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Gender integration strategy: Approaches for research and development in a refugee context and other settings in Africa

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About this gender integration and transformation approach

The purpose of this brief is twofold: to frame the purpose of gender integration for use in displaced and disenfranchised communities in Africa; and to specify how a theory of gender integration and transformation can be applied to specific program objectives, including the design and development of projects; design and use of data collection protocols; development and delivery of training materials; and communication and outreach.

To that end, it is important to understand some key terms: gender, intersectionality, and the dynamics of social change. Each of these concepts help to define applied gender integration and transformation in a targeted manner that improves the impact and outreach of research and development projects. The strategy was originally developed for application in the Resource Recovery and Reuse (RRR) in Refugee Settlements in Africa project. Its application was extended to other projects in a refugee context and beyond, as described later.

Gender integration emerged out of a set of emancipatory social movements that seek ultimately the equal treatment of all persons (Mason et al. 2017; Midoun et al. 2016; Pampel 2011; Nussbaum 1999; Smith 1987). The feminist and social justice movements seek far ranging social transformation that fundamentally reorganizes social conventions across the globe (Woodward 2009; Beumer et al. 2018). As important as these ideas and movements are, they speak to a scale and sweep of social change that is not easily applicable to projects that are time limited and specific in aim. For purposes of this discussion, we will consider how broad concepts and ideals can be translated into inclusive innovation specifically in humanitarian and development contexts.