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Gender & Sustainable Development - Good Practices


The following Good Practices were prepared as a part of a portfolio review of World Bank infrastructure projects. This responds to requests from our client countries for lessons learned and good practice examples from gender and sustainable development efforts world-wide.

Good Gender & Sustainable Development practices in projects highlight innovative approaches that increase development effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability as well as empowerment of poor women and men at the project and sector level. We strive to better understand what works or doesn't, how, why and under what conditions.


Gender & Transport: Gender and Empowerment in Peru Rural Roads

Peru Rural Roads Project Increased
Participation in Local Governance

The project aimed to improve the access of the rural poor to basic social services, market integrating infrastructure and income generating activities with gender equity to help alleviate rural poverty and raise living standards. Previously isolated communities were connected to markets though the repair of 3465 kilometers of unmotorized tracks. The project created 6000 one-year semi-skilled jobs, 24 percent of which were held by women. Forty-five percent of the road committee treasurers and 24 percent of the rural roads committee members were women. Women’s presence on road repair microenterprise teams increased efficiency and quality of the work because men drank less, worked more, and women paid greater attention to the quality of the work. Both women and men who worked in these microenterprises became more active in local governance through increased voting and running for office. Men’s and women’s perceptions of women’s worth and status in the household and community improved significantly.

Gender & Energy: Women's Empowerment in Bangladesh Renewable Energy

Char Montaz Bangladesh Women's
Cooperative production area

The Char Montaz renewable energy project demonstrates that technology transfer and skill training of women can make a significant contribution to rural electrification in Bangladesh by providing a good service at an affordable price. Decentralized rural electricity services on the remote coastal island of Char Montaz, Bangladesh were provided by 35 women cooperative members who received seed capital and capacity building in the manufacturing and sale of energy products. Working together, the women assembled and distributed battery charged lamps and solar home systems to thousands of households, shops, and boats outside the power grid. The project was also linked to microfinance institutions so that poor households could obtain modern electrification. The small cooperative grew into a medium enterprise, serving most of the coastal areas and employing 170 people. The small island has become a bustling commercial area and communities acknowledge the women’s cooperative as the initial spark for local economic growth. The project significantly empowered the cooperative members—increasing their income, knowledge of marketing and sales, use of modern technology and business management practices, and their decision-making authority and status in their households and community. The Char Montaz model has been scaled up in Bangladesh rural electrification projects and applied in other countries such as India.

Gender & Mining: Papua New Guinea Women and Mining Initiative

Papua New Guinea Women Sharing Their

Two international women in mining conferences focused on developing strategies to give women voice and access to more equitable mining benefits, enhanced roles in planning and inclusion in decision-making processes. The mining companies quickly realized that listening to women’s view enabled them to ensure that their community development initiatives were sustainable and reached the poorest people. The mining companies established women's desks and the government formed a Women in Mining Steering Committee. This committee along with local women's associations drafted local women in mining action plans which were integrated into a Women in Mining National Action Plan.

Gender & Information Communication Technology: E-Ghana project

Call centers and data entry operations in
Ghana are attractive opportunities for
women because of flexible hours,
secure work enviroment, and relatively
high wages.

The project aims to generate growth and employment in Ghana by leveraging information and communication technologies and public-private partnerships to develop the information technology enabled services industry and to contribute to the improved efficiency and transparency of selected government functions through e-government applications. Women currently occupy the majority of the existing information technology enables services jobs and many others have relevant training and skills. New jobs generated by this project will be attractive to women since they offer flexible working hours, short and affordable training programs, and room for growth. It is anticipated that many of the matching grants to encourage the growth of the job pool will emphasize women’s involvement. Because women are under-represented at the management level in the sector, companies will be encouraged to consider women for management positions. Monitoring and evaluation will track the proportion of women involved in managerial and non-managerial positions.

Gender & Water: Rural Water and Sanitation in Nepal

The Napal Water and Sanitation project
has reduced women's domestic burden
and increased their status in the

An evaluation of the Nepal Rural Water and Sanitation project concluded that its strong community ownership, and particularly the participation and empowerment of women, is contributing importantly to the sustainability of local water and sanitation services . More than 49,000 women participated in 1,366 local microcredit groups. The groups have in turn mobilized diverse ventures, including vegetable farming, goat raising, poultry farming, kitchen gardens, pig raising, savings and credit, and iron-working for local blacksmiths. After three years of project completion, over 80 percent of the microenterprises were fully functional. Also as a result of the project, many women have assumed new leadership positions in their villages, as members in their local water user committees and health groups, and as treasurers for rotating credit schemes. These roles, and their new income-earning activities, have enhanced women's status in their communities. In addition, the project strengthened local level institutional capacities to manage projects.

Sierra Leone Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project Promotes Gender Equality

Sierra Leone Bumbuna Hydroelectric

Despite post-conflict social trauma in Sierra Leone, innovative social assessment and participatory process ensured women’s effective participation and direct benefits from the project. Social Development staff has been instrumental in the participatory social assessment and resettlement action plan of five villages and livelihood restoration of nearly a thousand people displaced by the Bumbuna Hydroelectric dam. The process aimed to ensure that women, men and youth share equitable benefits along with the risks. Consultations targeted women and men farmers and male and female youth to identify risk, constraints, needs and priorities. The project empowered women by ensuring that half of the village resettlement committee members were women. Joint certificates to resettlement properties were issued in both husbands 'and wives' names. Livelihoods support programs for women and youth are building their capacity in entrepreneurship, management and alternative livelihoods as well as literacy. Women's self-help group formation and savings have also been facilitated. A trust fund for benefit sharing of hydropower profits is supporting participatory community driven development and youth capacity building. Women are playing key roles as community leaders and decision-makers in community driven projects in water and sanitation, and renewable energy. Women are also engaged in the allocation of food aid.

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