The dialogue which brought together about 20 stakeholders from civil society organizations, NGOs, Private and public sector had as main objective to sensitize the participants on gender equality in the water and climate sector to gain their support and contributions towards reducing gender inequalities by proposing solutions to address the formal and informal barriers identified during the study. The opening was marked by a word from GWP-Cameroon’s Chair, Mr. Mamoudou Ousman during which he called on all participants to make valuable contributions to the discussions because in his words, "for real change to happen, we need to work together, exchange ideas and think of sustainable solutions to address gender inequalities in the water and climate sector”.
The consultant Madam Beat Paulette of the SDGs Winners, presented the context, objective, and methodology of the study titled, “Mapping formal and informal normative barriers and social practices that hinder gender equality in the planning and implementation of development projects in the water and climate sector and proposals for a reform mechanism” which was carried out based on the justification that gender inequalities have a direct impact on the planning and implementation of investments in water access and resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. Overall, 15 national and international institutions in the water, climate, and gender sector from the coastal area (Douala, Edea, Nkongsamba) and Yaounde were involved in this study.
Some identified formal barriers from the study included the lack of political will to implement existing gender-sensitive policies, insufficient gender expertise among planners, insufficient knowledge on water and climate texts and policies amongst others. Some identified informal barriers were, the patriarchal customs that hinder women's empowerment even in the areas of water and climate, discriminatory and devaluing stereotypes that exclude women from the decision-making sphere within the sectors, low sensitization of women, girls and men on climate, water, and the environment.
Some key recommendations from the study to address the pre-identified barriers included, advocating to various institutions within the sector to implement the gender transformative approach at all levels, sensitize and train key actors involved in planning process within the sector on gender analysis tools, disseminate gender-responsive water and climate documents/policies with local, government authorities.
Participants made insightful contributions to the results of the study paying attention to the different contextual realities from the various institutions which they represent. Day one ended with the creation of four groups to enable participants develop a road map of proposed mechanisms/solutions to address the pre-identified gender equality barriers clearly showing expected results, performance indicators, key actors/stakeholders, deadlines
- Group 1: Institutional reforms;
- Group 2: capacity building of actors in the Planning, Programming and Budgeting department;
- Group 3: Sensitization.
- Group 4: Integration of the gender dimension in the consultation frameworks.
The final day of the workshop was characterized by groupwork and after which group representatives made presentations in the plenary session that followed.
The participants made some key recommendations some of which were;
To the government
- To transform gender focal points into gender committees;
- Strengthen the capacity of women in gender-related projects;
To the Consultant
- Integrate the gender-environment aspect of the National Development Strategy (SND) 2030 and the COVID 19 factor into the study context;
- To include the Northern part of Cameroon for future related studies as it is an area where access and quality of water are critical in addition to a patriarchal socio-cultural context and religious influence;
-Propose gender consultation frameworks in the water and climate sectors;