| Women's empowerment: |
UNCHS (Habitat), through its Women in Human Settlements Development Programme, has begun a process whereby the participation and the actual situation of women vis a vis men in their concrete living environment can be measured and monitored over time. This process begins at the community level and goes up to the local and national levels of human settlements development. Already twelve countries within the developing world have begun this process: In Africa: Ghana, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia; In Asia: Indonesia and Sri Lanka; In Arab States: Jordan; In Latin America & Caribbean: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador.
The manual which we now present is based on the experience of these countries. It is meant to be a tool for work. We hope that you will use it, change it, develop it further. We offer it as a tool for assuring a gender-perspective in human settlements development.
The gathering of community level data should be an integral part of national datagathering and national planning. It is clear that this has to be build up from a base not only in the community but also in the local authorities and NGOs. An enabling structure is essential to make professional resources available to communities so that the method becomes effective. Such a national structure will take time to build but the process of building it will also be invaluable as a way of creating awareness locally, nationally and internationally, of the contribution of women to human settlements development.
Political will is needed on the part of governments to implement this approach. In particular, the process should be structured in such a way that community data feed into national data and planning in a participatory way. It should not become a top-down process. The whole point of intensive and participatory data gathering by the population is that community priorities inform national planning, enriching the process of policy formulation. I commend this manual for your use.
Dr. Wally N'Dow