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International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO): Comparative Advantage

Primary Mandate/Concentration in Relation to Rural Women

The primary mandate of the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO) as the training arm of the International Labour Organization is to promote the Decent Work Agenda. ITC-ILO runs training and learning programmes that cover all the main areas of priority on employment, social protection social dialogue and labour standards. Activities aim at enhancing participants' knowledge and competencies with a view to strengthening their performance as policy-makers, managers, practitioners and trainers of the ILO's constituent and partner institutions. The Gender and Non Discrimination Programme (GNDP) of the ITC-ILO works to eliminate gender discrimination particularly in employment and access to resources and to support women empowerment strategies.

Areas of Unique Expertise/Strength

The ITC-ILO has expertise in capacity building and multi-disciplinary work. It organizes workshops in Turin as well as in the field and online as stand-alone activities or as part of ILO projects and of other partners.

The GNDP develops capacity building activities for organizations focusing on policy as well on implementation (ILO works with governments, workers and employers 'organizations and civil society partners). For example, technical cooperation with Ministries of labour, trade unions and employers' organizations is being carried out in several countries for the ratification of Convention 183 on maternity protection (which provides protection for all women including in rural areas). In 2011/12, 27 staff from government, employers and workers' organizations from Zambia participated in capacity building to raise awareness and to train other stakeholders.

The Gender and Non Discrimination Programme (GNDP) of the ICT-ILO also collaborates on multi-stakeholder projects. The most recent activity was on capacity building for the integration of women in sustainable development and economic policies, which supported the participation and leadership of women in rural institutions (including agricultural producer and rural worker associations, cooperatives, rural credit unions, water users' groups and self-help groups as well as women's organizations) to empower women through a rights-based approach and self-organizing. GNDP provided capacity building activities to twelve local West African NGOs implementing project activities related to the "Gender and economic development, support for the women actresses of development". The project covered six countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo and was funded by the French Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE).

Approach to the Empowerment of Rural Women

A two-pronged approach is favored in all activities. Firstly, gender should be mainstreamed in all capacity building activities including rural employment. Secondly, that specific actions be undertaken to focus on specific strategic and basic needs of rural women.

The Human Rights-Based Approach is also a cornerstone of the decent work agenda which includes a framework that integrates principles, standards and goals of the international human rights system into the plans and processes of development.

Key Tools/Activities Supporting the Empowerment of Rural Women

The ITC-ILO also works on economic empowerment of women through the "Women's Entrepreneurship Development Programme" addressing various entrepreneurship stages, enterprise sizes, target groups and trades, all adapted or adaptable to rural settings.

  • "GET ahead for women in enterprise" is a training package and resource kit to assist ILO partner organizations in promoting enterprise development among women in poverty who want to start or are already engaged in small-scale business. Contains training modules and exercises on entrepreneurship, the business environment, including marketing, production, services, finance, and support.
  • Training for rural economic empowerment (TREE): a generic manual providing rural skills training. Projects using this manual have been launched in Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. http://www.ilo.org/skills/projects/WCMS_103528/lang--en/index.htm
  • Value chain development for decent work: a guide including gender sensitive value chain as well.

Inter-agency Partnerships

The ITC-ILO collaborates with a good number of UN agencies on specific projects.

The ITC-ILO has collaborated on several projects in the past with UNIFEM and is now carrying out a project with UN Women: Project on "Increasing Accountability in Financing for Gender Equality." The programme seeks to strengthen accountability to implement gender equality commitments in financing decisions and practices of donors and programme countries in 16 countries including post conflict countries (funded by the EU).

With the FAO and IFAD, the ITC-ILO, provided facilitation for the -based workshop in March–April 2009 on gender in rural areas, that mobilized ILO officials from a variety of departments, the field and ITC–ILO, was followed by the production of a comprehensive analytical publication examining status, trends and knowledge gaps, along with seven policy briefs to guide decision-makers in selected technical areas of relevance to rural women. (See FAO–IFAD–ILO: Gender dimensions of agriculture and rural employment: Differentiated pathways out of poverty (Rome, FAO, 2010). The seven policy briefs cover gender and decent work, women in employment-intensive works, women's entrepreneurship, women in value chains, women's skills acquisition, child labour, and migration).

On November 14-15 2011 an interagency meeting took place in Rome Rural Employment and Decent Work Programme, organized by the ILO, the Division for Social Policy and Development, UN-DESA, Office of Strategy and Knowledge Management, IFAD Gender and Equity and Rural Employment Division, FAO on "Broadening Coherence and Collaboration for Rural Development through Employment and Decent Work." The report should be coming out soon. The focus was on how UN agencies can work together for a greater impact on rural development.