The aim of this policy brief is to highlight the neglect of specific gender challenges in the way that the Banro Foundation implements its socio-economic development projects. We intend to present to the Board of the Banro Foundation a persuasive argument for addressing inequalities backed up with statistics on gender differences in decision-making access and outcome. Our policy brief is based on the conviction that the introduction of an appropriate gender mainstream, with specific tools to be used in all Banro Foundation Project and in each of their steps will result in a greater development impact for the communities where the Banro Foundation operates. This includes a gender awareness and analytical framework that will direct the selection of stakeholders, the selection of projects, the implementation approach, the choice of monitoring and evaluation tools.


The Banro Foundation (the Foundation) is a charity organisation operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”). Its board is composed of Vice Presidents of a mining corporation (the Banro Corporation, herein after the company). The primary vision of the Foundation is to participate in the socio economic development of the rural communities where the company operates. It does so by focusing on three key areas of development: education, health and social infrastructures such as roads and bridges. Since it operates in rural parts of the province, the gender factor that shapes the way in which different members of the community benefit from the Foundation presence cannot be ignored. Whereas the Foundation has set as one of its eight guiding principles the promotion of social and economic opportunities for women and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past five years investing in women related projects (Banro Corporation Sustainability report, 2011), these noble efforts are likely to miss the intended impact on the targeted beneficiaries (women and girls) without a gendered agenda.

Social relations between men and women are everywhere. Whatever our age, our religion, our origin, etc, humans are primarily a woman or a man, with all that implies in a given context. As much as the Foundation activities are making a significant impact at local levels, it is believed that a gendered approach to these areas of focus will result in a better, more focus and all inclusive outcome.

  1. What is Gender and what does gender equality mean?

The term ‘gender’ refers to relations between men and women. It relates to standards and social roles which often results in different attributions, different expectations and different access and use of resources. Gender related issues are different in each society, depend on the context and are changeable, transformable. The gender concept is different from sex in this aspect because sex is a biological and psychological concept. Often any transformation in the gender context will result a power relation change which will in most of time bring about a perception of threat from the existing power holders, and they will try to resist this change, quoting unequal laws, biased cultural or religious norms, outdated customs etc.

It is, however, important for development organisations like the Banro Foundation to engage in gendered projects because the existing relationships are often detrimental to some categories of members of the society where it operates in, particularly women and girls, and the impact that the Foundation makes through its projects could enforce of these inequalities.

Whereas the Foundation has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past five years, investing in women related projects, these noble efforts are likely to miss the intended impact on the targeted beneficiaries (women and girls) without a gendered agenda.

  • Since the likelihood of women being excluded from decision-making level is higher than men (in question relating to themselves, their household or even the community life), the number of women participating at the Banro Foundation decision-making level should consider a corrective representation of women’s views. The current situation is that there are no women at the decision-making level for the Banro Foundation Management whilst the ratio of men to women within the local committee is 1/5 at the best. The only projects that were specifically gender oriented came from female members of the traditional leadership in Lunwindja (the water adduction project proposed by Hon Esperance Baharanyi) and in Lugushwa (the women training centre suggested by Brigitte Longangi on behalf of the women association). We, therefore, believe that when their voices are heard, women are able to participate actively in development programs that benefit the entire community equally.
  • While implementing socio-economic projects, it is important to realise and to take in into consideration that there is a strong imbalance in the way members of a given community access control over scare economic resources. A micro finance project, or one that deals with access to land or housing will increase this inequality instead of bringing an inclusive development to the community benefiting from the project, because traditionally women do not manage these resources and they only access they have is household/workers tasks. A typical example is the artisanal miner repositioning programme that was aimed at providing alternative skills to ex-artisanal miners operating in the mining concession of the Twangiza Mine. It was overlooked that the miners wanted to sustain the economic independence of a household, and not a single individual. And so, when the beneficiaries were selected, it was the household head (male) who was trained in alternative livelihood and it is him who received his reinsertion kit, leaving the woman in the same situation she was in before the beginning of the project. As shown in the Social Baseline of 2008, women do not benefit from the incomes generated by their husbands because there is no constraint on the latler to do so. In some communities, involving women in the administration of household or community decisions could be considered as something negative.


A gendered approach does not mean that the beneficiaries should all be women, or that the number of men should be equal to women. Rather, it means that both men and women should benefit equally from the opportunities that come with the project implementation. Through a transformative approach, the Foundation could have had the opportunity to make a transformative change in the way these household members access and use the available resources.


  • In terms of education, the management of the Foundation needs to realise that girls are more strongly affected by discrimination and that any attempt to improve on the education provision should consider the specific challenges faced by girls if it is to be equally beneficial to all children. Both the SRK social baseline of 2009 and the Care Canada need assessment of 2008 have underlined that the number of girls in scholar age who were not attending classes was lower than that of boys. This was due to the fact that girls needed to assist their mothers in household tasks like fetching water and picking firewood. In a context of scarcity of financial resources, boys are privileged because they are perceived to be the children who will carry on the name and the inheritance of the family whereas girls will get married and participate in the life of their husbands’ family. Building new schools in such circumstances will only increase the gap between educated boys and girls unless the problem of girls is analysed as part of the educational problem.
  • In the health sector, the relative gendered approach was not due to internal factors within the Foundation but mainly due to the mainstream of partners who implemented the projects, namely the Mpale zone de santé and the Mpanzi hospital management. It is, however, important to understand what mainstreaming framework they use and adjust the Banro foundation approach accordingly. Maternal health is not considered a priority in most of the Zone de santé where the Foundation operates. Programmes such as family planning are not supported by donors and women have no access to contraceptive because they cannot access them, or because they lack adequate information on their availability and usage. Furthermore, they need a marital authorisation to use them (this is the law). Another example is that maternal deaths are not recorded and a large number of them go unseen. Women in health structures only play figurative roles and cannot influence on decisions that are likely to challenge these injustices.
  • As for the health and educational projects, the Foundation should realise that girls are more strongly affected by discrimination and that any attempt to improve on these areas should consider the specific problems of girls if it is to deliver an equal benefit to all its beneficiaries. Based on the need assessment conducted by Care Canada in 2008 and the Social baseline included in the feasibility report, it is obvious that men and women have unequal access to education, and facilities within their communities. These inequality will only be pronounced as time goes on and as the resources increase as a result of the Banro foundation impact
  • Another problem to be looked at is in the South Kivu South Kivu is sadly reputed for the number of rapes committed as a result of the civil war taking place since 1996. The war has weakened the authority of the state and the army has failed to protect civilians from atrocities.. These ill disciplined troops use rapes as a war weapon to inflict physical damage to women and psychological destabilisation to the victims and the entire communities. Culturally, these women are rejected by their families, and they are considered by their community as impure. Projects from the Foundation would never benefit these women unless the project managers make a real attempt to reach them. There are hundreds of marginalised raped women in the South Kivu and the efforts done by the Foundation at the Panzi Hospital can only touch the lucky tens of them who already benefit from help provided by other donors.
  • Why should the Foundation join gender mainstreaming now?
  1. The first reason is that the Company has gained a lot of credit as a result of the way it expresses its Corporate Social Responsibility, through the Banro Foundation. Also, given the importance that the gender mainstreaming approaches influence development practitioners, it is critical that Banro Foundation defines a clear and consistent way of approaching gender issues in relation to the development it promotes. There is an international narrative on the question and this narrative has its terminologies and frameworks that donors use in their analysis.
  2. The second reason is that the Foundation has secured strategic partnership with local as well as international organisations to implement its projects. These partners have different approaches used to tackle the gender issues on the ground, and with no proper coordination, the efforts made by one partner in a specific project could be in contradiction with the efforts made by a second partner. They have different objectives in their gender approaches.
  3. Most importantly, the internal policies, goals and mission of the Banro foundation are consistent with notions of equality and well-being and these notions are intrinsic to the gender discourse (particularly affirmed by the Discrimination Against Women agency). It is because everybody should benefit equally that it is important the Banro foundation joins the gender mainstream and tackle the question of inequality of access and use of resources particularly when they are likely to escalate after the implementation of one of the Foundation projects.
  1. existing Policies:

Development practitioners all over the world have included gender mainstreaming in their programs. As previously pointed out, this is to ensure that different members of a community benefit equally from the development initiatives carried out by the projects.

The need assessment conducted by Care Canada in 2008 (as a requirement of the partnership that was signed in 2009) used some tools of the Harvard. This need assessment was shared with members of the community, especially in Twangiza which was at its feasibility phase, and inspired the community representatives in the draft of the Memorandum Of Understanding that was signed with the community. Unfortunately, the selection of projects to be implemented each year and the implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages of these projects are ignoring the gender factors that were so clearly underlined during the need assessment.

Furthermore, the social baseline as well as the Social Impact Assessment reports that SRK Consulting wrote as part of the feasibility report of the Twangiza and Namoya Project used the same framework but the these two documents were written for the Company, and the Foundation did not capitalise on the useful of the data and suggestions contained therein. The Twangiza Project which has achieved significant gender transformative project on the ground (adult literacy, agricultural cooperatives etc) uses a combination of the Harvard and Moser Framwork.

There are three potential level of intervention for the Banro Foundation:

  • A gender neutral approach: in the light of gender differences, this approach aims at delivering to men and women’s practical gender needs and to work within existing gender division of resources and responsibilities.
  • A gender aware approach: in the light of gender differences, this approach aims at  responding to the practical needs of men or women more specifically than the gender neutral approach, but still working within existing gender division of resources and responsibilities.
  • A gender transformative approach: This approach transforms the society relations in a way that is representative of specific needs for men and women, and gives them the same importance.

Whatever the approach the Banro Foundation chooses, it will need to decide the mainstreaming framework that it will use.

  1. Policy Options:

Here are three of the most common framework used worldwide by development agencies, also in use within the South Kivu and Maniema Provinces:

  1. The Harvard Analytical Framework (also known as the Gender Analysis or Framework Gender Roles Framework )

Developed by the Harvard Institute for International Development in collaboration with the Women in the Development office of USAID, it was one of the earliest of such frameworks. It assumes that if development aid projects allocate resources to women as well as means, this will result in a more efficient development (efficiency approach)

  1. Moser’s Gender Planning Framework (also known as the Triple Role Framework)

This is one of the most popular used frameworks, developed by Caroline Moser. It is based on her concepts of gender roles and gender needs, and policy approaches to gender and development planning. The framework rests on the triple role of women:

  • practical needs (are ones that, if met, help women in current activities).
  • strategic gender needs (needs that, if met, transform the balance of power between men and women); and
  • categories of WID/GAD policy approaches (which may or may not be appropriate, include welfare -top-down handouts- equity, anti-poverty, efficiency and empowerment).
  1. The Social Relations framework

Applies a socialist feminist philosophy to gender analysis, and has recently been used by various government department and NGOs as a planning framework. Developed by Naila Kabeer at Sussex University in the United Kingdom, the approach centres on the interchange between patriarchy and social relations. Unlike the Harvard Framework and the Gender Analysis Matrix, it does not focus on roles, resources and activities, but instead it looks at the relations between the State, market, community and family. Relationships between women may be relevant, such as the relationship between a female servant and her mistress. Discussing the players in the process, Naila Kabeer proposes that “planning for women’s empowerment is most likely to succeed when the process is seen as the responsibility of the beneficiaries.


  1. Specificities of Each framework Option: 
Framework The Harvard Analytical Framework Moser’s Gender Planning Framework The Social Relations framework
Aims ·      demonstrate the economic rationale for investing in women as well as men.

·      emphasise on the importance of gender sensitive information as the basis for meeting the efficiency/equity development goal.

·      map the work of both men and women within the community and highlight the key differences.

·      assist planners in the design of more efficient projects and improved productivity.


·   Emphasise on the importance of gender relations.

·   investigates the reasons and processes that lead to conventions of access and control.

·   includes gender roles identification, gender needs assessment, disaggregating control of resources and decision making within the household, planning for balancing the triple role, distinguishing between different aims in interventions and involving women and gender-aware organisations in planning.

·    The framework acknowledges a political element to gender planning, and assumes that the process will have to deal with conflicts.

·   analyse existing gender inequalities in the distribution of resources, responsibilities, and power.

·   analyse relationships between people, their relationship to resources and activities, and how they are reworked through institutions.

·   emphasise on human well-being as the final goal of development


When is it used ·      Best suited for project planning, rather than programme or policy planning

·      As a gender-neutral entry point when raising gender issues with constituents resistant to considering gender relations and power dynamics

·      For baseline data collection

·      Works better in conjunction with Moser’s framework, to draw in the idea of strategic gender needs

·      For planning at all levels from policies to projects

·      In conjunction with Harvard framework, it works better for Gender aware approaches.


·   Can be used from project to policy level planning, even on an international basis.

·   Works better in gender transformative approaches.


Strength ·   It is practical and hands-on.

·   Once the data have been collected, it gives a clear picture of who does what, when and with what resources. It makes women’s role and work visible.

·   It distinguishes between access to and control over resources.

·   It can be easily adapted to a variety of settings and situations.

·   It is relatively non-threatening, because it relies on “facts” only.


·   Moves beyond technical elements of planning, recognising its political elements and assuming conflict of interests in the planning process. Recognises the transformative potential of gender planning.

·   Conceptualises planning as aiming to challenge unequal gender relations and supports women’s empowerment

·   Makes all work visible and valuable to planners, through the concept of triple roles

·   Distinguishes between types of gender needs: those that relate to women’s daily lives but maintain existing gender relations (practical gender needs), and those potentially transform existing gender subordination (strategic gender needs)

·   Categorises policy approaches

·   Sees poverty as not just material deprivation but also social marginalisation.

·   Conceptualises gender as central to development thinking, not an add-on.

·   Links micro to macro factors.

·   Highlights interactions between various forms of inequality: gender, class, and race.

·   Centres analysis around institutions; highlights the political aspects of institutions

·   Dynamic; tries to uncover processes of impoverishment and empowerment

·   Can be used for different levels of analysis


Challenges to consider ·   Based on WID (efficiency) rationale, which aims at increasing project/programme efficiency. It does not delineate power relations or decision-making processes. Therefore, the framework offers little guidance on how to change existing gender inequalities. It tends to result in gender-neutral or gender-specific interventions, rather than those that can transform existing gender relations.

·   Tends to oversimplify, based on a somewhat superficial, tick-the-boxes approach to data collection, ignoring complexities in the community; may result in lost opportunities for change

·   Is basically a top-down planning tool, excluding women’s and men’s own analysis of their situation.

·   Ignores other underlying inequalities, such as class, race and ethnicity, encouraging an erroneous view of men and women as homogeneous categories

·   Emphasises on separation of activities and resources based on sex or age, ignoring connections and co-operative relations across these categories. This can result in projects that may misbehave or cannot tackle women’s strategic gender needs.

·   The profiles yield a somewhat static view of the community, without reference to changes over time in gender relations.

·      The idea of gender roles obscures the notion of gender relationships and can give the false impression of natural order and equality.

·      The framework does not mention other forms of inequality, such as class, race or ethnicity.

·      The framework is static and does not examine change over time as a variable

·      The policy approaches should not be seen as mutually exclusive; they may often overlap each other in practice


·   Since it examine all cross-cutting inequalities, gender can get subsumed under other analytical categories

·   Can appear complicated, detailed and demanding



The Banro Foundation cannot support injustices, even when these injustices come in the form of discriminative cultures and laws. As much as the Foundation cannot change customs that have been established for many years of patriarchal lifestyle, it has the opportunity to make a positive impact, and the moral obligation to not worsen the situation of marginalised or disadvantaged women and girls living in the communities where it operates.

The best approach would be a gender aware approach, that would affect the recruitment and stakeholders’ engagement process to reflect a better ration of men and women, facilitation gender awareness training and seminars among staff, partners and stakeholders, and a systematic application of gender sensitive tools for all policies and projects of the foundation.

Despite its many advantages, the Social Relation does not seem to be the most appropriate option for the Foundation given its complexity and the radical changes in the society landscape that it is likely to induce. Although some of the Foundation’s partners like Women for Women have used it on a local level, it would not be suitable for the Foundation to engage in a transformative approach as this could require engaging with new, different stakeholders that the ones engaged for the corporate development plan. Not only these stakeholders could be different, but they could even be from completely deferent groups that would have difficulties in working together (particularly in the communities where the traditional authorities are strongly represented, like in Ngweshe, Burhinyi, Kaziba and Luhwindja).

The Harvard framework is a common framework and quite easy to use. It would be suitable for the Foundation to consider using this framework in designing its policies. However, it might be important to combine it with the Moser framework in order to harmonise the Foundation and the different partners needs (both gender neutral and transformative partners). This is also a good framework in case the Foundation decides to expand its number of international partners in North America as envisaged.


  • Sources Consulted

Training Workshop for Trainers in Women, Gender and Development, June 9-21, 1996  Programme Handbook, Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands.

March, Candida; Smyth, Inés A.; Mukhopadhyay, Maitrayee (1999). A guide to gender-analysis frameworks. Oxfam.

Ochola, Washington O.; Sanginga, Pascal C.; Bekalo, Isaac (2010). Managing Natural Resources for Development in Africa. IDRC.

Sahay, Sushama (1998). Women and Empowerment: Approaches and Strategies. Discovery Publishing House.

USAID (2008). “Gender Analysis Frameworks”. Retrieved June 9, 2012.

Banro Foundation sustainability report

Banro corporation sustainability report, 2011 (accessible at

Social Impact assessment (unpublished)

Need assessment of care Canada (unpublished)

Stakeholder engagement plan (unpublished)

Memorandum of understanding between the Twangiza Project and the community of Luhwidja (unpublished)

Community development plan of Namoya (unpublished)

South Kivu Gender maping (UNFPA) 2011

National report on gender issues (UNDP) 2011