|Jobs for Africa - Towards a Programme of Action - Report of the ILO/UNDP Programme on Employment Generation and Poverty Reduction (ILO - UNDP, 1997, 107 p.)|
|Chapter 2: Technical assistance for the generation of employment and reduction of poverty|
|2.2 Technical Assistance at the National Level|
Programmes should focus on the integration of the gender perspective in the reform of both the macro-economic framework, and of the legal and policy environment, on packages for enlarging opportunities, improving the productivity and terms of employment in the two major sectors in the African economy, on a proactive outlook at future opportunities and aims at anticipating and preparing women to take advantage of wage employment opportunities in the new growth sectors, and, finally, on a targeted approach for providing an effective outreach and support measures to particularly disadvantaged groups of women workers and/or girls, children and adolescents.
It is necessary to encourage and support national initiatives for the review and reform of policy and legal frameworks and for the promotion of tripartite dialogue with the participation of employers' and workers' organisations, and women's organisations, on desirable and feasible reform strategies. The following actions need to be carried out in order to achieve this objective:
a) establish and/or support national task forces for the review of constitutional provisions, laws and regulations regulating property rights and employment (family code, employment acts, etc.) and identification of problem areas;
b) examine the conditions for ratification of relevant ILO standards;
c) review of the efficiency of enforcement mechanisms;
d) adopt and implement of an action plan, including:
· specific reform priorities, strategies and timetable;
· appropriate and vigorous information campaigns on rights of women, using media and other means for an effective outreach;
· support to legal aid agencies and para-legal training schemes.
A priority in this field is integrating a gender perspective in the policy agenda on economic reform and adjustment policies: encouraging and promoting a national debate on the structural adjustment policies, with the full participation of all actors involved including the Government (line agencies and local government), employers' and workers' organisations, women's organisations and other intermediary organisations.
To ensure that women own-account farmers have equal access to the opportunities and benefits offered by improvements and progress, measures must be taken to enhance gender equality in extension services, technology dissemination, credit provision, and marketing. The following elements may be considered:
a) women's organisation: strengthening existing organisations, support to alliances among women's groups, support to search for collective solutions to common problems.
b) extension services: gender sensibilization of extension networks; improvements or changes in methods of work to take account of women's situation, needs; re-training or skills upgrading of extension agents with emphasis on practical experiences and contact with women farmers.
c) technology dissemination: with focus on farming and drudgery-reducing household technologies; mobile technology dissemination units; mobilization of local institutes and organisations engaged in agricultural technology research and development; encouraging direct contacts of women farmers with sources of technology.
d) access to and control over financial resources: support to and replication of local and/or regional best practices and successful mechanisms of savings mobilization and credit provision which may include in-depth assessment of current practices in the specific area, upgrading management practices, infusion of additional funds, linkages with other organized credit facilities with bigger capital base, improvements in operational modalities; setting up a credit facility if necessary taking into account successes and failures of credit schemes in the country or region; workshop among credit providers to take stock of operational modalities and progress in the field of financial services for small rural borrowers.
e) marketing: assessing access to new marketing institutions; re-orientation of women farmers; perhaps women's own mechanism of participating more effectively in the market.
f) adult literacy: this will reinforce impact of interventions in extension services, technology dissemination and credit provision.
To improve income-earning opportunities in the informal sector, by strengthening women's entrepreneurship in urban areas and upgrading women's employment in the informal sector, the following measures should be considered:
a) workshops and training courses for support institutions: mainstreaming gender into existing government and non-governmental micro and small entrepreneurship programmes; assessment of the policy environment operational modalities, outlining further directions; review of legal and regulatory framework affecting the informal sector; and establishing concrete implementation plans, including timetable assigning responsibilities and monitoring progress.
b) small business service centres: set up and managed through collective efforts of intermediary organisations and/or women grassroots organisations in areas where informal sector activities are concentrated.
c) skills training: taking into account lessons from previous experiences with regards to non-formal training for women, improvements in ongoing training programmes and training systems to give women better and equal access to training services in emerging economic opportunities; or innovative training schemes; linkages with new developments in and sources of technology. (Section 2.2.1., deals with this issue in particular).
d) credit assistance: either support ongoing local, effective savings and credit mechanisms through technical assistance, management training, infusion of funds or improvements in operational modality; or establishment of a credit scheme taking into account lessons from previous experiences with different types of credit schemes, (Section 2.2.2.ii, deals with this issue)
e) adult literacy classes, including functional literacy and numeracy;
f) women's organisation: promoting organisations of women workers in the informal sector, through training for capacity building, support to collective efforts and to the development of alliances and networks; para-legal training.
Where the private formal sector is relatively important, where manufacturing is relatively significant, and where private investment has begun to show signs of revival and growth it would be necessary to enhance women's opportunities in private sector wage employment through:
a) diversified skills training for women: reform of training systems (organisation and delivery of vocational skills training) of institutions in capital cities, major urban centres, and near or around EPZs, to make them suitable and responsive to women's needs and to marketable skills in the context of reforming economies; re-orientation of management and instructional staffs; close collaboration with employers in the private sector and in EPZs, who are in the best position to determine skills demand, to offer on-the-job training, and to open up job opportunities for women; improvements in placement or manpower offices; information dissemination for women.
b) export processing zones: consideration of pioneer measures to enhance productivity of workers such as on-site services (e.g. canteen, health and child care services); observance of labour standards; workshop for discussions and exchange of experience on best and common practices in EPZs.
On the whole, this programme component would be closely interlinked with the ILOs International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women.