At Helvetas, we not only strive to promote broadly beneficial development but we also seek to work specifically with the most disadvantaged individuals and groups living in our partner countries. It is for this reason that gender equality and social equity is a cross-cutting theme in our organization.
It is a fact that a person is more likely to be economically poor if she is a woman or an indigenous member of a minority ethnic group, practices a minority religion, comes from an isolated geographical area, was born into a low social status (caste, bonded labor), is young or very old, or lives with impaired health. Poverty tends to be strongly correlated with being socially disadvantaged – that is, experiencing social discrimination and powerlessness. Hence gender rights, inclusion and conflict sensitivity are integral to how we work.
The 2030 Development Agenda recognizes gender as integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this reason, gender is mainstreamed across all goals and a stand-alone goal. SDG 5 Gender Equality prioritizes nine key targets tackling gender rights, disparity, discrimination, violence, access to services and resources among others. As a development organization and partner, we are committed to contributing to the achievement of these key targets.
Helvetas strives towards a gender balanced, strongly socially aware and capable workforce. We are committed to integrating and monitoring gender in our policies, procedures, strategies, tools and our projects. In promoting gender equality and social equity in our local programs, we are also attentive to the example set by our partner organizations and by ourselves. Helvetas seeks to partner with organizations that share its broad organizational values. We strengthen the gender and social equity capacities of our partners.
As part of our commitment to integrating gender in our programs, local Helvetas gender focal persons are key. These women and men are committed to developing their own capacities and that of our partner countries’ teams and partners. They mitigate conflicts and identify gaps and required resources needed to address gender and equity disparities in our work. Gender focal persons are supported by our organizational gender and social equity focal person. Lessons learned are systematically shared within the organization.
Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.
Download and read our publications on different gender and social equity related topics.