“Mainstreaming the gender dimension in infrastructure projects is an opportunity to implement gender equality in our society and to provide women with greater control over socio-economic resources”.
With this powerful statement, Mrs. Nidia Vilchez, Peru’s Minister of Gender and Social Development, opened a workshop on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Infrastructure Projects which took place in Lima, Peru, on December 3rd and 4th, 2009.
Her words resonated with the 100 or so professionals from 19 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean who participated in the workshop co-organized by the World Bank’s Gender and Development Unit and LCR Region, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank. This was the second workshop sponsored by the Multilateral Development Banks’ Gender Working Group. The Peru workshop focused on four key sectors: energy, irrigation, transport, water and sanitation. During the workshop, participants learned from successful projects from LCR and other regions.
Participants went on a one-day field visit which enabled them to witness first-hand the merits of integrating gender equality in the PRONASAR- rural water supply and sanitation program, and the PSI Sierra irrigation project, where women have assumed a leadership role in water user associations. [...] As one participant commented “What Peru has done in PRONASAR, we should all do in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Water project presentations
In Guatemala, the Solar Foundation (Fundación Solar) has empowered women to lead the design of the Rio Naranjo Watershed sustainability program. “Thanks to the targeted training program, more than 40 percent of participants in water management associations are now women” commented Mara Rivera, a project beneficiary. Read the presentation.
Other presentations included:
Next Steps & Challenges
A strong message from workshop participants was that day-to-day obstacles still exist, especially the challenge to convince decision makers of the importance of mainstreaming gender equality in infrastructure projects as a matter of development effectiveness.
The World Bank and its partner Regional Development Banks are all scaling up infrastructure lending, in particular in the context of the economic crisis as was stressed by Michel Kerf, Sector Manager for Sustainable Development in the Lima Regional Office. This represents a significant opportunity to mainstream gender equality.
Methods to address gender equality in various sectors already exist, but must be systematically used. However, participants also requested that the Banks coordinate efforts to deepen their monitoring and impact evaluation work, to showcase evidence of the development gains from gender equality.
The workshop agenda, list of participants, and presentations, including the television program which was aired on Canal 8, are available at http://go.worldbank.org/X8Z32USA00
Source: Dominique Lallement and Paloma Marcos, World Bank, 02 Feb 2010
Watch the Workshop video (2 hrs, in Spanish)