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Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: The USAID MuniWASH Activity and the Directorate in charge of Decentralization and Local Development train municipal actors in gender promotion

Wednesday, 21 December 2022
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On October 27, the USAID West Africa Municipal Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (MuniWASH) Activity and the Direction Générale de la Décentralisation et du Développement Local (DGDDL) organized a capacity building workshop on fundamental gender concepts, which was attended by USAID/Côte d'Ivoire Acting Country Representative, Ms. Candace Buzzard.

Supported by the Gender and Equity Directorate of the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the workshop trained approximately 20 participants, including nine women, who wanted to better understand the role gender plays in the local development context. These participants included local elected officials and heads of municipal services from the eight targeted municipalities of USAID’s MuniWASH Activity in Côte d'Ivoire.

During the workshop, participants learned about definitions of gender, stereotypes, biases, and the roles society ascribes to men and women in family, community, and professional settings. According to Yaya Sanogo, a local elected official of the Municipality of Abobo, "Analyzing the daily work of women allowed me to understand that they are the ones who get up early, go to bed the latest and work much more than men.” That      is why one of the facilitators, Ms. Leticia Ackun, Gender Specialist at the African Water Association, encouraged the participants to “better consider the practical needs and strategic interests of men and women in the implementation of community based projects.”

The participants of the training are now appointed as gender focal points within their respective municipalities and will be in charge of promoting gender at the local level under the coordination of the DGDDL gender unit. These focal points will therefore carry out awareness activities targeting the entire municipal council and advocate for deliberate consideration of gender in the organizational and operational management of the municipality. 

Ms. Buzzard assured that USAID will continue to “support national institutions in the fight against gender inequalities, especially in the WASH sector.” The USAID MuniWASH Activity, in collaboration with the DGDDL, will increase non-formal learning opportunities for participants by regularly providing them with gender mainstreaming resources to help them carry out their work at the local level. These could include the national gender promotion strategy, the new law on marriage in Côte d'Ivoire and laws against gender-based violence.

MuniWASH is implemented by Tetra Tech in Benin and Côte d'Ivoire in close collaboration with the African Water Association.

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