Oxfam in West Africa
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Women contribute greatly to wealth creation but receive in turn less from their hard work

April 11th, 2008 Posted in English, Gender, Uncategorized
 By Yaye Fatou Marone, Regional Information and Communications Officer

Oxfam says that we “put women at the heart” of our work.  Therefore celebrating the INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY is a “no brainer”! The West Africa Regional Center organised a half-day learning event to celebrate the International Women’s Day on Friday 7th March.The event was a key moment of our internal gender equality campaign ” Let’s Talk”. In celebrating this day, the objectives of the Regional Center’s Gender Support Team were:

to promote Oxfam’s work on gender equality , and generate discussions between staff and partners about this issue

to hold a forum of exchange for Oxfam women partners based in Senegal, to share their different perspectives and the challenges they are facing as development actors.

We invited women partners from the Senegal programme and Mrs Oumou Khairy Niang our guest speaker from AAWORD (Association for African Women on Research and Development), to present the theme on financing gender equality.

“We want to manage our own businesses”

What I liked most was the debate between our partners and staff about gender issues in programming but also the different challenges women are facing in development work. Most of the challenges mentioned by women are around, access to land, training, marketing, product certification, access to enough funds to develop, high credit taxes, lack of official channels to sell their products etc… “We want to manage our own businesses” said Korka Diaw a partner working in the local rice area. One of their dreams is to be able to export their products and “this cannot be done if we don’t have quality and quality cannot be guaranteed if we do not have the necessary resources” she continued.

As we wanted to make a real connection between partners, we enabled them to show their different products through an exhibition. This exhibition marked the end of the event and was a great opportunity to start linking up women working with Oxfam in Senegal. Their energy and commitment through out the day was a key indicator that a network was born!

More to come …..

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