Gender Equality at the Center of Two Workshops in Yaounde
The six-month action plan of the Gender Ad Hoc Committee (CAG): Steps in the development of the COMIFAC gender strategy from 31 March 2013.
The month of February was marked by two strategic sub-regional workshops organized by the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat (ES), with Canada’s financial support. The first was intended to build the capacities of COMIFAC’s Gender ad hoc Committee (CAG) members, CEFDHAC and its networks, especially REFADD, and the second to inform COMIFAC ES, its experts and the CBFP partners. Through this mandate, CIDA intended to support COMIFAC and its Gender ad Hoc Committee, its networks and the CBFP, in order to capitalize on their gains and help to develop COMIFAC gender strategy.
The workshops were conducted amid a flurry of activity in the sub-region with: The holding of the next CBFP partners’ meeting in Douala; COMIFAC ES showed particular interest in issues relating to gender equality (EFH); the existence of the COMIFAC Gender ad Hoc Committee (CAG) as the specialized mechanism established by the COMIFAC and which should be enhanced; the US as the next CBFP Facilitator as from May 2013, and Germany offering its collaboration in Facilitation for the January-May 2013 transitional period.
Both working meetings helped to foster a participatory approach enabling exchange of information, the validation of suggested processes in order to engage actors in the collaborative approach.
1. Capacity building workshop for CEFDHAC CAG members, its networks, especially the REFADD, on gender equality
The workshop that took place from 13 to 14 February 2013 in Yaounde had two objectives, including:
- To build the capacities of CAG members and other members identified with regard to gender mainstreaming in the development of COMIFAC’s gender strategy,
- To develop, in consultation with the actors, the agenda for a Gender thematic workshop scheduled to hold on the sidelines of the CBFP partners’ meeting on 18 March 2013, relating to the approach for developing COMIFAC's gender strategy.
Following two days of intense deliberations based on a participatory approach on several themes, the following results were achieved:
- CAG members and partners in attendance initially brainstormed on the development of the COMIFAC’s gender strategy and priorities; this reflection was also validated during the session of dialogue with the ES, its experts and COMIFAC partners.
- CAG members and partners in attendance also discussed the content of the next thematic day. The objectives and the expected outcomes as well as the main items on the agenda were clarified.
- CAG members also prepared a proposed revision of the CAG mandate to be submitted to the COMIFAC ES. Discussions revolved respectively around: The name of the committee, the statute, the connection, the roles and responsibilities, the structure, the operation of the CAG so as to formalize it and give it a permanent status.
- Finally, a CAG action plan for the next 6 months was elaborated, setting out the way forward for the finalization of COMIFAC’s gender strategy after 31 March 2013.
2. High level discussion workshop with the Executive Secretariat, its experts and the CBFP members
This meeting held on 18 February in Yaounde, aimed to open dialogue and develop a common vision among COMIFAC Executive Secretariat members, its partners and the CBFP partners on the institutionalization of gender within COMIFAC, as well as on the role of stakeholders in the development and implementation of a structured and concerted gender strategy.
Based on a participatory approach and an atmosphere of open dialogue, participants were able in a single day to:
- contribute significantly to reflection on the gender mainstreaming and the development of a draft gender strategy,
- Agree on the implications and roles of effective gender mainstreaming within COMIFAC,
- Identify ways to effectively support the role of the technical council of COMIFAC’s Gender ad hoc Committee.
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