Recognising that men and women have diverse needs, are expected to perform different roles, and contribute to the economy and family livelihoods in different ways is the starting point for gender work. For SDDirect, gender analysis is central to our thinking about how to improve development outcomes for poor people. Gender analysis can provide a better understanding of why some social groups are able to benefit more than others from trade reforms, economic incentives and other development interventions.
Gender inequality in education, for example, has been shown to lead to higher fertility, higher child mortality and higher malnutrition. Socially and economically disempowered women are less able to tackle livelihood insecurity, and are more vulnerable to political instability and conflict. However, understanding gender relations, and the impact of gender inequalities also requires a focus on men and boys. Particularly in the context of conflict and high levels of violence, men and boys suffer from perceived ideals about ‘what a man should be’. Gender inequalities decrease the levels of income available to families as a whole and increase everyone’s vulnerability to HIV.
We believe that eliminating gender inequality – whether in health, education, productive opportunities or income - and promoting women’s empowerment are essential for economic growth, improved security, and the achievement of human rights.
At SDDirect, we offer a range of services to help governments, development agencies, civil society and the private sector turn policy statements on gender into actions that effectively promote equality.
This includes building staff capacity and commitment; monitoring interventions; and providing input to project design, at sector-wide and programme levels, and in national poverty reduction strategies. We bring a gender perspective to evaluations and reviews of development programmes, and are experienced in the development and use of sex-disaggregated indicators and data.
In the autumn of 2009, SDDirect's Alice Kerr-Wilson and Francis Watkins, with rights specialist, Clare Ferguson and communications specialist, Gayatri Persad, conducted a Participatory Gender and Rights Audit of DanChurchAid to examine the extent to which gender and rights had been considered and integrated into the organisation's internal systems and processes.
SDDirect's Lucy Earle worked with independent consultant, Pat Holden, to provide support for the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) Africa Division to develop its Gender Equality Action Plan. A communications document outlining their commitments was published in September 2009 and is available for download from our site.
It is estimated that there are between 7 to 9 million children in Nigeria who are out of school. Social Development Direct, as a core partner in the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), is helping to change this through technical assistance provided directly to state and federal governments. ESSPIN is one of the UK government's largest international development programmes and will support quality basic education reform over a six-year period.
From May 2007, SDDirect worked with Oxford Policy Management (lead) and workingtogether ltd in an assignment identifying evidence of linkages between Paris Declaration dimensions of country ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results and mutual accountability and the cross cutting social themes of human rights, gender and social exclusion.
SDDirect designed and carried out a tailor-made training session on gender for DFID staff in the Western Balkans team.
This assessment looked at the extent to which social exclusion and gender inequality affect development programmes in Nigeria.