By James Achanyi-Fontem
Coordinator-WABA Men’s Initiative
The 5th annual WABA-FIAN joint gender training workshop takes place in New Delhi, India from the 6th to 9th July 2009. The training will be delivered by two experts in gender promotion strategies from India and Malaysia, Renu Khanna and Paul Sinnappan.
The joint training workshop aims at enabling some 25 advocates from the breastfeeding and food rights networks to raise awareness and sensitivity on gender issues. Resource persons for lectures and conducting exchange sessions will focus on the gender challenges to breastfeeding and food rights issues. WABA and IBFAN have supported the participation of 12 persons involved in the breastfeeding protection, promotion and support movement.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA and the Food First Information and Action Network, FIAN, expect the participants to be well sensitized on the concept of gender and gender mainstreaming, after equipping them with tools and skills of gender analysis by the end of the course. The course participants should be able to enable others in their respective regions and countries to develop gender analysis of breastfeeding and rights to adequate food after the training.
This will be realized through the application of gender concepts and tools, and the development of gender sensitive strategies and work plans. Within the context of the training, participants are expected to be able to differentiate between sex and gender, recall dimensions of gender as a system, enumerate and list gender aspects of breastfeeding and rights to adequate food. The men and women should be able to list men’s role and responsibilities in appropriate infant feeding and promotion of rights to adequate food by the end of the training.
Themes to be treated within the week-long workshop include gender and sex, gender as a system, gender aspects of breastfeeding and rights to adequate food, gender analysis frameworks, economic and political contexts of women, men’s involvement, role and responsibilities, gender mainstreaming and gender indicators.
The participatory training methodologies include exercises, games, group discussions and presentations, role plays, experience sharing by participants and others. While Renu Khanna has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the faculty of management studies from Delhi University, India with over 25 years of experience in health care management and organization development in health organizations, Paul Sinnappan has for the past 10 years been involved in conducting gender training for men in the credit unions, cooperatives, micro credit programmes and non-governmental organizations, NGOs, in Malaysia and South East Asia.
The joint WABA-FIAN gender training workshop initiative began with the introduction of gender concerns by the donor agency, the Canadian Cooperative Association, CCA. Since then, the International Cooperative Association, ICA; the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, ACCU, and the Asian Women in Cooperative Development Forum, AWCF have become partners in the process of integrating gender in cooperatives in Asia and Pacific region.
The joint WABA-FIAN gender workshop initiative started in 2004. Other resource persons for the training are Flavio Valente of FIAN International from Heldelberg, Germany and Laskshmi Menon from the Association for consumers’ Action on Safety and Health Centre, ACASH, in Mumbai, India. Lakshmi is a consultant to WABA and was also the former co-coordinator of WABA’s Gender Working Group.
WABA’s gender programme goals include:
1. The promotion of gender awareness among breastfeeding advocates and mainstreaming of the gender perspective in breastfeeding advocacy and programmes.
2. The promotion of collaboration between the breastfeeding movement and the women’s movement, in order to strengthen the common advocacy goals of both movements; and to undertake joint advocacy, education and training on women’s rights, health and breastfeeding.
3. To increase participation of men in domestic work, child care and provide breastfeeding support, to raise men’s awareness on women’s rights and reproductive health issues. For more information, click on www.waba.org.my