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Putting Women at the Heart of Our Work

March 28, 2019
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CDIA’s engagement with the city comprises no more than 10% of the total project life cycle. Still, it uses the limited time to integrate key development principles such as gender equality and inclusiveness in infrastructure project preparation. In more concrete terms, how does CDIA pay attention to the needs of women and other vulnerable groups, and how does it make sure their voices are heard?

Using our monitoring tool, Initial Impact Development Assessment (IDIA), we looked at 40 project preparation studies (PPS) conducted from 2015 to 2018. The objective was to measure our contributions to key development goals and impacts, including how our projects ensure inclusive development.

From the study, we found out that women are indeed at the heart of our work. Our 40 PPS are expected to benefit a total of 4.3 million women, the highest among vulnerable populations.

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Improved health, access to social services, and access to sources of income are some of the key impacts we envisaged for our women beneficiaries. At the PPS level, this would mean integrating gender equality design features such as ensuring access of women to infrastructure services, ensuring their accessibility to soft infrastructure services like healthcare and education, and ensuring affordability for them to use basic infrastructure services. Clearly, the key value of our PPS has been on providing access to infrastructure services for all.

More than targeting women as beneficiaries, CDIA also endeavors to make them active participants in our studies. In Cambodia, Indonesia and Pakistan where most PPS with strong inclusiveness components were conducted, women were well-represented in various stakeholder consultations. This way, we ensure that their needs are integrated in the planned interventions.

Furthermore, CDIA’s safeguard measures are in place to avoid or minimize negative impacts on people, including women. Resettlement and relocation, as well as negative impacts on formal and informal employment, assets and access to services, safety, and the environment are factors we investigate in our studies.

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Going beyond PPS, we also looked at the 116 capacity development activities we conducted with 2,780 partners from 2008-2018 to gauge how women and men have been represented.

Based on the findings, we saw that in 2008, women participants comprised only 10% of all trainees; whereas in 2018, women comprised more than 30%. Differences can also be pointed out countrywise, as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam had higher percentages of women participants compared to other countries. Despite efforts to promote gender equality in our capacity development and outreach activities, the findings point to the need to do more to increase representation of women in governance.

Looking at the composition of the CDIA Team, one can be assured that it will not only continue prioritizing women’s needs and participation in its PPS and capacity development activities, but more importantly fill the remaining gaps seen from its monitoring activities. After all, putting women at the heart of CDIA work can only be expected from a team that champions equality.

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Related Story: Women on the Move!

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