include:
- Commissioning of a gender-sensitive review of legislation and regulatory frameworks in the BOBLME partner countries,
- Following through the mainstreaming of gender in the NAPs, mirroring what has been proposed to mainstream gender in the SAP,
- Tackling gender-disaggregated data collection as soon as possible,
- Ensuring the continuous provision of gender inputs throughout the project duration,
- Strengthening the participatory processes undertaken so far by the project,
- Avoiding falling in the Women in Development/efficiency rhetoric and maintaining a focus on the addressing of gender issues and inequality,
- Supporting gender training and capacity building at all levels, beyond the life of the project.
Posted in Asia, Bangladesh, BOBLME, BOBP-IGO, Cecile Brugere, FAO, UN Women, World Bank, IFAD, UNIDO and other multilateral, Fisheries, GEF, Gender, Gender and development, Gender research resources, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Men, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Thailand, Women