The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) teamed up to host a workshop on 4th and 5th August, 2017 to validate the draft Gender Strategy that will be incorporated in the implementation of two existing projects and another project in the pipeline.

Twenty-three (23) persons representing the Ministry of Agriculture and its allied agencies, the Ministry of Social Protection, the Gender Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Communities, Civil Defense Commission, Office of Climate Change and the Guyana Red Cross Society participated in the packed two-day event.

UNDP and FAO are working together to implement the project, “Building Resilience and Sustainable Livelihood: Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management/Disaster Risk Reduction (DRM/DRR) in the Agriculture Sector in Guyana.” This project is fully funded by the Government of Japan.

The other project, “Improving technical and institutional capacities for disaster and climate risk management and sustainable agriculture in Jamaica, Guyana and Suriname” is fully implemented by FAO.

The Gender Strategy will be used to ensure gender is properly and fully mainstreamed in the projects through capacity building at the community level on gender-responsive disaster preparedness and gender-responsive livelihoods.

In his opening remarks at the workshop, FAO representative in Guyana, Rueben Robertson noted that most often “we tend to think that we can just organize meetings, workshops and implement projects in communities without paying due respect to equality- how men and women equally participate and benefit from the initiatives.”

Mr. Robertson emphasized the need to establish the balance for sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He posited that it is important to understand fully how ensuring gender responsive approach can help build resilience in the agriculture sector. This he said can make the beneficiaries more resilient to ensure they have sustainable livelihoods.

Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Shabnam Mallick outlined that UNDP and FAO look forward to continued proactive partnership and collaboration in Guyana’s transformation into a gender responsive climate and disaster resilient country supported by a resilient agriculture sector that secures sustainable livelihoods of men and women in farming communities.

Ms. Mallick posited “we must be mindful that gender responsive approach to disaster is not only about women.” She noted that the strategy is expected to be leveraged for disaster risk management plan for the agriculture sector in Guyana.

The intense and highly interactive workshop examined country context and identified relevant country specific information that the gender strategy needs to consider; shared lessons learned from the implementation of phase 1 of the project; proposed some expected results towards gender equality, women’s empowerment and equal rights of marginalized groups related to DRR/DRM in the agriculture sector; and reviewed and discussed activities and indicators proposed in the strategy to ensure any future projects and activities are gender responsive.

Importantly, the participants prioritized topics and actions included in the strategy to adapt and include them as part of any future DRR/DRM projects and activities.

The team comprised of UNDP and FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture is conducting further validation workshops later in August with the coastal farming communities in Region 5 and 6 and Hinterland farming communities in Region 7.

The final draft will be further reviewed by the key ministries and agencies in producing the final Gender Strategy that highlights priorities and actions that fully reflect the country context, gender gaps and needs within the agriculture sector with respect to DRR/DRM. 

Visit UNDP Guyana facebook page to view photos and videos of the workshop.