UNCDF and UN Women Present the Results of the Joint Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) Programme at the GELD Policy Forum in Tanzania

UNCDF and UN Women presented the results of the joint Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) programme at the GELD Policy Forum in Tanzania. The ceremony took place In Dar Es Salam, with opening remarks from the Honorable Mr. Aggrey Mwanri, Deputy Minister of State, Prime Minister’s office regional administration and local government of the republic of Tanzania. Also present, Ms. Anna Collins-Falk, UN Women representative in Tanzania, Mr. Richard Ragan, RR a.i. and WFP representative, and Mr. Marc de Feyter, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Belgium.

Ms.Chistel Alvergne, Head of UNCDF delegation to the forum, expressed the importance of addressing gender equality in local development and the role of UNCDF in utilizing its local development finance mandate and technical expertise to promote gender equitable local development at the local level through the GELD pilot programme.

Through the local development fund mechanism, UNCDF was able to provide seed capital and direct budget support to local governments to foster gender equitable investments that are responsive to the needs of local women and men, girls and boys. Additionally, through UNCDF’s technical contribution, the GELD programme was able to provide performance budgeting mechanisms which were used to support local governments in establishing gender senstive normative frameworks to measure and evaluate the performance of local governments in responding to the needs of their communities. GELD has been mainstreamed in UNCDF’s current projects in the five countries.

According to the last GELD review, the programme has been instrumental in achieving key results at the local level including: (1) the local planning process has been more concrete and oriented to the population needs, (2) the budget delivery rates have been among the highest ranks in terms of performance, (3) the public expenditure management and procurement processes have improved including the establishment of specific gender requirements to the tendering and procurement processes, which is a key contribution to local economic development and empowerment.

GELD was launched by UNCDF, together with UN Women and Belgium in 2009. GELD advocates for gender-responsive planning, programming and budgeting at the local level, and helps ensure that development policy and public expenditures are gender-equitable. Originally piloted in five African countries, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, the initiative allocates capital investment grants to local authorities to guarantee that development occurs in a gender-responsive manner. In 2010, a component of GELD was also applied in Ethiopia through a contribution from Austria.

By promoting broad-based, transparent and gender-sensitive participation in decision-making, GELD aims to motivate ordinary men and women at the community level to engage on development issues – while supporting the authorities and institutions who serve them to improve service delivery for all. GELD pilot programmes have proved that giving women voice yields better results for everyone. In particular, evidence suggests that building the skills of women to participate effectively, combined with facilitating their access to resources such as information, credit and other basic services, advances gender equality and social justice.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Christel Alvergne thanked the partners, the government of Belgium and all the participants for their effective contribution to the piloting of the GELD programme and encouraged all development partners to further engage and contribute to the discussions as UNCDF and UN Women are discussing the formulation of an evolved global GELD programme.

In addition to the participation of all the GELD National Coordinators, the UNCDF delegation was also composed of Ms. Mary Okumu, Chief Technical Advisor of GELD, who provided a number of presentations and interventions highlighting the evidence based examples of how the GELD pilots were successful in bringing transformational change at the local level with direct impact on the lives of women and men; Mr. Mohammad Abbadi, LDFP’s Portfolio Specialist and GELD Projet Manager presented on the importance of addressing gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda; and Mr. Ramon Cervera, GELD Programme Specialist presented lessons learned from the GELD Pilot Countries.