COLEAD takes strides towards Gender Equality with comprehensive action plan

COLEAD recently finalised its Gender Strategy and Action Plan, emphasizing the integration of gender perspectives across all facets of its operations and programme activities. To develop its plan, COLEAD commissioned an external evaluation in 2023 to assess the existing gender responsiveness of its programmes and operations. As part of this exercise, the organisation :

  • facilitated extensive consultations across COLEAD to gather perspectives and ideas for improvement, including with team members, national relays, experts/consultants, board members, donors and partner-beneficiaries;
  • collectively discussed how best to integrate the recommendations and documented lessons identified in the assessment, as well as those from a previous internal gender mainstreaming strategy.

The purpose of COLEAD’s Gender Strategy and Action Plan is to provide a framework for the operationalisation of COLEAD’s vision on gender equality, providing concrete steps and actions to mainstream gender in its programmes and operations.

Vision for Gender Equality and women’s empowerment: Growing People

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical to achieving COLEAD’s vision of growing people. COLEAD sees the promotion of equality as an integral part of everything it does. The organisation is conscious that any further efforts to increase the contribution of the agricultural sector, and horticulture in particular, to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), must be built on the recognition of the critical role women play in agricultural development and food security in developing countries.

COLEAD’s vision is for women to have equitable access to critical agricultural inputs, resources and services across agricultural value chains, enabling them to realise their full economic potential.

This will be achieved by first applying a gender-responsive approach to COLEAD’s work, which involves identifying and addressing patterns of discrimination that undermine women’s agency in the countries in which they operate, with the overall aim of moving towards gender-transformative approaches to gradually address gender inequalities and their root causes. Secondly, by equipping women with entrepreneurial and innovative farming skills to help increase the number of women in leadership positions and support women entrepreneurs in creating and growing their businesses.

COLEAD’s vision of equality is underpinned by a commitment to intersectionality to effectively recognise how multiple forms of discrimination can interact and reinforce inequality. In pursuit of this vision, COLEAD will continue to follow its own internal transformation towards a more gender inclusive organisation.

Aligned with four main outcomes, the Gender Action three-year plan is intended to serve as an internal guide for COLEAD’s head office and regional team members, under the commitment and leadership of COLEAD’s management and the Board of Directors.

Outcome 1: Capacity Building

The plan envisions an increased capacity among COLEAD team members and stakeholders to identify, analyze, and mainstream gender into processes, procedures, and practices.

Outcome 2: Inclusive Planning Processes

COLEAD commits to ensuring planning processes and operational documents equally consider the perspectives, interests, and needs of partner-beneficiaries, particularly women.

Outcome 3: Enhanced Access to Training and Information

To improve access for partner-beneficiaries, especially women, to training, information, and exposure to innovative sustainable practices, COLEAD will conduct gender analyses of existing training modules, develop/adapt gender mainstreaming training modules, and strengthen the participation and engagement of women.

Outcome 4: Economic Empowerment

COLEAD aims to increase the ability of partner-beneficiaries, especially women, to access decent employment and business opportunities along agri-food value chains.

Collective Responsibility and Implementation

The successful execution of the “Gender Action Plan and Strategy” demands collective responsibility and commitment from all the team. Commencing from January 2024, COLEAD’s team will actively implement the Action Plan. COLEAD strives to lead by example in creating a more equitable and inclusive environment within its sphere of influence.