In pursuant of the Bank`s endeavour to deepen gender mainstreaming and integration across its operations and on all Bank-supported projects, two training workshops were conducted for staff in July 2020 with financial support from Hivos. The trainings were held in line with the Bank’s commitment to capacitate staff to effectively mainstream gender in all systems, structures and operations as outlined in the institutional Gender Policy. The design of the training was also informed by the recommendations from the Bank’s Gender Audit report of December 2019 which identified critical gaps and challenges and opportunities in the Bank’s gender mainstreaming practices. One of the critical observations from the gender audit was the uneven distribution of awareness and knowledge on what gender is, what gender mainstreaming entails, and its relevance to the Bank’s mandate. Additionally, gender issues were still regarded as women’s issues and viewed with scepticism amongst other categories of Bank staff.
The overall aim of the training was to build gender transformative everyday working practices and collective norms amongst Bank staff. Specifically, the gender training aimed to achieve the following objectives:
- To enhance the staff’s understanding of the relevance and importance of gender equality to their departmental and institutional policy objectives.
- To equip individual staff members with knowledge and tools to effectively mainstream gender through conducting gender analysis so that they could take account of gender in their everyday work.
- To strengthen the Bank’s capacity on gender mainstreaming when dealing with partners, contractors, communities, and other key stakeholders, especially during projects development and implementation.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the training was conducted online in accordance with the WHO guidelines on social distancing and minimisation of physical contact. The topics covered included the definition of key gender concepts; the legal and policy framework on gender equality; a review of gender mainstreaming initiatives in the Bank in terms of what was done well and the challenges. The training was concluded with an in-depth discussion on gender mainstreaming with focus on the gender analysis tools and strategies that the Bank can employ. The post training evaluation showed that the gender mainstreaming training contributed to strengthening and providing staff with the relevant knowledge, skills and values that allow them to contribute to the effective implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy in their Departments/Divisions/Units. The Bank is now working on the development of a gender mainstreaming toolkit for use by staff in their work. Commitment to gender equality requires that people know what needs to be done, why it has to be done, how to do it and when to do it.