NGO Stichting Bakens Verzet ("Another Way" ), Netherlands.
Respect for women's rights built into a Model for self-financing, ecological, sustianable, local integrated development projects for the world's poor.
The Model is in the public domain and available for use free of charge. It can be downloaded from website www.flowman.nl
This articles sets out how the Model respects the rights of women and girls.
08.20 Respect for women's rights.
The project text does not boast the numerous advantages it brings to women in the project area.
Populist gender-based and feminist slogans are not used.
This project recognises the terms of both the Draft charter for the rights of african women, Addis Abeba 28th March 2003 and of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990.
08.20.01 Majority participation of women in the project structures.
The 200 health clubs formed provide organisational platforms form women. These are the very first structures created. As a result of this local group organisation women are put in a position to be able to participate en masse at the meetings where the tank commissions are chosen. All adults from the 40-50 families served by each (future) water tank installation participate in these meetings. The tank commissions will usually be formed of from 3 to 7 members. Most, if not all, of the tank commission members are expected to be women.
Each tank commission nominates a member to the well commission to which the tank commission refers. The tank commission nominee can be either a tank commission member or another person from the tank commission area. Since most of the tank commission members will usually be women, they can be expected to nominate a female representative to the well commission. A majority of the 5-9 members of the well commission can therefore also be expected to be women.
Each well commission nominates a member to the central committee of the project. The well commission nominee can be either a well commission member or another person from the well commission area. Since most of the well commission members will usually be women, they can be expected to nominate a female representative to the central project committee. A majority of the 35-45 members of the project-level central committee (the project "parliament") can therefore also be expected to be women.
The project central committee chooses the members of the project management ( the project "government"). Since a majority of the members of the central committee should be women, women are expected to be well represented at project management level.
Obviously men are never excluded from participation in the management of the project structures. However the system described should guarantee a majority participation of women in management at all project levels. This is important, as women are in general the most directly interested in and affected by most of the project structures. They stand to profit most from the success of the project.
Management jobs at all levels are paid for within the framework of the local money system. This may make participation by men less attractive to them as use they make of their local money income is subject to more stringent social control than might be the case with formal money payments.
08.20.02 Reduction of the work load on women.
The service at the disposal of women under the project contribute to a substantial reduction of the work load on them. They no longer need to fetch water. They no longer need to collect wood for cooking purposes. Washing can be done at well-commission level as is foreseen in the case of the Vivons Makalondi project at a distance not usually exceeding 0,75km. Should they so prefer, women can also choose to have a washing place installed next to their own local water tank installations.
Improvement in the living conditions of women will go together with an increase in the health of their children. Children will be able to go to school . Their general health should improve. Women are expected to have more time available to dedicate to paid productive activities.
08.20.03 Increase in women's income.
Women, including the poorest, will benefit from the local money system installed and from the interest-free micro-credit system set up. They should have a majority participation in decision making as described in section 08.20.01 above.
The local money system is based on the perceived value of an hour's work. Activities take place in a local and competitive environment. The harder, the more difficult or the less pleasant the work, the higher its value on the local market. Women who under the traditional economic environment are less paid to do the heavier work should be better paid under the local money systems.
The interest-free micro-credit structure should enable women to make formal money investments for the purchase of capital goods to increase their productivity. The management of the Cooperative Local Development Fund should be controlled by women. Women should therefore be able to e ensure that their priorities are respected in the management of the available funds.
Cooperative buying groups are also expected to be set up at tank commission, well commission and project level.
08.20.04 Women's health.
Women will benefit from improved conditions of health :
First, through the supply of clean drinking water, drainage of stagnant surface waters especially in village centres and around water tanks and wells.
Secondly, through the supply of complete domestic sanitation systems,
Thirdly, through hygiene education courses part of the activities of the Health Clubs of which they will be members.
Fourthly, through the elimination of smoke in and around their homes.
Fifthly as a result of a more varied diet.
Sixthly, (with the passage of some time) through the availability of a complete range of medical services, including the services of a nurse at tank commission level, of a doctor and bicycle ambulance at well-commission level, and of a hospital at project level. Medical dispensaries will be available at well-commission level.
08.20.05 Women's education.
Women will benefit from improved education facilities as follows:
First, through hygiene education courses part of the activities of the Health Clubs they are members of.
Secondly, through the study rooms put at their disposal at tank commission level.
Thirdly, through evening classes held in the currently available school facilities.
Fourthly, and subject always to the availability of teachers, through the construction of primary schools at tank commission level, and intermediate schools at well commission level.