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Mainstreaming gender in humanitarian aid volunteering work

Monday, December 17, 2018 - 11:48

In today’s contemporary world gender mainstreaming has become the center stage of most of the civil society programing in a view to address the underlying social structures causing the disparities between men and women. The importance of a gender strategy in any well-functioning organization cannot be overemphasized as it is a cornerstone to address the cross-cutting issues affecting women and men as well as boys and girls in the communities.

For society to function well, it requires that the needs of the community are met and that the people themselves are adequately and accurately informed. The stereo types against women tend to worsen especially if the community is uniformed. Coupled with a status call of volunteerism, women volunteers suffer way too much stereo types as compared to the male counterparts.

ActionAid Zimbabwe is implementing a Gender Sensitive Humanitarian Aid Volunteers (GESHAVO) project which is also implemented by ActionAid Kenya and Zambia. The GESHAVO project seeks to strengthen ActionAid partner organizations in the field of gender sensitive volunteer management during emergencies in compliance with the European union standards.

ActionAid Zimbabwe held a Gender sensitive volunteer training in Harare from the 26th to the 28th of November 2018.The Training was facilitated by Dora Bakatselou Volunteer Project Management Officer ActionAid Hellas, Peter Clever Matimati Local Rights Programme Manager Emergency & Humanitarian Focal Person Zimbabwe and Fischer Siabasimbi-GESHAVO inspirator at ActionAid Zimbabwe. The team also outsourced a gender expert, Mary Gokova for enhanced highlights on gender frameworks and the challenges facing women volunteers in Zimbabwe.

The main objectives of the Training wereto explore how volunteering can be practically developed in a gender-sensitive way, including, to examine what gender-sensitive volunteering is and why it is necessary as an approach, to clarify what is understood by the term volunteering, including its benefits and challenges and helping attendees understand the spirit of volunteerism.

Among the topics covered were, ActionAid Humanitarian Principles and its humanitarian history, unpacking gender and linking it to the Gender Unicorn, EU Aid Volunteers Profile, Challenges facing women in Zimbabwe, Stereotypes associated with volunteerism with a special focus on Africa to mention but a few.

The training brought together 15 participants drown from ActionAid Staff, partners, and Local Rights Parners (LRPs) and at the end of the three days, participants were able to link the GESHAVO project to the already existing programs being implemented by ActionAid Zimbabwe.

Next on the GESHAVO project trainings is a training on humanitarian standards and women-led emergency responses slated for January 2019