In the new SWISSAID strategy, the issue of gender equality is not only integrated into the main themes of “food security for small farming families”, “water” and “extractive industries”. One main theme is specifically dedicated to gender equality. Specifically, “Political Participation of Women”, “Masculinity”, “Gender Violence” and “Youth and Gender Equality” have been defined as work themes. The country programmes are free to work on the labour issues that are relevant to them.

How our countries tackle the issue of gender equality

The nine countries have already integrated these topics into their new programmes. Myanmar, for example, will focus on the political participation of women at local level. The India programme is committed to combating domestic violence, supporting partner organisations in prevention, victim support and lobbying government agencies – with the aim of ensuring that they actually implement existing laws to protect against domestic violence. A great deal of educational work is carried out, especially on a community basis.

Campaigns against domestic violence are also being conducted in Colombia. In workshops, women and men learn, with the support of psychologists, to rethink their gender roles (masculinity and femininity) and to live more freely and overcome the associated patterns of violence. In addition, women are trained and accompanied in order to be able to take up leadership positions at the local level.

Gender officers in each country

In all nine programmes and in Switzerland, one staff member is responsible for each of them as a so-called “gender focal point”. They exchange information, share knowledge and experience, and thus improve the quality of the programmes in the area of gender. In many countries, local experts are also involved. Particular attention is paid to gender equality already during the development and implementation of the projects. For example, the context analyses that serve as a basis for project development must be gender-sensitive. It is also important that employees and partners regularly attend practice-oriented training courses.