The gender and governance programme has grown out of several research and advocacy projects aiming to promote equal representation and effective participation of women in decision-making. The programme stems from a niche identified in local government- the sphere of governance closet to the people yet one under researched. The programme has grown into a regionally recognised programme that brings together GL’s core programme work in holistic ways through the Centres of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming in Local Government process.
The COE approach includes a unique blend of research and evidence, applied to strategies and action planning, with on-the-job capacity building and applied learning, vigorous Monitoring and Evaluation, affirming of good practise, and sharing of learning at the annual summits. Emerging evidence suggests that this is an effective and sustainable model.
Action plans are being strengthened through additional content and practise on climate change and sustainable development; care work and local economic development. GL is also strengthening the IT skills of councillors as part of the communications component. For the first time
Learning from the first phase has been incorporated in the second phase that has expanded the original six phases to ten phases. GL is on the verge of an exciting new phase – cascading the GBV indicators research to the local level to strengthen 3565 day local action plans to end GBV.
• Raise support for in-country Gender Justice and Local Government summits held in March each year, starting in 2012.
• Raise support for the roll out of the COE’s to at least half of the 977 councils in the region by 2015, being the deadline for the achievement of the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
• Popularise and enhance application of the SADC Gender Protocol through the village workshops that accompany the COEs and incorporating the Protocol targets into the local action plans.
• Test GBV indicators at the local level and use the findings to measure impact of gender and local government initiatives, as well as build up databases used to gauge the level of gender violence at national level.
Following the initial phase of this programme that involved research, national level strategies and district level action plans, GL is now working with 143 local councils directly. GL aims to expand this to 300 by 2014 to cover about one third of the councils in the ten countries.
The COE process
The COE process has expanded from six to the ten stages shown in the diagram. Key changes include:
• Content of the action plans broadened to include local economic development including care work (the unwaged work of women) and climate change.
• The strategic communications module now has a specific module on IT aimed at ensuring proficiency and capacity building in this area.
• The targets of the planning framework have been aligned to the SADC Protocol on Gender and development.
• Monitoring and evaluation is strengthened through administering scorecards at the beginning and end of the process. GL now proposes to strengthen this even further by monitoring the prevalence and attitudes towards GBV at the beginning an end of the process. The aim is to show that community by community the SADC Gender Protocol target of halving gender violence by 2015 can be achieved.
Key principles include:
? Political support: Getting buy-in at decision-making level.
? Evidence-based approach: Conducting situation analysis that is council-specific and helps to address the needs of that council.
? Context specific interventions: Conducting council-specific gender and action plan workshops that localise national and district gender policies and action plans.
? Community mobilisation: SADC Gender Protocol village level workshops that sensatise communities on the provisions of SADC Gender Protocol, empowering them to hold their councils accountable.
? Capacity building: through on-the-job training with council officials and political leaders.
? Application of skills: Assisting councils and communities to apply these new skills through running major campaigns, for example the 365 Days to End Gender Violence; the 50/50 campaign. .
? Monitoring and evaluation: Administration of scorecards and other monitoring and evaluation tools that can be used to measure change in the immediate, medium, and long terms.
? Knowledge creation and dissemination: Working to gather and disseminate best practises, and case studies that are presented at the annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit and Awards that provide councils and communities with a platform to learn from each other on how to empower women and end violence at the local level.
? Cascading the COE’s: GL is working with local government associations across the region on innovative strategies for cascading the COEs, including working through gender focal points of the associations and peer support.
The Gender Justice and Local Government Summits
GL broke new ground in 2012 with the hosting of summits in six countries – Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe before the regional summit. This approach greatly expanded the reach and visibility of the work, enabling five times more participants to participate, expanding partnerships and raising the visibility, ownership and impact of the work in-country.
Cascading the COE’s within each country
There are 977 councils in the ten countries that GL is working in. GL has set a target of reaching half these councils by 2015. GL has canvassed several avenues that for cascading the COEs. These involve working with and through the existing structures of local governments and councils through Training Trainers who would consist of:
• Gender focal points, where these exist, in provincial or district offices of local government associations;
• Gender champions, who have emerged from the first phase of COE work. By having gender champions that function within these councils it becomes possible and also easier to sustain the COE activities and hold partners accountable for ensuring the cascading and ownership of the COE process.
From mid 2012, the strategy for cascading the COE’s will be reviewed to include:
• Peer learning amongst councils, both vertically and horizontally, as it is important for councils to be able to learn from each, use each other as resources as well as transferring skills from one council to another in light of the fact that each of the 10 countries are made up of so many councils. Although GL will not be able to reach all of these councils, each council can reach another through peer learning and should be advocating for peer educators to reach the other councils within the countries.
• Twinning arrangements between larger and smaller COE’s. These details are being worked out within each country.
GBV indicators at the local level contributing to national surveys
GL is seeking funding in-country to run the GBV indicators research in each of the COE localities to strengthen the M and E component. The theory of change being tested here is that by instituting a holistic approach to gender equality at the local level that includes the empowerment of women and changing the attitudes of men, gender violence will deescalate. This is perhaps the most important measure of the success of the COE process.
The added advantage is that if the full attitude/prevalence survey is administered in enough communities, this will add up to an overall national GBV prevalence survey. The research thus serves a dual purpose: understanding the specific dynamics at a local level as well as building up a national picture.
For a national survey, there are other components of the research methodology that can be added: including media monitoring and political discourse analysis. The flagship tool of the research is, however, the prevalence/attitude survey. In Botswana (see GBV section) the research is being cascaded from national to local by WAD and UN agencies. The table shows that Zimbabwe will be the first country to pilot the GBV indicators from the ground up. Several other countries and UN agencies have shown a keen interest – for example Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia and Swaziland. Seychelles which does not have elected local government at the present time is another keen contender.
• Completed and launched good quality research reports for Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
• Completed gender strategies for local government in Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
• 90 participants (3 countries x 30 participants each) were trained as trainers at the launches and strategy workshops in Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. These women and men are part of gender mainstreaming movement that have identified the need to have gender built into policy, practise at local level, and have committed themselves to ensure that this happens in the councils they work and the communities they service.
• At the time of this report, GL had signed up 143 COE’s; 103 had expressed an interest.
• GL developed a new generic COE Training Manual that is being customised to each country.
• New content on conflict resolution, Local Economic Development (LED), climate change and sustainable development, including HIV/AIDS and Care Work was added to the COE model and training materials
• GL hosted two regional gender justice and local government summits and awards in 2010 and 2011. 2010: 103 award entries; 2011: 124 entries, 86 by women, 38 by men in 8
• In 2011, winners came from nine countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
With 4605 participants ( 60% women and 40% men) the governance programme has the widest direct reach of all the GL programmes. This is to be expected given the size of the programme, whose indirect reach (population for each of the 143 councils) is 22 milion.
From March 2011 – February 2012 the Governance programme appeared in the media 89 times.
• Through stage eight of the COE model we empower councils to use the Internet during 16 Days cyber Participants also get an E Mail address, sign up on Facebook and Skype, Twitter and online petitions.
• Our new IT module on the use of mobile technology helps councils understand how they can use a tool that they use daily as an effective campaign tool to push their causes in a cost effective and practical way.
The Governance website stays current through routine website audits and through by keeping the current COE pages that are innovative and interactive. From March 2011 to February 2012 the programme received 7624 website hits. This is expected to increase since the use of google map to locate all the COE’s on the GL website and put up a report card on each.
• Our new generic COE Training Manual has a CD Rom with country specific examples so that case studies and profiles are contextual and relevant to countries.
• The Mozambique research report Género e Governo Local em Mocambique is the most updated gender and local government research in Mozambique.
Gender and governance is a GL niche. Through working at the local government level, the Governance programme has singularly put gender on the agenda of local government in Southern Africa, and is localising the targets of the Southern African Gender Protocol through the local-level gender action plans. Although most of the countries that GL works in are signatories to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, none have put any processes or activities in place to localise the Protocol. Through the citizen scorecard and SADC Protocol Village Level meetings, GL goes to the average citizen and measures their awareness of the Protocol as well as build their capacity around the Protocol.
When GL began research on gender and local government, the region had no figures or database on women’s representation and participation in this critical sphere of governance. Now these figures are known, canvassed, and used for advocacy. Often we receive requests from individuals, organisations, and governments across the region requesting to use or quote our research. GL’s work in Lesotho contributed to the modification and retention of the quota for women in local government in 2011.
In Mauritius, GL is credited with the advocacy that led to a quota for women in local government in the 2012 elections, necessitating a constitutional amendment that also makes way for Mauritius to sign the Protocol. Emerging evidence from the COEs shows how these councils are becoming more gender responsive in service delivery.
• Raise in-county support for the roll out of the COE’s to at least half of the 977 councils in the region by 2015.
• Popularise and enhance application of the SADC Gender Protocol through the village workshops that accompany the COEs and incorporating its targets in the local action plans.
• Test GBV indicators at the local level and use these to measure the impact of gender and local government initiatives, as well as build up data bases that can be used to gauge the level of gender violence at national level. This information is vital for measuring the extent to which countries and communities reach the SADC target of halving gender violence by 2015.
• Identify ten gender champions in each of the ten initial councils and train them as trainers to cascade the COE model.
• Secure in country funding in fully registered countries to cascade the COE model to other councils.
• Strengthen partnerships with local associations, ministries and other key local government stakeholders that will ensure ownership of the COE processes in each of the countries that GL works.
• Cascading the COE process down to at least 100 councils. Ensuring ownership of the process through local associations and key partners.
• Ensure that gender is mainstreamed in local councils, with flagship programmes on gender violence, HIV and AIDS, care work, economic justice, and climate change.
• Develop and maintain local level Monitoring and Evaluation tools used to measure change.
• Gather good practises for the in country and annual regional Gender Justice Summit to be combined wit the media next year.