Welcome to the 16th issue of our newsletter!!

Foreword by the SNRD Africa speaker, Rita Weidinger, to the last newsletter issue of 2022
Rita Weidinger

Rita Weidinger with a trainee at a tractor instruction  © GIZ

Dear SNRD Africa Community,

Welcome to the 16th issue of our newsletter, the last one for 2022. For this issue we have asked ourselves what feminist development cooperation looks like and what it means for our project work in Africa.

We take a closer look at the peer exchange and learning event Rural Development Goes Feminist which our Gender Transformative Approaches working group held in October together with G500 in Bonn. We also asked GIZ colleagues to share experiences that their projects made across the continent. I remember Christel Weller recounting the various insights on gender-transformative approaches she gained at her different positions abroad and in Germany.

One lesson I personally took from these exchanges is that gender-transformative approaches always result in a personal learning journey, which includes:

  • Very tangible changes in the lives of women and families
  • Breaking stereotypes whilst being mindful of social norms
  • Open unthought of opportunities for women of all social groups in society
  • Getting men as allies for change and also
  • Very practical technical solutions addressing women’s needs. T

The main speaker at the event, Nozomi Kawarazuka of the International Potato Center (CGIAR) even suggested painting machines in pink to deter men from taking them from women.

With contributions from specialists across GIZ, this newsletter puts all these concepts, methods, and insights into perspective. The lead piece shares details from the recently concluded peer exchange and educational event Rural Development Goes Feminist and we also have an elaborate interview with the speaker team of the Gender-transformative Approaches working group.

Discussions regarding the current feminist foreign policy in the context of development cooperation have been taking place in the past few months and efforts were made to understand the concepts and approaches behind it. We welcome a strong stance by the German government, and especially our main commissioning ministry BMZ, for a paradigm shift towards gender transformative and inclusive development agenda and strategies.

But what does this mean for instance for me as a development practitioner in the various fields of rural development and in a multi-stakeholder environment? How do our partners empower women and what do they understand when we talk about feminist development?

We all strive to create more impactful and transformative projects. Gender has long been a significant component in rural development and the agriculture sector. We all worked, one way or the other, on mainstreaming it throughout our work. It is critical for any sustainable project impact to address all forms of gender discrimination — from institutional to individual levels. For example, to support food and nutrition security in our various communities, women play an important role in the transformation of our agro-food systems. They must be given their due, from a just legal system, through inclusion, and access to equal opportunities. Not recognizing women is a missed business and innovation opportunity and therefore comes with high economic costs — human resources.

As change agents we must apply gender-transformative strategies in the implementation of our varied activities because this is the surest path to progress. We need to give meaning to our concepts and develop inclusive approaches to overcome harmful norms and power structures.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the latest issue of the SNRD Africa newsletter. Enjoy reading the contributions whilst reflecting on your own involvement in gender-transformative development work.

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