Title

Building a framework for a needs-based approach to gender : a study of four World Neighbors programs

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala

Abstract

With increasing attention being given to the importance of gender issues in development, in particular, by the UN development goals, it is important for World Neighbors to understand how its needs-based approach can best be tailored to address these issues in their work. To provide a contextual basis for this study, literature about the current approaches to gender, both theoretical and practical, was reviewed. Additionally, documents from each of the program sites being studied, were analyzed. The study involved probing the program staff at all levels about their understanding of gender equity, their contextual constraints, as well as best practices in relation to strategic approaches. Leaders of the communities being studied were also surveyed for their perception of the changes in gender equity and its impact on their communities. The findings reveal that the needs-based approach to development utilized by World Neighbors’ programs provides a favorable foray into social change. By adopting elements of Gender and Development and Human Rights approaches, the needs-based approach can be modified to address gender issues in an equitable and sustainable manner. The act of conducting this study has already led to a heightened awareness among World Neighbors’ staff, evidenced by the increased attention gender has been given in their recent strategic plans. The results of this study will be beneficial in guiding their efforts.

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