Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 1 CASE STUDY : PORT SUDAN SMALL SCALE ENTERPRISE PROGRAMME Linda Mayoux1 Contact details: Mr Salah Ali, Programme Coordinator, Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme, Port Sudan E-mail email@example.com Or c/o ACORD Sudan, New Extension, Street 33, PO Box 986, Khartoum E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Information is mainly compiled from: Hadjipateras, A. ( 1996). ACORD Gender Research - Final report. London, ACORD. Hadjipateras, A. (1995). ACORD's Credit Scheme in Port Sudan. London, ACORD. Leach, F. (2000). The Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme (Sudan). Brighton, University of Sussex, Institute of Education. This is part of a broader programme of ESCOR-funded research on the impact of training programmes on gender relations (!! Insert link to final report) But the paper also makes use of a range of other documents as indicated in references. OVERVIEW The ACORD Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme has been operating in Port Sudan since 1984. The programme‟s main focus is the provision of Islamic modes of credit to refugees and poor Sudanese living in the slum or deim areas of Port Sudan, helping them to set up small enterprises principally in the informal sector. From 1992 as a result of continuing funding difficulties the programme came under considerable pressure from donors, particularly ODA-UK (now DFID), to increase its financial and organisational sustainability. The programme shifted from being a broad-based community development programme to a minimalist micro- finance programme focusing on financial self-sustainability. This led not only to changes in micro-finance policy but also a decrease in support for training. Since 1 This paper is a revised version of a Case Study originally produced for UNIFEM. The author is very grateful to Salah Ali, Roghaya Hamza, Fiona Leach and Angela Hadjipateras for their comments on an earlier draft. Any errors of interpretation are however those of the author. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 2 1988 there has been a gender policy in accordance with that of the ACORD network. Whilst this remains in place, funding for complementary services like enterprise training has been cut. The findings of two exploratory gender impact assessments using participatory and qualitative methods, and statistical information on the target group from the programme‟s own information system indicates that the way in which financial sustainability is being implemented is having a negative effect on both poverty targeting and women's empowerment. The gender impact assessments also point to some of the complexities of using participatory and qualitative methods. 1 INTRODUCTION The ACORD Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme has been operating in Port Sudan since 1984. Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, is the main port in the Sudan. Port Sudan had an estimated population of around 800,000 according to the 1993 census, a doubling in size since ACORD started its programme in 1984. The expansion of the population is due to a combination of factors, particularly drought and famine in the Red Sea Hills area and the conflict in Eritrea. The population comes from many different regions and ethnic groups including particularly the Beja, the original inhabitants of the province; the Beni Amir and Habab, nomadic animal husbanders from the Sudan/Eritrea border area; Barno, Hausa and Fallata of West African origin; the Northern Sudanese and Nuba from West Sudan. Prot Sudan is surrounded by barren uncultivable land. The main source of male formal sector employment is the port with trading being the main activity in the town. The city is however in decline with decreasing volume of traffic on the port. As elsewhere, the Structural Adjustment Programme has led to a rapid expansion in the informal sector with increasing poverty and retrenchment of public sector workers. 70% of the population is thought to be living in the deim or slum areas of the town, which to a large extent correspond to the different social groupings. It is estimated that 70% of the poor who are engaged in the informal sector are very poor. The main focus of the programme is the provision of Islamic modes of credit to refugees and poor Sudanese living in the slum or deim areas, helping them to set up small enterprises principally in the informal sector. From 1992 as a result of continuing funding difficulties the programme came under considerable pressure from donors, particularly ODA-UK (now DFID), to increase its financial and organisational sustainability. Since 1994 the programme has adopted a minimalist financial self-sustainability approach to micro-finance. From July 1984 to December 1998, a total of 22,626 individuals and groups were assisted by the programme of whom 51% were women. In 1998 the programme had a projected organisational self-sustainability index of 1.08 and financial self-sustainability index of 0.61. 2 The programme had a 94% repayment rate in 1997. 2 OSSI is programme income over programme expenditure and FSSI is programme income over programme expenditure adjusted for inflation. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 3 2 OBJECTIVES, ACTIVITIES AND POLICY QUESTIONS 2.1: Goal and target group Since the inception of the programme the overall aim of the programme has been to: ‘improve the quality of life and future prospects for poor people living in the deim areas of Port Sudan through the provision of financial resources '(ACORD Port Sudan 1998). Summary details of the programme are given in Box 1. The programme‟s original target group was the refugee communities, mainly from Eritrea, but was subsequently broadened to include all vulnerable groups. In particular, the programme has targeted women (especially female headed households), the aged, the displaced and other low income groups. Initially programme documents stressed that the programme was aiming to reach the poorest. From the mid-1990s, in response to evidence of failure to reach the poorest groups and tensions between poverty reach and financial sustainability, the target was modified to reaching the bottom 20-40% of the population. The programme increasingly targeted women partly because of evidence of better repayment. 2.2 Activities: policies for financial sustainability and gender policy The main focus of programme activities has been on credit for self-employment and small business although credit has also been given for other purposes such as housing and sanitation. In the 1980s and early 1990s the programme developed a broad based urban/community development programme. The programme has had a gender policy since the late 1980s. Then in 1994 the adoption of the financial self-sustainability approach entailed a number of changes in both the credit programme and implementation of gender policy. Financial sustainability Changes were introduced with respect to loan policies and procedures, structures for participation, other programme activities and staffing structures as summarised in Box 1. Firstly changes in loan conditions were introduced to increase repayment and revenues and decrease costs. The programme has been constrained in its ability to increase interest rates and introduce a savings programme by Sudanese legislation. However it has developed Islamic modes of finance in the form of Murabaha loans and Musharaka loans 3. The programme increased repayment through focusing on the types of loan and clients which experience showed to be most likely to repay with least cost of supervision and administration. Group loans, repeat loans, Musharaka loans and loans for income generation had better repayment levels. Group loans 3 Murabaha loans have a fixed mark-up and Musharaka loans are profit-sharing. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 4 and repeat loans also entailed less administration. In addition clients taking repeat loans because of their reliability and incentive to maintain a good record were also useful in identifying other clients, chasing up late payers and acting as guarantor for the new clients. The concern with repayment levels also led to an increasing concentration on female clients who had better repayment performance than men. In addition to this measures were taken to decrease the turnover time of the loan fund and to increase its profitability through reducing the maximum loan repayment period and encouraging clients to repay 25% of the loan back immediately. These measures were accompanied by a significant injection of new capital to increase economies of scale. Secondly there was an increasing emphasis on client participation in an attempt to combine the multiple aims of decreasing lending costs, increasing outreach to the programme‟s target communities, fulfilling the programme's original mandate of community empowerment and finally as a step towards eventual hand-over of credit- related activities to community structures. As noted above there was an increasing emphasis on group loans and by the end of 1997 62% of loans were delivered through groups. Loan Advisory Committees (LACs) were also set up. These usually consist of six members appointed by the community who facilitate the community‟s access to loans, assist in the selection of clients for loans, carry out home visits and follow up on repayments where required. Members work on a voluntary basis, their motivation being the desire to work for the community, to increase their social status, learn new skills and make it easier for themselves to access loans, or to obtain larger loans (Hashim 1997). By 1998 there were 17 such committees channelling approximately 30% of loans. The programme was most successful in developing partnerships with market-based committees as opposed to those based on the deims where people are less able to connect time to these activities. Thirdly to reduce costs there was a reduction in the numbers of staff and complementary services. Staff reduced from 49 in 1993 to 25 in 1995 and the number of sub offices reduced from 8 to 5 over the same period. As a broad-based community development programme in the 1980s and early 1990s ACORD provided a range of formal training inputs, e.g. business skills, literacy, family planning, life skills, nutrition and first aid. However, from 1994 all formal training was dropped except where it increased the efficiency of the credit programme. Since 1997 ACORD has only run one formal training course: a six-month training in basic business and management related skills 4, and more general awareness raising for LAC members to help them fulfil their new role. Some of the formal training has been taken over by ex-clients of ACORD who run it as a business, with ACORD providing advice as required, for example on fundraising. Clients were also linked to government-sponsored training programmes like those by the Social Welfare Department. Most training given by ACORD is now informal through meetings, seminars, or workshops and work experience. For loan clients and groups initial business appraisal and advice is provided by ACORD when clients take out loans and is a condition of the loan agreement. To be eligible for a loan, the client must have a 4 Book-keeping, record-keeping and marketing, group management, leadership training and community mobilisation. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 5 business plan which is then discussed with ACORD staff so as to assess its viability. On-going business advice is provided to most loan recipients for the duration of the loan period. Advice is also provided to community groups prior to their receiving loans for community projects. The programme has engaged in advocacy and attempted to link clients with the formal sector, but with little success. The programme has also passed on members of the communities in which it works but who are not considered credit-worthy to the Zakat (Social Welfare) Department and other services. Gender policy The programme has had a gender policy since its inception, partly as a result of its membership of the ACORD network which has had a gender policy since 1988 (See App 1) and partly because of commitment on the part of local staff. As can be seen from Box 1, the Port Sudan gender policy has not only the objective of increasing women's access to income, but also increasing awareness of women's rights, addressing gender inequalities within household communities and encouraging women's collective action. In the 1980s and early 1990s as part of the broad-based community development programme a number of strategies were developed. Firstly, there is an emphasis on female-targeting. During the research before the programme began, special consideration was given to assessing the employment opportunities for women. A target of 50% women clients was set and as noted above, this emphasis on targeting women was further reinforced following the adoption of the financial self-sustainability approach because of their good repayment. Increasing the number of women beneficiaries remains the priority of programme meetings and discussions at both main and sub-office levels. Measures to increase women's participation included use of women's gathering centres like women‟s markets, social welfare and health centers to present the programme‟s services to women and women‟s networks. More flexible lending policies were introduced for women. For example, women business owners are not obliged to pay first installments or guarantees by cheques, since their repayment habits proved to be dependable. Gender issues were discussed as part of community applicants' meetings under the theme of equal participation of both men and women in community affairs. Secondly emphasis is placed on gender awareness raising among the staff and in the communities where ACORD worked. From the mid-1980s the programme adopted the equal opportunities principle of employing 50% female staff. In the mid- 1990s the Director was female which is particularly significant in the context of sharia law. Thirdly priority was given to women for training and skills development, enhancing the viability and sustainability of women‟s micro-enterprises, promoting women‟s control over profit and their empowerment through assertiveness training and leadership development. The programme also set up and supported Women‟s Centres. By 1991 nineteen women‟s centres were established (ACORD, 1992). These centres were not always associated with a building, but were spaces for women to attend vocational training courses. These courses were mostly within women's traditional range of activities, such as tailoring, handicrafts and nutrition, Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 6 though literacy and numeracy classes were also introduced. It was hoped that the centres would also encourage women to discuss their common experiences and strengthen group support and they were important in providing a space for women to legitimately meet within the public sphere. Finally, the programme put emphasis on research, which included research into the programme‟s impact on women. All statistics were gender-disaggregated and included in the Annual Reports. However the adoption of the financial self-sustainability approach in the mid-1990s had a number of negative effects on this gender policy: In the staff retrenchment of 1993, most of the job losses were women. Although female staff remain well represented at senior levels of the organisation, the reduced number of those working at the community level coincided with a drop in the proportion of female loan clients. Support for the Women's Centres was stopped. Despite attempts to ensure equal numbers of men and women on the LAC committees, men tend to dominate and women do not often have the capac ity to take on more active roles. This is having an impact on the ability of the programme to reach female clients. The introduction of new Islamic modes of finance meant a considerable amount of extra staff time was taken up explaining the new options rather than in other activities. Then in 1996 in an attempt to address some of the potentially negative effects of these changes a number of specific strategies were adopted (Hadjipateras 1996): Enhancing women's participation in credit administration: special attention was paid to ensuring women's equal representation on the new local autonomous structures. Additional support was given to encourage group-based lending and networking activities among women: including special encouragement for women in submitting group applications, because it had been found that owing to their lack of confidence and experience, women needed more encouragement than men. Emphasis was also put on development of formal and informal mutual support networks to build women's confidence, enable information exchange, and provide a forum for sharing problems and developing strategies for solving them. Enhancing gender awareness: both at community level and within the staff. In the case of the former, these took the form of dialogue and discussions using participatory methods, such as PRA. In the case of the latter, sustained training was provided in gender tools of analysis and their application. Continuation of formal and informal community development activities: in recognition of the importance of non-direct credit-related inputs in affecting women's participation in the programme and their business success: * One-to-one advice and encouragement for clients when staff make home visits. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 7 * Outreach efforts to make contact with potential clients who, for one reason or another, have not sought ACORD assistance. This may include information gathering to investigate appropriate forms of support and meetings to discuss ideas for future co-operation. • Informal support for women's centres, which provide a wide range of training courses aimed at individual and group capacity-building, such as credit and business management, leadership, group organisation and vocational skills. This included help with fundraising, establishing links with other relevant institutions, advocacy, referrals and informal advice. The extra staff time required to encourage group-based lending among women was built into programme plans and staff job descriptions. Since the late 1980s the programme has had a gender policy to increase women's participation at all levels of the programme with an explicit focus on gender awareness and women's rights. Women now form 42% of professional staff. The programme also encourages the emergence and empowerment of local community structures, Loan Advisory Committees (LACS) in anticipation of eventual ACORD phase-out from the programme. In 1998 there were 17 LACs and women‟s membership of these was 55% ACORD 1998). BOX 1: OVERVIEW OF PORT SUDAN PROGRAMME: STRATEGIES FOR INCREASING FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY CHANGES IN LOAN CONDITIONS TO INCREASE REPAYMENT AND REVENUES AND DECREASE COSTS interest rates and fees: the mark up on Mubaraha loans is 4% and 9% on Musharaka loans. emphasis on types of loan considered most likely to generate revenue at least cost: particularly group loans, repeat loans, Musharaka loans and loans for income generation purposes. greater emphasis on clients who are considered most likely to have higher repayment levels, including women decreasing turnover time of loan fund to reduce amount of idle funds injection of new capital into the revolving loan fund to increase economies of scale STRUCTURES FOR CLIENT PARTICIPATION • emphasis on group-based lending with individuals being encouraged to receive loans in groups of three to five • consultation about ways of electing community representatives • participatory management structure where policy decisions are made through the programme‟s development meetings and all decisions regarding clients‟ cases are taken through group leader meetings. • encouragement for community based organisations to take over the running of programme activities to promote future sustainability and reach the ultimate objective of having a locally run and managed programme. REDUCTION IN NUMBERS OF STAFF AND SUPPORT SERVICES reduction in numbers of staff and sub-offices gradual withdrawal from formal training activities, apart from training for LAC leaders Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 8 encouraging community centres to continue such activities and promoting linkages with other training providers. • retention of focus on informal training and business advice • policy dialogue with the banks in Port Sudan to assist some successful clients in accessing financial resources from the formal banking sector. • encouragement for other sectors of Port Sudan society who are in need of welfare to seek assistance from the Zakat and Takaftil departments. GENDER POLICY AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Overall aims: To enhance women's immediate short-term material living conditions, as well as their long-term potential for growth and development, by addressing the individual, cultural and/or institutional barriers that restrict their access to and control over resources, thereby perpetuating their poverty and low social status. Specific Objectives: • increasing women's self-confidence. • enhancing women's income-generating capacity. • enhancing women's leadership and management capacity. • enhancing women's awareness of their rights. • enhancing women's status within the household and the community • encouraging group formation and collective action. GENDER STRATEGIES • Outreach to women: using women's gathering centres Increasing access loan criteria and conditions have been relaxed to encourage more women. • Gender awareness • Prioritisation of women in training programmes • Equal opportunities: principle of employing 50% female staff • Gender disaggregation of statistics and reports to monitor the target of 50% women clients and emphasis on gender issues in research programme. Sources: Gasim 1995; Hadjipateras 1996; Port Sudan 1996 3. EXISTING IMPACT ASSESSMENTS: APPROACHES AND METHODOLOGIES 3.1 Existing impact assessments There has been no detailed impact assessment of the programme. However anecdotal evidence of impact on both poverty reduction and women's empowerment is available from programme evaluations (e.g. Gibson 1995, Hashim 1997). There have been two small exploratory gender impact assessments which form the basis of what follows here: Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 9 a gender review using participatory methods was undertaken in 1995 (Hadjipateras 1996), Unfortunately details of the methodologies used are not given in the report. a study of the impact of the training programmes in 1998 as part of an ESCOR- funded international comparative gender impact study of enterprise training methodologies (Leach 2000). The field work was carried out by a local Sudanese researcher, Ms Salwa Abdullah, between June 1997 and February 1998. 18 women in two groups were interviewed using qualitative interview techniques as well as participant observation in training sessions. The two studies reach rather different conclusions, with Hadjipateras‟ participatory study being considerably more optimistic about programme impact than Leach‟s interview study. This is considered by the authors of these two studies to be at least partly due to changes in the programme described above, although there were also differences in methodology. 3.2 Findings of the impact assessments Women's Economic Empowerment Both women‟s ethnic background and the place of their residence either inside or around the town have a direct impact on the nature of their economic activities and their needs and interests. The programme has certainly made an important contribution to increasing women's access to credit, and also answers an expressed demand from women themselves. In 1995 women constituted 38% of the total clients assisted, rising to 47% in 1996. By December 1998, women constituted 51% of a total of 22,626 individuals and groups assisted by the programme. Nevertheless evaluations of the functioning of LACs found considerable concern that their ability to reach women was extremely variable. In one group there was only one woman because the men felt „this was a male-dominated area‟. In another very few women were reached. The men on the committee said this was because of women's reluctance to take out loans fearing prison and damage to their reputation if they were unable to pay. The women present at the meeting said that the problem was that the committee members were men (Hashemi 1997). Moreover, as elsewhere, access to credit does not inevitably translate into control of the loan or of the income earned. There is evidence amongst Beja women that husbands take over the loan once the initial paperwork is finished (ACORD, 1993a quoted Stallard 1996). There has been no systematic investigation of loan use to assess the extent of male appropriation of loans. The programme has also assisted women to develop enterprises. As can be seen from the cases in Box 2, there have been some cases of relative success. Some women showed considerable entrepreneurial flair, and had definitely benefited from the loans. They show flexibility in responding to market opportunities and good skills in market research, at least some of which can be attributed to the training. Some women in supportive family environments have also managed to continually invest in Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 10 their businesses to expand and diversify as well as improving their housing and paying for education (Leach 2000). Some employment opportunities have also been created (Hadjipateras 1995). However the cases in Box 2 were the most successful of the sample studied. For most women incomes are very low. Even incomes of the women in Box 2 are lower than those earned by men in menial occupations like water-carrying and considerably lower than in skilled manual occupations like taxi-driving. The activities in which women were engaged were generally extensions of their domestic role, mostly in tailoring or retailing. They were operating in competition with each other in very small, saturated and uncertain markets, subject to high inflation and big seasonal fluctuations. Many women moved from one activity to another, as each one proved disappointing in terms of profitability. For example one woman interviewed in Leach‟s study had been involved in seven separate activities over the research period: selling seeds, selling eggs, making leather bags for sale, making sandwiches, selling bed sheets, growing vegetables (helping her husband) and making schoolboys‟ clothes (it was not clear whether these were for sale). She had taken out loans firstly to buy seeds, and secondly to buy bed sheets, and all had been sold without her re-investing further in this line (Leach 2000). The contribution of the current training programmes to women's incomes is unclear. Leach‟s study concluded that the formal skills training in sewing and handicrafts were not of high quality, particularly those provided by ex-clients of ACORD following the withdrawal of formal ACORD training. Some women were attending for reasons unconnected with micro-enterprise development, for example to break the isolation of the home and interact with other women, or to take advantage of the food handouts and levels of attendance were not high 5. This low motivation to acquire productive skills among some women, combined with the very large number of participants, the irregularity of their attendance and the lack of equipment (only two sewing machines) led to low levels of skill acquisition. Moreover, this skills training was not combined with basic business skills. Business training was confined to initial advice and business plan appraisal for women who took out loans. A number of women felt that they had learned more from market experience and the one-to-one advice from staff than the formal training itself (Leach 2000). However the amount of advice which could be given in this way was seriously limited following the staff cuts, phase-out to LACs and increasing emphasis on financial sustainability. If LACs are having trouble recruiting women, it is unlikely that they will be able to give advice, particularly in LACs with few female members. BOX 2 : SOME CASES OF RELATIVE SUCCESS 5 One of the two courses observed had only 2 sewing machines for 70 registered trainees. Attendance at all three courses was low. In one instead of 54 registered trainees only 21 and 35 were present on two consecutive days. In another of 90 only 75 were present and the researcher were told only 20 completed the course. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 11 Case Study 1: Soad Fadl was aged 47, married with eight children. She had attended a khalwa school and was following a literacy class. Her husband had only attended three months of literacy classes. He sold water from a donkey cart earning about 5000 LS per day. His income was not stable, as water was in high demand in summer but low demand in winter. Soad sold items such as perfume, tomato paste, biscuits, spices, soap and okra from a well-stocked stall by the roadside. She earned about 3000 LS per day and spent six to seven hours daily on this activity. She had taken three loans from ACORD, the third and current one being a four month loan of 200,000 LS and the loans had definitely helped her increase her income (amount unspecified). From the training, she said she had learnt how to increase profits and to identify potential customers, how to address problems such as choosing materials or marketing products. She had also learnt how to deal with people in the market. She also recognised that she had acquired leadership skills and skills to deal with new members of her sanduq. She would like to increase her work but she had no premises from which to operate. Supply problems made relations with customers difficult. She would like to expand, buying a grinder and a fridge would make it easier for her. She would also like to open a shop but could not because of local regulations. She used her extra income to cover expenses, to improve the house and to pay for her son’s university fees. Their standard of living had increased and she no longer needed to borrow from neighbours. Her husband was supportive of her and had helped her build storage space for materials and to prepare ingredients. He had changed his attitude towards her work considerably. Her husband no longer sold water and instead helped her by buying the materials from the market, helping her on the stall and transporting goods to customers. Her daughters also helped by doing housework, which reduced the pressure on her a great deal. She would like to save to build a house (Leach 2000). Case Study 2: Amna a married woman aged 37, married with one 18 year old daughter. Her husband was a building labourer and a blacksmith, earning about 10,000 LS per day. She had never been to school, nor had her husband, but her daughter was currently in senior secondary school. Her husband was supportive, trusted her and allowed her to make all decisions relating to her work. Her daughter helped by doing housework so as to allow her to concentrate on productive work. Amna was a peddler, selling small items such as sugar, tea, flour, local perfume and okra powder (ladies fingers) for about four hours per day. She sometimes sold ice as well. She earned about 8000 LS per week, after deducting her loan repayments. She had taken out four loans from ACORD, the latest one being for 200,000 LS, which she took in December 1997 for six months. She used it to buy sugar and perfume for retail sale. At the time of the first follow-up visit, her retailing was expanding. At the time of the second follow-up visit, her income had increased by 3000 LS per week to 11,000 LS. She saw as major constraints on her expanding her business the increase in the price of raw materials and the unstable electricity supply which affected the production of ice for sale. She saw the way forward in terms of Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 12 evaluating her business at regular intervals and adjusting her prices in keeping with inflation. She said that she had changed her approach to her work by learning to identify customers’ needs, rather than having a variety of goods and materials that might take a long time to sell. However, she was of the opinion that she had learnt these and other skills more from her experience in the marketplace and from other women than from the business advice received from ACORD. She said ACORD staff visits to her house were few and she herself went to the ACORD office to pay her instalments. She acknowledged, however, that she had learnt how to manage her business better from them. She was using her net income to expand her trading activities, build the house, buy furniture, buy new clothes for her daughter and bed sheets and make some savings. She was also the leader of her local sanduq (savings and credit group) and she spent about two hours per day collecting contributions from group members and distributing loans. She talked of the number of sanduq members increasing. She spent three hours per day trading and four hours per day on sanduq management. She would like to spend less time on the sanduq as it took up a lot of time, was risky and had a low profit. She would like to increase her working capital and find new markets. By this time, her husband was not working, so she had to cover all household expenses. She would like to set up a mini-shop. (Leach 2000) Case Study 3: Mona Ahmed, aged 40, is married and living with her younger daughter. Her husband is a day labourer with a regular and low income. Her aged mother lives in a separate home but is also dependent on her income. Mona's first contact with ACORD was in 1990. At that time she was uncertain about the type of business to run. The sub-office staff supported her in choosing an easy business provided that she expressed a strong commitment. She obtained a loan of LS12,000 to buy an ice keeper so that she could start selling ice cream us ing her neighbour's fridge. She repaid the first loan and out of her profits she also started retailing business. After a year she contacted ACORD again, for a loan of LS20,000 to buy retailing items to diversify her stock. Again she repaid the loan and created a regular clientele. From her profits and savings she bought her own fridge. However she was forced to move away from her home in the re-planning process of the city squatter areas. She moved to a new plot of land and constructed a new house with rags, tins and scrap wood. She was relieved that she got a plot but other problems emerged. The first problem she faced was how to re-establish her business with shrinking working capital affected by the transfer costs and other fees related to the land ownership registration. She again approached ACORD and got a loan of LS80,000 from one office and a matching loan from another. After eight months she closed both loans successfully in the scheduled time. She managed to build more than 80% of her house with cement blocks from her profits and improve the general appearance of the house. She is also helping to pay the university fees for her daughter and the business has expanded. In 1998 she took another loan for LS300,000 which she was also repaying satisfactorily in 1999. She continues as a mobile trader providing different goods to customers. To raise the volume she sells she has adopted an interest-free credit system for her trusted customers where they pay 50% cash and the rest in instalments. (ACORD 1998) Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 13 Case Study 4: Gawaher a married woman aged 45 with seven children aged between 24 and 8. An aunt also lived with them. She and her husband had six years of primary schooling. Her husband had a small vegetable farm (where she helped for about two hours per day) and a rented shop, which generated together about 105,000 LS per month. He also had a loan of 140,000 LS to buy a generator. She said her husband was very supportive of her economic activities, as were other family members. Gawaher has been involved in six different economic activities (excluding farming), none of which were particularly profitable or based on a long- term business plan. At first she was earning an income from selling vegetable seeds and eggs from home, and she also did some needlework for sale. She took a loan of 150,000 LS from ACORD to buy seed and earned approximately 4-5000 LS net per day, once her loan repayments were taken into account. Then she started making leather handbags, using skills she had acquired on an ACORD training course, as well as selling seeds and eggs and working on the farm. This increased the time she spent on her productive activities from three to five hours per day (excluding the farm) and her income had increased slightly. She had started making leather bags because she said there was a good market for them and she was even thinking of making leather shoes. However, she had to stop making bags because she did not have the required working capital to buy the raw material. Instead she was making sandwiches for sale. Then she stopped making sandwiches and took a new three- month loan of 150,000 LS from ACORD to buy bed sheets. She had bought these wholesale and sold them locally, making a total profit of 36,000 LS. Her income from other sources had remained roughly the same at about 6000 LS per day. She then started making schoolboys’ clothes for sale. Most of her income was spent on the household, visiting relatives and school fees. She considered that training had helped her to improve her handicraft skills, and encouraged her to diversify using different raw materials. The informal advice she received from ACORD when accessing her loan had also made her more aware about marketing. She felt more self-confident and independent as she had more available cash to deal with unforeseen crises. However, the high price of raw materials affected the profitability of what she was doing and made it difficult for her to save (Leach 2000). Wellbeing and intra-household relations The physical conditions in which women and their families live are very difficult. Although there are variations in conditions within and between the deim, most lack water and electricity and roads and sanitation are poor. In many areas housing consists of shelters made of scrap wood, metal, or even sacking and paper. A government re-planning process in the 1990s relocated most of the poor to new deim areas which offered greater security of tenure for the inhabitants. These new areas are however located up to 16 km from the town centre, and also lack shelter, water and sanitation and many of those up-rooted have had to re-build their homes from scrap. Any increase in women‟s incomes is therefore a welcome additional to household Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 14 income. The 1995 study found that in some cases, overall household income had practically doubled resulting in increased food security, a better and more varied diet, improved housing conditions, and fewer illnesses, especially among children, but it is unclear how many of the successes were women. The study also found that there was an improvement in general well-being within communities. The commercial activity generated by the injection of credit led to an increased range of products in shops and markets. Many credit requests were for the provision of services, such as water and electricity. Women benefited from this as they had to spend less time going in search of more distant water sources and were able to devote more time to other activities, such as evening classes, spending time with their children, having henna decoration, etc. All household members have benefited from the introduction of electricity: children had more time for homework, for social and community gatherings and access to television meant people were better informed about general political affairs. Health services had also been improved through the availability of First Aid services provided by women trainees from the women's centres. Women as the main carers and also those whose health is often neglected, obviously benefited from this. However firstly women‟s responsibility for household subsistence meant that many women spent most of their income on daily household needs. Leach‟s study found that although some women had increased their income over the field work period (at least partly because of a dynamic market during the Ramadan and Eid period), very few women appeared able to re-invest their profits in the business in order for it to expand. Much of the income seemed to be spent on meeting family obligations, repairing the house, meeting their children‟s school expenses, or sending their children to stay with relatives. 6 Women seemed to be continuously short of working capital, taking one loan after another. This allowed them to buy items in bulk for selling on at a small profit, but without this contributing in any way to building up business capacity. Secondly for many women inequalities within the household place serious constraints on women‟s ability to increase their incomes. The study by Fiona Leach found that there were certainly some examples of significant changes in husbands‟ attitudes towards their wife‟s work. One interviewee‟s husband now allowed her to make decisions on her own relating to the family and her work in appreciation of her efforts to make an income. Another woman's husband stopped his work selling water from a donkey cart and started to help her in the market. Many other men appeared supportive of the women‟s training and economic activities. However in other cases husbands and other family members placed serious limitations on the sort of work which women could do. In two cases the husband and in one case the brother would not allow their women to work outside the house. Even when these women‟s incomes increased, there was no change in attitude. In the two cases where the husbands refused to let their wives work outside the house this continued to be the case despite there being an increase in income. This lack of change in attitude also occurred even when men were very dependent on their wives incomes. 6 This echoes the findings of earlier reports. For example the 1985 Annual Report highlights the problem of women using their capital for consumption or caring for sick relatives while their business collapses. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 15 Thirdly the degree to which there has been any change in decision-making in the household is unclear. Only two women said they took all the important decisions in the household. Of these one was a widow and one was a woman whose husband had not worked for six years. One other woman said she was able to make sole decisions relating to her participation in community activities and making the best use of family income, another who was divorced and living with her brother‟s family, said that she made all decisions regarding her work, her movements and her participation in training. Five women said they were involved in some decisions (jointly with the male head of household) concerning, for example, their children‟s education, family affairs or the house and were happy with this situation. One woman said all decisions were taken by her husband, even regarding her work but she expressed no desire to be more involved because she knew her husband would not allow it. There is however no information on how this situation differs from before the loan and the sample is very small. BOX 3: SOME MORE PROBLEMATIC CASES: LIMITATIONS AT THE HOUSEHOLD LEVEL Case Study 5: Mariam a married woman aged 32, with six children aged between 18 and 5. She had no formal schooling, but had attended literacy classes for 18 months. Her husband was a taxi driver earning 5000 LS per day. Her husband had borrowed 100,000 LS from colleagues to repair his taxi. Her husband would not let her work outside the home. She engaged in tailoring and selling small items such as soap and sweets from the house. Her sons helped her in retailing before and after school hours. She had borrowed 100,000 LS from ACORD in July 1997 to buy a sewing machine and had only 1000 LS to repay. She earned about 7000 LS per week for four hours’ work per day (after deducting the loan repayment). Her income increased during Ramadan to 9000 LS per week. She had received some advice from ACORD on how to keep a profit and loss account, and on marketing. She now prepared a list of goods with a view to expanding the retailing side. She had found this advice very helpful because she could now work out her profit and had learnt how to balance effort, time and income. This had helped her to increase her income. She would like to spend more time working since she had increased customer demand (from neighbours). She saw possible constraints to her expansion as being the lack of availability of some items in the market, but this made her think of other goods to trade in. She spent all her income on meeting household needs, buying materials for her work and repaying the loan. When her husband’s taxi had broken down, she had been able to cover household expenses, repair the house and pay instalments on the ACORD loan promptly. She had also been able to send the children on holiday to relatives, buy clothes etc. for the children and assist her husband when necessary. Even though her income had increased and she covered all household expenses while her husband was unable to work, he still would not consider letting her work outside the home. He would not even allow her daughter to go to the market. This attitude was also held by the children and she herself agreed with it. She preferred to let her husband make all decisions. There had been no change of attitude within the family towards her working, despite her increased income. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 16 Case Study 6: Rahmna was a married woman aged 32, with seven children aged between 16 and one. Neither she nor her husband had had any schooling. Her husband would not let her work outside the house. She spent about two hours per day preparing ready made food at home which her husband then sold in the market (they came from the west of Sudan where joint work by men and women is common). She had taken two loans from ACORD, the current one being for 300,000 LS taken in July 1997, with which she had bought beans and oil for making tamia. Since taking out her first ACORD loan, she had been able to increase daily production and their daily income from 6000 LS to 10,000 LS. During Ramadan their income decreased by 3000 LS per day, as a result of increased competition. She would like to expand it into a proper catering business because this was their main source of income. She would like to open three branches in different localities, but they did not have working capital and the market was insecure. Their shared income was spent on meeting family needs, including children’s schooling, repaying the loan and some savings. Social and political empowerment As noted above the population covered by Port Sudan programme is culturally diverse and there are significant variations in women‟s expectations. For example PRA exercises found that among the J'aaliyin (Northern tribe) and Hadendowa (Beja) ideal „female‟ characteristics focused on physical and behavioral characteristics of the idle housewife. However while Hadendowa males preferred their women to be proud and cynical the J'aaliyin women were expected to be obedient and generous. Hausa women on the other hand were expected to „be productive, religious and fertile‟. Women identified different issues. Hausa women were concerned with enabling women who were already engaged in production to have more power in the decision making. Beja women on the other hand were more concerned with having a more clearly defined productive role in order to upgrade the standard of living of the family 7. Neither of the above studies differentiate between different ethnic groups to assess how far the changes, or lack of change, are affected by ethnic differences in the initial expectations and constraints. When the programme had a broad-based policy it is clear that there had been some contribution to women‟s social and political empowerment. When ACORD first began working in Port Sudan, hardly any women even contemplated taking out credit for business purposes. The vast majority of women were wholly economically dependent on their husbands and could not engage in any economic activities outside the home for fear of social disapproval. Even to be seen discussing with an ACORD worker would arouse fear and shame. In contrast by 1995, there were long queues of women outside ACORD sub-offices waiting to be served alongside the men and women were as assertive as men in their demands for credit. There were significant changes apart from those directly related to credit activities. In the initial stages of the programme ACORD's community development activities covered a wider range of training activities including leadership training for both men 7 Although these PRA exercises were conducted in nearby Kassala the ethnic composition and situation in Port Sudan is very similar. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 17 and women. By 1996 women occupied key positions on management committees in a number of mixed groups. Women had begun to demand a more equal role in the management of group enterprises. For example, in the case of a lighting group, whereas men used to handle the cash receipts women insisted on opening a group bank account with one female and one male signatory. Women‟s role as providers of a wide range of services within their communities, from retailing to health to training and basic education had also led to changes in perceptions of women's capabilities. The Women‟s Centres were also important in providing a focus for organising women. For example the Women's Centre in Salalab deim was originally set up by ACORD, but by 1996 was managed entirely independently by former women trainees. Its services included training in a range of business and vocational skills, educational courses (literacy, health nutrition, first aid, etc) and a kindergarten. After its withdrawal, ACORD initially supported the Centre by providing the premis es at a highly subsidised rent. Within a year, owing to the sharp business acumen of the Centre's female manager, it had become fully self-financing and paid ACORD the full commercial rent. In some deims, women had organised to demand their rights from the Town Council. The Association of Women Caterers, formed in response to the harassment many women were experiencing at the hands of official authorities successfully put an end to this harassment. Through their involvement in women's centres and other group activities, women had developed stronger solidarity mechanisms for supporting each other in times of crisis. Exposure to new ideas and knowledge had also led to changes in women's aspirations. Thus there certainly have been some changes brought about particularly by training and the formation of Women's Centres in the early years. Leach's study however is far less optimistic about the contribution of the programme in its current form. She identifies multiple constraints at the household, community and micro-levels which affected even women's limited aspirations to increase incomes. She found that, apart from a few cases, there was little evidence that women were taking greater control of their lives. As noted above women continued to be seriously constrained in their economic activities by some family members and in decision-making. Significantly also many women interviewed by Leach had very low aspirations for themselves and appeared reconciled to their constrained lives (only two women interviewed said they would like more say in household decisions). As to what changes they would like to see in their lives the most frequently cited were: educating their children, improving their family‟s status (through increased income or educating their children), building or completing construction on a house; increasing production for family income and to „have a better life‟. Other changes cited were: migrating to Egypt, having a more rewarding business, being „well known among colleagues‟, and improving tailoring skills. Some women did however mention „changing traditional attitudes in the community towards women working‟, „increasing activities and income‟. Only two women said they would like to be more involved in household decision-making especially in decisions relating to their own lives and family affairs. There were also continuing broader community-level constraints which penalised women's interactions with non-related men and included threats of physical violence. Women had difficulties securing premises from which to trade and extending working Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 18 hours because of government restrictions on women working at night. Although the Sudanese context is extremely difficult with the increasing emphasis on Islamic fundamentalism, nevertheless there are women‟s movements working for change (Hale 1996; Halim 1994). The current project document contains no plans to address any of the above issues or link with these organisations. 4. ISSUES AND CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE IMPACT ASSESSMENTS Existing evidence raises many more questions than it answers. Nevertheless the evidence does point to a number of priority policy issues for future impact assessment and some methodological issues to be borne in mind. 4.1 Key policy issues Thus there have been some important achievements for some women. Nevertheless there are a number of disturbing features about the current emphasis on efficiency and sustainability and this threatens to reverse or dilute the positive achievements of earlier programme policies. In many of the programme reports of the mid-1990s the underlying rationale for a gender policy becomes largely related to efficiency because of higher levels of female repayment. What evidence exists however indicates that if gender issues are not strategically addressed then the contribution to women‟s empowerment will be reduced. 1) Female targeting: Although women continued to be targeted, a significant slip in the proportion of female clients from 49% in 1993 to 38% in 1994 coincided with reductions in staff which reduced the proportion of female staff to five out of fourteen and withdrawal of training centres. Female targeting appears under threat again from the reliance on LACs. 2) Conditions of loan delivery: The increase in larger Musharaka loans to increase financial sustainability mainly benefits businesses such as animal fattening and retailing - the types of businesses that women are not involved in (Stallard 1996). 3) Self-management and Loan Advisory Committees: The project seems to focus more on group lending and self-management as an administrative method which makes loan processing and repayment procedures easier (Stallard 1996). Although women‟s high representation in these structures may indicate social empowerment, unless these structures and the women are adequately supported these Committees may just be another means of shifting costs onto women. The fact that in 1998 the female client staff ratio was 350 compared to a male client staff ratio of 262 may indicate not only women‟s efficiency, but also less individual support for women and greater pressures on women clients to assist staff through unpaid voluntary work rather than income-earning or other leisure activities. 4) Training: Without access to training and support, women are unlikely to move beyond their traditional spheres of activity. Leach‟s study indicates serious shortcomings in the training offered. But she concludes not that training is unnecessary but that the women needed better training and more visits from Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 19 ACORD staff to monitor their use of the loan, more business advice, especially on which activities were the most profitable, and more moral support and encouragement over an extended period of time. Hadjipateras also found that the steady improvement in business success rates over the years appears to be strongly linked to the provision of such courses. Many women‟s centres have been able to find alternative sources of funding following the funding cuts, providing services in collaboration with NGOs, community structures and/or individual women community leaders. However, others still require some support, such as premises, in order to maintain themselves. In the case of some courses formerly provided by ACORD for all its credit clients, such as business and credit management, suitable alternatives have not been found. 4) Reduction in staff: Pressure to scale up the number of clients and size of loan may make project staff less concerned with women's ability to control the loan. Women may borrow beyond their absorption capacity leading to greater indebtedness. As noted above the higher female client staff relationship, coupled with the new emphasis on male staff dealing with female clients (ACORD 1998) may further reduce women‟s access to appropriate business advice and services. 4.2 Methodological considerations 1) Emphasis on quantitative indicators: Disaggregated quantitative data makes women more visible, but the focus on loan disbursal and repayment data fails to adequately capture impact. A high repayment rate does not say anything about the economic return clients receive in terms of productivity. Within the annual progress reports even the very limited data is presented with very little analysis of gender differentials e.g. gender differentials in loan amounts and default. In addition, more qualitative information, such as the impact of loan receipt in terms of the use and distribution of the benefits at the household or community level is not collected (ACORD, 1996: 26). Income benefits may trail off over time, but ACORD's use of short term impact measurements will not reveal this (Stallard 1996). 2) Longitudinal studies of policy change: The methodological differences between the two studies make any conclusion about the impact of the change in microfinance policies and training programmes inevitably tentative. The apparent decrease in impact on gender relations and women‟s incomes as a result of the policies introduced to increase financial sustainability point to an urgent need to investigate these issues in more detail through longitudinal impact studies. This would also include the impact of the implementation and changes in gender policy. REFERENCES ACORD-Kassala (1995). Annual Report. Kassala, Sudan, ACORD. ACORD-PortSudan (1996). Programme Document 1996-1998. Port Sudan, ACORD. ACORD Port Sudan (1998). ACORD Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme: End of programme Phase Review and Planning Document 1999-2000. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 20 Port Sudan, ACORD Port Sudan. ACORD-Sudan (1997). Review Meeting on Port Sudan and Kassala Programmes' Development and Phase-Out: Preparatory Notes. Khartoum, ACORD Sudan. ACORD Sudan (1998). Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme: Annual Report 1998. Khartoum, ACORD Sudan. ACORD Sudan (1999). Project Completion Report for DFID: Port Sudan Small Sc ale Enterprise Programme. Khartoum, ACORD Sudan. Amin, S. (1993). Port Sudan and Red Sea Field Trip Report. Port Sudan, ACORD. Gasim, I., S. Ali, et al. (1995). ACORD Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme: 1995 Annual Report. Gibson, A. ( 1995). ACORD Kassala, and Port Sudan Programmes Evaluation Report. London, ACORD-UK. Hadjipateras, A. ( 1996). ACORD Gender Research - Final report. London, ACORD. Hadjipateras, A. (1995). ACORD's Credit Scheme in Port Sudan. London, ACORD. Hale, S. (1996). Gender politics in Sudan: Islam, Socialism and the State. Colorado, USA, Westview Press. Halim, A. M. A. (1994). Challenges to the Application of International Human Rights in the Sudan. Human Rights of Women. R.Cook. USA, University of Pennsylvania Press. Hashim, I. (1997). Preliminary Evaluation of Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme. Khartoum, ACORD-Sudan. Leach, F. (2000). The Port Sudan Small Scale Enterprise Programme (Sudan). Brighton, University of Sussex, Institute of Education. Pankhurst, H. and D. Johnston (1998). Diversity in Practice: An International NGO's Experience of Micro-finance. African Urban Poverty. N. Nelson and S. Jones. London and New York, IT Publications. Stallard, D. ( 1996). Institutionalising Gender: Observations on ACORD's Port Sudan Small-scale Enterprise Project, Sudan. London, ACORD-UK. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 21 APPENDIX: GENDER EQUALITY: Policy, Good Practice Guidelines and Action Plan for ACORD 2000 – 2003 Draft for discussion ACORD, London August, 1999 ACORD‟s concern with gender justice dates back over a decade and was formalised with the adoption of a policy and action-based programme on Women in Development adopted in 1988. ACORD‟s latest Strategic Plan (1997-2001) places equal opportunities and the aim of addressing the imbalance between men and women at the heart of ACORD‟s vision. In 1994, a review of the impact of the gender policy was initiated, based on a process of research carried out in several stages over a period of three years. A Gender Advisory Committee was established to guide the research and propose strategies for follow-up. The final component of the organisational gender review was a gender audit based on 1996 programme annual reports. In compiling the policy, a wide range of internal and external documents have been consulted: ACORD GENDER POLICY: BASIC PRINCIPLES AND AIMS BASIC PRINCIPLES ACORD is committed to GENDER EQUALITY. We will work towards this goal by: Promoting equal access to and control over power and resources between men and women. Promoting equal opportunities and opposing all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, class, religion, sexuality, age, disability, HIV status or marital status. Deepening our understanding of gender and gender relations. Enhancing organisational capacity to achieve these aims. Devoting adequate resources (including human, information and time resources) for their realisation. Living up to the standards and principles we advocate. AIMS OF THE GENDER POLICY The gender policy is not intended to provide a blueprint for practice throughout the organisation. That would be neither feasible, nor desirable. The key objectives of the gender policy are as follows: To develop a common language throughout ACORD based on a common understanding of the meanings of gender concepts, aims and objectives as they relate to policy and practice. To provide a clear vision of what ACORD as an organisation is aiming to achieve, setting this within the context of ACORD‟s own internal evolution, as well as within the evolution of gender debates in the international arena. To set out a strategy and lines of responsibility at different levels of the organisation for realising that vision within a reasonable timeframe and with reference to targets set under ACORD‟s current Strategic Plan (1997- 2001) To provide some targets and indicators against which progress can be Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 22 measured LEVELS OF ORGANISATIONAL FUNCTIONING: Ideology, i.e. rules, values and conceptual frameworks which inform the way the organisation functions Practices, i.e. the organisation‟s everyday behaviour and procedures; and Agents, i.e. the actors who put the concepts used by ACORD into practice, both directly and indirectly. Internal documents include reports produced as part of the WID policy development and review, the gender review, the policy consultation process, the minutes of Gender Committee meetings and various other reports and papers dealing with gender issues and concerns within ACORD. External documents include the texts of various international conventions, the policies and guidelines adopted by various official organisations (e.g. World Bank, the OECD, DFID) and the policies and guidelines adopted by other NGOs (e.g. NOVIB, Oxfam, Action Aid, International Co-operation for Development and others). 2.1 Goals ACORD is committed to promoting gender equality and views this as a universal principle. This reflects the views of its members and staff and is in line with the fundamental principle enshrined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: “Equality is a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and is also a necessary and fundamental pre-requisite for equality, development and peace” (Mission Statement, para.1) ACORD will work towards the achievement of this overall goal as follows. 2.1.1 Promoting equal access to and control over power and resources between women and men The disproportionate poverty experienced by women world-wide is directly related to the absence of economic opportunities and autonomy for women, lack of access to economic resources, education and services and to their minimal participation in decision-making. In order to tackle poverty and promote greater equality, ACORD will promote programme interventions aimed at enhancing equal access to opportunities and resources and increasing women‟s control over key assets and decision-making. In particular, interventions aimed at empowering women to challenge their subordinate Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 23 status in the home, the community and society at large will be encouraged and supported. The critical importance of empowerment emerged strongly from the Beijing conference: “Women‟s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision- making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace.” (Beijing Declaration, para.13) ACORD‟s programming priorities will fall broadly in line with the major areas of concern highlighted in the Beijing Platform for Action: Feminisation of poverty Unequal access to resources Unequal access to education and training Unequal access to health care and related services Violence against women Effects of armed and other kinds of conflict Inequality in decision-making and power structures Lack of respect for and protection of women‟s human rights This list is not intended to be exhaustive and ACORD will deal with other areas of concern in line with the overall goals of gender equality and non-discrimination. In promoting gender equality, ACORD is not denying the obvious differences that exist between men and women. As noted in guidelines produced by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): “Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards. Gender equality does not mean that men and women become the same, but that their opportunities and life chances are equal. (DAC Guidelines for Gender Equality and Women‟s Empowerment, p.13) 2.1.2 Promoting equal opportunities and opposing all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, class, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, HIV status or marital status. ACORD recognises that equality between men and women cannot be achieved without addressing discrimination on any of the above grounds. Thus, ACORD‟s Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 24 commitment to gender equality goes hand in hand with its commitment to equal opportunities in general. In accordance with the vision and values outlined in the strategic plan, ACORD is committed to promoting equal opportunities in all spheres: in its own recruitment procedures for new employees, in the terms and conditions of employment for existing employees and through our staff training and development policy. In addition, we will promote organisational structures and management styles conducive to this aim. 2.1.3 Deepening our understanding of gender and gender relations ACORD recognises that gender as a concept is not static, nor have we attained a definitive level of understanding of what we mean by this concept and what we hope to achieve. Gender should be seen as an integral part of a wider search for deep understanding of human behaviour, including both physical and emotional needs, perceptions, motivations, relationships and structures. ACORD will support and promote efforts to deepen understanding of the meaning and relevance of gender concepts at all levels of the organisation. This will require collaboration and networking across programmes and with other agencies, and indeed with cross- disciplinary academic specialists. Gender analysis in ACORD, as in much of the development professional in general, has tended in the past to focus on women‟s economic and productive roles. An expanded understanding of gender differentiation will need: to move away from the previous concentration on women and instead embrace the gendered dimensions of men‟s as well as women‟s lives, and to match a concern with production and community with a concern with personal development, personal relations, and the emotional dimension (including issues of sexuality and sexual and reproductive health) 2.1.4 Enhancing organisational capacity to achieve these aims ACORD will aim to maximise its own organisational capacity to achieve these aims by ensuring that adequate support, guidance and training are provided to staff. In addition, organisational structures, working practices and management styles that reflect the principles of gender equality and equal opportunities will be promoted throughout ACORD. In particular, ACORD will promote management styles that work against stereotyping, give emphasis to teamwork and joint decision-making, promote transparency and good communications practices and provide opportunities for personal development. 2.1.4 Devoting adequate resources for their realisation ACORD will aim to ensure that adequate material and human resources are made available at all levels of the organisation for translating these goals and principles in practice. Linda Mayoux 33348907-03f5-4fbd-beb2-7f1cef9a2c34.doc 3/7/2010 Page 25 2.1.6 Living up to the standards and principles we advocate ACORD recognises that the promotion of gender equality in the organisation‟s internal policies, structures, procedures, and in the values and standards it sets itself is an essential pre-requisite for the achievement of greater gender equality in the communities where we work. All staff will be responsible for reflecting ACORD‟s values in their behaviour and ACORD will strive to apply and adhere to the same basic principles and standards inside the organisation as those promoted outside it. 2.2 Principles for the implementation of gender equality goals In committing itself to the achievement of these basic goals, ACORD will be guided by the following principles: 2.2.1 Acknowledging variety in cultural contexts Programmes operate within different cultural, political and legal contexts and therefore start towards the goal of gender equality from different departure points. Each context will require analysis, problem identification and the development of appropriate methodologies for reaching the goal. It is not expected that each context will necessarily generate identical problems or that the path towards the goal will proceed in the same way or at the same pace. 2.2.1 Recognising diversity While many aspects of women‟s experiences unite them, their living conditions and social status vary widely across different cultures and different social, economic and political groupings. ACORD acknowledges the full diversity of women‟s and men‟s situations and conditions. It is important for ACORD to deepen its understanding of differences, as well as similarities, and to work in ways that promote unity within diversity. 2.2.3 Equality and participation ACORD is committed to developing and applying participatory methodologies, as the basis of all its work with communities. ACORD is also committed to the principle of participation in relation to its own decision-making structures and management style, as a prerequisite to promoting gender equality within its own structures. 2.2.4 Involving men in the process of change ACORD recognises that „gender‟ and „women‟ are not synonymous and that deepening our understanding of gender relations necessarily entails finding out about how societal conditioning, norms and traditions, impact on the behaviour of men, as well as women. Similarly, the achievement of gender equality implies a redefinition of the rights and responsibilities of women and men in all spheres, and its achievement requires women and men to work in partnership. 2.2.5 Addressing conflict and resistance The goal of gender equality is a transformatory one, and, like all processes of change, is likely to threaten the entrenched interests of individuals and groups (both men and women). The conflictual nature of such change needs to be acknowledged frankly, and skills developed within the organisation to handle the resolution of conflict carefully without diluting the goal itself.