Group Title: Gender and development
Title: Gender analysis and the definition of necessary and sufficient conditions for sustainable development interventions
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Title: Gender analysis and the definition of necessary and sufficient conditions for sustainable development interventions
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Donor: Marianne Schmink ( endowment )
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Bibliographic ID: UF00089854
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Full Text

by Pietronella van den Oever

E3J s /s .,

by Pietronella van den Oever



1.1 Purpose of the tool

The purpose of this tool is to provide program planners and
project implementers with a simple framework to identify which -
resources need to be made available, and which conditions need to
be fulfilled, to bridge the often existing gap between necessary
and suffient conditions for particular development interventions.
Specific attention is given to different social roles and
responsibilities assumed by men and women, and by different social
groups generally, in the community or society in which the
development intervention is to take place. The tool is generic,
intended for customized adaptation to specific substantive areas
and geographical/social settings. Just as an example, in this text
reference will be made to development interventions intended to
alleviate the "poverty trap" in Sub-Saharan Africa.

1.2 Defining necessary conditions: Technical and economic analysis

Most development interventions begin with a technical analysis
to determine which resources and conditions need to be available to
implement the activity under consideration. For instance, before
actually starting the implementation of a project intended to
promote agro-export production, an inventory will be made of needs
and pre-conditions such as: agricultural implements, distribution
systems for information and means of production, banking
facilities, and miscellaneous infrastructure, to name just a few.
Usually, an economic or cost-benefit analysis is carried out at
this stage as well. These preparatory analyses help to determine
what are the necessary conditions for a particular intervention to

1.3 Defining sufficient conditions: Social and gender analysis

Common knowledge dictates that, for any activity to succeed,
the necessary as well as sufficient conditions need to be
identified and fulfilled. The information needed to make the step
from the necessary to the sufficient conditions can be obtained by
a thorough social and gender analysis. A puzzling reality is, that
such an analysis is rarely conducted at the onset of an activity.
This is evident from many years of field experience in
international development. What usually happens is that program
and project implementers run into a number of difficulties and
decide only then, on an ad hoc basis, to conduct social and gender
analysis retro-actively. Nevertheless, the need for social and

gender analysis can not be emphasised enough. Without it, it is
impossible to capture the existing social reality, and to foresee
the differential impact on men and women or other social groupings
of a particular development intervention in a given region or


2.1 The "poverty trap" in Sub-Saharan Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, several factors coincide which seem to
keep many of the countries in the region in what could be called
"the poverty trap." For instance, according to the World Bank's
World Development Report, most of the Sub-Saharan African countries
fall within the category "low income countries" with GNP Per Capita
below US$ 650.--. In addition, most of the countries rely heavily
on agriculture as the backbone of their economies, although erratic
patterns of rainfall in much of the region, and sub-optimal
infrastructure do not favor rapid agricultural development. As for
the quality of life, the expectation of life at birth is between 48
and 56 years, implying a high rate of infant- and child mortality.
A rapid rate of population growth, and significant population
movement contribute to a rapidly changing balance between people
and resources in the region.

2.2 Is there an escape from the "poverty trap?"

Is there an escape from the poverty trap in Sub-Saharan
Africa? This is a crucial question which a multitude of people from
a large variety of origins, and with a wide range of interests have
asked themselves for several decades. This is also the main
question which will be explored as a case example for introducing
the use of the tool for defining the necessary and sufficient
conditions for sustainable development projects. A schematical
representation of this tool is provided in Figure 1.

Of course, each development project is based on the implicit
hypothesis that there is indeed a possibility to improve people's
lives in Sub-Saharan Africa, otherwise there would be no point in
undertaking any development intervention at all. The second
question then becomes automatically: What would be the necessary
and sufficient conditions to bring about changes in the variables
mentioned above in section 2.1, so that they would have a positive,
rather than a negative influence upon each other and would be
mutually reinforcing in efforts for sustainable development?

2.3 The necessary conditions for escape

First of all, some of the most necessary conditions need to be
identified. So far there seem to be the following ten conditions

which at least need to be fulfilled to get an in-road in breaking
through the poverty trap: 1) information and education, 2) health
care, 3) family planning services/contraceptives, 4)
transportation, 5) water, 6) land, 7) agricultural technology and
implements, 8) energy, 9) processing facilities, and, 10) household
implements. These necessary conditions are listed in Figure 1.
The conditions just mentioned are not exhaustive, but they allow to
start a discussion on major difference between necessary and
sufficient conditions, and, closely related to that, to make a
differentiation between availability and accessibility of the pre-
conditions for development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

2.4 Availability of, versus accessibility to the necessary
conditions for breaking through the poverty trap

If all the necessary conditions mentioned above are fulfilled
we would perhaps assume that there is a good chance for success of
our development efforts, This is not the case, however, because in
many instances the availability of certain resources by no means
guarantees that these resources are equally accessible to all
groups in society. Whether a certain aroup in society has access to
the available resources depends on a number of factors, such as
(amonast many others): 1) language. 2) means of communication. 3)
financial means. 4) legal rights, and 5) social group status. Like
the necessary conditions, mentioned above in section 2.3, the
"accessibility factors" are mentioned in Figure 1.

a. Language

We will now look at each one of these individual factors to
clarify what is meant in reality by "access." Starting with the
language factor, it is a well-known fact that in most of Sub-
Saharan Africa formal instruction in schools is given in English,
French, or Portuguese; the languages of the former colonizing
nations. At home, however, the overwhelming majority of African
families speak their own local language, which is in most instances
not written, and usually covers only a small territory, and is
therefore shared by a relatively small number of people, with the
exception of languages like Haussa, Bambara, Yoruba, Swahili, and
the like.

b. Schooling/formal instruction

In most countries, only a small proportion of the population
goes to school, and among those going to school, boys generally
outnumber by far the girls, especially in the higher grades and in
secondary and higher education. It follows, that written
instructions on agricultural improvement, miscellaneous skill
building, and any necessary information for participating in a
modernizing society are only accessible to a very small proportion
of women. And it is precisely the women who would need this
instruction, since it is they who have traditionally been the key
players in agriculture and would be the best informed to complement

traditional with modern methods of cultivation. Furthermore, it is
they who need to be the primary target for health improvement and
family planning services.

c. Rural-urban residence

In addition, in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, there
are many more women than men in the rural areas, since the men tend
to migrate, either to the cities in their own countries, or to
neighboring countries, in order to find work, while their women
stay on the farm. This is a perfectly compatible pattern with
traditional African society, where the women tended to the farm
work, while the men went out for big game hunting, fishing, or
warfare with neighboring tribes.

d. Means of communication

Access to the means of communication is not equally
distributed among all groups in the population either. For
instance, television sets and radios are much more prevalent in the
cities than in the rural areas. And, as mentioned above, in
countries where agriculture is the most common mode of production,
and the level of technology is rudimentary, human labor is the most
important factor in agricultural production. It follows logically,
that under these circumstances a large proportion of the population
is still living in rural areas, and it is precisely there where
modern means of communication are scarce. Therefore it is
problematic to bring the right information to farmers, even if this
information is available in radio and television programs.
Furthermore, even within families and households, it is not certain
that all members have equal access to the means of communication.
In some countries it is customary that the men congregate to chat
and watch television, while the women continue domestic and other
chores. Therefore, even if instructional programs reach the target
families, this is still no guarantee that the right target group
has been reached.

e. Financial means

As for access to financial means, it is easy to imagine that
financial resources are not equally distributed among families and
communities. In most countries city populations tend to be
wealthier that the rural people. And even if such conditions as,
for instance, agricultural credit or building loans are available,
it is not certain that all groups benefit equally from these
services. Members of a particular tribe or ethnic group may be
privileged over other groups. And, generally, women are less likely
to have access to credit and loans than the men, while it is
precisely the women who need it to improve agriculture and to
promote the transition from a small-scale, overwhelmingly
subsistence economy, to modern agricultural market production.

f. Legal rights

Access to leaal rights follows again the same pattern. It is
only recently that women have started to acquire legal rights equal
to men in a number of countries. The "poverty trap" countries on
which we focus specifically in this paper, are in general not yet
at the stage where laws apply equally to men and women. For
instance, to go to a family planning clinic for contraceptive
services, women in most Sub-Saharan African countries need their
husbands' or fathers' written consent. The men, on the other hand,
can engage in any legal act without their wives' written consent.
As for land ownership or usufruct, it is usually the men of the
family who acquire legal title to land, while, as we have mentioned
several times above, the women are key players in agricultural
work. Hence, while they do the brunt of the task, they have a
minimum of control over their major means of production. This is
obviously not conducive to a rapid modernization of the
agricultural sector. And it is precisely this sector which
continues to be the backbone of the economy in the "poverty trap"

g. Social group status

The status of one's social group is another factor which often
determines accessibility -- or lack thereof -- to certain resources
and conditions. In societies with clearly identified social strata,
or castes, different groups may have access to different
professions. In Mali, for instance, it would be difficult for a
member of a noble family to engage in handiwork such as ironwork,
woodwork, or jewelry making; three professions quite prevalent in
the Sahel region.

2.5 The division of labor: Gender and socio-cultural issues

From the discussion of the "accessibility factors," referred
to above, it is clear that, for development activities to have a
chance to succeed, more is needed than just an economic analysis of
the prevailing conditions in a particular country. Therefore, as
introduced in Figure 1, between the "necessary" and "sufficient"
conditions, I would like to state that gender and social analysis,
are both indispensable to understand what the obstacles are which
cause development programs to fail, or to reach only a small part
of their potential, even if all the necessary conditions have been
clearly fulfilled.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, more so than in any other part of the
world, women are key players in agriculture. However, with the
advent of the colonial powers, agricultural development strategies
were introduced in which the patterns of the colonizers' home
countries, in which men were the key performers in rural
enterprise, were applied. Until now, this has left nearly
irreparable damage on agricultural development in Africa. Referring
back to the various factors mentioned above in the discussion about
availability versus accessibility of resources and development
conditions, it is easy to conclude that women do not always have

access to the means of development, even if these means are

It is clear as well from the discussion above, that gender
analysis alone is necessary, but not sufficient, to disentangle the
complexities of the poverty trap in Sub-Saharan Africa. Age groups
need to be considered as well. It may be that in some societies
older women have a much larger say than younger men in questions
such as child spacing, family planning, agricultural and child
rearing practices, etc. Furthermore, ethnic and religious groups,
as well as castes and professional groups, have often different
rights and responsibilities and therefore do not necessarily have
equal access to the means and conditions of development, even if
these means and conditions are available. It must also be borne in
mind that there are many instances in which specific means and
conditions must necessarily capture a particular target group in
order for a particular activity to reach its objective. A thorough
gender and social group analysis is therefore an absolute pre-
condition, and must accompany all and any economic, political and
demographic analysis carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, in order to
identify which are the contributing factors that complement the
process of transforming necessary into sufficient conditions.

2.6 Availability, accessibility, and motivation

Assuming that all necessary and sufficient conditions for
sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa were fulfilled, then
we would still find ourselves with a little, although crucially
important, complication. The part of "sufficient conditions" in our
matrix has to be extended with an addition which could be called
"motivation". As my good friend Professor Okoth-Ogendo, the
Director of the 'Center for African Family Studies (CAFS) in
Nairobi, would say: The bottom line is NO NET LOSS. but preferably
people should perceive new-fanaled ideas and services proposed to
them in the name of modern development as bringing them tangible
advantages." This is a remarkably accurate observation, also
brought forward by Dr Cheikh Mbake, of the Centre de Recherches en
Population pour le Developpement (CERPOD) in Bamako, who observed
in one of his POPSahel articles that .."The motivation of African
governments is often in direct contradiction with the motivation of
individual farmers.."

JI\\\/ V 6 a I I IJ

(for example)
Information, education

2. health care

3. Family planning services/
4. Transportation

5. Water

6. Land

7. Agricultural technology and

8. Energy

9. Processing facilities

10. 1 household implements





Means of

Financial means

Legal rights

SSocial group status

The proposed
must have

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