Thoughts and links related to ‘Womanpower for Power Women’
In last week’s blog on women’s empowerment, Romana reminded us not to leave men behind. If both women and men can embrace change and improvement, sustainable benefits can be achieved.
She learnt this from NAG progam manager Dr Myo Ma Than. My first thought – What is NAG? (Yes, another acronym for the ever-expanding list). NAG stands for Network Activities Groups – a family of 400 individuals who facilitate collaborative, community-driven projects. They operate under four goals of livelihoods, governance, civil society and public service. One of their projects has helped established solid access roads and the Bae Mi villagers can now “wear slippers” on their walk to town, instead of facing a muddy trek.
But back to Romana’s reminder… so how do we include men on this journey? It may start with understanding the gendered norms and values of the community. In their article ‘Gender norms and agricultural innovation: insights from six villages in Bangladesh’ Aregu et al. 2018 argue that the ability of development interventions to support innovation is undermined by a lack of specific understanding about how gender norms and relations interact; “we need to know more about how they matter, for whom, when and why”. Accordingly, this article examines “how men and women in South West Bangladesh perceive gender norms to affect their ability to innovate, adopt and benefit from new technologies in aquaculture, fisheries and agricultural systems”.
Romana also spoke of NGO Shwe Inn Thu who have tackled women’s empowerment from the bottom-up; problems and assets are identified together with the community and self-help groups are formed to equip women with new skills.
Similarly, Craig Johns, from the University of Adelaide, believes “Australian AID money is at its most powerful when the impact is at the grassroots and community level”. The University of Adelaide and the University of the Sunshine Coast teamed up to deliver value-adding workshops to stallholders in Fiji, for example, turning damaged fruit and veg into jams and chutney!
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