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Gender, IFIs and the global food crisis case study: Zambia

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With 63% of Zambians living on less than $1.25 per day, poverty and food security are widespread. This case study argues that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have contributed to this food insecurity due to neoliberal structural adjustment programmes in the late 1980's. Lower wages, higher unemployment and increased food prices led to widespread malnutrition and political unrest, a process which disproportionately affected women. Using Gender Action's Essential Gender Checklist, this case study analyses a total of five investments from the World Bank and the African Development Bank to assess their commitment to gender issues and the reduction of malnutrition. For instance, the World Bank's 'Agricultural Development Support Project', 2006-2014, aimed to increase Zambia's export earnings and enhance farmer income; the only time women are mentioned in the project appraisal, however, is in reference to women suffering higher rates of poverty. The study finds that overall these IFIs do not approach food security from a gender or human rights perspective, nor do they include adequate sex-disaggregated monitoring of outcomes. IFIs must: - Provide grants, not loans, to support gender-sensitive agricultural development - Approach food security investments and crisis in a gender-sensitive manner - Stop privatisation, which disproportionately harms women - Implement in-house sex-disaggregated indicators to measure gender dimensions of project impacts - Explicitly promote gender-equality in project design and activities Civil society organisations can: - Utilise Gender Action resources to advocate for greater gender equality in IFI projects - Help those negatively impacted to gather information and initiate IFI accountability mechanisms - Push for an end to the privatisation of agricultural services and support for land-grabs - Pressure IFIs to strengthen and fully implement gender policies.

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