Swisscontact is driving the vision of sustainable development forward by incorporating the concepts of gender equality and inclusion, environmental responsibility, good governance, and access to financial services in all its projects and activities. Swisscontact thus contributes to socially and ecologically mindful development based on participation and community involvement.
Swisscontact thus contributes to socially and ecologically mindful development based on participation and community involvement.
Gender equality and social inclusion are important fundamentals in the creation of economic opportunities and skills strengthening. Swisscontact has committed advocates to this concept in more than 120 projects across the globe.
An example of this approach is an education project in the Republic of Chad promoting employment and more importantly, self-sufficient income generation among young people who are marginalised from the formal education system. This is achieved by developing their technical and business skills and providing guidance to encourage their integration into the labour market.
During a sensitisation and information campaign, young people are shown various career paths. The project team explicitly instructs them to select a profession that reflects their desires and preferences. Despite social and cultural barriers, some women have entered professions traditionally considered male, and thus they have broken through under the weight of certain prejudices. As an example, women have opted to become electricians, take up a job in the construction sector, become motorcycle mechanics, or solar panel installation technicians. Conversely, men have chosen professions in gastronomy and nutrition, even though traditionally these have been considered “classic women’s professions.”
Labour market integration remains a challenge for young people who opt for professions that are unconventional for their gender. Around 50 per cent of women and over 80 per cent of men, after completing their training, are working in a profession traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Although young women often earn less than men in these areas, gaining entry to so-called male professions and completing the same jobs as their male colleagues fill them with pride.
According to Koubra Dahab, the mayor of Oum Hadjer (capital of the western province of Batha), young women trained to install and repair solar panels are paid the same as men. They work keenly and produce high-quality results, explains the mayor.
In a country such as Chad, marked so severely by gender-specific cultural norms, these results are very encouraging. They also demonstrate that much remains to be done to facilitate access among men and women on the other side of the gender divide to the entire spectrum of professions.