What Is GALS At Scale?
GALS develops participatory visioning and planning skills and strengthens social networks for women and men at all levels, based on the generic Participatory Action Learning System (PALS) methodology. But GALS focuses specifically on developing new visions for relationships between women and men as equal human beings, and implementing changes in gender inequalities in resources and power. GALS is also mainstreamed in organisations and with multiple stakeholders to increase effectiveness of any development process.
Through developing self-motivated structures for pyramid peer sharing and integrating into existing activities of implementing public or private agencies it can empower many thousands of people to improve their lives and communities at relatively low cost.
Gender was always mainstreamed to some extent in all PALS processes, particularly with ANANDI India, Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan, PASED Sudan and Bukonzo Joint and Green Home in Uganda. Gender Action Learning System (GALS) brought the different tools and facilitation processes together as a specifically gender-focused methodology from 2007 as part of Oxfam Novib’s WEMAN programme with partner organisations in Latin America, Asia and Africa funded by Oxfam Novib and IFAD, managed by Thies Reemer. As GALSatScale funded by Hivos and private sector, GALS then evolved into a methodology focusing on Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale, arguing the business sustainability case for gender mainstreaming in value chains like coffee.
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GALS is not ‘one methodology’ or set of tools. It is a change philosophy based on underlying principles of social and gender justice, inclusion and mutual respect. In particular it promotes women’s human rights based on the United Nations Convention on Elimination of ALL Forms of Discrimination Against Women:
- Right 1: freedom from violence
- Right 2: equality of property ownership
- Right 3: equality of decision-making
- Right 4: equality of work and leisure
- Right 5: freedom of thought and association
CEDAW is an international agreement signed by most governments and establishes that women have the same human rights as men. Experience with GALS has shown that these are all key concerns of women in all cultures, and can also be achieved in ways that benefit men as part of a mutual empowerment process.
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 and other CBOs affiliated to 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
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.