Gender mainstreaming, employment and youth - Japan
Among small-scale horticultural families in Kenya, women undertake 70–80% of the agricultural productive activities as well as most of the reproductive tasks such as domestic duties and childrearing. This heavy burden of productive and reproductive work causes deterioration of agricultural productivity and sets back the quality of life in a household. Moreover, while men control their incomes from the sale of the agricultural produce, women, even though they carry out the farm work, do not receive any benefits in payment for their contribution to the farming activities, so that they have obtained small earnings from growing traditional vegetables and beans in home gardens and selling them. Women have limited access to land, technical training, credit and extension services. Under the circumstances, women’s motivation for farming tends to decline, which hinders effective farm management. The Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Unit Project (SHEP UP) provided an opportunity to see gender-based roles and decision-making in a new light, by getting male and female farmers to participate in training and engage in discussion on decision-making and the division of roles between men and women. The project also addressed promoting the participation of women in training, the participation of women in farmer groups, family budgeting jointly by husbands and wives, and training for agricultural extension workers on gender responsiveness.
Due to these endeavors, women have become more motivated, and farm management is now carried out both by husbands and wives. Also, with the rise in income, husbands, who never used to recognize their wives as respectable farmers, now listen to their opinions, and relationships have formed between husbands and wives as co-managers. Given these outcomes, the Project on Enhancing Gender Responsive Extension Services in Kenya tackles the development of the “Gender Mainstreaming Package,” the aim of which is to extend beyond small-scale horticulturalists and incorporate actions for gender mainstreaming into those outreach activities directed at smallholder farmers engaged in other crop production.
For sustainable economic growth, it is important for women to realize their full potential, and to promote equal participation in economic activities between men and women. However, in African countries, there are still restrictions on women accessing markets and social services and networks, and women have more difficulties than men in successfully seizing new economic opportunities. In light of these circumstances, at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which was held in Yokohama, Japan in June 2013, the discussion was had on the role of women as a major factor in future economic development in Africa, and the launch of the “Japan-Africa Business Women Exchange Program” was announced as an assistance measure in this area.
The program aims to enhance the leadership, entrepreneurial and management skills of African women. Through the program, female entrepreneurs and administrative officials supporting female entrepreneurs are invited in pairs to Japan, to promote mutual understanding of the support initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Japan and Africa, and to promote exchange and networking among fellow women entrepreneurs.
On their return to Africa, some of the participants have commenced activities leading to promotion of cooperation among entrepreneurs, such as launching an entrepreneurial mentoring program based on what they learned in Japan. Other noticeable actions include reviewing and enhancing support for women entrepreneurs and promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors. Regarding women entrepreneurs’ needs for access to funds and capacity development, JICA could satisfy some of those needs and could link participants in this program with some on-going and new technical cooperation projects.* For further details of each project, please also refer to “Good Practices that Incorporate Gender Perspectives” on the JICA Knowledge Site).