What We Do

Child Mortality Control

At the centre of the ICROSS strategic plan 2005-2009 is the role of women in eradication of poverty and development of communities. Most of our projects are delivered to, for and through women. Our policies and planning are designed to reach the needs of women. In 2005 we created a new position for a gender officer.

We have recently seen a shift from Women in Development to Gender and Development. The interconnection between gender and development cannot be understood without understanding the key concepts of gender and sexuality.

Gender is defined as behaviour, roles and a set of characteristics that differentiate women from men socially and culturally. Gender is a social and culture-specific construct that differentiates women from men and defines the ways in which women and men interact. As gender is learned, it is widely believed that gender can be unlearned. Unlike gender, sex is biologically determined; it is received and universal and changing it should in this context be seen as impossible.

Gender does not solely refer to the roles and characteristics of women and men, but more importantly to the power relations between them. Typically, men are responsible for the productive activities outside the home while the domain of women is the reproductive and productive activities within the home. In many economically less developed countries and countries where religion is culturally strong, women often have limited access to income, land, credit and education, and limited control over these resources.

Men throughout the world are behaving in ways that conform to their sense of what it is to 'be a man' in their context; and women throughout the world are manoeuvring within or contesting this. ICROSS is aware of the power relations at play and acknowledge that change in gender relations cannot take place in a vacuum. We believe that men and masculinities must be made an issue in gender planning: if positive change is to be achieved for women, men must change too.

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