Gender and socio-economic considerations in environmental programs and projects
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080508/00002
 Material Information
Title: Gender and socio-economic considerations in environmental programs and projects lessons learned in the Brazilian Amazon
Series Title: GENESYS special study
Physical Description: 26 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Muirragui, Eileen I
Anderson, E. Suely
United States -- Agency for International Development
Futures Group -- The Genesys Project
Publisher: United States Agency for International Development, Office of Women in Development
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1995
Subjects / Keywords: Women in development -- Brazil   ( lcsh )
Sustainable development -- Brazil   ( lcsh )
Environmental policy -- Brazil   ( lcsh )
Sexual division of labor -- Brazil   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Brazil
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: Eileen I Muirragui, E. Suely Anderson.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "March 1995."
General Note: "Genesys, a project of The Futures Group"--P. 4 of cover.
Funding: Genesys special studies ;
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 33098078
System ID: UF00080508:00002

Full Text







Eileen L Muirragui E. Suely Anderson

October 1994


In recent years there has been a growing focus on "people"
and gender issues in discussions about natural resources,
sustainable development and poverty alleviation. The
international research and development communities are
increasingly aware that the factors driving men and women
to either environmental destruction or stewardship lie at the
heart of critical environmental issues such as land use
management, deforestation, loss in biodiversity and climate
change. All experiences that can help clarify the connection
between human intervention and the environment, and
possible alternatives to unsustainable environmental
destruction deserve close attention. They are particularly
important because in many regions throughout the world,
policies, programs and projects often continue to disregard
the key--and frequently distinct--roles that men and women
play in relation to the environment.

This paper analyzes the experiences of the Gender in
Economic and Social Systems (GENESYS)/Brazil Project, a
three-year pioneering endeavor in the Amazon promoted by
the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID)
Office for Women in Development to research the themes of
socio-economics and gender and the environment, and to
incorporate gender considerations into a major
environmental initiative on global climate change (GCC).
The aims of the USAID-financed GCC Program in the
Brazilian Amazon are to identify and promote environmental
and socio-economically viable alternatives to deforestation
and reduce the greenhouse effect caused by forest burning.
GENESYS/Brazil, a sub-project of the GCC Program,
worked with local Brazilian environmental, labor and non-
government organizations to investigate the connection
between socio-economic and gender factors and the
environment; to develop socio-economic and gender expertise
in local non-government organizations (NGOs) participating
in the GCC Program, and to promote the inclusion of both
men and women as participants and beneficiaries of program
activities. The experiences, accomplishments, challenges and
lessons learned by GENESYS/Brazil can be of great value to
other natural resource programs and projects.



The Brazilian Amazon, which makes up 57 percent of the
territory of South America's largest country, is a genuine
magnet for those interested in natural resource issues. In its
3.5 million square kilometers of tropical forest live an
estimated 20,000 species of flowering plants, 2,000 species of
fish, 1,000 species of birds and 60 species of primates. The
biological diversity in the Amazon is larger than in any other
region of the world. This area contains 60-80 billion cubic
meters of timber, enough to meet the world's consumption of
tropical wood for several centuries. Yet this tremendously
rich bioma suffers the daily threat of damage and destruction
from practices that include road-building, logging, cattle
ranching, subsistence farming, forest clearing/ burning, and
pollution of rivers from mining. Brazil is one of the five"
largest contributors to the greenhouse effect, fundamentally
from the burning of its tropical forests.

The Brazilian Amazon is also a huge minefield of socio-
economic issues that have not found solutions in other more
developed parts of the country, and that have been
reproduced or exacerbated in the region. These include
poverty and large income differentials; concentration in land
ownership and lack of access to land by the poor; inadequate
social and government services; lack of employment
opportunities and violence.

The Brazilian Amazon contains 17 million people, with a
population density of approximately 3 people per square
kilometer. The rate of population increase in the region is
over 10 percent per year in some areas of rapid frontier
expansion such as Eastern Pard, in contrast to a 2 percent
rate of increase in all of Brazil. In the state of Rond6nia,
the influx of settlers driven from the south of Brazil by the
expansion of soybean production fueled a 16 percent
population increase from the late 1970s into the 1980s,
which coincides with the period when 20 percent of the
tropical forest was destroyed in Rond6nia. In the state of
Maranhaio, which borders the Amazon region, 80 percent of
the rural population is landless. It is no surprise, therefore,
that most of the tens of thousand gold miners in Yanomani
Indian lands come from Maranhaio. These are but a few
examples of how environmental and socio-economic problems
are intimately related.

In this setting, there are many different individuals and
organizations attempting to deal with environmental and
socio-economic problems. They include natural scientists
studying disturbances to the Amazonian ecosystem; social


scientists analyzing anthropological, sociological and
economic variables, and committed political activists
promoting social and political transformation. Recent
research promoted by many of these individuals and
organizations has documented in detail the causes and
consequences of environmental degradation in the region.
Yet these analyses have largely ignored how the causes and
consequences of deforestation are related to socio-economic
relations at the household and community level, where key
decisions regarding the environment are made. For this
reason, initiatives which deal with the interconnections
between environment, socio-economic issues and gender are
of a pioneering nature. Despite the existence of well-
developed research institutions, a robust NGO community
and growing influx of international funding, socio-economic
analysis of environmental issues remains insufficient, and
gender analysis practically non existent. The GENESYS
project in Brazil made concerted efforts to transform this
situation by promoting and strengthening the capacity of
local non-government (NGO) institutions to integrate socio-
economic and gender considerations into their programs and

GENESYS/Brazil, implemented between 1991 and 1994, was
a component of the broader GENESYS Project and the
Brazil Global Climate Change Program. GENESYS was a
US $18.9 million project funded by USAID's Office for
Women in development to "support the WID Office to
institutionalize gender considerations in A.I.D. programs and
projects and thereby increase women's contribution to and
benefit from economic and social development." In concrete
terms this meant that the purpose of GENESYS was to
increase Bureau and Mission capacity to incorporate gender
into A.I.D. programs and projects such as the Brazil GCC
Program. The latter is a US $17.5 million endeavor aimed at
identifying environmental and socio-economically viable
alternatives to deforestation, and promoting sustainable use
of the Amazon forest, institution building and policy reform
in view of reducing the greenhouse effect caused by forest
burning. Both GCC and GENESYS respond to separate
mandates of the U.S. Congress to: 1) promote initiatives to
reduce global climate change, and 2) incorporate and
increase the number of women who are participants and
beneficiaries of U.S. foreign assistance programs.

GENESYS/Brazil, a US $1.1 million project, was buy-in from
USAID/Brazil into the broader GENESYS project. It was


implemented by The Futures Group, International in
Washington, D.C. and its Brazilian partner, the Brazilian
Agroforestry Network (REBRAF) based in Rio de Janeiro.
GENESYS/Brazil represented about 15 percent of the overall
GENESYS Project obligations through July 1994. The
respective contributions of the WID Office and USAID
Brasilia to GENESYS/Brazil activities were US $0.6 and 0.5
million. With the WID Office contribution, the GENESYS
component in Brazil was about 6.3 percent of the funds
obligated to the Brazil GCC Program. Furthermore, the
WID Office contribution represented one of the highest
amounts allocated to an environmental initiative to
incorporate gender in one country.

The GCC Program works throughout the Amazon with a
heterogenous group of NGOs with different interests and
clientele which include research, extension, and organized
rural labor. Target NGOs and areas of project activities
were: 1) CEPASP (Centro de Educacgo, Pesquisa e
Assessoria Sindical e Popular in MarabA, Pard; 2) STR-
Paragominas (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais de
Paragominas; in Paragominas, Pard; 3) FVA (Fundacgo
Vit6ria Amaz6nica) in Manaus, Amazonas; IEA/CNS
(Instituto dos Estudos Amaz6nicos and 0 Conselho Nacional
dos Seringueiros in Macapi, Amapd; and 5) PESACRE
(Grupo de Pesquisa e Extensdo em Sistemas Agroflorestais
do Acre) in Rio Branco, Acre. GENESYS/Brazil was called
upon to provide training, research, technical assistance and
logistical support to strengthen their capabilities to include
socio-economic and gender considerations in the design,
implementation, and evaluation of sustainable activities in
extractive reserves, park buffer zones, and agroforestry
projects supported by the GCC Program.

The logic of incorporating GENESYS into the GCC Program
was that in the Brazilian Amazon, both women and men play
important productive roles in all the extractive and
agroforestry systems, as sources of traditional knowledge
about the habitat, as collectors of forest products, as
processors of products, and as sellers. Yet there had been
little research and information about the division of labor
and other gender considerations in the Amazon region, in
general, and in renewable resource management systems, in
particular. To enhance the probability that GCC-promoted
forest uses and management practices would be adopted, it
was argued that socio-economic information and gender
disaggregated data on the knowledge, skills and labor of both
men and women must be considered, and must influence

IMPLEMENTATION decisions on project activities.
M 0 D E L AN D The GENESYS scope of work included the following

1) Strengthen the capacity of Brazilian NGOs to
incorporate gender considerations.
2) Assist NGOs in socio-economic research
activities in their communities.
3) Improve the socio-economic analytical and
methodological skills of NGOs.
4) Improve project-level monitoring and
5) Sponsor research to contribute to project
socio-economic sustainability.

Anticipated accomplishments included:

1) Improved NGO socio-economic research skills
and ability to do gender analysis.
2) Identifying and training local gender/social
science specialists to integrate gender
considerations into NGO workplans, and
carry out needed socio-economic research.
3) Producing a gender differences "minimum
data set.'
4) Identifying socio-economic and gender-
focused indicators of project results.
5) Developing a participatory research approach
for working with communities.

6) Producing a marketing report on a specific
non-timber forest product, and disseminating
training materials on how to implement
market analysis and planning for other non-
timber forest products (NTFPs).

Those analyzing the anticipated and actual accomplishments
must understand that although these anticipated
accomplishments may look clear, straightforward and logical
on paper, at the beginning of the project there were very few,
if any, guidelines on how to carry them out, anywhere, let alone
in a place as remote, laige and complex as the Amazon. There
were no concrete previous success stories to follow, the road
simply had not been travelled before. GENESYS/Brazil was

IMPLEMENTATION thus a pioneer, and made the first to attempt to follow a
M 0 D E L A N D highly ambitious agenda without a clear map of how to get
to the desired destination. Given this reality, the concrete
ACCOMPLISHMENTS accomplishments, although by no means perfect in terms of
what was anticipated, are nonetheless substantial:

1) The NGOs associated with GENESYS did improve their
socio-cconomic research skills and ability to do gender

GENESYS/Brazil provided close to 600 person days of
technical assistance to support socio-economic research and
gender considerations. In addition, it delivered six training
courses on gender and research-related themes. Nearly 80
people (51 percent women) representing 22 organizations
working in the Brazilian Amazon were systematically trained,
and the influence and impact of these individuals is likely to
be felt over time. It must be remembered, however, that
most of the GCC NGOs in the Brazilian Amazon are non-
research, male-dominated organizations. Consequently,
although they still cannot independently carry out work that
meets universal standards of appropriate research design,
questionnaire development, data analysis, interpretation,
comparison and replicability, research skills and the
knowledge of the use of research did improve. All NGOs
also now understand the purpose of gender analysis, and
some are at the early stages of being able to do it
independently. Two NGOs are preparing to train others in
its meaning and use.

2) GENESYS identified and trained eight local gender/social
science specialists to carry out socio-economic research and
integrate gender considerations into the workplans of five

Instead of hiring outside social scientists/gender experts to
work with the NGOs, GENESYS/Brazil picked individuals
already working with the organization to work part-time (ten
hours per week) for the project. Over the life of the project,
six women and two men worked as the GENESYS "gender
specialists." They were given training, technical assistance
and logistical support to incorporate gender and socio-
economic elements into their organization's activities.
GENESYS/Brazil, particularly in its last year, promoted the
idea of a GENESYS vision and mission by the symbolic use
of enormous glasses and ears (the GENESYS glasses and
ears). These were to be used to see the invisibility and hear
the silence of women and other stakeholders who are often


not seen, heard or listened to in the Amazon. By raising
awareness of this reality and stressing its importance from
the perspectives of both efficiency and equity, it was
anticipated that gender would start to become incorporated
into the organization's social research, project design and
evaluation activities, and that gender disagreggated socio-
economic information would inform the project planning and
implementation cycle of the NGOs. Two of the NGOs have
now incorporated gender into their overall activities as a
result of the influence of the gender specialists. And
although the other gender specialists have not gone as far in
their own institutions, there is at least awareness of gender,
and its incorporation into some activities such as training.

3) GENESYS did not produce a gender differences
"minimum data set."

While implementing the project, GENESYS/Brazil discovered
how little research has been done on gender in the Brazilian
Amazon. By sponsoring extensive bibliographic searches
from data bases in the United States, Europe, Latin America
and Brazil, the project documented that literature on gender
and research relating to gender and the environment in the
Amazon are either sparse or at an early stage. It is thus
understandable why a systematically collected "minimum data
set" on gender roles was still not available at project end.
This gap was also due to the fact that since GENESYS
supported participativee research," the various NGOs used
distinct methodologies to gather different types of sex-
disaggregated data. Consequently, these data were not
comparable, nor was it possible to aggregate them. Yet all
NGOs did become aware of the importance of data on both
men and women, and an outside demography and
environment specialist analyzing the research results of one
of the NGOs noted that she had "rarely" seen this
disaggregation in a survey of an environmental organization.

4) Until the almost the end of the project, GENESYS/Brazil
was not successful in identifying socio-economic and gender-
focused indicators of project results.

Part of the difficulty in attaining this objective was that an
appropriate tool to assist in the formulation of indicators was
not available. Another problem stemmed from the difficulty
of identifying appropriate indicators for the numerous
projects being undertaken by the NGOs. Doing so would
have necessitated tremendous amounts of targeted technical
assistance. Yet by the end of the project, GENESYS had

IMPLEMENTATION developed a tool for assisting the process of identifying
M 0 D E L A N D indicators. It disseminated this tool through a highly
successful training workshop on monitoring and evaluation
ACCOMPLISHMENTS for gender and socio-economic considerations to assist the
gender specialists and individuals from other organizations to
begin to identify key socio-economic and gender indicators.

5) In at least two of the NGOs, GENESYS was a catalyst in
the development/use of a participatory research approach for
working with communities to meet their socio-economic

GENESYS-sponsored research enabled one of the rural labor
NGOs to involve members of the community in the planning
and implementation of a survey. The results of the
GENESYS survey were used to lobby for maintaining a
school open for the children of the river dwellers in the area.
During several pioneering environmental public hearings, the
findings were also used to challenge the purported impact on
the population of a proposed mining project. This use of
research by an NGO in favor of communities is practically
unheard of in the Amazon. In another NGO, the results of
GENESYS-funded research and technical assistance was
returned to members of the community and marketing
cooperative to assist them to understand the constraints they
faced in their production and marketing decisions on non-
timber forest products, notably of cupuaqu. But more
important than these specific examples is the fact other
NGOs desired to replicate the successes and experiences of
one NGO in GENESYS-sponsored participatory research.

6) It was difficult for GENESYS to produce a suitable and
relevant marketing manual for non-timber forest products
(NTFPs), yet this objective was accomplished. Furthermore,
the project provided technical assistance, carried out training,
and disseminated training materials on how to implement
market analysis and planning for NTFPs.

Marketing guidelines for non-timber forest products in the
Brazilian Amazon did not exist before the project.
GENESYS made the first systematic attempt to produce a
manual that would help local NGOs better assess marketing
situations, and formulate appropriate solutions to specific
marketing problems and questions. Furthermore,
GENESYS/Brazil tried to develop a new approach to
integrate economic, social and environmental issues into
marketing decisions. It was an extremely difficult endeavor

IMPLEMENTATION due to the complexity of the issues, the lack of knowledge
M 0 D E L A ND that exists on the topic, and the difficulty of finding qualified
personnel. Yet by the end of project, a second version of a
ACCOMPLISHMENTS marketing manual was concluded, after a less-than-successful
first version.

What are the implications of an analysis of the real
achievements, and of the gap between intended and concrete
accomplishments? First, that lofty goals produce palpable
results, although not always how initially envisioned.
Another possible significant implication is that not all that
makes sense on paper can be carried out, either because of
difficulties in the process of implementation, or because the
intended accomplishments might have been unrealistic given
the complexity of the issues, the resources available, the
unknowns, and the myriad difficulties of working in the

Yet there were also numerous unanticipated successes worthy
of note. One of the great unforseen achievements of
GENESYS/Brazil has been its role in the creation of
personal and professional networks among those working in
the Amazon that encompass the entire region. GENESYS
had the unique opportunity of working with NGOs from all
over the Amazon, rather than in just one or a few locations
as was the case with other GCC implementing organizations.
This opportunity allowed for the establishment of personal
and professional bonds that may continue after the end of
the project.

GENESYS also developed a reputation for carrying out
unique and highly original training courses that included: a
male-female capoeira (marshall arts/dance) troupe to
stimulate discussion on changing gender roles; creative art;
training props such as the GENESYS glasses and ears, or the
"key" indicators open the treasure chest of sustainable
development and improved standard of living in the Amazon;
participation of an influential Amazonian environmental
woman's group, the Quebradeiras de Babaqu; participation of
community members in training; use of teams of trainees to
do research in communities near where the courses were held
in support of the information needs of the NGOs; and even
of a unique "aquatic workshop" on an Amazonian river boat
into The Jail National Park, Brazil's largest.
GENESYS/Brazil also produced numerous documents and
supported the translation of an impressive amount of
documentation on gender into Portuguese.


Yet even with these anticipated and unanticipated
achievements, the broader and more important question is,
did the project make a difference and make an impact on the
organizations involved? Did the project accomplish its
broader objective of increasing USAID Mission capacity to
incorporate gender into the GCC Program and projects?
Perhaps one way to judge is by citing a letter sent by the
Brazil-based Coordinator to the Gender Specialists at each
of the NGOs on September 9, 1994, less than one month
before project completion:

"To speak of "gender considerations" is no longer a seven-headed
monster for any of us who participated in the courses provided by
GENESYS/Brazil. In some of the NGOs like PESACRE and FVA,
gender considerations are being successfully included from the design
phase of the project, when it is appropriate to do so. In others, like
STRIParagominas, FVA and PESACRE there were socio-economic
surveys sensitive to gender, particularly in terms of the division of labor
among dwellers of the communities where the research took place.
In the case of STRIP we have a concrete example of how to carry out
participative research. CNS/AP is planning a course in Gender
Analysis for the leadership of the associations of dwellers in the
extractive reserves of Amapd, and CEPASP is doing market research
on the market for cupuagu derivatives with the Araras' Women's
Group. None of this existed when we began, most of you didn't even
know each other....... It is true that we are only at the beginning,
starting to collect the fruits of the work of training and awareness.
There is still a long road to follow before women and men have equity
vis-a-vis the benefits of projects. There is much to be done, but I feel
that the commitment exists on the part of each of you, to go forward.
You received the training and materials sufficient to deserve the title
"specialist," at least in terms of gender and socio-economic research.
Some of you don't like that qualification, and others maybe don't feel
like specialists, but the fact is that you now know more about gender
issues than most researchers that are working in the Amazonian
region. The responsibility is now yours to use and disseminate that
knowledge, to use the GENESYS glasses to turn visible what is
invisible, and the GENESYS ears to hear the silence."

The reply by one Gender Specialist was as follows:

"I received your letter... which stimulated me to write this letter to you
as GENESYS representative in Brazil. I want to tell you simply what
GENESYS represented for my NGO, as well as for my growth as an
advisor to (it). My organization will be ten years old this year...much
work has been done, but only in 1992 did I have the opportunity to
enter the organization as a result of GENESYS, despite the fact that
(this NGO) lived within me since 1984.



I began to work for GENESYS in May 1992, I found it difficult, all
for me was new, all was hard, the first job was the tabulation of data
of the 1992 survey, then the report on the surveys of 1990 and 1992
that is half finished, at the end of 1992, beginning of 1993 I
participated in the market survey of cupuagu, and during these two
years there have been various workshops, all but the last of which I
have attended.

GENESYS.for me was a school I had never had, I met many people,
with each of these persons I learned a lot. In January 1994, I was
elected President of my NGO by the Board, all of this has enriched my
knowledge, the challenges have been so many.....

According to what we have been told, GENESYS will end now in
October, and I only have to thank you and say that it was great to
meet you, with whom I learned a lot. What a pity that the spring was
so short, when we began to harvest the flowers, spring was ending, that
is why it was not possible to realize the research and promotion of

The research and market study of cupuacu promoted by GENESYS
was important because it was participative and gave the opportunity
to the directors of the Marketing Cooperative and the Women's Group
to directly participate in the work. This is not only my view, but also
that of the Women's Group and of the Cooperative."

These words express the distance travelled, both literally and
figuratively, on an unknown road in the Brazilian Amazon
between the beginning and end of the project. The changes
that have occurred, and the new directions that are being
taken by persons within the NGOs that have worked with
GENESYS/Brazil are particularly impressive when the
challenges faced by implementing staff are examined with the
wisdom available only in hindsight.

The implementation of the ambitious design framework of
the GENESYS Project in Brazil met numerous challenges.
It may be that many of these challenges are common to
projects of this nature. These included: 1) resistance to an
externally-generated mandate; 2) lack of understanding of
the concept of gender, and dearth of tools for gender
analysis; 3) lack of a model for institutionalization of gender
considerations within highly heterogeneous implementing
organizations; 4) limited knowledge of actual gender roles,
and complexity of competing socio-economic research
themes, and 5) lack of monitoring and evaluation tools and
mechanisms. Each of these challenges is discussed in turn.

CHALLENGES Resistance to an Externally-Generated Mandate
The GENESYS/Brazil Project represents one of the longest
sustained and most-amply funded attempt of the
USAID/WID environmental portfolio to implement the
mandate of the U.S. Congress to make men and women
equal beneficiaries and participants of U.S. Foreign
Assistance Programs. The Percy Amendment, which set that
mandate into law, sprung from lobbying within the United
States by those supporting equal opportunity for women
overseas. The transfer of this mandate to other countries
through U.S. foreign aid programs thrusts an externally-
generated agenda onto program and project implementors.
The external mandate is played out both within the
institutional culture of USAID, the U.S. organizations that
are involved in U.S.-funded projects, and local counterpart

The directive poses no problem where sensitivities and a
propensity to support the mandate exist. Where they do
not, the resistance to the mandate will become quite
apparent. GENESYS/Brazil had to deal with behavior
ranging from disinterest to benign neglect, and at times
outright hostility. Furthermore, although the broader
GENESYS Project was designed to incorporate gender
considerations within USAID, GENESYS/Brazil had the
directive to work with in-country organizations. Part of the
problem among local organizations stemmed from the
widespread suspicion of outsiders, and particularly of
USAID, an agency that was compromised by its support of
policies sponsored by the former Brazilian military

Lack of Understanding of the Concept of Gender
and Dearth of Gender Analysis Tools

There was widespread confusion on the part of many people
working with the project about the GENESYS mandate, and
the conceptual differences between sex and gender roles,
women in development and gender in development. This
confusion led many to the assumption that GENESYS was a
"women's project" rather than a research project focusing on
gender roles and socio-economic factors. These concepts
were explained during a training course at the beginning of
the project, but apparently only became clear to project staff

CHALLENGES at the NGO-level as a result of a staff retreat/training session
CONFRONTED approximately six months before the end of project activities.
The fact the GENESYS/Brazil was considered by some to be
an unimportant "women's project" brought to it much of the
condescension and lack of attention that often are associated
with the stereotype. Furthermore, attempts to incorporate
gender concepts and considerations at the local level by
GENESYS/Brazil were not matched with parallel efforts at
the level of expatriate organizations working with the entire
GCC Program.

A related problem was the dearth of tools for gender analysis
applicable to the situations confronted in the Amazon. Many
of the early general tools of gender analysis--such as those
that examine roles, responsibilities and access to power and
resources--can be applied to projects in the environmental
and natural resources field. Others, specific to these sectors
have only been developed and disseminated within the last
few years as documented in a recent GENESYS publication.*
Among the most well known are those of the Ecology,
Community Organization and Gender (ECOGEN) Project.
Yet their application and testing in the field are at a
relatively early stage.

Among the methods and tools for gender analysis
disseminated by GENESYS/Brazil were activities profiles;
resources, activities and social mapping; agricultural
calendars, rapid rural appraisals and survey questionnaires.
Yet projects in the Amazon.have a unique set of conceptual
and practical challenges for which new methodologies and
tools are necessary to facilitate the following: 1) gender
analysis of production and marketing of non-timber forest
products; 2) analysis of constraints to participation in
community agro-forestry projects by sex; 3) shadow-pricing
women's and children's labor; 4) analysis of organizational
affiliation and participation by sex; 5) incorporation of
gender into questionnaire design, and how to sex-
disaggregate data that already exists, and 6) development of
men's, women's and mixed sex micro-enterprise for non-
timber forest products and environmentally sustainable agro-
forestry projects.

The dearth of relevant gender methods and tools was
exacerbated by their complete inexistence in the Portuguese
'Deborah Caro and Am6 Stormer, Gender Research Guide for
the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resource Sectors: A
Tool for Selecting Methods, USAID/G/R&D/WID, April 1994.

CHALLENGES language. Furthermore, the applicability to the Amazon of
CONFRONTED material that was available and translated was from other
regions of the world was not immediately seen by the users
in Brazil. They eagerly requested Amazonian examples to
illustrate concepts and tools. The focus on Amazonian
cases was beginning to be done by the end of the project
through training course materials and a marketing manual for
non-timber forest products.*

Lack of Gender Institutionalization Model for Use
with Highly Heterogenous Implementing

Another major difficulty for GENESYS/Brazil was that a
model of how to institutionalize gender considerations simply
did not exist at the beginning of project activities.
Furthermore, as discussed above, because the project was not
able to find many social scientists or gender specialists who
were available, willing and able to work in the Amazon, it
chose staff members from each of the NGOs as "gender

Yet even with "gender specialists" within the organizations,
at the early stages of the project the relevant components of
incorporation and institutionalization of gender into an
organization's activities were not evident. Only in the last
year of activities did the broad GENESYS Project in
Washington define the elements of "institutionalization" of
gender. These were:

1) Awareness of importance of gender issues for
development outcomes;

2) Commitment to addressing gender issues in the
institution's activities;

3) Capacity to formulate relevant questions;

4) Capacity to carry out gender and social analysis;

5) Capacity to apply findings of gender and social analysis to
the institution's portfolio;
*Warner III, P.D. and Andrea Coutinho Pontual. Manual de
Comercializagdo de Produtos Florestais, GENESYS/Brasil,
Washington, D.C. and Rio de Janeiro, 1994.

CHALLENGES 6) Capacity to do systematic monitoring and evaluation of
CONFRONTED gender-specific program impact;
7) Systematic reporting of gender-relevant lessons learned,
and subsequent program adaptation.

This framework* was communicated and discussed with the
local GCC NGOs. Yet these organizations were
heterogenous and included a research institute of natural
scientists, a consortium of members from academic,
government and non-government agencies and rural worker
unions. Consequently, the organizational agendas, interest
and educational levels of staff members were extremely
varied. The heterogeneity affected the nature of technical
assistance, logistical support and training, which required
adaptation to each of the various situations encountered.

Complexity of Socio-Economic Research Themes,
Limited Knowledge of Gender Roles and
Competing Research Needs

Socio-economic research in the Amazon tends to be complex
since relatively little is known about the socio-economic
characteristics of communities, and there is such a wide
variation among social groups which include rubber tappers,
migrants, settlers, indigenous groups, ranchers, miners and
loggers. The region is also one of continual in and out
migration. Research funded by GENESYS included
demographic characteristics of communities of riverdwellers,
migrants; rubbertappers, and Indians; knowledge of resource
use; and production/marketing of non-timber forest products.

By sponsoring extensive bibliographic searches on gender in
the Brazilian Amazon from data bases in the United States,
Europe, Latin America and Brazil, the project documented
that literature on gender and research relating to gender and
women in the environment in the Amazon are either sparse
or at an early stage."
van den Oever, Pietronella, GCID Framework: A Tool for
Assessing Institutionalization of Gender Concerns in
Development Organizations, USAID/G/R&D/WID,
GENESYS, September, 1994.

"Woortman, Ellen, John Sydensticker and Donald Sawyer.
Mulher Rural e Meio Ambiente na Amaz6nia Legal,
GENESYS/Brazil and ISPN, Rio de Janeiro, 1994.

CHALLENGES It is thus understandable why by the end of the project, a
CONFRONTED systematically collected "minimum data set" on gender roles
was still not available. This gap was also due to
methodological issues discussed in more detail below.
Gathering information in this area corresponds to the second
stage of the institutionalization process, which is to ask the
right questions. In the Brazilian Amazon, almost any
question that sheds light on gender roles and differences is
the right question.

Another important socio-economic consideration affected
research. Since the social dynamic in the Amazon has
traditionally fostered strong paternalism, the counter-
tendency, particularly among grass-roots and labor-oriented
organizations, has been to encourage communities to actively
participate in endeavors and decisions that affect them.
Socio-economic research has not escaped this trend, and
communities have been involved in the research process to
various degrees.

In GENESYS-supported work, the research was generally
headed up by an NGO, and the degree of community
participation in the- research cycle varied greatly. One
community had a voice in what a survey would cover, in
others, the local NGO and donors determined survey
content. In most instances there was little community
involvement in data analysis, although most organizations had
plans to communicate the research results to the community.

To the extent that research becomes more participatory or
"popularized," unless it is carefully monitored by a trained
social scientist, it runs the risk losing its "scientific" qualities
and standards which include a valid research design which
permits replicability, comparison and incorporates expert
knowledge in a subject area. In the case of gender, some
assumed that little expertise or specialized knowledge were
required. As a member of one of the NGOs put it vis a vis
the title of the "gender-specialist" colleague: "We do not like
the term specialist, here we are all specialists."

Furthermore in terms of research, NGOs and their clients
often have very practical research and information needs. In
the project area, examples of these needs included gaining
access to government programs and services; gaining land title;
fighting reduction in services (e.g. closing down of schools);
identifying affiliation to unions; setting up park management
plans. These information and research needs of the NGO
were at times different from the research agenda of

CHALLENGES externally funded projects and programs such as GCC. The
CONFRONTED fact that GENESYS-funded research was also destined to
partially serve these program/project management needs was
not generally that well understood by the NGOs.

The interaction among the competing agendas and different
methodologies used for data gathering produced varied
results. Because of the lack of social science expertise, it
naturally encouraged the use of relatively simpler techniques
such rapid rural appraisal techniques (the sondeio) and
participatory rapid rural appraisal. Yet since the sondeio
does not produce in-depth information, more formal surveys
were also chosen. In cases where the latter methodology was
chosen, it required extensive technical assistance, which given
the limited availability of expertise, led to extremely long
time lines for fieldwork and research analysis. Yet even with
technical assistance it proved difficult, if not impossible to
synthesize, validly compare and use research findings
produced under such different agendas and methods into
data sets such as a "gender differences data set."

Lack of Monitoring and Evaluation Tools and

Although a component of the project design was to assist in
the process of monitoring and evaluation of gender issues,
an appropriate tool to guide in the process was not available
until the end of the project.* Part of the problem stemmed
from the difficulty in identifying different indicators for both
socio-economic and gender considerations in research and
institutional strengthening, two of the major components of
the project design. The late attention given to monitoring
and evaluation also stemmed from the constraints of lack of
personnel, and the enormous distance and travel expenses.

Valuable lessons can be learned from each of these
challenges by those interested in replicating some of the
objectives or accomplishments of the project. Some of these
fundamental lessons warrant further discussion.

'Debbie Caro and Virginia Lambert, Consideragoes S6cio-
Econ6micas e de Ggnero em Monitoramento e Avaliagdo,
Instrumento para Desenvolver Pianos de Monitoramento e
Avaliagao. Focalizagdo Especial em Recursos Naturais e Meio
Ambiente, edited for use in Brazil by Eileen Muirragui,
GENESYS/Brazil, August 1994.

LESSONS LEARNED GENESYS/Brazil learned much on how to integrate gender
issues into environmental projects. Perhaps the most
important lesson is how little we know, how much still
remains to be investigated and revealed about the roles men
and women play in this complex environment. Furthermore,
even with the data available, new tools and methods to carry
out gender analysis need to be developed, and the
information derived from the analysis needs to be fed back
into project and organizational activities.

Yet despite these challenges, it cannot be ignored that
GENESYS/Brazil was the first in the Amazon to begin the
process of incorporating gender issues into environmental
projects and into the organizational culture of the NGOs that
implement them. Many seeds were planted through the
different activities sponsored by GENESYS, and awareness
on socio-economic and gender considerations of projects was
raised. As was seen in the discussion of accomplishments,
some of these seeds have even begun to germinate. One has
to start from somewhere to promote these considerations,
and projects that follow GENESYS/Brazil will not begin with
a blank slate. Yet projects that follow the same or similar
goals, be it in Brazil or elsewhere, should carefully consider
the following important lessons derived from three years of
field experience:

1) The process of integrating gender considerations
into an organization is slow, but the first steps of
generating awareness and commitment are critical, and
to be successful require thoughtful strategies that
produce results that benefit the targeted organization.

The entry into an organization where an external mandate is
introduced requires a great deal of cultural sensitivity, tact
and interpersonal skills. One of the reasons
GENESYS/Brazil was successful in gaining entry into the
organizations was due to the highly developed observation,
communication and inter-personal skills of the Brazil-based
Project Coordinator. But in addition to these skills, to "sell"
"people-focused" development and gender, the organization
must be persuaded that integration of socio-economic and
gender issues advances its own goals. Those promoting the
project from the outside must have arguments and reasons to
show how this is so. "Making the case" will require a
carefully thought out analysis and presentation of the
efficiency and equity reasons why integration of socio-
economic and gender considerations is important to the

LESSONS LEARNED organization's programs. Arguments specifically tailored to
each organization could show that project implementation
might be more successful; that the organization's knowledge
of its client base and influence could increase; or that it is
simply more equitable and democratic to not exclude half of
the population from project activities and benefits.

2) Gender and women in development issues tend to
become "invisible" when subsumed into the socio-
economic category.

If they are to be truly incorporated into project and NGO
activities, specific focus to gender issues in general, and the
role of women in development in particular, is crucial. For
example, the GENESYS/Brazil project evaluation showed
that even in this project with a specific gender mandate, 55
percent of technical assistance went to marketing, 34 percent
to socio-economic research, and only 11 percent was
exclusively devoted to incorporation of gender considerations.
Furthermore, in several cases, sex-disaggregated information
was not collected in project-financed formal surveys, although
some were designed in such a way that the disaggregation
was possible to do ex-post. Project experience shows that it
was easy for consultants and NGO staff to neglect or
overlook gender issues, even while focusing on common
socio-economic research units such a household and family
units. One reason is that sex-disaggregated research can be
more complicated, and with the exception of demographers,
social scientists are not routinely trained in how to do it.

For this reason, it is important to have tools which show
survey designers how and when to sex-disaggregate
questionnaires. A tool developed by the overall GENESYS
project, for example, shows how to better sex-disaggregate
information from a rural survey to make explicit significant
differences between men's and women's participation in local
and regional economies.* A tool like this contributes to
correcting the commonly held view of the household as a
detached unit in which the principal income-generator and
decision-maker is the male head of household.

*Caro, Deborah, Gender and Household Dynamics: A Tool
for Analyzing Income and Employment Data from Surveys,
GENESYS/USAID/G/R&D/WID, July 1994. This survey was
designed to gather information on non-farm income sources
and farm and non-farm employment from all members of the
household age 6 or older.


In order for gender issues to become more visible, and for
the stakes of women and other "invisible" stakeholders to
come to the forefront, it is necessary to have people, projects
and institutions constantly raising awareness and
commitment, training and reminding project staff and
researchers of their importance. Furthermore, it is necessary
to educate NGO representatives on how to use the tools
already available for data collection and gender analysis, and
to incorporate them in the development of new ones.
Targeted technical assistance can help, but networking and
exchanging experiences work better to reveal the invisibility
of gender issues in different situations. As gender is
commonly confused with women's issues, it should be
constantly reiterated that gender issues address the division
of rights, responsibilities, resource and knowledge between
men and women, and that "women issues" cannot be properly
addressed without this broader focus.

3) Socio-economic research skills within NGOs are not
easily developed without trained social scientists on
staff, yet rapid rural appraisal and participatory rural
appraisal can meet many information needs.

Most GCC NGOs in the Brazilian Amazon are non-research
organizations, and building up their socio-economic research
capacity, even at a very minimal level, required a great deal
of technical assistance. The socio-economic research that
they can do independently can hardly meet universal social
science standards of replicability and comparability. Skills
are weak in research design, questionnaire development, data
analysis and interpretation.

However, universal standards of socio-economic research
using scientific methods may not be that important in the
context of the local NGOs. Less than "ideal" socio-economic
information can be used for many applications, especially if
it meets the needs and interests of the local organizations
(e.g. information on clientele, legal rights to land and other
government services), and if the users of the findings do not
require extremely high levels of accuracy and refinement.
Furthermore, socio-economic research is also a powerful
catalyst for planning, regardless of how scientific it is, and
NGOs can use it as a tool to promote community
organization and participation.

In this respect, after engaging in numerous research
endeavors and delivering six training courses on research-


related themes, including one on a rapid rural appraisal
technique (the Sondeio), GENESYS/Brazil learned an
important lesson about the importance of rapid and
participatory rural appraisals. Not only can these approaches
be carried out rapidly and efficiently, but they also produce
relevant results quickly. One of the best research reports
produced under GENESYS/Brazil supervision was on the
Sondeio done with the community of Araras, near Marabi in
the state of Para. Future attention in Brazil and elsewhere
should be devoted to gaining knowledge on gender using
these research approaches.

4) The level of NGO organizational experience and
exposure to socio-economic and gender issues appears
to influence their incorporation into activities at the
institutional level, as does the presence of a key
individual or group constantly promoting awareness and
commitment to these issues, and being rewarded for
doing so.

NGOs with a history of involvement with socio-economic
issues and professional interaction with social scientists with
a gender orientation (as is the case of PESACRE) appear to
be more likely to incorporate gender into activities such as
project design, implementation, and monitoring and
evaluation. In the Brazilian Amazon prior to GENESYS,
most GCC NGOs had not had this kind of exposure and

The presence of a key individual or group constantly
promoting these concerns also appears critical. With
PESACRE, these key persons have been both NGO staff and
outsiders. For this reason, it makes sense to identify and
support "gender" experts from academic, research or
technical assistance institutions, preferably near the local
institutions, to assist in the promotion of a gender focus. Yet
outsiders are also important to provide some of the cutting
edge tools and research that have been developed elsewhere.
Mechanisms should also be set up to allow these local experts
to network and share experiences with counterparts in other
locations, both nationally and internationally. As a follow-up
to GENESYS, USAID Brasil is promoting precisely this kind
of opportunity by supporting the University of Florida's
MERGE (Managing the Environment and Resources with a
Gender Emphasis) Project. Means to reward and give
legitimacy to gender concerns also need to be developed and

LESSONS LEARNED 5) A system of monitoring and evaluation of socio-
economic and gender indicators is critical to reinforce
the link between research findings and planning, and to
improve project implementation and reporting.

Two of the NGOs used results of GENESYS-supported
research for planning. Indeed, the research provided
previously unavailable baseline and management data. In
other NGOs, although socio-economic information is
available, it requires analysis and comparison relative to
desirable targets to become useful for decision-making.
Here, the feedback loop between data gathering, monitoring,
and implementation of projects needs to be reinforced
through training and technical assistance. In all cases, socio-
economic and gender indicators need to be identified and
tracked, with sex-disaggregated data to measure the inclusion
of both men and women as project beneficiaries. Even with
its mandate, GENESYS/Brazil did not find this task easy,
which could have been facilitated by earlier development of
an M&E plan.

The identification of indicators assists in the reporting
process. The flow of documented information coming from
NGOs is quite low relative to what they actually accomplish.
NGO personnel are short on time and ability to write
reports. Often they have to write them for different donors
and organizations, and report quality tends to suffer. With
a monitoring and evaluation plan tied to indicators, it is
easier to identify what to report, and to track progress.

These main lessons derived from the GENESYS/Brazil
experience provide several guidelines for those wishing to
integrate gender and socio-economic considerations in similar
projects. These synoptic guidelines are listed below.

GUIDELINES FOR On the basis of three years of field experience, these are
FUTURE PROJECTS some general guidelines for those wishing to encourage the
integration of gender and socio-economic considerations into
AND PROGRAMS local development organizations.

1) Generate awareness and commitment at the highest level
of the organization by effectively "making the case" in terms
of efficiency and equity. This undertaking is the first step of
insitutitonalization process. The organization must be
effectively persuaded that the incoporation of socio-economic
and gender considerations advances its own agenda and

GUIDELINES FOR 2) Clarify early on to all important parties, the differences
FUTURE PROGRAMS between sex and gender, and women in development (WID)
AND PROJECTS versus gender in development (GAD). Institutions need to
decide where they stand on WID and GAD. This step helps
to strengthen the process of "commitment." When
commitment comes through M&E targets and indicators on
the part of several collaborating project entities such as
donors, expatriate and local implementing agencies, synergy
and chances of success are enhanced.

3) Work to develop a research culture of "asking the right
questions" through critical thinking skills and hypothesis
testing with the participation of local communities.
Critical thinking skills and hypothesis testing can be done
with both less formal and more formal research
methodologies. Helping those involved in projects
distinguish between fact and opinion about sex and gender,
factual statements that are provable, factual statements that
are false, fallacious reasoning, and how to determine what
information is available will do much to help local
development organizations begin to ask the right questions to
advance the process of correct gender analysis. Communities
should also be brought into this process.

4) Disseminate gender analysis tools for field testing, and
develop new tools applicable to specific settings. Once the
right questions have been asked, gender analysis will help to
elucidate the different roles of men and women, the
constraints on each, and the inequities that may also be
hampering development efforts. Local and outside expertise
can be used to develop and adapt gender analysis tools.

5) Identify key individuals and build networks and synergy,
and reward successes to integrate gender. Persons that are
personally committed to gender issues are absolutely critical.
These persons should be supported and linked up to similar
others. They should also be given incentives and rewards to
legitimize their efforts, and encourage others to emulate

6) Use training and targeted technical assistance for
institutional development. Training and technical assistance
that provide needed technical skills to an organization can be
used to advance the promotion of gender considerations.
Both can and should be promoted simultaneously, for
example general development of monitoring and evaluation
plans and systems, with identification of gender indicators.


8) Identify indicators of success and set up monitoring and
evaluation system early. The incorporation of a monitoring
system for tracking gender and socio-conomic indicators is
critical to maximizing and measuring the efficiency of project
activities. To the extent that it is possible, they should be
generated at the time an organization expresses commitment
to incorporating gender into its activities and programs.

9) Disseminate lessons learned. Dissemination of successful
and less successful experiences is important for networking;
improving efforts to integrate gender; development and
refinement of tools; strengthening organizational
development, and improving the access of both men and
women to program and project benefits.