Enhancing gender equality

The SUN Movement Pooled Fund is an important mechanism for delivering the SUN Movement Strategy and Roadmap 2016–2020. The grants provided by the Pooled Fund deliver the SUN Movement’s vision, particularly gender equality and diversity inclusion – values that are an explicit part of each grant project.

Mainstreaming gender and diversity inclusion

Working with grantees, the Pooled Fund Team continued its efforts to mainstream gender and diversity inclusion in all aspects of the grants process, including in:

  • design
  • implementation
  • monitoring and evaluation of calls for proposals
  • selected projects.

During the project design phase, applicants are asked to highlight activities that would benefit women, children and vulnerable groups. Applications are encouraged to include a strategy to mainstream gender in their project, and report on its progress.

Gender-sensitive planning is known to be effective in combating social inequities that contribute to malnutrition from a legal and structural perspective. This is why incorporating gender-sensitive contributions in national and subnational plans was a core activity in Window 1 projects.

Raising women’s voices

Without a doubt, women play a critical role in nutrition, from food production to food preparation, and from food distribution to food safety. While empowering women with nutritional knowledge and skills is clearly critical in the quest to end malnutrition, it is also important to hear what they have to say in order to identify solutions and better approaches.

Civil society’s role in raising the voices of women in national plans and community practices cannot be understated. Roundtable discussions that include stakeholders and media serve as a platform for women, men, marginalized communities and Civil Society Organizations, particularly at the subnational level. 

In 2019, with the support of the fund, Civil Society Alliances in SUN countries organized numerous roundtable meetings at national and subnational levels, which were attended by a high proportion of women.

Behaviour change and outreach

Gender inequality can be both a cause and an effect of malnutrition. Empowering women and young people is key to improving nutrition and it is also closely linked to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Despite ongoing global efforts, gender discrimination is still a limiting factor in women’s access to nutrition. To address this, the Pooled Fund’s programme implemented a specific outreach component in many countries, with the aim of raising awareness among women and young people about their right to food and nutrition.

In addition, Pooled Fund projects have promoted the empowerment of women in SUN countries by supporting behaviour-change campaigns aimed at educating both men and women in gender equality, nutrition and healthy feeding practices.

The fund’s projects have systematically prioritized working with women in an effort to engage champions and key influencers who speak about nutrition in decision-making processes related to legislation, policymaking, planning and budgeting. Women’s associations are also key components of several Civil Society Associations, while many governing structures have adopted gender equality measures.

Actions speak louder than words

Gender mainstreaming is an important aspect of the UNOPS approach to recruiting staff. UNOPS works to improve the gender balance of its workforce by fostering an inclusive organizational culture.

UNOPS recognizes that a diverse team is an asset that helps it to better address partners’ needs and challenges. Most members of the SUN Movement Pooled Fund management team are women from five different regions.