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ITALY: The Learning Route as a tool to scale up the Gender Action Learning System Methodology:

 2016 06 28 09.39.44a

June 29, 2016

The mentoring of poorer households has generated profound impacts at the household level, not only in terms of food security and increased incomes, but also in terms of gender equality and women's empowerment. Gender-based constraints are some of the most common constraints that undermine household food security and production for income. The International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) has spent several years experimenting with household methodologies in order to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in rural and agricultural development. The use of household methodologies can lead to increased awareness of gender roles in the households and in the communities. Household methodologies encourage all household members to participate in collective livelihood planning and to fully share the improved benefits that result from working together.

One of the methodologies that have been used is a community – led empowerment methodology called the Gender Action Learning System (GALS). GALS comprises of a series of specific participatory processes and diagram tools that enable household members to negotiate their needs and interests to find innovative, gender-equitable solutions in livelihoods planning and value chain development. It aims to give women as well as men more control over their lives as the basis for individual, household, community and organizational development. GALS is not only a ‘methodology for women’, but a mainstreaming methodology for women and men to address gender issues important to the effectiveness of any development.

PROCASUR having worked on several learning initiatives on the GALS methodology was pleased to attend the forum on “Empowerment through Household Methodologies” organized jointly by IFAD, OXFAM and Hivos, and held in Rome between the 27th and 29th of June, 2016. The forum was held in order to capitalize on the positive results so far and to meet the high demand for GALS, identifying partners that can bring household methodologies and GALS to scale, through sharing of experiences, exchange and replicating. PROCASUR had a poster session on the use of the Learning Route (LR) methodology as a tool to scale up the GALS methodology, based on our experience with LRs focusing on GALS.  The forum was well attended by practitioners and key players with a special focus on GALS. There were also valuable contributions from experts and champions in household methodologies, including from IFAD supported projects in East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) and observers from NGOs, UN agencies and private sector. Several presentations of experiences with household methodologies and GALS were made highlighting challenges, achievements and impact.  Participants discussed how the approaches have been used in value chain development, rural finance and extension services.

Our poster from a Learning session at the forum: Link

For more on IFAD’s work with GALS and other Household methodologies: Link