PALS (and other adaptations like GALS and FALS) has been adapted to different cultural and organisational contexts – including communities where no organisation exists, cooperatives of varying sizes, private commercial companies and NGOs and donor agencies.
Each PALS process is unique. Both the implementation process and the specific versions of the diagram tools used are designed with women and men community ‘champions’, an experienced PALS practitioner and a core of implementing staff/local leaders. The local adaptation is then scaled up through a combination on community-level peer training, organisational capacity-building and inter-organisational replication and further adaptation.
Implementation is currently conceived in the following three phases at community level:
- Phase 1: Catalyst Phase
- Phase 2: Advanced Tools and Leadership Strengthening
- Phase 3: Annual Review and Sustainability Plan
In parallel with progressive:
- Organisational Mainstreaming
- Multistakeholder change movement
PALS Phase 1: Catalyst Phase
The Catalyst Phase is a 0-6 months process involving two parallel activities, sequenced and adapted to the overall aims and design of the intervention, the needs of the participants involved and the context. It generally consists of:
- Inception consultations with the implementing organisations to agree on overall purpose of the PALS process, activity schedule, selection of field-testing and pilot locations and participants in the light of the overall goals and a sustainability plan. Ideally this involves a 2-3 day face to face meeting for detailed presentation of the methodology and a visit by the lead persons to an organisation already implementing PALS. Alternatively through setting up a draft blog page and e-discussion in advance and 2-3 days planning and field context visits by the external facilitator immediately before the Champion Catalyst Workshop.
- Champion Catalyst Workshop/s (5 days – preferably as 10 half days over 2 weeks) with 20-60 champions from one or more communities and organisations facilitated by GALS expert practitioner/s. This introduces at least the first four tools: Soulmate visioning, Vision Journey, Gender Balance Tree and Empowerment Leadership Map together with songs and cultural innovations and basic facilitation and peer sharing skills.
- Core staff and champion facilitation training (5 days – preferably as 10 half days over 2 weeks in parallel to champion workshops so that staff get hands-on facilitation practice)
- Community Peer Sharing Community peer sharing workshops (1 day each) immediately following the Champion Catalyst Workshops. The champions practice the facilitation skills, start to establish their leadership networks and reinforce their own understandings of the tools.
- Community Action Learning Ongoing tracking of progress at individual level, group sharing of experiences and support from the local core catalyst team. Champions then track and share progress in existing or new groups. Aiming to implement their visions and gender changes and for each champion to scale up by a factor of average 1 to 30 over 6 months.
Phase 2: Advanced Tools And Leadership Strengthening
After 3-6 months more advanced versions of the same tools are introduced for the most active champions emerging through the catalyst phase through:
- core skills strengthening (eg livelihoods, health, climate change) (3 days) to: introduce more advanced versions of the basic diagram tools adapted for livelihoods (increasing incomes challenge action tree, household business tree, market map, livelihood calendar vision journey) and examine areas for collaboration to increase incomes. This starts to look at how the business/efficiency case for gender and PALS could be established and how to collect the necessary information.
- leadership strengthening (3 days) introduces tools for leadership development (leadership soulmate visioning, leadership diamond, leadership challenge action tree and leadership vision journey) and reflect on PALS facilitation and peer sharing experience.
- initiating monitoring system reviews experience so far looking at the achievements (red ripe fruits) on the original diagrams and introduces the core PALS monitoring tool for the whole process (Multi-lane Vision Journey).
Phase 3: Annual Review And Sustainability Plan
After 1 year an Annual PALS@Scale Review and Sustainability Planning Workshop agrees or at least initiates a sustainability plan for further deepening gender and livelihood changes, strengthening leadership and scaling up for the following year.
- Achievement review brings together aggregated information on achievements on: core aims (eg livelihoods, health etc) to establish the local business/efficiency case for PALS; gender justice and deepens understanding and commitment to gender justice and women’s human rights and peer sharing networks and upscaling.
- Sustainability plan identifies the most effective strategies for pyramid peer sharing to accelerate voluntary scaling up and strengthen leadership networks and certifies a core set of the best champions who have changed their own lives and taught a significant number of people in their own communities to a good quality standard, and who have participatory facilitation skills. They will qualify to be involved in upscaling, documentation and dissemination on a paid basis in other regions (locally, nationally or internationally) in recognition of their contribution to increasing profits of the company/cooperative and/or reducing costs for the service organisation.
- Leadership and facilitation strengthening trains the champions to facilitate larger meetings using soulmate visioning, gender justice diamond, challenge action trees and organisational vision journey.
- Multimedia documentation for promotion and advocacy and to finalise training materials that can be used at different levels, establishing the business/efficiency case and covering gender issues arising to feed into gender strategies and advocacy.
Organisational mainstreaming builds on and links with the community-level process. Staff are trained by the champions, and then have a role later in monitoring and supporting service improvement and/or advocacy on issues arising from the community process. The mainstreaming process follows the same stages integrated with the community process:
- Catalyst Inception meetings (1-3 days before the catalyst process) for preliminary introductions and training of a small team of core staff who will be involved in leading implementation. Ideally they would also go to see PALS in an existing PALS resource organisation. They also use the tools for themselves. Following the catalyst workshop, there is also a planning meeting to look at short term implementation and possibilities for longer term sustainability.
- Organisational/stakeholder visioning and planning after 3-6 months larger numbers of staff are involved in the process strengthening workshops, trained by the champions. By this time the value of PALS and working on gender should have been established on the ground with both men and women community advocates. This enables a discussion of ways of mainstreaming upscaling within existing staff activities involving the champions.
- Review and Sustainability Plan introduce the methodology properly for staff, demonstrate its proven value for the organisation and discuss ways of mainstreaming using facilitated by the champions and core catalyst team to . Ongoing implementation and tracking of progress at individual level, group sharing of experiences, organisational quantification and aggregation of information on changes by the local core catalyst team and work on integration into the business model and supporting institutions. includes and trains field staff who will integrate gender justice and relevant PALS tools and processes into other organisational activities including technical and other training.
Multi-Stakeholder Change Movement
Although the prime focus of PALS is to empower women and men to vision, plan and achieve their goals through individual and community-level actions, this process seeks to link stakeholders in private sector companies, government and other agencies to make the process both sustainable and enable significant gains in wealth creation, development and social justice. Through developing mutual understanding, communication and listening skills of powerful stakeholders. How this is done depends on the purpose and also context, but includes:
- Training local government and other stakeholders by the champions
- Identification of local funding from private sector, local government and community-based organisations for continued upscaling to new communities and organisations and other gender, livelihood or leadership activities to further deepen the local process.
- Advocacy research and media linkages through local research institutes and media to document and promote the process on an ongoing basis.