WOCAN's Strategic Plan Promotes Women's Leadership Circles
The purpose of the WLC at the national level is to develop women's leadership, promote regular dialogue between women officials/professionals and women farmers/entrepreneurs/groups and to create new spaces for rural women's voices to be heard at policy levels.
The first meeting of WOCAN "Women's Leadership Circle" was held in Kathmandu on 23 January, 2012. Eighteen women representing different farmers groups and community based organisations from the districts (represented by national women's NGOs HIMAWANTI and ASTHA), INGOs, women's networks, policy makers and WOCAN members participated in this meeting (see list of participants). As it was the inaugural event for this WLC, it was lead by the WOCAN Executive Director; the IFAD gender consultant/representative, Annina Lubbock, participated as well.
- Briefly review current policies and programs related to food security and climate change and their inclusion of gender and women's perspectives;
- Identify and describe gaps in policies and gaps in implementation of these policies;
- Identify ways to bridge these gaps, through women's leadership;
- Establish a group of national women leaders to meet periodically to advance women's leadership for food security and climate change, providing space for leadership to develop.
After the introductions of the participants and presentation on the purpose of the meeting, a brief sharing on the current key policies and programmes related to climate change, forestry and agriculture were made. Some of the key policies and programme documents mentioned were the revision of the national agriculture policy, Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), REDD+ process and community forestry, NAPA, PPCR and the climate policy.
Dr.Jeannette Gurung, the Executive Director of WOCAN said that it is very important to ensure that these policies and programme documents are designed in a gender sensitive manner. She also said that there is a need to find and link to "champions" among women farmers and entrepreneurs and to enable their voices to be heard at the policy levels. There should be a mechanism to ensure that the policy makers listen to the voices of these rural women directly, and not always through those who speak on their behalf.