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WECF: “Technology Is Not Gender-Neutral”

WECF organizes workshop on designing gender-sensitive development projects

30.07.2015 | Carmen Chan

Why and how should you involve both men and women in development projects? WECF has extensive knowledge and experience in sanitation, water, energy and agricultural projects. During the workshop on 11 June 2015 in Utrecht, WECF’s Claudia Wendland and Fedde Jorritsma explained why a gender-sensitive approach is essential for the successful implementation of engineering projects in developing countries. They elaborated on common misconceptions, sensitivities and tools. Engineers from all over the world participated in the interactive workshop.

The workshop started with a brief introduction on relevant definitions, including explaining the difference between gender equality and equity. Then, some of WECF’s sanitation and energy projects – including the gender-sensitive NAMA project in Georgia – were presented to illustrate gender issues.

During the workshop, the participants practiced the adoption of newly learned gender tools. For instance, they were asked to make a daily schedule for both men and women, in order to become aware of gendered labor divisions, often unequal workloads and different time schedules. These insights can help in designing development projects that involve and benefit both men and women.

Towards the end of the workshop, the participants were asked to make a checklist of factors to keep in mind when designing a gender-sensitive development project. The workshop assignments were an eye-opener for the participating engineers: it made them more aware of gender issues in development projects. The participants expressed interest in a follow-up workshop.

This workshop was organized in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders (EWB).


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