Empowerment Methodology

The empowerment methodologies used are adaptations of the generic Participatory Action Learning System (PALS) methodology.

PALS is a community-led empowerment methodology which aims to give women, youth as well as men more control over their lives and catalyse and support a sustainable movement for social justice. PALS mainstreams gender and diversity as essential components of the effectiveness and sustainability of  any development intervention.

PALS principles, generic tools, facilitation and implementation  (PALS)

However, although there are common ethical principles, generic diagrams and participatory facilitation and listening techniques, each PALS process is unique and adapted over time to different purposes, contexts and types of development action. The methodology can be used on its own or integrated into existing activities and programmes. Once the tools are learned and networks built, the methodology forms a solid participatory basis for enabling more inclusive, effective and cost-efficient democratic policy development and gender advocacy. The generic PALS methodology as:

Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale (GALSatScale)

A gender-focused methodology that explicitly aimed to gender justice and transformation. This was initially developed with Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union and champions in Mwana Mulho in Rwenzoris in Uganda under  Oxfam Novib’s Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN) programme.  It has since been used as part of many initiatives

Livelihood and Value Chain Development

PALS was used from 2002 for livelihood development in Uganda and India. In 2004 the tools were used in Ethiopia and Kenya as part of work with ILO on gender mainstreaming in value chain development. It was then further developed as part of Oxfam Novib/IFAD’s Gender and Value Chain Development Programme (GENVAD in Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda) and TWIN-UK Great Lakes Project (Uganda, DRC and Malawi) and with Nestle in Cote d’Ivoire. It is currently being developed as part of SNV Ethiopia‘s Gender and Youth Empowerment in Horticulture Markets.

Happy Family Happy Coffee

From 2013 the GALSatScale, livelihood and leadership tools were developed as part of gender mainstreaming in the coffee sector with Hivos and Ecom Trading in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Indonesia. In 2015 this led to development of a curriculum for integrating GALSatScale Tools into the Good Agricultural Practices technical training of private sector companies. Linked to gender advocacy in the sector.

Financial Action Learning System (FALS)

PALS was used since 2001 with microfinance programmes, particularly as part of gender training with Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan. More recently with IFAD and Oikicredit in Philippines it is being developed as a specific methothology for Financial Service Providers to combine financial education for clients, participatory market research on product and service innovation and Social Performance Management.

For future development

Further adaptations explored and envisaged for further development include:

  • literacy and numeracy integration
  • environmental management
  • nutrition and food security
  • health and reproductive rights
  • leadership, governance and civil society development
  • counselling and conflict resolution.




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