The organization objective is to ensure that all interventions supported by Practical Action are appropriate for men, women, boys and girls and effectively meet the needs of all community members without prejudice, discrimination or exclusion.
Gender is a contentious issue in Sudan with some Government representatives arguing that it is not relevant to the context of Sudan. There are still clear roles and responsibilities of men, women, boys and girls in Sudan, particularly in the rural areas, which can prevent for example, women taking leadership roles or earning an income. This can obviously have an effect on how we engage with women. We also have to bear in mind men’s position in society as the breadwinner and to raise women’s options and status without also working with men can undermine their position and exasperate problems rather than resolve them. Therefore we need to ensure we implement interventions which are sensitive to cultural norms but also meet the needs of all members of our communities.
In addition we also have to look at our organisational approach to gender. A gender audit revealed a disproportionate number of men at senior level compared to women and a lack of understanding amongst staff as to what gender actually is and the importance of it within our work.
We will develop our gender policy in the first year of the strategy and this will set out how we can address the organisational needs with regards to gender. An aspect of this will be to ensure that gender is considered in all of our programming and interventions.
Whilst we recognise that gender is not specifically focused on women we are also aware that women are often under-represented in community decision making and so we will ensure that we explore ways to include them in our work and in informing the direction of our interventions. We will work closely with our Women Development Association Networks to do this.