IREMA uses gender mainstreaming as a social mechanism to deal with climate change

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Gender mainstreaming recently featured prominently in the Kunene region when the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia ran an intensive Train the Trainer workshop as part of its ongoing Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management (IREMA) project.

The training was given to a group of trainers targeting small farmers affected by climate change in the districts of Sesfontein, Fransfontein and Warmquelle. The workshop was held in Opuwo and Khorixas from July 12th to 15th.

Funded by the Green Climate Fund, the IREMA project is implemented by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform. The training strengthens the ability of IREMA staff, key stakeholders and beneficiaries to address gender inequality in the different projects. It promotes social inclusion as a strategy that contributes to the successful outcomes of social projects.

In her words of welcome, Ms. Mirjam Kaholongo, the national project manager, encouraged the trainees to openly discuss gender-specific issues affecting them. This will help project implementers to identify and address the main bottlenecks of gender inequality in order to mainstream gender equality into project activities. She further stressed that gender equality and women’s empowerment are a cornerstone of effective climate action, making it imperative to establish the vital links between gender, social justice and climate change.

Ms Kredula Shimwandi from the EIF presented the main points of the workshop and underlined the fund’s commitment to gender equality and equality between women and men throughout the project implementation period.

“We have areas of equality implementation, with equality policies embedded in all policies and programs to integrate gender equality goals into them [all] public engagement to address gender gaps and unequal power relations,” she said.

according to dr Mogotsi Immaculate of the University of Namibia divides men’s and women’s entitlements, duties and responsibilities by gender, with men making most decisions while women are responsible for most household chores and have limited or no decision-making power. The gendered division of labor, coupled with unequal decision-making power and control over household, land, and community resources, offers respectful opportunities for men and women to adapt to climate change.

She also emphasized that the inclusion of women and men in all climate protection processes is a key factor in overcoming climate challenges. “Teach our boys and girls how to carry out daily activities without discriminating against them based on their gender roles to build resilience and the capacity to face climate change,” Mogotsi said.

Mr Sakeus Shilomboleni, EIF’s Environment and Social Protection Officer, concluded the workshop saying that this was an important opportunity to highlight the gender gaps and barriers that exist in the Kunene region and to set the tone with the participants on what they think of in relation to gender mainstreaming is expected through the IREMA project.

“While mainstreaming is clearly essential to securing human rights and social justice for men and women, it also increasingly recognizes that incorporating gender perspectives into various areas of development ensures the effective achievement of other social and economic goals,” he said.

He also encouraged the project’s beneficiaries to become gender mainstream advocates upon their return to their respective communities, with continued guidance from the ERIMA project leaders.

As part of its rangeland conservation project IREMA, the Environmental Investment Fund ran an intensive workshop in Opuwo to teach trainers in local communities the importance of gender mainstreaming in climate change adaptation. The same workshop was also presented in Khorixas.


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