Gender mainstreaming vital in fighting climate change

Martin Endjala

Smallholder farmers in the Kunene region Khorixas under severe conditions of climate stress in the Sesfontein, Fransfontein and Warmquelle areas are advised to iron out issues pertaining to gender equality inclusion in projects.

The Improving rangeland and ecosystem management practices of smallholder farmers (IREMA Kunene Project) conducted a training of trainers workshop on gender mainstreaming recently in Opuwo and Khorixas.

The project, is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), implemented by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR).

It is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the IREMA staff, key stakeholders and beneficiaries to address gender inequalities in the various project interventions and appreciate social inclusion as a strategy that is required to enhance the effective project implementation.

Mirjam Kaholongo, the national project manager, encouraged the trainees to openly unpack gender issues affecting them.

It is believed that this will enable the project implementers to identify and address key bottlenecks to gender inequality to ensure gender consideration in project activities.

Kaholongo emphasised that gender equality and women’s empowerment is a cornerstone of effective climate action, therefore it is imperative to make the vital connections between gender, social equity, and climate change.

Moreover, Kredula Shimwandi of EIF highlighted the commitments of EIF towards promoting gender equity and equality between women and men throughout the project implementation period.

‘’We have areas of gender implementation, whereby the gender policy is imbedded into all policies and programs of the Fund, to integrate the objective of gender equality in policy partnerships, advocacy and dialogue, public engagement and communications in order to address gender gaps and unequal power relationships that exist,’’ Shimwandi emphasized.

According to her (Gender Expert) male and female entitlements, duties and responsibilities are divided along gender lines, with males making most decisions, while women are responsible for most of the household chores and have limited or no decision-making power within their households and communities.

The gender division of labour, coupled with unequal decision-making power and control over household, land and community resources provides males and females with deferential

opportunities to adapt to climate change.

Shimwandi thus stressed that involving both women and men in all processes of climate action is a significant factor in meeting the climate challenges.

‘’Teach our boys and girls how to carryout daily activities without discriminating them based on their gender roles to build resilience and ability to address climate change,’’ the gender expert said.

Meanwhile, Sakeus Shilomboleni the EIF’s environmental and social safeguard officer highlighted that it was an important opportunity to spotlight the gender gaps and barriers that

exist in the Kunene Region and setting the tone with the participants on what is expected of them in terms of gender mainstreaming through the IREMA project.

Mainstreaming, he said, is clearly essential for securing human rights and social justice for both men and women.

He also pointed out that they recognize that incorporating gender perspectives into different areas of development ensure the effective achievement of other social and economic goals.

He further encouraged the project beneficiaries to become champions of gender mainstreaming upon returning to their respective communities, with continuous guidance from key stakeholders in their localities.

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