Grassroots gender leadership: learn, react and speak up
RECOFTC Nepal, in collaboration with the Division Forest Office of Kavrepalanchowk, successfully provided “Grassroots Gender Leadership Development” training to the women members of a community forest users group. The purpose of the training was to build the group members’ leadership skills so that they can participate effectively and meaningfully in forest governance, resource utilization and decision-making.
Twenty-two women participated in the training. Gender champions from Nepal's Ministry of Forest and Environment facilitated the training. They were previously trained, by RECOFTC’s initiative Weaving Leadership for Gender Equality or WAVES, to advocate for equality and lead gender-mainstreaming programs in their communities and institutions.
The two-day training workshop paved the way for each of the participants to raise gender issues in their work, communities and households. It focused on basic concepts about gender and the roles women play in conserving and managing natural resources.
"The biggest game changer is the person who recognizes the courage, commitment and determination it takes to be a leader."
Narayani Sharma Dahal, a participant.
The women leaders learned about the difference between gender and sex, the social constructs that have shaped responsibilities in society, the changing domains of male and female, power relations, intersectionality, stereotypes and biases. They explored the roles and responsibilities women play in good governance and effective management of forests, and the leadership skills they need. Participants also assessed their own leadership skills.
Participants said there is a need for women leaders in strategic positions who can push for gender equality. Although the women make meaningful contributions to forest management, they lack opportunities and empowerment. Hence, the training was a booster to build their confidence and help them raise their voices. The participants realized that when women are empowered they become leaders and agents of change for social progress and sustainable development.
At the end of the training, the participants agreed to develop an action plan through which they would make a significant improvement in gender equity. The assignment was to prepare them for the next module of training.
The Weaving Leadership for Gender Equality (WAVES) initiative enhances leadership skills and supports the capacity of leaders to advocate for gender equality. RECOFTC implements WAVES with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). For more information visit the WAVES page.
RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).