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ACP grassroots women “gold mine” for sustainable development, study finds

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Brussels, September 16, 2014/ ACP: A newly released study on the role of women in advancing sustainable human development in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries has highlighted the “outstanding contributions” of grassroots women on the ground, across a wide range of development sectors. 
The EU-funded report, titled “ACP Women, Actors in Development”, documents 30 case studies illustrating the vital role of women’s grassroots organisations, as well as the their potential to stimulate learning and innovation in development programmes. 
“The diversity of good practices is remarkable, not only because of the wide scope of sectors covered - ranging from women’s political participation and economic empowerment, health, education, violence against women to migration, urbanisation and natural disaster management and mitigation - but also because of the diversity of organisations working to advance gender equality and women’s rights,” states ACP Assistant Secretary General in charge of Political Affairs and Human Development, Mme. Michèle Dominique Raymond in introducing the publication. 
“While all organisations cited have strong connections with local communities, some operate primarily at the grassroots level while others are active in advocacy and accountability work at national, regional and international levels. They not only provide insights into their achievements, challenges and potential for scaling up and replication, but also demonstrate excellence and ability to communicate their work to a broader audience.”
The study, authored by Ms. Marguerite Appel and Dr. Patricia Munoz-Cabrera, cited key trends including the holistic, multidimensional approach grassroots women take to development; the link between micro and macro levels and the need for policy coherence between the two; the need to link women's leadership amongst different social sectors, generations, or communities to address social inequalities; and the prevalence of social and cultural norms that discriminate against women in ACP regions.
“...Grassroots women are a gold mine in the strategic use of money: given their power to project themselves and their families into the future, they are capable savers and investors in social well-being – theirs as well as that of their families,” cites the report.
Policy-makers in development cooperation were urged to draw on the knowledge and expertise of women’s development organisations on the ground, as well as support for existing local agendas for women’s rights. 
The research also called for mechanisms to ensure that funding reaches grassroots organisations in rural areas and poor urban areas, and encouraged more programmes that strengthen women’s capacity to generate income. Knowledge dissemination and the consolidation of women in leadership positions were also stressed as vital to achieving equitable and sustainable development goals.
(Photo: ACP Secretary General Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni (fourth from left) and participants celebrating International Women's Day at the ACP House, where the prelimiary findings of the report, "ACP Women: Actors in Development", was first presented in March 2015.)
Download PDF ACP women, Actors in Development ( EN / FR )
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