Rabu, 07 November 2012

Women and International Cooperation: too many contradictions?

The micro-credit schemes for women from Senegal. The campaigns against female circumcision. Action against female infanticide in China. And those against the segregation of women in Afghanistan. For years, international cooperation rightly combats gender differences around the world. And not only that. According to the latest Siscos (Services for International Cooperation), almost half (49%) of young Italians who choose to do a dangerous job and challenging as that of cooperating are female.

 But all this effort of women for women does it work?

"Often we focus only on the effects of discrimination and work a little on the causes," says Raffaella Nail of the International Network of Women for Peace which is part of the International House of Women in Rome. Raffaella, along with other colleagues, for years dealing with international cooperation. "NGOs do not always succeed in building relationships on par with the beneficiary communities. And there are cases where the prevailing paternalistic approach, which is the basis of an imbalance of forces inherited from colonialism and the balance of power between the states. "

 One of them is the foreign debt.

"Since the 70 projects have been launched very interesting in favor of women's communities. But then governments have undermined these efforts by requiring back what they had given to international cooperation. And with interest, "says Chiodo yet.

Another example of this profound contradiction is what happened in Mozambique. "The women were able to get a table in consultation with the institutions on women's issues. This work is supported by the entire international community. But that was negated by privatization and the arrival of multinationals in Mozambique, "says Raffaella.

Sometimes in good faith, sometimes not ("alas cooperation is marketing, as we also saw with the campaign against child soldiers in Uganda Kony Stop"), non-governmental organizations fall into the trap of contradiction, the tense political and the international balance of power.

How can then carry out projects without running into this error?

"We must always start from their expertise," says Chiodo Uisp with that, as well as an initiative to revise the Paris-Dakar in key ecological, has set up a project in Senegal for women who work in fish processing. "We tried to help them understand what their needs are and then we start from there. And not only that. We were able to explain to the rest of the community the importance of their work. " A starting point, then. "What has put these women in a position to improve their condition." Without the need for external aid.(source)

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