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Gender and Youth Mainstreaming | SANREM

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Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Africa
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Gender and Youth Mainstreaming

General Guiding Principles for Gender Mainstreaming

SANREM believes that the achievement of gender equality is a goal sought across international development practice. We are of the view that gender equality means that women and men, boys and girls are able to enjoy equal status, and have equal entitlements and opportunities for fully realizing all human rights, making choices, and accessing assets, services and public goods, without limitations imposed by legislation, policies, gender norms and stereotypes.

We believe that gender norms define how women and men, boys and girls hold positions of power; how they access public resources and private assets in wider society; how they make decisions on sources of livelihood, mobility and place of residence, marriage and partnerships, family planning, reproduction and sexuality; how they divide labor within the household; and the nature and extent of personal ambitions.

SANREM Gender and Youth Program intend to achieve the following objectives:

  • Collect sex disaggregated household, workplace and community data/information relevant to the program/project being implemented.
  • Assess how the gender division of labor and patterns of decision-making affects the program/project, and how the program/project affects the gender division of labor and decision making.
  • Assess who has access to and control over resources, assets and benefits, including program/project benefits.
  • Understand women’s/girls’ and men’s/boys’ different needs, priorities and strengths.
  • Understand the complexity of gender relations in the context of social relations, and how this constrains or provides opportunities for addressing gender inequality.
  • Assess the barriers and constraints to women and men participating and benefiting equally from the program/project.
  • Develop strategies to address barriers and constraints, include these strategies in program/project design and implementation, and ensure that they are adequately resourced.
  • Assess counterpart/partner capacity for gender sensitive planning, implementation and monitoring, and develop strategies to strengthen capacity.
  • Assess the potential of the program/project to empower women, address strategic gender interests and transform gender relations.
  • Develop gender-sensitive indicators to monitor participation, benefits, the effectiveness of gender equality strategies, and changes in gender relations.
  • Apply the above information and analysis throughout the program/project cycle.

SANREM Guidelines for Gender Sensitive Programming

In SANREM’s view and perspective, gender is a critical factor that determines an individual’s role and status. Because women and men have different roles and utilize the resources of their environment differently, development and environmental programs affect women and men differently. Therefore, a gender sensitive program recognizes that women’s and girls’ role is as important as men’s and boys role in addressing environmental and development issues. It acknowledges that, because they have different roles, women and men may have different needs, which must be addressed in order to achieve sustainable mountain development.

A programming process is gender sensitive when the gender dimension is systematically integrated into every step of the process, from defining the problem, to identifying potential solutions, in the methodology and approach to implementing the project, in stakeholders analysis and the choice of partners, in defining the objective, outcomes, outputs, and activities, in the composition of the implementation and management team, in budgeting, in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process, and in policy dialogue.

SANREM Planning Step-by-Step with a Gender Perspective

  1. The starting point: A gender analysis: The integration of a gender perspective in the programming process requires a gender analysis related to the sector of intervention (e.g., a gender perspective in rangeland resources management; gender roles in biodiversity conservation). The gender analysis should also be part of the situational analysis.
  1. A conducive factor: The participation of women in the planning process It is important to avoid generalizing men’s perspective to the whole community; mountain women are important stakeholders and we need to promote their crucial contribution to mountain livelihoods. As women and men have different roles in society in general, they may have different knowledge, different points of view, different interests, different skills, and different needs related to an issue that is the subject of a development intervention. If it is not possible to involve mountain women directly in the planning process, it is useful to obtain the expertise of a women’s organization working in the sector, or at least the support of a gender specialist.
  1. Defining the problem to be solved. We need to understand how development interventions (e.g., biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management) affect women and men and how their actions and capacities are affecting the problems that these interventions are designed to solve.
  1. Identifying potential solutions. When identifying potential solutions to a problem (e.g., the co-management of a natural reserve, implementation of an early warning system, diversification of mountain livelihoods), we need to anticipate how different solutions will affect women and men. This can be done by taking into account their respective roles in the livelihood system and in the household and community, their respective knowledge and capacities, and the constraints they are facing.
  1. Selecting the implementation methodology and approach. The growing trend of out-migration of men, and for longer periods, has resulted in the feminization of mountain livelihoods. This reality must be reflected in the selection of the methodology and approach to implementing a program. This presents certain challenges for organizations that are accustomed to working with and through men. It implies that interventions must be adapted to overcome some cultural constraints that may restrict women’s participation in decision making or in the implementation of a program.
  1. Choosing program partners. It is much easier to choose program partners that are already gender sensitive and committed to promoting gender equity. When it is not possible to find such an organization in the sector of intervention, think about developing a partnership with a women’s organization. Women’s organizations can contribute to building the capacity of other partners to address gender issues in the particular sector.
  1. Defining the objective and outcomes. Programs implemented by ERMCSD aim to improve people’s living conditions and wellbeing through sustainable development. This cannot be done without equitable access to meaningful resources, the reduction of women’s drudgery, and the empowerment of women. Even when gender is not mentioned in the objective and outcomes, the objectives and outcomes should, somehow, contribute to reducing gender inequalities and addressing gender issues
  1. Defining outputs and activities. Again, the outputs and activities of a program must benefit both women and men by addressing their different needs and capacities.
  1. Composing the implementation and management team. The implementation and management team should be gender balanced in order to reflect the organization’s commitment. This can be a key element in reaching out to mountain women, as it can greatly improve the capacity of the program to interact with them, understand their issues, and involve them to ensure that they benefit from the program’s interventions. However, mainstreaming gender is not the sole responsibility of female staff and gender specialists; all team members should be aware of gender issues related to their sector, be committed to addressing such issues, and develop the expertise to conduct gender analysis and to mainstream gender in their activities.
  1. In the context of the feminization of mountain communities and increased out-migration of men, women’s needs should be considered as priorities and not secondary or optional. Sufficient funds must be allocated to address their needs and to put in place specific measures to increase their participation.
  1. Establishing the baseline. Baseline data provides a basis for the monitoring and evaluation of projects. The requirements of the baseline vary according to the nature of the project, but it must integrate the gender perspective.
  1. Monitoring and evaluation process. From the perspective of gender mainstreaming, a gender sensitive M&E system should be used in any development and environmental program, not just in programs that principally target women. Monitoring is a continuous process of data collection on the specified targets and parameters to show whether the project is going in the right direction or not. Through a gender sensitive monitoring approach, the program’s team observes to what extent a program’s outputs benefit women and men, how they address their respective issues related to the sector taking into account the different capacities and constraints women and men may face, and proposes corrective paths to address inequalities.
  1. Disseminating findings and policy dialogue. In order to influence policy makers to mainstream gender, the dissemination of program results and findings should highlight the differential impact of the program on women and men and the benefits of mainstreaming gender for the success and sustainability of the outcomes of the program.

Implementing Gender Mainstreaming At Country Level throughout the Development Programming Process

SANREM’s premise behind mainstreaming gender perspectives in program planning is not to create a separate gender equality program but to effect a radical transformation in how the sector, thematic program or government agency operates, so as not to leave the promotion of gender equality solely to stand-alone, gender equality initiatives. To ensure sustainable changes towards achieving gender equality through gender mainstreaming, SANREM believes that programming processes must work at four interrelated levels. First, engendering national policy and legislation is crucial to ensure that they respond to the needs of women and girls along their life course.

We strongly acknowledge that gender mainstreaming needs to be applied throughout the overarching programming cycle of the thematic sector concerned, following a well-known sequence of steps that we have gathered from a multiplicity of competent sources:

  • Analysis: evidence-gathering through gender analysis of context and findings from summative evaluations and formative program research;
  • Programme design, including the selection of priority issues, target groups and coverage, and their integration in terms of program results, indicators and intervention modalities;
  • Budget planning;
  • Implementation modalities; and
  • Monitoring and evaluation, reporting and strategy readjustment.

How SANREM Applies Gender Analysis to Program Planning

SANREM aligns to the fact that gender analysis is one of the cornerstones of gender mainstreaming, but is often a weak link in the overall program planning process. It involves efforts to understand if, how and why issues affect women and men, boys and girls differently and unequally within a particular context or development sector, and what options exist to address them. SANREM diagnosis also encompasses the current policy environment, the political climate, the organizational structures and cultures in which an agency/program is situated, and the availability of resources; and it builds on what has been learned from well-evaluated experiences from previous programs.

SANREM’s Environmental Scanning for Gender Analysis

SANREM Environmental scanning involves monitoring and analyzing critical developments and trends in the external environment (political, socio-cultural and economic). It is a multidisciplinary, holistic process intended to gauge unforeseen events, identify partners for change, increase preparedness to respond to risks and opportunities, and improve strategic positioning and planning. A rating system may be used to signal high risks, needs for mitigating strategies and rising opportunities.

Our STEEP tool may be used to analyze gender equalities at the sector, country, regional or global levels, comprising:

S—Social, e.g., greater poverty of women relative to men, their vulnerability to violence and discriminatory attitudes and practices, and neglect of sexual and reproductive health.

T—Technology, e.g., women’s and men’s access to technologies, such as mobile phones and computers, that increase capacities.

E—Economic, e.g., gender division of labor within the economy, gender differences in ownership of economic assets, rates of employment and salaries, domestic unpaid labor.

E—Environmental, e.g., differences in women’s and men’s access to scarce natural resources and their experiences of climate change.

P—Political, e.g., gender inequalities in political power, participation in political processes, access to decision-making and representation.

SANREM Approach to Engaging and Targeting Men and Boys for Gender Equality Results

SANREM has come to believe that over a period of time, a strategic programming principle for gender mainstreaming that is often overlooked is the need to adopt program approaches that are male inclusive. The gender analysis needed to inform any programming design process should identify any male-based gender issues that make men and boys particularly vulnerable in a given context, as well as ways to engage men and boys as actors to promote and support increased gender equality. Men and boys can be beneficiaries of gender mainstreaming processes. Norms of masculinities can disadvantage groups of men, such as when risk-taking behavior puts men in the path of HIV, or when the notion of the ‘family breadwinner’ as a marker of masculinity is undermined by unemployment or economic crises. Programme approaches targeting men and boys, and enabling them to recognize how gender inequalities harm their partners and themselves, can be an important element of gender mainstreaming. Men and boys are also program stakeholders and partners. It is critical to convince men to use their political, economic and social power to work for, rather than against, gender equality.

Successful approaches that SANREM envisages include the following:

  • Enlist men and boys as agents of change for and champions of gender equality;
  • Highlight the benefits of gender equality for all individual men and boys;
  • Emphasize and facilitate equal sharing of domestic responsibilities, such as ‘father work’ and men’s positive roles in raising and caring for their children, on the basis of positive aspects of traditional male roles such as strength, courage, leadership and protection, and aided by parental leave policies at the workplace and other measures; and/or
  • Teach boys about gender-equitable relations, and human rights, communications, negotiation and care-giving skills.

SANREM Gender Mainstreaming Toolbox

SANREM is working with specialist institutions including the UN organizations in applying gender integration tools in sustainable development. The following key tools are in our domain:

  • Gender Analysis Tools
  • Gender-Responsive Budgeting Tools
  • Sector-Related Gender Mainstreaming Tools
  • Gender-Sensitive Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
  • Gender Audit Tools
  • Gender Mainstreaming in Programming Tools

Gender in Youth Livelihoods and Workforce Development Programs

SANREM studies have shown that there is growing evidence that investments in women’s economic development contribute to improved broader development outcomes related to health, education, poverty reduction, and economic growth. SANREM believes that economic empowerment is not only one of the most direct ways of allowing women to achieve their potential; it also strengthens countries’ economic growth. In fact, women’s exclusion from the workforce in some countries can reduce the GDP by as much as 2 percent.

While there are numerous programs focused on adolescent girls’ empowerment, these often do not address workforce preparation. In its research on more than 300 projects for girls, the Population Council found that only 18 percent of them included livelihood or vocational training. Moreover, in general vocational training and workforce development programs for out-of school youth, gender is rarely a consideration. Few programs include strategies to ensure that training, job placement, and other services respond to the unique needs of young women as well as young men.

Key Gender Issues

SANREM has isolated numerous gender issues that are critical in highlighting the rationale for integrating boys and girls in sustainable development imperatives:

  • Socio-cultural norms that shape what are acceptable economic sectors for young women often hinder young women’s access to job opportunities in growth sectors that may be considered inappropriate for females. By the same token, women may limit their own vision for skills training to programs in less dynamic economic sectors (such as hairdressing or handicrafts) because those traditionally female trades are better known to them and therefore more accessible.
  • Socio-cultural norms shape young men’s and women’s definitions of masculinity and femininity. These manifest in certain behaviors and self-perceptions that can ultimately contribute to alienation, frustration, and violence in families and communities.
  • The ability and motivation to start a business or livelihood varies between men and women, as well as between older married women and younger unmarried women. These differences can have implications for what support or coaching is most needed. For example, young women starting a business are likely to have less education than men, and they are less likely to seek any formal financing for their business, relying more on personal savings or family funds
  • Young women are more burdened with household and childcare responsibilities than young men, so the time that young women have available to participate in education and training may be significantly limited.
  • Young women’s mobility is more constrained than young men’s, due to security concerns or to socio-cultural norms that deem it inappropriate for women to travel alone or frequent public places at night.


More conservative contexts may dictate the formation of separate male/female training classes, and an appropriate balance of male and female trainers, to ensure that females and males are comfortable and are participating actively. In addition, partnering with local religious and community leaders and NGOs in conservative societies helps to achieve longer term outcomes and greater progress toward gender equality.

Photo of a young woman in western Kenya standing on her farm. She is a beneficiary of SANREM youth in agriculture program



SANREM programs encourage households to introduce children to agriculture practice at an early age without necessarily violating child labor laws



SANREM believes that agriculture can be made beautiful if girls embrace the practice



A young woman transplanting health Kales seedlings on her farm in central Kenya



Boys learning how cultivate the land using livestock pulled hoe