Nijera Kori – Gender Case Study Final Draft incorporating feedback from Nijera Kori, Tanja Haque and Kate Hart May 28th 2004 Susie Jolly Contents


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Both women and men are poor and exploited, so we should work together and think jointly.

- Men’s group member Shaghata area
The Nijeri Kori philosophy is that poor women and men have common interests, and are exploited by the same system. This philosophy generates a gender strategy which emphasises creating ways for women and men to work together in greater equality, in contrast to the sex segregated and unequal society in which they live. Staff collective living arrangements reflect this philosophy. The mainstreaming of gender in recruitment, performance evaluation, and content of group discussion and training, also reflects this integrationist approach.
At the same time, the need for single sex spaces, particularly for women, is recognised as highly necessary, and built into the programme. NK’s core activity is organising landless people’s groups, which are single sex (although male staff may help female staff organise women’s groups, and vice versa). Only at a higher level of elected committees do landless men and women participate in the same group. Similarly, training for group members at a most basic level is single sex, and only later are trainings mixed. On elected bodies for both group members and staff, seats are reserved for women if a minimum number of women are not otherwise elected.
The table below outlines NK achievements in relation to gender, the challenges remaining, and strategies used to tackle these. Sections 3 and 4 explore these in more detail.

NK Gender issues




Whole organisation

Consistency in values and practices between programme and staff, common vision of collective struggle for human rights and equality, including an end to women’s exploitation
Breaking stereotypes of how women and men should relate to each other

Patriarchal system

Rise in religious fundamentalist activities at grassroots and other levels

Shame associated with interactions between women and men, and in women being active in the public sphere

Philosophy of women and men’s common interests and common exploitation
Gender mainstreaming throughout procedures and processes

Strategic creation of mixed and single sex spaces

Landless groups

More women’s groups formed than men’s groups
Successful organising by women’s and men’s groups for women’s rights eg. Higher wages
Some community and family gender norms have changed eg. Less domestic violence
Women and men group members have pooled economic resources to raise standard of living
Women and men group members take part in democratic landless group structures
Women and men group members engage with local, national and international politics. Women and men group members are invited to take part in local village councils (shalishes)
Cultural groups educate on women’s exploitation

Men’s groups less likely to take up these issues than women’s groups, especially where NK is not so strong in the area

Men’s groups still on average have more resources than women’s groups

Fewer women elected than men

Women less engaged, and fewer women elected to government positions than men

Very few women in cultural groups

Continue to address women’s exploitation in training and group discussions
Women’s groups encouraged to buy land and campaign for higher wages
Reserved seats for women, foster women’s leadership through single sex training
Foster women’s leadership through single sex training

Groups making efforts to recruit more women


Staff cultural teams educate on women’s exploitation

Collective living creates space for women and men to live in equality and an alternative to family life. Women living and working in an NGO without male guardians become agents for change and role models for other women.

Democratic election of management and higher level leadership
Spaces for children in the workplace

Cultural teams men only due to sexual harassment of women when they travel as performers
Twice as many male staff as female staff, some women deterred by collective living in remote areas

More male staff at middle level management

Attitude that mothers rather than fathers are responsible for children

Sensitising men for positive change as well as encouraging women to be more active in cultural activities
Adjusting living conditions to make more acceptable to women, recruitment drives focussed on women

Reserved seats for women, women’s leadership training

Continue discussion of gender roles


The NK philosophy is that through collective organising the landless can gain strength to assert their rights and escape poverty. This is recognised as a long-term and difficult battle. Exploitation of women is seen as an integral part of the larger framework of exploitation to be resisted. The issue is thoroughly mainstreamed into organising and training of landless groups. Most statistics are gender disaggregated and gender indicators for group performance are included such as number of successful protests organised on violence against women and dowry.

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