Business Action Learning for Innovation, RWEE Kyrgyzstan

Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme
(RWEE) in Kyrgyzstan funded by IFAD, FAO, UNWomen and WFP focuses on strengthening women’s groups and associations and also works at individual level.

‘Bali-bali’ in Kyrgyz means ‘good job’.

Business Action Learning for Inclusion (BALI) methodology methodology funded by IFAD, was developed by Linda Mayoux and piloted 2019-2020 by Asel Kuttubaeva and community champions participating. It aims to:

  • Promote women’s business innovation and diversification of their opportunities within local economies. It aims particularly to help women diversify out of a narrow range of ‘female’ activities and products.
  • Enable women and low income men from all backgrounds to develop and implement realisable business and marketing plans based on their specific opportunities and challenges
  • Enable individuals, groups and projects to monitor progress towards these visions.

IFAD Toolkit 2019

The BALI methodology adapts established PALS-based livelihoods and financial strengthening tools for business innovation by women’s groups and associations. They can also be used by individuals and households. It is a follow-on methodology for community champions who are already familiar with the PALS and/or GALS methodologies. The Toolkit assumes that the facilitators are experienced in PALS facilitation principles and able to adapt in an empowering way to specific contexts with differing economic activities and numbers and backgrounds of participants.

Tool 1 Business Innovation Vision is a participatory exercise based on soul-mate visioning to brainstorm different types of innovative economic activities and/or products and prioritise viable and profitable innovations that could be looked at further.

IFADKGBALI_1_InnovationVision_2019

Tool 2 Business Innovation Challenge Action Tree is a participatory exercise sharing experiences and ideas on production, marketing and human resource challenges in the different innovations and solutions and actions to address them.

IFADKGBALI_2_BusinessInnovationChallengeActionTree_2019

Tool 3 Happy Business Tree is an individual exercise that
aims to increase member commitment and motivation through clarifying expected contributions and benefits of their group participation to individual and household businesses and expenditures. This also helps group leaders to be more aware of the views, needs and contributions of members.

IFADKGBALI_3_HappyBusinessTree_2019

Tool 4  Business Innovation Market Map looks at existing and potential markets for products from the proposed innovation.

IFADKGBALI_4_BusinessInnovationMarketMap_2019

Tool 5 Business Innovation Management Calendar is a detailed cash flow projection that is tracked over time showing anticipated profits from the business innovation, profits from other activities and expenditures and financial costs. It also aims to clarify potential for savings and investment at different times of year. The same tool can be used by groups and organisations and also individuals.

IFADKGBALI_5_BIManagementCalendar_2019

See also livelihood, value chain and financial planning Toolkits:

FALS Toolkit: Oikocredit, ASKI, NWTF Philippines

Financial Action Learning System (FALS) Toolkit produced as part of the Bridging the Gender Gap project implemented by Oikocredit, ASKI and NWTF in Philippines and funded by Church of Sweden.

FALS Phase 1 Catalyst Tools

Oikocredit Catalyst Overview presentation (interactive pdf)

Five tools are introduced over 2 weeks with clients and staff being trained in parallel to allow both clients and staff to learn the same tools and use them for their own personal lives, and for staff to learn clients and for both to learn facilitation skills.   Details of the programme are adapted to the schedules of clients and staff with a combination of half and full days.

The tools are facilitated in different ways depending on particular mixes of participants, aiming for each set of participants to have a coherent and cumulative skill set and able to share with others in different types of setting. For guidelines and examples of different facilitation options and techniques for FALS see:

Empowering Facilitation Techniques

Suggestions for participatory facilitation of workshops for the catalyst tools based on experience in the Philippines are given for each tool below. Peer sharing is mostly done informally based on the mobile versions  and animations of the tools.

Gender Empowerment Tools

  • Tool 1: Vision Journey:  introduces basic drawing, diagramming, participatory and planning skills: What does a happy family look like? what are women, men and children doing? what do they have? who owns what? what is the role of micro-finance? What is there already? what important changes are needed? What are my opportunities and challenges to reach my vision? What is my target by the end of the loan cycle, and what are the steps to achieve it?

FALS Tool 1 Vision Journey mobile version
FALS Tool 1 Vision Journey screen presentation
FALS Tool 1 Participatory Workshop Facilitation Notes

  • Tool 2: Happy Family Tree: Looks in more detail at division of work, expenditure, assets and decision-making in the family. How to make these both more efficient and equitable. This tool forms the basis of empowerment and gender indicators for SPM, and a tool that can be used and aggregated to assess change.

FALS Tool 2 Happy Family Tree mobile version
FALS Tool 2 Happy Family Tree presentation
FALS Tool 2 Happy Family Tree: Participatory Workshop Facilitation Notes

Financial Empowerment Tools

  • Tool 3: Financial Empowerment Map: Looks at emotional, financial and power relationships that can help or constrain progress, including access to financial resources and people they can share the empowerment tools with. As well as increasing understanding of clients’ lives by FSP staff, this tool forms the basis for the upscaling plan and identification of champions who might be paid in future.

 

FALS Tool 3 Financial Empowerment Map mobile version
FALS Tool 3 Financial Empowerment Map Presentation
FALS Tool 3 Financial Empowerment Map: Participatory Workshop Facilitation Notes

  • Tool 4: Loan Business Challenge Action Tree: Identifies in more detail recurrent challenges for the business for which they propose to take the loan in relation to production, marketing and household, looking at gender issues and role of micro-finance. This Tool is also used by the FSP for participatory market research on specific products and services.

FALS Tool 4 Business Challenge Action Tree mobile
FALS Tool 4 Business Challenge Action Tree presentation
FALS Tool 4 Business Challenge Action Tree : Participatory Workshop  Facilitation Notes

  • Tool 5: Financial Management Calendar : A plan for business and financial management, integrating learnings from the Happy Family Tree, Financial Empowerment Map and Challenge Action Tree.  The tools is tracked as a tool for learning to manage businesses and finance better. At FSP level this becomes over time a required part of the loan application process, and assessing applications for loan rescheduling. When applying for loans clients need to bring any previous FMCs and a new FMC for the loan being applied for.

FALS Tool 5 Financial Management Calendar mobile version
FALS Tool 5 Financial Management Calendar presentation
FALS Tool 5 Financial Management Calendar : Participatory Workshop Facilitation Notes

FALS Review: Client Empowerment Deepening

In March 2018 a further 5 day workshop was held to review the changes and tools so far, and bring them together to deepen client empowerment, particularly on gender issues.

FALS Review Suggested Schedule

  • Tool 6: Gender Empowerment Diamond :  looks at gender issues that constrain women and men from achieving their full potential. This builds on the discussion from Tool 2 Happy Family Tree and serves as a retrospective review of the changes that have happened because of FALS. It also identifies client priorities for further changes. These then enable client-led identification of gender indicators that can be integrated into SPM and used as a gender checklist for assessing product innovation. This same tool can be used with staff as part of development of an organisational internal gender policy.

FALS Tool 6 Gender Empowerment Diamond mobile version
FALS Tool 6 Gender Empowerment Diamond presentation
Gender Diamond Monitoring Sheet Draft March 2018 : ASKI

  • Tool 7: Empowerment Vision Highway : brings together the Loan Management Calendar, Happy Family Tree/Client Empowerment Diamond and Financial Resources/Change Leadership Maps into a 3 lane ‘Highway’ plan. This is used to summarise the economic, gender and leadership changes that have happened because of FALS, and plan further change on all three lanes for the next loan cycle.

FALS Tool 7 Empowerment Vision Highway mobile version 
FALS Tool 7 Empowerment Vision Highway presentation

FALS Phase 3: Sustainable Mainstreaming

FALS is a two year process and goes therefore beyond the one year pilot project. Sustainable mainstreaming entails FALS integration into:

  • Loan Management: Full integration of the Loan Management Calendar, backed up by the other tools in case of repayment difficulties into the loan application process implemented by loan managers. This has started with the pilot, but requires a couple of loan cycles to fully refine and train all project management staff and the clients.
  • Other capacity building, and possibly addition of other PALS/value chain/GALSatScale tools.  This has started – for example use of the Vision Journey for staff career planning. But needs further training of the MFI in other PALS tools. Integration serves to reduce costs of FALS training and means that other trainings are further strengthening client planning, participatory, communication and analytical skills.
  • SPM as client empowerment and gender indicators with manageable modes for collection of information by loan management and/or SPM and/or other research staff.
  • Product innovation and market research process: this requires capacity building, piloting and refinement of a further Tool 8: Win-win product innovation tree (based on other PALS Challenge Action/Win-win trees in value chain development).

Suggestions on how each tool can feed into the above is given in the guidelines for each tool above. How FALS can be streamlined and integrated into activities of each of the participating partners is still to be further developed and piloted together with clients based on experience by September 2018.

 

Copyright and Usage

© Linda Mayoux 2017

Unless otherwise stated on the relevant document, all materials on this website are copyright of Linda Mayoux.

Copyright aims

The aims of this Copyright are to:

  • make the methodology as freely available as possible, including for use by smaller local organisations on the ground and including further adaptations and innovations by others.
  • create thereby a change movement that can work together for community-led gender justice advocacy.
  • avoid distortion of the methodology by plagiarism that can  and bring it into disrepute. Thus damaging possibilities for advocacy and fundraising by all those working hard on the ground.
  • avoid powerful organisations and ‘experts’ imposing their own copyright restrictions in adaptations of the methodology and maintain freedom of use for all.

Conditions of use

The materials are free for use and adaptation for noncommercial and ethical purposes under Creative Commons protocols, on condition that :

  • you notify Linda Mayoux through filling in the comment form below, stating the purpose for which you are using it. She will then contact you by email.
  • there is a very clear and visible accreditation of the authors of the relevant materials and the implementing and funding organisations.
  • there is a URL link to the original document on this website, and a link to the page on which it originates prominently displayed and a link to this copyright page.
  • Linda Mayoux is cited as the originator of the PALS methodology and its GALS, FALS and other derivatives.
  • you send Linda Mayoux a copy of the final document/public reports with a brief 200-500 word description so they can be posted on this blog.
  • you subscribe to and post on Facebook for comment and input by others through: gamechangenetwork facebook page  to contribute your ideas and experience to others.

For commercial purposes and use by private companies, application should be made to Linda Mayoux through filling in the comment form below.

An example of accreditation protocol:

For the original document and other PALS/GALS/FALS adaptations and experiences for livelihoods, value chain and coffee sector see: http://gamechangenetwork.org/empowerment-methodology-pals/ . For more about experiences of using the methodology elsewhere see links from: http://gamechangenetwork.org and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GAMEchange-Network-419097981602626/ . Any further adaptation and use of this document should observe the ethical Copyright principles stated in: http://gamechangenetwork.org/copyright/ in the interests of maintaining free use of the methodology and expanding the gender advocacy movement. Any errors of translation or interpretation (and also credit for further innovation) lie with the authors.

Photography

Unless otherwise stated all photographs on this website are copyrighted to Linda Mayoux. They can be downloaded as long as they are accredited with a link to the website page.

High resolution versions of the images are available on: http://www.zemniimages.com/GAMEchangeNetwork. 

All are password-protected but free to use by the participants, partner organisations and sponsors of the relevant project. That is to protect the people in photographs and also the interests of the project and funders.

If other people want to use these images, please send a request as a comment to the homepage of this website and I or the relevant organisation will get back to you.

Notebooks

The basic principle of PALS is that people need to really value their learning, and that money should not be wasted producing thousands of manuals and toolkits given out for free that people do not use. Only the first champions are given notebooks. Then in the peer sharing process other people buy their own.

One idea developed in Tanzania and Kenya as part of the Hivos galsatscale process, and currently being considered for Ethiopia, were simple notebooks for the champions to sell.

Basic idea

Champions would receive notebooks with the core tools and information printed on the front and inside cover at cost price. These would be of varying quality and price to on-sell at market price to people in their peer sharing network, schools etc. Based on a market assessment by the champions. The margin being then used as a community fund for eg savings and credit seed money, women’s rights, youth work etc. As also decided by the champions.

 Aims

1) to give the champions a means of attracting more people into their network once they have got sufficient experience with training and facilitation. It also enhances champions’ status and makes the methodology more visible and ‘official’. It is also a way of recruiting more active champions who then also on sell and maintaining the core messages.

2) to increase promotion and outreach of the main gender/youth messages and the tools to a very large number (thousands) of people to start to bring them into the system and motivate them to learn more. In Tanzania focusing on schools for example led to potential outreach of thousands just in one community. In both Kenya and Tanzania the focus is also on private sector and cooperatives as part of Good Agricultural Practices technical training.

3) to create a sense of common community – notebooks can be updated and reprinted each year with photos and/or contacts/names of ‘top ten champions’ as a means of social recognition.

4) to bring children into the system as an entry point to their parents. If children use the books and colour in their own visions, share these with parents, who then also do theirs, then this is also a way of consolidating relationships in the family bringing in fathers as well as mothers.

5) to build up community funds – people pay for the notebooks, but the money does not go back to the provider but into a transparent community fund. Maintaining the principle of ‘no free lunch’, but making sure that the lunch money is collected for common benefit.

6) to promote the contacts of lead persons who can be hired in further replication in other organisations, and also ethical branding  for national and international organisations in the process.

Suggested contents

The printing is only on the cover, both sides and back and front so 4 pages. These would be a combination of:

  • short development messages eg Women’s Rights in CEDAW on back cover
  • pictures and short steps of the 4 main tools in that process on the inside of the cover 2 at the front and 2 at the back. In Tanzania people were literate so very short Swahili text was given. That would also be appropriate for eg schoolbooks. Where people cannot read and write the the pictorial tool steps can be shown. But the aim is just to remind people of the basics so they do their own drawings on the other pages, but also still have the standard main steps to share with others to whom they may sell notebooks.
  • contact and organisational information, maybe list of top 10 women and men champions, and logos and contacts of sponsor organisations.
  • standard boxes for person’s name etc.

Viability

Discussion with champions in Tanzania and with printers indicate that this would be viable if the scale of on-selling is large enough to do a bulk order of over 10,000 books with one design. This would be possible with promotion through schools and coops.

It is the best use also of any project money for materials – instead of more glossy toolkits you can reach many thousands and encourage self-reliant learning.

Options

Different versions at different prices can be produced – for example very cheap black and white colouring books on different coloured covers for the very basic messages and then more glossy ones for livelihood tools  when people are ‘hooked’ on the methodology.

In Tanzania people said the most popular notebooks would be ones that were specific to different communities eg with pictures of a local landmark. But these would also be more expensive to produce. A combination of the following were developed:

1a) Deluxe full colour with photos of the villages and champions and catalyst tools outside and inside the cover.

small size. These would be relatively expensive and need to be subsidised either by the printer as part of their CSR and/or by the private sector company as part of their brand promotion – with both the logos on. That is the preferred option for the champions.

Illela Notebook Swahili: Daftari_Illela_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

Ngima Notebook Swahili 20×24.5cm: Daftari_Ngima_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

Same Notebook coloured draft:  Daftari_Same_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

1b) Counterbook size with all the tools on the back cover. This would reduce printing costs but maybe smaller market. Maybe do one of these for the whole process with pictures from all the locations.

1c) Use this for the livelihood rather than the basic tools. Once people have been attracted to the system through the cheap standard notebooks.

2a) Cheap standard notebook with just one (black) or two (green or red and black) on cheap paper

This could be used as a colouring-in book as a more active experience. That would be very good for eg promotion for school children – maybe promoted in a school class by a teacher from the process. This could be available at the same price as other school exercise books.

GALS Notebook Black and red small

2b) A counterbook or A4 version could also be done with all the tools just on the back cover.

3) Calendar format

Another option considered was to design calendars eg with a Multilane Plan and some photos of champions instead of the standard corporate calendars that companies and organisations give out.

Issues

  1. Market research needs to be done with champions based on what they think people will buy, but also including printers to advise on types of paper, colours and types of images to put together something that is both impactful and cost-efficient. This needs to be sustainable in the longer term – once the first market push creates demand.
  2. Need to understand the literacy levels of proposed customers and produce different versions.
  3. Notebooks are not a substitute for proper peer sharing – handing a notebook to someone for them to buy is not sufficient. This would need to be made clear to the champions, and also people buying them.
  4. How would the pre-financing be arranged between the implementing organisation, private companies/coops and champions?