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Reflections from Poor Women Economic Leadership (PWEL) Exchange Visit–Part 2

“Learning is infectious” is the most appropriate way of describing this exchange programme.  Field experiences pouring in from across the world enriching the knowledge of fight against poverty, fight against deprivation and exploitation.  The environment is conducive and the infection of learning has been spreading its tentacles from the day 1 itself.  Today has been the most critical day when we synthesize our learning and kept busy choosing what suits our programme best.  There has been tremendous learning I am carrying with me while planning my journey back to India.  My faith has been strengthened and the vision crystal clear.  It is the balance between production and market that will lead our path to eradicate evil of poverty and deprivation with a focused approach of women leading from the front.Nand Kishor Singh
Programme Coordinator,
Oxfam India, Kolkata

PWEL programme design should use multi-disciplinary, process approach, and relevant to specific social, cultural and economic environment. Being multi-disciplinary means there are a lot important factors around a community, process approach means involving and requires intervening and reflecting on the community feeling. Social, cultural and economic issues varies from society to society hence should be dealt separately.

This means that more of use of ethnographic approaches and knowledge than a generalized one, spend enough time with the community interacting, learning, understanding, which enables identification of even hidden practices and believes that are barriers to women participation and benefit.

Holistic approaches to identifying gender issues will result to interventions that are gender sensitive but not really reflecting gender dynamics prevailing in a particular community and this will result in to little progress on bringing women on board in the development avenue. Such approaches has interpreted women participation in terms of numbers and percentages (physical presence) but not in changing
their livelihoods.”

Herman Hishamu
Oxfam GB, Tanzania

The discussion with private sector reminds me that PWEL has to be innovative; we as Oxfam staff need to think beyond conventional gender mainstreaming or livelihood wok to make PWEL a reality. It’s about how to make a business case by putting women at the centre of our work. It is challenging, but innovative and exciting!!! “

Tharanga Manori Gunasinghe
Programme Coordinator-PWEL
Sri Lanka

The traditional gender mainstreaming has identified how women contribute to the development in their communities and how they access and control production resources. Oxfam’s current approach to promote women’s economic leadership will enhance women’s benefit from what they produce. 

For example in Tanzania women produce chicken and sell them at farm gate where the profit is low. With low income they obtain women are able to cater for household needs and pay for their children school fees especially girls, thus increase the chance of women education.  Oxfam and its partners like TSAEE aim of empowering women to participate in other value chain segments which is currently mostly accessed by men will increase their income.  This income increase will contribute more on their livelihood especially on upgrading their skills, access financial and value chain services. Hopefully this will succeed.”

Adventina Babu
Tanzania Society of Agricultural Education and Extension (TSAEE)

“Today’s session with the Private Sector panel discussion really makes me think of ways to fine tune Oxfam’s plans on helping women farmers in Sierra Leone work out better deals to ensure their products get the returns due to them and to explore creative ways of engaging with different private sector groups that give all involved responsibility in making it work.”

Manik Gunatilleke – Oxfam Sierra Leone

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