Is a minimum period of 3 days' gender training ever included in the disaster response teams' preparation, such as the SWATs? From Bosnia and Kosovo through Iraq, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, etc. our senior partner Lesley Abdela has found gender matters completely overlooked, with often wretched consequences for effective reconstruction. Couple of examples where internationals lacked gender training - when the UN and other IGOs helped rebuild coastal people's housing in Sri Lanka, swept away by the tsunami, the internationals registered the new housing solely in the male partner's name. Consequently, the female partner had no proper legal claim on the house in the future.
In Iraq, a British colonel arriving in Basra after Saddam's forces were overcome needed local interlocutors. Not only were Iraqi women invisible to him, including representatives of activist civil society groups, but with no consultation with women whatsoever he appointed a Mullah as his chief interlocutor, a man known to want to impose the harshest elements of Shar'ia Law. This man then went on to get himself elected to the first Parliament carrying these attitudes with him into the political sphere.
In Afghanistan good money was wasted because a well-meaning US team built public toilets and bath-houses for the local people - putting the women's facilities right next to the men's. Consequently, the women were not willing to use the facilities. Why didn't anyone at least ask the women before construction commenced?
In Sierra Leone, the internationals offered to construct some deep wells near villages. The wells were constructed where the village chief wanted them - in one case way out on the land where he kept his cattle. The village women had to walk five kilometres to get to the well - no-one asked them where they wanted it put - and in hydrological terms there were points much closer to the village.
No post-disaster reconstruction and recovery personnel should be allowed near the target region without evidence they have had at least a minimum Gender training.
It's so obvious. Why have specialists like Lesley Abdela and hundreds of other people had to go on and on and on about this over several decades! Are the (principally) men in charge deaf and blind to the needs of the majority gender? How do you explain it otherwise?
Best to all