International development: Global South Panel minutes - October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the panel on 27 October 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Christopher Mutawali, Chair Scotland Zambia Partnership
  • Antonia Mutoro FAWE (Rwanda)
  • Letty Chiwara, UNWomen Malawi
  • Tasha Boardman, Scottish Government
  • Laura MacLaughlin, Scottish Government
  • Claire Duncanson, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Council on Global Affairs 
  • Frances Guy, Scotland’s International Development Alliance


  • Prof Emmanuel Makasa (Zambia)
  • Joyce Phiri, Chair, Association of Malawian in Scotland

Items and actions


Tasha Boardman – Works in the ID Team, overseeing SG work in Malawi. Also working on the Scottish Government’s International Development Equalities Programming 2023+, which she will discuss today.

Laura MacLaughlin - the Scottish Government’s lead on Feminist Foreign Policy, which she will discuss today.

Claire Duncanson – From University of Edinburgh. Organising stakeholder workshops on FFP for the SG. Held work workshop in August and provided an initial paper what a Scottish FFP might look like. Had input from academics from across Scotland, Scottish CSOs some Global South participants and Scottish Government officials. The starting point for the Workshop was the belief that feminism isn’t just about gender equality, or just aiming to increase women’s rights. It’s about tackling the structures that drive the inequalities, and drive insecurity, poverty, and marginalisation. Tackling structures means tackling global economic systems, structures of militarism and war. Those fundamental global structures that are at the route of the problems that we face (poverty, inequalities, Climate etc.), that have particular impacts on women. Everything Scotland does should have transformation of structures in mind. Four workshops planned, on ID, Peace and Security, Economic Justice and Climate Justice. A final workshop on measurable, actionable policies that contribute to transformative change

Frances Guy – From Scotland’s International Development Alliance. Reminded the meeting that what we think might be structural change, might not be what it looks like on the ground. Workshops aim to have as diverse participation as be as diverse as possible. Need to challenge our self to think about what a small amount of money from Scotland do, what difference can it make. Try to shift ID thinking.

Tasha Boardman – gave a presentation (slides) on ID Equalities programme 23+, reminded the meeting that this is an iterative process. Highlighted SG committed to taking a human rights approach. SG recognised the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on women and girls in the Global South. Gender equality is Critical to building back better. ID team looking at power structures, how we can decolonise our approach. How we can shift power to the Global South, and engagement meaningfully with our partners.

Going to establish our equalities programme, staring with the women’s and girls empowerment fund. As the IDF increase over the coming years, we will look to expand our equalities programme. Looking at mainstreaming gender equality in our programme to ensure SG funding does not exacerbate inequality.

Women’s and Girls empowerment fund aim is to empower women and girls in our partner countries. Likely, in the space of Advocacy and/or capacity Strengthen grants. Key is taking a participatory approach to design, so tendering for an organisation to run a participatory design approach to this programme, engaging with women, girls and CSOs to identify key areas for interventions, what the interventions may be. Designing the programme using a bottom-up approach, using experts by experience. Tender will not be prescriptive, want the fund to be designed by people in our Partner countries in order to ensure we fund the interventions needed. Would welcome the Panels advice on this approach. Hoping to go out to tender next year.

Using a participatory lead approach as it values a led approach giving meaningful participation by those often excluded. In line with our wish to move power south. In relation to our gender mainstreaming approach, we are looking to be gender responsive or gender transformative in our approach in our programming. Going to adopt the OECD Gender policy marker tool. Good way of tracking commitment, but not necessarily best at measuring impact. Will also look at other areas to mainstream inequalities, and tools available to support us with this. Going forward all our programmes should have a positive impact on gender inequality and/or the empowerment of women and girls or meet gender specific needs so gender is an important and specific objective. In relation to M&E specific gender analysis required to show how projects are supporting gender objectives. Happy to provide more information if required.

Laura MacLaughlin – Interested to hear from Panel members on the questions in the Paper provided. FFP in Programme for Government in 2021. Foreign policy reserved to UK but look at where we can work in these areas. Looked at other jurisdictions to see what they are doing and may be applicable to Scotland. Ensuring where we are working abroad, we are driven by these feminist principles. Don’t have a definition of FFP. Going to publish further information on 2 November. Will share the paper with the Panel. Also publishing a seen setter note (previously provided to the Panel). We are in listening and learning mode. Going into five months of very broad engagement, and will then publish a report, which will be the evidence for our Policy Statement to be published in 2023. We have questions, not sure if they are the right questions to ask, so interested in the Panel’s views on them. Happy to receive feedback in writing. Also be interested in getting connected to others who might provide a view.

Antonia – Agrees with presenters, likes the participatory approach to developing programmes. It will be inclusive and owned by the individuals, countries, and beneficiaries. Commends this approach. Should also look at national data indicators. Panel are here to work with you and suggest others to bring on-board to help. Also likes FFP, it is more than gender. Goes to root causes that nurture inequalities, and abusive policies and norms. Suggest, in Rwanda, given indicators and Data if we are tackling gender inequalities, start with the Education sector (and skills). For young people ITC and STEM is important, but women and girls marginalised in this area. Lot of interventions needed. Access to finance, employment and entrepreneurship and business education are all important. Participatory approach best way as it allows vulnerable people to be part of the process.

Government of Rwanda increased number of women in to political positions, in decision making. But only in political positions. When it comes to academic positions, TEVET, Engineering, Teaching women’s leadership is a challenge. There are minimum role models for girls. Like the participatory approach, as it will work for Rwanda.

Letty – Congratulations for the bottom up, and participatory approach which in terms of programme design and programming is the only way to go. Playing Devil’s Advocate, re the gender dividend in Malawi, and how we can close the gender gap. Two issues that are important, tackling institutional challenges/issues and social norm change. We cannot do gender change without looking at social norms that drive inequalities. Second issue is that of male engagement, we cannot effect changes without male engagement. Feminist theory been forming over the years, with some going against this approach saying it leaves men behind. It is not tackling the root causes. Recently the idea of male engagement has taken root. Research shows, feminist approach is the entry point to addressing inequalities, but now need to combine this with male engagement. Coined new phrase FEM MEN ISM, to acknowledging feminism is good, but also saying men should be partners of change and transformation. Global North have produced good feminist policies, but to what extent have these driven their actions in the Global South. Need to put in some thinking is Feminist Policy taking us to where we want to be, or do we want to coin it differently. Do we want Scotland to really think through whether current FFPs have really driven the transformation we are talking about today?

Looking forward to interrogating more the FFP to look at it from a different perspective, to see how we define it for Scotland. There are lots of definitions of FFP, so we need to be clear what Scotland’s definition of FFP is. This could set it apart from other FFPs, that have not seen much change in the Global South.

Antonia – Agreed with Letty, Rwanda is using a mixed approach to feminism, through “Men Engaged”, to have men and boys to work together with women working to take forward gender equality norms, and it is making a difference. This is having impact.

Christopher – A good think to bring these issues now. Women should now be leader; they have powerful voices and bring powerful leadership. FFP is is a good thing. Zambia VP is a woman, with high leadership’s skills. A feminist approach is very good.

Laura - Thanks for contributions. Some helpful points brought up. Are we covering the right areas?

Antonia – If we are tackling issues with women and girls, then we have to look at sexual productive health and rights should be on the agenda. One of the issues needs to be understood by all, to allow young women to grow.

Letty – Looking on the questions, need time to consider them. But on the first one, what could be the core principles of a feminist approach. I think the principle of inclusion is key, participatory, Rights Base and inclusion (men). If it doesn’t have that it will not work in this continent where the male engagement is taking root. Needs to be transparency and ownership by those who you intend to change their lives.

Christopher – Can I email written comments?

Ian – This would be great to give us something concrete to work on. Thanks to everyone for contributions. SG have been asked to provide information on the Panel, so we are putting together a paper on the GSP (including names, but no contact details) to be published on our webpages. This part of being open and transparent. Will also send a link to the pages. Minister will now join every third meeting (next meeting in December).

Written responses to the questions by 15 November, if possible, please.

Meeting closed

Back to top