|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The National Strategy for the Advancement of Women 2011-2015 (NSAW) comprises four main programs including (i) development of an information system with sex-segregated statistics and dissemination and awareness raising, (ii) institutional and personnel strengthening for the advancement of women (iii) ensuring gender equality and women empowerment to participate in all fields and (iv) fulfillment of the obligations of Lao PDR under the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) conventions and other international conventions pertaining to women. NCAW is tasked with implementing NSAW which outlines gender related goals and targets for each sector. However, NCAW lacks the capacity to provide assistance to sector ministries to integrate these goals into sector strategies and plans.
NCAW's mandate is to support NCAW networks in line ministries divisions for the advancement of women (DAW) and subcommittees for the advancement of women (Sub-CAWs) which have limited human and technical resources and lack clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities and coordination mechanisms for effective gender mainstreaming. Hence, gender has not been well integrated into the planning, budgeting and M&E cycle of most line ministries, as these lack critical capacity in gender analysis and gender sensitive M&E. Given ADB's extensive past and present involvement in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), with projects in three important line departments: Urban, Transport and Water Supply, ADB support under the small-scale capacity development technical assistance (S-CDTA) will focus on this ministry. Lessons learned and materials developed can then be utilized by NCAW to introduce gender sensitive planning and budgeting in other line ministries.
MPWT is responsible for infrastructure development and services in Lao PDR. Considerable gender gaps consist in service delivery as a result of a systematic bias in planning, monitoring and evaluation which reduce sector performance. The lack of uniform performance indicators makes monitoring and gender evaluation of gender mainstreaming in the public works and transport sector challenging. While project-specific gender training manuals, guidelines and action plans exist, there are as yet no standardized manuals or guidelines for gender-integrated planning, monitoring and evaluation for the sector. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of MPWT, its line departments and Sub-CAW members, and DAW staff with training to standardize gender analysis, planning and M&E in MPWT. Gender-integration activities in development partner funded projects tend to have limited coordination with MPWT's DAW and other line departments. Further, Sub-CAW members in the line departments have yet to be involved in MPWT's project planning processes. While DAW is positioned in MPWT's organizational hierarchy at the Ministry's Office, with an established gender network from the central (Sub-CAW secretariat), provincial (Women's Advance Unit), and district level (gender focal points), it lacks operational tools to mainstream gender in the ministries' systems and frameworks.
The proposed S-CDTA builds on experience of previous ADB-funded TA projects for gender mainstreaming in LAO PDR and Cambodia. The 2005 TA focused largely on the development of systems, procedures and gender analysis training in the agriculture sector. Initial lessons learned from the 2010 ADB funded TA for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) revealed that the integration of gender issues into plans, programs and M&E was effective. The TA also shows that in integrating gender mainstreaming in line ministries it is important to identify and cultivate gender champions. Since DAW is responsible for integrating gender into planning, gender mainstreaming will be sustained. MPWT has not yet integrated NSAW into the sector strategy due to a lack of capacity and tools related to gender sensitive analysis and M&E. Gender-mainstreaming activities occur in development partner-funded projects without coordination with central planning and resource allocation processes. In addition, Sub-CAW members in the line departments have yet to be involved in MPWT project planning processes. Therefore, it is necessary to establish clear terms of reference and coordination mechanisms between DAW, Sub-CAW and line departments.