Breaking the gender barrier: UNDP Tanzania prioritises gender equality in wildlife conservation and tourism

March 24, 2023
IWT stakeholders: Gender mainstreaming

Staff from UNDP, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and wildlife conservation stakeholders in a group photo after the gender mainstreaming workshop in Arusha


UNDP Tanzania recently held a Gender Mainstreaming Workshop to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in wildlife conservation and tourism. The workshop was part of the Combatting Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade through an Integrated Approach (IWT) project implementation, with the goal of enhancing awareness of gender-related issues and encouraging participatory governance of natural resources.

The IWT project seeks to address the gender gap in Tanzania's wildlife and law enforcement activities, which are typically male dominated. By facilitating gender equality, the project hopes to strengthen relationships between communities and local law enforcement authorities, and encourage participation of local people, especially women, in anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring activities.

Elisante Ombeni, Project Officer of the IWT, said “the project has developed a gender strategy and action plan to ensure gender equality remains a priority in the strategies to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade. Since the project began, 319 people, including 57 women from different government institutions working in conservation, have been provided with patrol and training equipment.”
The facilitator of the workshop presented the IWT Gender Strategy and Action Plan and familiarised stakeholders with various sections of the plan. The strategy aims to guide the involvement and integration of women in the delivery of project outputs and the promotion of women's participation in project management, monitoring, and evaluation.
The workshop also highlighted that the Wildlife sector is among the sectors that generate substantial income, but the allocations for benefits shared by the government to the villages surrounding the protected areas are not gender focused. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that the allocation benefits both women and youths in these surrounding communities.

In his opening remarks, Amon Manyama, UNDP Tanzania Head of Programme, commented “Gender mainstreaming is an approach to policy-making and programme development that takes into account the needs and perspectives of both women and men." He further said that, gender mainstreaming is not about creating special programs for women or men, but rather it is about ensuring that gender perspectives are integrated into all policies and programs.

Violeth Mlinga, Assistant Director – Administration at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism added, "Gender mainstreaming is an essential tool for achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. By adopting a gender mainstreaming approach, we can ensure that all policies and programs take into account the different needs and experiences of women and men."

UNDP MNRT IWT gender mainstreaming

Elisante Ombeni (l), IWT project officer, Violeth Mlinga (c), Assistant Director - Administration Ministry of NAtural Resources and Tourism and Amon Manyama (R), UNDP Head of Programme share a light moment during the gender mainstreaming workshop workshop


Some highlights from the gender mainstreaming strategy and action plan include interventions covering key issues such as:

1. The strategy aims to address the current gender gap in the IWT project sector through a number of strategic interventions.
2. The proposed interventions cover key issues such as gender-sensitive engagement and participation in governance and decision-making, institutional strengthening, capacity building, research and incentive arrangements, coordination, communication of gender profile in the wildlife sector, and advocacy for changes in social and legal frameworks.
3. Failure to address gender issues in wildlife and forestry management has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing gender inequalities and limit the effectiveness of policies, programs, and interventions, thereby undermining sustainability.
4. To effectively implement the strategy and its action plan, it is recommended to establish an inter-agency Gender Working Group to support the PMU, given the size of the current gender gap within the wildlife sector and the presence of different implementing partners involved in the project.

The full document can be accessed by clicking HERE

In conclusion, UNDP Tanzania is prioritizing gender equality in all aspects of development, including conservation efforts, to create a more inclusive and sustainable future. By working closely with stakeholders, the UNDP hopes to empower women and promote gender equality in all sectors, including wildlife conservation. The full document can be accessed by clicking on the provided link.