Change Movement

Based on presentation and follow up to the IFAD Household Methodology Forum Rome June 2016.

Upscaling Household Methodologies: Presentation for IFAD Rome June 2016

From thousands to millions: Ways forward for Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale Blogpost July 2016

PALS has been shown to be an effective methodology for enabling women, youth and men to vision and also achieve significant increases in income, food security, asset ownership and participation in civil society and higher level value chains. In some members of this network they have been delivered on a fully financially sustainable basis for thousands of people in rural and urban areas.

GALS methodologies in particular, through the focus on gender, have potential to empower not only women, but also men and youth to improve their lives, significantly increasing happiness and wellbeing as well as incomes. With spread effects then for communities and ultimately national economies. Conversely research has shown that gender and generational inequalities within households are a key cause of poverty, leading to violence, food insecurity and wastage of productive resources that ultimately benefit no one. The failure to address these inequalities undermines the effectiveness (and profitability) of financial services, agricultural and nutrition training and value chain development, leading to significant wastage of time and resources by financial service providers, cooperatives, private sector and government as well as NGOs and donor agencies. It is clear therefore that HHM are not an optional add-on to other interventions, but a cost-effective methodology for empowering women and men as a core business strategy making other interventions more effective and cost-efficient or even profitable. As such they should be an integral part of longer term business investment or any ‘mainstream’ development intervention.

Toolkits exist for integration into value chain development, good agricultural practices in cooperatives and private sector companies, responsible finance and have also been adapted for food security and climate change management and projects with youth.

There are also locally run web-based networks linking farmers to exchange experiences and dissemination through radio and other media.

But fully sustainable models still need to be developed and proven to gain global adoption. There is still a need for further community-led innovation to further increase ability of women, men and youth to significantly increase incomes and change intra-household and other inequalities in the longer term, accelerate community-level upscaling and contribute to community-led monitoring for action research.

Sustainable upscaling to millions and gender empowerment mainstreaming in business models will require more than just rolling out a few tools in a series of ‘expert-led’ TOTs. Capacity-building needs to be based on:

Training and certification of thousands of Community Empowerment Advisers (CEAs) proven community-level champions with a proven record of personal change and voluntary upscaling for more than 1 year who will convince local, national and international stakeholders that community-led empowerment methodologies can really change lives of their target populations on a financially sustainable and even profitable basis. These CEAs will play a significant paid role not only in local and national replication for upscaling, but also innovation and advocacy.
Training and certification of national, regional and global Empowerment Mainstreaming Advisers (EMAs) experienced in empowerment tools, but also high levels of participatory and gender expertise and qualification across a range of livelihood interventions, proficiency in adult education good practice including visual communication and ‘fun’ training activities, IT, multimedia and documentation skills.
Credible and inspiring documentation developed as action learning to improve and disseminate practice at all levels and firmly establish ‘the business case’ for mainstreaming, rather than mechanical policing just for donors.
Development of on-line resources and IT skills at all levels from mobile phones of people at community levek to engaging websites for an international audience. Internet services are now cheap in many countries and Facebook and local equivalents are used by increasing numbers of farmers. Effective use and development of social networking and local and international language blogs can significantly increase upscaling and reduce costs of sharing information. This offers a particular role for youth involvement and contribution.
Dynamic and sustainable innovation and advocacy networks at all local through to global levels that use their existing activities and opportunities for gender empowerment advocacy and fundraising. These networks need to strongly encourage independent thinking and creativity, and also sharing, reaching out to as many other organisations and forums as possible to promote the core empowerment and rights agenda.

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.

PALS has been shown to be an effective methodology for enabling women, youth and men to vision and also achieve significant increases in income, food security, asset ownership and participation in civil society and higher level value chains. In some members of this network they have been delivered on a fully financially sustainable basis for thousands of people in rural and urban areas.

GALS methodologies in particular, through the focus on gender,  have potential to empower not only women, but also men and youth to improve their lives, significantly increasing happiness and wellbeing as well as incomes. With spread effects then for communities and ultimately national economies.

See Impact Assessments:

Conversely research has shown that gender and generational inequalities within households are a key cause of poverty, leading to violence, food insecurity and wastage of productive resources that ultimately benefit no one. The failure to address these inequalities undermines the effectiveness (and profitability) of financial services, agricultural and nutrition training and value chain development, leading to significant wastage of time and resources by financial service providers, cooperatives, private sector and government as well as NGOs and donor agencies. It is clear therefore that gender and generational empowerment strategies are not an optional add-on to other interventions, but a cost-effective methodology for empowering women as well as men as a core business strategy making other interventions more effective and cost-efficient or even profitable. As such they should be an integral part of longer term business investment or any ‘mainstream’ development intervention.

Toolkits exist for integration into value chain development, good agricultural practices in cooperatives and private sector companies, responsible finance and have also been adapted for food security and climate change management and projects with youth.

There are also locally run web-based networks linking farmers to exchange experiences and dissemination through radio and other media.

But fully sustainable models still need to be developed and proven to gain global adoption. There is still a need for further community-led innovation to further increase ability of women, men and youth to significantly increase incomes and change intra-household and other inequalities in the longer term, accelerate community-level upscaling and contribute to community-led monitoring for action research.

Sustainable upscaling to millions and gender empowerment mainstreaming in business models will require more than just rolling out a few tools in a series of ‘expert-led’ TOTs. Capacity-building needs to be based on:

  • Training and certification of thousands of Community Empowerment Advisers (CEAs) proven community-level champions with a proven record of personal change and voluntary upscaling for more than 1 year who will convince local, national and international stakeholders that community-led empowerment methodologies can really change lives of their target populations on a financially sustainable and even profitable basis. These CEAs will play a significant paid role not only in local and national replication for upscaling, but also innovation and advocacy.
  • Training and certification of national, regional and global Empowerment Mainstreaming Advisers (EMAs) experienced in empowerment tools, but also high levels of participatory and gender expertise and qualification across a range of livelihood interventions, proficiency in adult education good practice including visual communication and ‘fun’ training activities, IT, multimedia and documentation skills.
  • Credible and inspiring documentation developed as action learning to improve and disseminate practice at all levels and firmly establish ‘the business case’ for mainstreaming, rather than mechanical policing just for donors.
  • Development of on-line resources and IT skills at all levels from mobile phones of people at community levek to engaging websites for an international audience. Internet services are now cheap in many countries and Facebook and local equivalents are used by increasing numbers of farmers. Effective use and development of social networking and local and international language blogs can significantly increase upscaling and reduce costs of sharing information. This offers a particular role for youth involvement and contribution.
  • Dynamic and sustainable innovation and advocacy networks at all local through to global levels that use their existing activities and opportunities for gender empowerment advocacy and fundraising. These networks need to strongly encourage independent thinking and creativity, and also sharing, reaching out to as many other organisations and forums as possible to promote the core empowerment  and rights agenda.

See presentation and follow up to the IFAD Household Methodology Forum Rome June 2016.

Upscaling Household Methodologies: Presentation for IFAD Rome June 2016

From thousands to millions: Ways forward for Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale Blogpost July 2016

PALS Sustainability

PALS aims to provide a way of mainstreaming community, gender and generational empowerment as a sustainable longer term business investment in supply chain expansion and strengthening. Sustainability is planned and monitored from the beginning, with short-term targets and activities as well as the longer term vision.

Based on self-interest – no free lunch or training kits

All PALS processes require participants to take responsibility wherever possible so that external resources and support can be properly targeted for maximum benefit. This means not only personal responsibility for changing one’s own life and sharing with others. It also means minimising costs. Participants are asked to provide their own exercise books, pens and manilla sheets wherever possible – if they can afford a bottle of beer or a hairdo, they can afford to miss out once or twice to get materials for their long term education! Materials should only be provided for people who are really poor and unable to buy for themselves – they also should take responsibility once their livelihoods have improved.

Accessible Tools that can be used independently

The tools can be used independently by people who cannot read and write as well as organisational staff and academic researchers to analyse issues and strategise change. Participants keep their own individual diaries in ordinary A4 exercise books which they themselves buy, together with coloured pens. Women and men farmers and entrepreneurs design their own pictorial manuals
to teach others the tools they themselves have found most useful. The diagram outputs and diaries from workshops and subsequent discussions are much more powerful than any externally designed printed manual – as well as much cheaper and more likely to be used. The more people are involved in designing the manuals they
themselves will use, the greater the sense of ownership and local creativity, and hence likelihood the change process will be dynamic, sustainable and scaled up through community initiative.

Everyone can be a leader of change to ‘go viral’

Leadership development for pyramid peer sharing PALS is distinctive in that the main facilitators and implementers are women and men within communities using and innovating with the methodology to improve their own lives. Champions share their strategies and the methodology with others in their households and communities as well as in group meetings, church and local government meetings. The PALS system is different from many training of trainer or promoter farmer models in that:
• initial people trained are those who need and will use the methodology, not existing leaders
• people develop their own training kits and those they train buy their own notebooks and pens
• there is a graduation from voluntary peer trainer to paid community trainer
• people not only train others, but train other to also train others and ‘go viral’

First prove expertise by voluntary pyramid peer sharing

The core of the training is voluntary peer training of other people within their own support networks – people they have a personal interest in helping. Every learning event contributes to building capacities and systems for ongoing peer action learning and peer training as the basis for a sustainable process of change. PALS challenges the view that only some people, women or men, can be leaders of a gender change process, and the rest can only follow or be dragged kicking and screaming.

The starting point is a solid basis of skills, commitment and change owned by a small number of ‘champions’ in strategically identified communities. The networks and forms which this takes will differ depending on context, but in all contexts people have friendship and kin networks which it is in their own interest to develop.
The basis of peer scaling up is people’s self interest and voluntary dissemination to other people within their own support networks who they have an interest in assisting – because these people will then assist them.
This is also the case within private sector supply chain management – traders have an interest in improving their supply and in Uganda some have incorporated PALS and GALSatScale tools in their training of suppliers. In FALS the community champions become paid community financial advisers to bring in new reliable clients with a well thought-out business plan.

The methodology is upscaled in existing communities mainly through peer learning with minimal organisational facilitation beyond initial capacity-building in the methodology. As part of the Catalyst PALS workshop, and other subsequent workshops, champions use a tool called the Empowerment Leadership Map to identify people in their families, friends and communities with whom they will share – those they love and who will help them, and those they need to change in order to achieve their visions. They commit to training a number of other members using all available means that will not cost anything ie meetings of savings and credit groups, churches, school meetings, government meetings and going house to house in their neighbourhood. In this way the initial champions are reaching an average of 50 other people each. Those trained also learn the same Pyramid Peer Sharing tool. The aim is to ‘go viral’ with an endless chain of volunteer sharing within peoples’ own networks without cost or excessive burden on each champion.

Certify proven trainers to be paid after 1 year

Once they have trained a certain number of people on a voluntary basis to establish their skills, there are a number of sources from which the champions can get a sustainable source of income from training:

  • charging people they train a small fee for more advanced trainings. This is possible for example with livelihood training or financial education. People often pay a fee to someone to broker a loan for example. Rather than that they are paying someone to teach them to prepare a business plan.
  • a training budget from the cooperative or company profits (as in eg Bukonzo Joint in Uganda) for replicating to new communities. There will be organisational needs for scaling up to new groups and new areas which cannot be achieved through voluntary training. The peer trainers with the best track record become community trainers paid from the organisation’s increased profits from expansion to farmers to train in new groups outside their own support networks.#
  • training local government extension workers so that they can integrate better practices in their training.