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  • Gender demands are often seen as competing for scarce resources (at the project level, at agency levels, within NGOs, at national levels).

  • Project-based commitments to “community participation” often eclipse or are substituted for women’s participation.

  • Institutional commitments are often ‘window dressing’ or lip service. Good rhetoric is seldom matched by real commitments – by governments UN agencies, academia, NGOs, and community groups.

  • It is necessary to distinguish “knowledge” from “understanding.” Understanding comes from a steeping in the issues, and there is very little commitment to developing this degree of familiarity with gender/ WATSAN issues.

  • Key policy-makers are seldom mentored on gender issues; without mentoring it is difficult for them to build personal conviction and commitment. Personal commitment often drives policy. Success in gender awareness often depends on finding and convincing the ‘right people’ that gender issues are important.

  • Within institutions, gender training is typically given short shrift. In most groups working on WATSAN issues, limited gender training is available; there is often the assumption that a one-day training on gender is sufficient.

  • Despite the presence of “gender focal points” in many agencies and institutions, the focal point is often ill-equipped and not given sufficient resources.

Institutional culture may not encourage (or may actively discourage) gender issues from being raised/ taken seriously – thus even if an individual is trained, sensitized, and eager to incorporate gender issues, s/he may not feel free to do so – or may be working within a broader cultural context in which this is not encouraged or

Key policy-makers are seldom mentored on gender issues; without mentoring it is difficult for them to build personal conviction and commitment.

accepted. Additionally, women, who might be the ones to raise gender issues, are often not empowered to do so. Women are often excluded from decision-making/ policy-making venues and positions of authority where they might be able to advocate.

Lack of institutional commitment/ accountability:

  • In most agencies, there is little incentive (in any terms) to encourage agencies/ individuals/ organizations to take gender seriously and to collect gender disaggregated information.Donor funding could play a key role.

  • Despite supportive rhetoric, in most institutions and projects there is virtually no accountability for follow-through; typically, there are no sanctions for not improving gender capacity.

  • Turnover in governments and leadership within agencies means that the political will and commitment to gender agendas often changes. Often successes or commitments to things such as collecting gender disaggregated data are specific to individual managers/ leaders and if they leave so does the gender agenda.

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