The conference “Social and gender aspects of local development priorities linked to SDGs” was hosted on March 6th in Shkoder, Albania by CSO “Women in development Shkoder” together with WECF with a goal to achieve the objective of the WOMEN 2030 program and to help local CSOs reach the objectives in the frame of their own activities at the same time combining them for a common understanding and common future.
Johanna Hausmann from WECF welcomed the participants, introduced the WOMEN 2030 program and its relation between SDGs and how gender equality is linked to all 17 SDGs. Having in focus the objective of the WOMEN 2030 program, which implements the SDGs with focus on SDG 5 and SDG 13, the next step was to take a look on theoretical promises put in action – how far is Albania in SDGs with focus on gender equality. About 30 people from NGOs, municipality, students attended the meeting and exchanged their experience working on issues linked to the SDGs like health and water, environment or gender, employment, education, etc.
An overview of the social and gender aspects of local development priorities linked to SDGs – from the Millennium Development goals to SDGs, was presented by Bistra Mihaylova from WECF, as well as some data on the Women’s major group, from its creation in 1992 until the global reporting at the High Level Political Forum taking place in July 2018.
Presenting the preliminary results of the Gender and SDG assessment conducted in Albania in the frame of the project “Women 2030”, Fiorela Plani from “Women in Development Shkoder” said that this shows what the Albanian government will have to work on. The report was conducted in two municipalities, Shkoder and Malesia including urban, peri-urban and rural inhabitants, on a sample of 198 interviewees – 111 women (56%) and 87 men (44%). It shows a higher gender gap in peri-urban and rural area – women have less or no free time, and work more hours than men – both paid and unpaid work. Living conditions also worsen in peri-urban and rural area with less satisfactory sanitation. Women and girls face poor sanitation and MHM is not accessible in public institutions even in urban areas. Highest priority by interviewees is given on kindergarten education and raising awareness on gender based violence.
The group session of organizations from Shkoder region discussing the priorities and linking them to SDGs gave an overview where SDG 5 (gender equity) was the most burning issue, for most organizations, followed by SDG 3 (health) and SDG 6 (water and sanitation). The issue of old and poorly managed water and sanitation affecting livelihoods in rural and mountainous municipalities where people depend on agriculture and cattle, was addressed by participants, showing the burning need for local authorities to invest more in improving infrastructure (cracks, old piping, open water lines on mountain slopes) and water management (water loss which in some areas amounts to 50% of the water supply) at the same time improving water safety (no official data on waterborne diseases). SDGs 1, 4, 8, 13 and 16 were also brought up as priorities.
Who decides on priorities and funds allocated to them? Gender Budgeting – a presentation by Izabella Barati from Hungary, showed that women and men do not have equal access to health, education…thus not having equal part in budget allocation. Gender budgeting is about making services equally available to women and men because it is of very strong economic interest of everyone. The role in decision making of women doing unpaid work in household was addressed by an example how roads are being used – man goes to work and back, woman goes to school with kids, to work, to market, to school, home….Global budgeting for sports goes 41% for girls and 59% on boys and it subsequently affects women in later life…osteoporosis is lower in women that exercised more in puberty… (additional budget burden). In a group work session the value of paid and unpaid work as a contribution to the economy was analyzed. The part on what priorities receive funding, and where do the funds come from, shows that providing equal opportunities is a profitable investment for the government. Participants also discussed the local budget and whether the lines are gender disaggregated or not, getting to the conclusion that there is no gender neutral budgeting but implementing SDGs is about allocating budget as well. The role of media is big it this sense in raising awareness in the issue.
The power of media was addressed in the last session of the conference by Natasha Dokovska from CSO “Journalist for human rights”- Macedonia introducing to participants the ways they can use social media for awareness raising and promotion of their work. After differentiating the effect by traditional and social media, exercises were conducted on social media – how to write short direct messages, how to use hashtags and count success, with input from participants from their local current experience in use of social media for professional purposes.