Oxfam International Blogs - donors http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/donors en All stations to aid: Global Humanitarian Assistance’s new interactive guide http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-01-17-all-stations-aid-global-humanitarian-assistance-new-interactive-guide <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>I’m quite a fan of the <a href="http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/report/gha-report-2012" rel="nofollow">Global Humanitarian Assistance reports</a> produced every year by the Development Initiatives think tank. They combine invaluable data on funding with thoughtful commentary on what is and is not changing in the humanitarian world. So I was pretty excited to see last week that they’ve launched a new <a href="http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/data-guides/humanitarian-aid-network" rel="nofollow">‘interactive guide to humanitarian financing’</a>.</strong></p> <p>Anything that can make humanitarian financing less befuddling is welcome, and the guide certainly does that. Click on it and you’ll be taken through 3 opening pages towards the wealth of funding data on the GHA site. Like half the infographics on the planet, it seems, the main page looks like a map of a subway, metro or, as we say in London, <strong><a href="http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/im/SI-C.html" rel="nofollow">‘tube’ system</a></strong>.</p> <a href="http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/shakespeare-tube-map11.jpg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a> Even Shakespeare's characters can be presented on a "tube map". © The Royal Shakespeare Company <p>These days every possible issue, it appears, can be represented in such a way, from <strong><a href="http://capturedcastle.com/post/30377910682/putting-modern-art-on-the-map-will-gompertzs" rel="nofollow">schools of modern art</a></strong> and <strong><a href="http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/culturevulture/archives/2006/02/03/going_underground.html" rel="nofollow">20th century music</a></strong> to – just for example – the <strong><a href="http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/blog/shakespeare-tube-map/" rel="nofollow">plays and characters of Shakespeare</a></strong>.</p> <h3>Too simple?</h3> <p>Most of these maps are as complicated as they are colorful. But GHA’s is pretty simple, showing seven clear lines delivering humanitarian aid to the ‘aid recipient’ placed, quite rightly, in the center. And as <strong><a href="http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-the3.htm" rel="nofollow">Hamlet would have said</a></strong>, perhaps there’s the rub.</p> <p>For interacting with the GHA guide, I couldn’t help thinking that some of it seemed perhaps a little bit too simple. From the main map, it looks as if UN agencies give as directly to beneficiaries as local government or civil society. Some of the ‘train lines’ more or less work as a sequence, delivering funds station-by-station closer to the recipient; but none of them perfectly, and some are really just lists. Unlike the Shakespeare map, they show none of the complexity that, for example, governments fund UN agencies to fund NGOs to fund someone who might actually meet a recipient.</p> <p>Another page shows the <strong><a href="http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/data-guides/financing" rel="nofollow">direct and indirect channels for aid</a></strong> – but from the donor's, not the recipient’s point of view. And some of the information on ‘stations’ (aka donors) is more helpful than others. The guide is very honest about the lack of data on – but great importance of – local and national governments and civil society. But it rather too glibly says that international military forces provide a ‘substantial addition to the resources and assets deployed by humanitarian organizations’. "Yes, but…" would be a kind response; and, to be fair, on a later page there is far more detail on the <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/whose-aid-it-anyway" rel="nofollow">costs and disadvantages</a></strong> of <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/quick-impact-quick-collapse" rel="nofollow">such assistance</a></strong>.</p> <h3>A timely, useful, even entertaining reminder</h3> <p><strong>All in all, the guide is very worth looking at.</strong> As GHA says, it’s something to evolve, and I’m sure they’ll consider whether their users could find their way round a more complex subway system in the future.</p> <p>For now, let’s just remember a couple of things that the guide and GHA’s data beyond it reveal:</p> <ol><li>Many donors’ economic woes are really now <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2012-04-04/first-global-aid-cut-14-years-will-cost-lives-and-must-be-reversed" rel="nofollow">biting</a></strong> – and the gap between the humanitarian aid needed and provided is widening.</li> <li>All the talk about resilience has not yet translated into a decent proportion of ODA invested to <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/oi-humanitarian-policy-disaster-risk-reduction-apr09.pdf" rel="nofollow">reduce the risk of disasters</a></strong>. Between 2006 and 2010, it was less than a woeful 1%.</li> </ol><p>In 2011, governments <strong><a href="http://www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4/images/stories/hlf4/OUTCOME_DOCUMENT_-_FINAL_EN.pdf" rel="nofollow">promised</a></strong> to ‘prioritize the building of resilience among people and societies at risk… and increase the resources, planning and skills for disaster management’, at the <strong><a href="/en/blog/12-01-02-busan-aid-effectiveness-forum-win-poor-people" rel="nofollow">Busan aid conference</a></strong>. Little could now be more vital. While at the same time humanitarian aid to today’s crises must be sustained even in the most difficult economic times. Despite my quibbles above, GHA’s new guide is a timely, useful, even entertaining reminder of that need.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/data-guides/humanitarian-aid-network" rel="nofollow">The interactive guide to humanitarian financing by GHA</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/aid-effectiveness" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work on aid effectiveness</a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies" rel="nofollow"><strong>Where Oxfam is responding to emergencies</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>All stations to aid: Global Humanitarian Assistance’s new interactive guide</h2></div> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 07:00:01 +0000 Ed Cairns 10201 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-01-17-all-stations-aid-global-humanitarian-assistance-new-interactive-guide#comments Day 8: On the Virtues of Discrimination http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/virtues-of-discrimination <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>All things being equal, countries benefit from more open trade. But all things are not equal. For women, the context is almost always one of inequality. To protect and advance women’s rights, it’s time for trade negotiators to start discriminating.</strong></em></p> <p>By <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/sophia-murphy"><strong>Sophia Murphy</strong></a>, senior advisor to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy</p> <p>Non-discrimination has been one of the core principles of the multilateral trading system since 1947. It means that if two countries are <a href="http://www.wto.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>World Trade Organization</strong></a> (WTO) members and agree to trade with one another on a given set of terms, they must offer those same terms to every other WTO member.</p> <p>As far as it goes, it’s a good principle. All things equal, all countries benefit from more open trade, and the more a country opens its borders, the more wealth its economy generates.</p> <h3><em>"All things are not equal—and who knows that better than women?"</em></h3> <p>But here’s the rub: all things are not equal—and who knows that better than women? The world is not a blank slate, created anew each time a trade agreement is signed. The context in which a trade agreement comes into force does not just matter; it is more or less the whole story. For most women just about everywhere, the context is one of cultural, political and economic inequality.</p> <p>International trade and investment in agriculture has created new sectors in which women dominate the workforce. <a href="http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/About_ITC/Where_are_we_working/Multi-country_programmes/Women_and_trade/women%20in%20trade%20-%20can%20they%20lead%20the%20way%20out%20of%20the%20global%20financial%20crisis.pdf" rel="nofollow"><strong>For example</strong></a>, 80 per cent of workers in Uganda’s cut-flower industry are women, as are 80 per cent of the workers in Thailand’s production and packaging of fruit for export. Important questions remain about the quality of these jobs, but there is no doubt that international trade and investment has created new opportunities for women, many of them trapped by economic dependence in their traditional cultures and glad to have the chance to earn an independent living.</p> <p>Women farmers I met from Burkina Faso in 2006 made a joke of it: “If you come to see our fields, we’ll have to invent a cover story. Should the men see a European interested, they might find out how much money our cut flowers sell for, and then they’ll take over.”</p> <p>Yet women are at a disadvantage to men in the face of globalization.</p> <p>The liberalization of global trade and the deregulation of international investments have tended to favour those with more cash (usually men), more education (usually men), and control of productive assets (men, again). And they have tended to disfavour people with greater responsibility for dependents (usually women), with few or no productive assets (more often women), and those without legal or political protections (again, women).</p> <p>The new opportunities women have found through globalization tend to be in sectors where barriers to entry, and thus returns, are low.</p> <h3><em>"The assumption that all things are equal exacerbates existing inequalities."</em></h3> <p>You could say the dominant model of global trade and investment produces discriminatory results through its failure to discriminate. The assumption that all things are equal exacerbates existing inequalities.</p> <p>The Green Revolution that swept Asian and Latin American agriculture in the 1960s and 1970s illustrates the problem. The technologies introduced by the Green Revolution worked best for farmers with relatively larger land holdings, greater capital reserves and a higher educational base (far more men than women). By and large, the scientists and extension workers involved in the Green Revolution (again, most of them men) were blind to the contribution that women made to agriculture, reflecting the inherent sexism of their education and culture.</p> <p>In consequence, the Green Revolution tended to marginalize women in agriculture. It ignored women’s traditional knowledge of seeds, cultivation and marketing; it exposed the millions of women who worked as agricultural labourers to pesticides and herbicides that damaged their health and that of their children; and it worked against their economic interests by increasing the importance of cash in the agricultural household at the expense of non-cash transactions.</p> <p>In most cultures, cash is predominantly a male not a female realm. The need for cash creates a need for credit and therefore for collateral—which means ownership of productive assets, such as land, becomes important. Again, men are much more likely to own these assets.</p> <p>The donor community has recently acknowledged the fact of women’s inequality in agriculture. The 2007–2008 food price crisis seems to have focused donors’ attention, and they are now promising to make good on their neglect. Increased aid to women farmers could do a lot to improve women’s ability to engage in and benefit from international trade and investment.</p> <h3><em>"Rarely do donors talk about women’s rights, or the importance of investment in women for women’s sake.</em>"</h3> <p>Yet much of the motivation is openly instrumental, justified on the grounds that investment in women will lead to faster growth levels and higher total agricultural output. Rarely do donors talk about women’s rights, or the importance of investment in women for women’s sake. If donors only look to raise agricultural productivity, they will fail to reduce gender-based inequity. They may even exacerbate it, as happened during the Green Revolution.</p> <p>Donors need to be part of a comprehensive agricultural strategy that is deliberate about addressing women’s needs and interests at many levels. For women to succeed as producers and as traders, governments need to free women from the time they spend on reproductive care by investing in child and elder care and in affordable, accessible and clean energy. Women need to have control of their fertility. Governments have to invest in secure roads and decent communication networks, not only to allow goods to get to market, but for women to be able to move around in safety. Girls need to be educated; the whole household needs access to affordable, good quality healthcare.</p> <p>Women need legal protection, too, to be able to benefit from new economic opportunities. Women need the legal right to equal pay for equal work. They need to be able to protect their claims to productive assets, not least with the support of equitable inheritance and marriage laws.</p> <p>And to engage economically, women need a political voice—in their communities, and in municipal, state and national government.</p> <p>Governments (and donors) need to exercise discrimination. Public procurement rules should insist the companies receiving public funding have explicit policies to promote women’s rights. This might include a demonstrated commitment to working with women producers and women’s co-operatives, sourcing a minimum amount of product from women, or working with a minimum number of women processors or traders. Foreign investors, too, should have to demonstrate how their investments would provide meaningful opportunities for women.</p> <p>If women are to benefit from trade and investment, governments have to redefine what counts as a benefit in the first place. Is a rise in GDP or an increase in trade flows enough? No. Governments need to be more discriminating, looking for benefits such as better wages in the poorest paid sectors, or greater employment opportunities for women.</p> <p>To discriminate, governments need more information. Gender-disaggregated data remains all too rare. New indices, such as <a href="http://www.socialwatch.org/taxonomy/term/527" rel="nofollow"><strong>Social Watch’s Gender Equity Index</strong></a>, can shed light on women’s reality: the economic value of women’s reproductive work in the household; gender differences in access to and conditions of employment, levels of education, access to credit and finance, access to contraception and family planning; and more.</p> <p>There are many good reasons to aim for simplicity in international trade and investment agreements. Non-discrimination has the virtue of simplicity. But it fails to satisfy the larger need for multilateral rules that reduce inequalities and protect and promote human rights, including women’s rights.</p> <p>It’s time for trade negotiators to start discriminating. </p> <p>Download: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Sophia-Murphy_Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>On the Virtues of Discrimination</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 8: On the Virtues of Discrimination</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/las-virtudes-de-la-discriminaci%C3%B3n" title="Día 8: Las virtudes de la discriminación" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/les-vertus-de-la-discrimination" title="Jour 8: Les vertus de la discrimination" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 00:00:01 +0000 Sophia Murphy 10076 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/virtues-of-discrimination#comments Day 7: Seeds and Sisterhood http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/seeds-and-sisterhood <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>Governments and development agencies need to shift the onus of feeding the world away from time-strapped impoverished women, and instead support their organizing and cultivate their traditional knowledge. We also need to rethink women’s unpaid care work and lack of time as fundamental issues of food security.</em></strong></p> <p>By <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/joanna-kerr"><strong>Joanna Kerr</strong></a>, CEO of ActionAid International</p> <p>As someone who has been working for women’s rights and sustainable development for the past two decades, <strong>I have heartily embraced the increased international attention on the needs and roles of women farmers in poor communities</strong>. But as development agencies prioritize these rural women, let us ensure that we don’t repeat mistakes of the past. If hunger, climate change AND inequality are to be tackled then NGOs, governments and women’s movements need an approach that shifts the onus of feeding the world away from time-strapped impoverished women, and instead supports them in their organizing and in their cultivation of traditional knowledge, and puts their rights first.</p> <h3><em>"Women are on the frontlines of the struggle over the way our food is produced, over knowledge, over seeds and over the sustainability of the food system as a whole."</em></h3> <p>From what I have seen across many parts of the Global South, women are on the frontlines of the struggle over the way our food is produced, over knowledge, over seeds and over the sustainability of the food system as a whole. Deo, a 42 year old Brazilian farmer working with <strong><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/?intl=" rel="nofollow">ActionAid</a></strong>, told me just how women are trying to bring about fundamental change:<em></em></p> <p><em>Men don’t know how to wait. They want to plant and then harvest. Working in agroecology demands patience. Time is needed to obtain a positive result, especially since our [past] way of farming has damaged our land too much. The men eventually abandoned the new system and returned to conventional methods. The women joined forces …to learn and fight with their husbands to change, stop the practice of burning, diversify production, feed the soil by covering it with the plants themselves and grow medicinal plants to improve our livelihoods.”</em></p> <p>Clearly, women like Deo make a significant contribution to localized food systems; millions like her are the primary food producers, providers, and processers in many developing countries. In fact, local small-scale food producers and providers have been innovating for generations, looking after our soils, seeds and the cultural heritage that accompanies food. Rural women in particular – be they farmers, forest dwellers, tribals or indigenous women –have been the repositories of knowledge on food production, seed conservation, processing and cooking food.</p> <p>Yet over the years this knowledge and these traditional, resilient and efficient systems have come under sustained attack from industrialized, mechanized food production and distribution systems. The push to homogenous crops in the fields and standardized foods on supermarket shelves is largely the underlying cause of the decline of these methods.</p> <p>As a response, ActionAid has been supporting an agroecology model of sustainable agriculture not through pre-set technological packages, rather built on the local practices of farmers. Our agroecological initiatives focus on organic methods, promoting diverse and nutritious crops while recognizing and building on the skills and experiences of women farmers and connecting them to academic knowledge on sustainable agriculture.</p> <p>But here lies the dilemma. These sustainable and more climate-resilient methods – as Deo reminds us above – take time to develop.  Time is a poor woman’s most limited resource. Society’s expectation that women will do the additional “care work” – child care, cooking, cleaning, water and fuel hauling – stands in the way of both development and women’s empowerment.</p> <h3><em>"Women’s unpaid care work and their lack of time are frustratingly not seen as fundamental issues of food security." </em></h3> <p>Women’s unpaid care work and their lack of time are frustratingly not seen as fundamental issues of food security.  Policy makers and most agriculture programmes are not recognizing women as food producers with both productive AND reproductive roles.   Development programmes usually address these separately and fail to see the linkages and trade-offs that come with seeing women only as farmers or only as carers/food providers.</p> <p>Generally speaking, agriculture departments and donors prioritize high yield production through chemical inputs and new seeds.  Green Revolution thinking is rampant.  And while peasant movements are justifiably fighting for land, they usually leave women’s rights as an afterthought.  Even in my own organization there are some colleagues who quite simply laughed at the prospect of focussing on, let alone men sharing, care responsibilities.  Gender norms run very deep. Further, while many women’s groups are trying to bring the care burden to the fore, the overwhelming demands of tackling violence against women or lack of reproductive rights overshadow this issue.</p> <p>I’d argue there are some relatively easy solutions to tackle both gender equality and sustainable agriculture including looking beyond the technical to the political.</p> <p>One obvious route is to ensure rural women have the means and possibility to organize.  I have seen, over and over, that by bringing women together, they can strengthen their identity as rural women, build solidarity among family farming groups, circulate useful knowledge, build their self-confidence, achieve individual and collective empowerment and even transform public policies.</p> <h3><em>"Women are using agroecology as an effective strategy to take back control over what they produce and how they produce it."</em></h3> <p>Second, donors and NGOs need to recognize that when women are using agroecology as an effective strategy to take back control over what they produce and how they produce it, they are actually having a positive impact on their food security, incomes, and health. They are expanding the area under their control where they can grow diversified and nutritious crops – in some cases their backyard garden – while reducing their labour provision to the family’s field where they had little control over the output and profits.</p> <p>Third, policy makers and programmers need to re-think the care economy as simply the domain of women’s unpaid time. Optimistically, this is increasingly an area of policy debate – of who should provide care services amongst the mix of families, public institutions, NGO service-deliverers and private companies. The policy response to this challenge is complex (i.e. it is not just wages for housework) and requires contextualisation, but overall, this debate needs to be brought into focus so that societies’ recognize and ultimately redistribute this care work.</p> <p>In the meantime, at the more practical level, where I have seen crèches or child centres, women’s milling cooperatives, seed banks, and other appropriate technologies to reduce women’s time, women’s leadership and empowerment follows.  These pragmatic efforts to improve the time efficiency of women’s food production can also have significant strategic benefits. The common notion that women are “helpers” and that their labour has less value than those of men will be transformed.</p> <p>In many cases, agroecology practices have helped show women and their families the importance of women’s economic autonomy—including the control and use of income raised by women. In ActionAid’s experience this work has motivated a growing number of women to proactively take on leadership roles in rural workers’ unions, and to come together to discuss issues such as market access and fight for new public policies on agriculture.</p> <h3><em>"Donors and NGOs need to support women’s organizing as both a means and an end in itself."</em></h3> <p>Many mainstream approaches to agriculture have perversely increased hunger, deepened poverty, undermined fragile soil systems and considerably increased women’s work burden. Donors and NGOs need to activate a holistic approach that increases women’s control over their time and their agricultural practices.  This means explicit support to women’s organizing as both a means and an end in itself.</p> <p>Supporting women’s farming groups through agroecology is not some out-dated romantic vision of traditional systems nor a feminist utopia as some critics might suggest.  Instead, more governments, NGOs, and social movements need to embrace these common-sense approaches and the very women who are at the forefront of the battles for food, sustainability, and human rights.</p> <p>Agroecology is where food justice and women’s rights could walk hand in hand.<em> </em><em></em>Download: <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Joanna-Kerr_Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>Seeds and Sisterhood</strong></a><em></em></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 7: Seeds and Sisterhood</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/semences-et-solidarite-feminine" title="Jour 7: Semences et solidarité féminine" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/semillas-y-hermandad" title="Día 7: Semillas y hermandad" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 00:00:01 +0000 Joanna Kerr 10073 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/seeds-and-sisterhood#comments Day 5: Time for a New Recipe http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/time-for-a-new-recipe <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>The women’s movement hasn’t been proactive about defining its own platform for action on food justice, and we are noticeably absent from spaces where decisions are made. We need to break out of our silos, strengthen our technical expertise, and start shaping the political process rather than stand on the sidelines.</em></strong></p> <p>by <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/alexandra-spieldoch"><strong>Alexandra Spieldoch</strong></a>, women's rights activist, formerly with WOCAN<strong></strong></p> <p><strong>As producers, natural resource managers and food providers, women ARE the real food system</strong> and have much to lose in the current development paradigm, which is contributing heavily to food insecurity, environmental degradation and volatility. Leaders have acknowledged this in general terms, but have yet to act effectively to change those policies and programs that are detrimental to women’s human rights. Nor has the women’s movement been proactive enough about defining its own platform for action. Instead, women’s rights activists are often running behind the problems, not in front of them. Perhaps we have lost some of our footing in the way we are organizing ourselves.</p> <p>By using the ‘we,’ I do not pretend to speak for all the women in the world, nor do I believe there is one women’s movement. However, working collectively is important, and for this commentary, I am comfortable making generalizations to make some basic points.</p> <p>Here are five basic recommendations to help us move forward more effectively:</p> <h3>1. Fine tune our critiques and specific goals</h3> <p>A great deal of time has been spent describing the problems women and girls are experiencing with regard to the food system because they are staring us in the face and the story needs to be told. Yet when it comes to moving from describing problems to proposing effective solutions, the women’s movement often falls short and has become too comfortable with generalities. </p> <p>For example, some women’s rights activists have decided to just say NO to everything that is patriarchal, which may be an important political analysis, but it is not a strategy for action that inspires. Some are promoting gender mainstreaming of food and agricultural policies, a valid goal. However, it often turns into a quota system or a checklist for technocrats rather than a meaningful process for improving impact and bringing about systemic changes.</p> <h3><em>"Our efforts to weigh in have lacked a clear plan of action."</em></h3> <p>Globally, our efforts to weigh in have lacked a clear plan of action. We have been present and somewhat active in spaces such as the <strong><a href="http://www.fao.org/cfs/en/" rel="nofollow">UN Committee on World Food Security</a></strong>, the <strong><a href="http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/csd.html" rel="nofollow">UN Commission on Sustainable Development</a></strong> and the Rio + 20 Conference, yet we lack a process for bringing forth more content. And, we are noticeably absent from other spaces and processes (nationally and regionally) where decisions are made that have significant impacts on women’s food security and rights. </p> <p>For example, there is no clear advocacy strategy stemming from the women’s movements vis-à-vis <strong><a href="http://www.nepad-caadp.net/" rel="nofollow">Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program</a></strong> (CAADP), the agricultural program of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. It would be powerful to have a regional African feminist policy agenda that stems from national dialogues on the core issues, and regularly engages in the CAADP process. </p> <h3>2. Break out of our silos</h3> <p>Dialogues on inter-related issues are occurring in silos, making it difficult to advocate effectively. For example, water specialists meet at the <strong><a href="http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/index.php?id=6" rel="nofollow">World Water Forum</a></strong>. Agricultural Ministers meet to talk about agriculture and the economy at the <strong><a href="http://www.g20.org/index.php/en/g20" rel="nofollow">G20</a></strong> and at the regional level. Climate specialists meet at the <strong><a href="http://unfccc.int/2860.php" rel="nofollow">United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change</a></strong> (UNFCCC). Business leaders meet pretty much everywhere. And women’s rights activists converge at the UN <strong><a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/index.html" rel="nofollow">Commission on the Status of Women</a></strong> – a political space with little money, low attendance, and little clout. This is a generalization, of course, but the hard fact is that women’s advocacy for a just food system takes place mostly in spaces that have minimal political weight.</p> <h3><em>"Women's advocacy for a just food system takes place mostly in spaces that have minimal political weight.</em> "</h3> <p>I’d like to see us organize our own multi-stakeholder dialogues on food reserves, price volatility and local food systems with gender experts, and directly involve ourselves in the agenda being set by the G20 governments. We could develop a pool of feminist experts to participate in negotiations on land, climate, water, etc… not just to say we were there, but to shape the political process. </p> <h3>3. Strengthen our technical expertise </h3> <p>Truthfully, there aren’t enough feminists with the technical expertise needed to contribute effectively to the various processes and programs at all levels and across sectors. If the women’s movement is to be influential, we need more gender experts in development, macroeconomic policy and legal policy, as well as more food scientists, agronomists, water specialists, nutritionists, and land specialists. It is bad enough that activists on these issues are few in number. Without technical expertise, women’s rights activists will never get beyond generalities.</p> <h3><em>"Without technical expertise, women’s rights activists will never get beyond generalities."</em></h3> <p>We can start by mapping expertise around the globe and connecting with women leaders, not just those who refer to themselves as part of the women’s movement. We could develop our own initiative for generating expertise and advocacy on food and climate related issues. Where some of this work is already being done, no need to recreate – we can highlight what is out there and build on it.</p> <h3>4. Increase and improve our funding sources </h3> <p>Lack of funding is a real barrier for whatever creative thinking we might do on how to create a just food system for women. Though leaders have been calling for more gender equity and more investment in women in food and agriculture, promises from the donor community are still largely unmet. There is money flowing from the private sector to support export-led growth and insert women farmers into global supply chains. However, little money is going to finance rural women and their families for a different agricultural model, one which supports viable local markets, agro-ecological practices and low-cost post-harvest technology.</p> <h3><em>"Little money is going to finance rural women and their families for a different agricultural model."</em></h3> <p><em></em>I would like to see a global network of progressive women funders which supports this model. Funders would meet regularly with technical experts and small-scale women producers who are leaders in sustainable production and food security, and actively support feminist research, networking and program development.</p> <h3>5. Learn from one another and rebuild our trust </h3> <p>We can learn from the many good initiatives that are out there, like vertical farming in the urban slums in Kenya, women’s seed saving in Guatemala, women’s organic rice farming in the Philippines, and women’s cooperatives in India and Niger. There are new discoveries such as post-harvest grinders and water technologies that are cheap and greatly reduce women’s labor and increase output without intensifying the agricultural model.</p> <h3><em>"It does seem at times that we are constrained by our own distrust of each other."</em></h3> <p>We need to catalogue what research and experiences are out there, showcase relevant policies, post breaking news, promote critical opinions, and highlight new leadership approaches. This can be done in many ways – an electronic resource is one important tool.We can also learn from what has not worked, such as mandating gender mainstreaming into projects without budgets, expertise or buy-in. </p> <p>It does seem at times that we are constrained by our own distrust of each other. There are historic, valid reasons for this in terms of activists being too general or policy-oriented and practitioners being too narrow in their focus on hands-on contributions, or NGOs speaking for grassroots women rather than letting them speak for themselves. We need to rethink our relationship with one another differently, better.</p> <p>In conclusion, in this broken food system, women have already shown that we are resilient, smart, and strong leaders. When we can take a deep breath and harness our knowledge and power to act, then we can shift the paradigm in our favour, which would also benefit the world.</p> <p>Download <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Alexandra-Spieldoch-Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>Time for a New Recipe</strong></a>.</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 5: Time for a New Recipe </h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/changeons-enfin-de-recette" title="Jour 5: Changeons enfin de recette" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/una-nueva-receta-para-el-cambio" title="Día 5: Una nueva receta para el cambio" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 00:00:01 +0000 Alexandra Spieldoch 10064 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/time-for-a-new-recipe#comments