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The study set to interrogate how gender is constructed in the community engaged in implementing the Millennium Village Project (MVP) in Kenya and consider the implications for the role of women and gender.
The study advances an argument that the construction of gender in the African setting is very different from the universalized western conceptualization of gender.
It is appropriate for international development agencies to take cognizance of details of conceptualization of concepts such as gender.
Africans should avoid the tendency to universalise and essentialise Western conceptions and instead define social phenomenon on their own terms.
Western demands to create gender equality in Africa often fail because they do not work in tandem with the African worldview.
It concludes that the Western designers of projects like the MVP and donors of the gender programs will not be able to sustain their work unless they take account of local perceptions.
In the MVP context, gender has been grounded on parity of access to services and positions of power in the village.
However, equality otherwise clothed as parity in access numbers, does not necessarily translate into gender equity.
Awuor Ponge is a Doctoral Candidate at Kenyatta University’s Department of Gender and Development Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
He is an Associate Research Fellow and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at IPAR – Kenya.
He is a Double-Masters Degree holder in International Development, Education and Gender Studies.
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