Gender Action Mainstreaming for Empowerment to Change

GALSatScale process

Women's Rights | Women's empowerment | Working with men | Participation | Wealth Creation | Sustainability |
Rocky Road Framework and Tools| GALS Processes | Diamond Forest | FALS |
Livelihoods | Business | Markets | Value chains | Financial Services | Policy |
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GALS@Scale Processes

Each GALS process is unique.

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.

Both the implementation process and the specific versions of the diagram tools used are designed with women and men community 'champions', an experienced GALS facilitator and a core of implementing staff/local leaders.

The local adaptation is then upscaled through a combination on community-level peer training, organisational capacity-building and inter-organisational replication and further adaptation.

GALS stages

GALS processes may be simple (focusing on one issue like gender based violence or land rights) or complex (eg aiming at broad based gender transformation or local economic development). This will affect the ways in which the basic diagrams are adapted, the facilitation process and how long things take. Normally something like the following stages are followed:

Stage 1: Diamond Dreams: Process Visioning and Planning Inception Workshop/s (5-10 days). The process is started through a series of 1-3 day workshops with communities which will lead the process. The first workshop is ideally residential with 10-20 women and men who really need the methodology, not only existing leaders. This is followed by 1 day workshops where these participants initiate the peer training process. The workshops develop the initial gender change vision with women and men and identifies priorities and some immediate steps and enables the GALS process catalysts to get a good feel for the context and possibilities - particularly leverage points with men. This uses some variant of the GALS Stage 1 Manuals eg Tree of Diamond Dreams or Preliminary Mapping for value chain or markets or FALS market research.

Stage 2: Steering Life's Rocky Road: Community-led design process (CDP) and action learning with key champions (3-6 months). This stage continues with all those trained in Stage 1, upscaling to maximum coverage within these communities. These 'champions' adapt the tools to make them manageable to bring about changes in their own lives and also for voluntary peer training and develop a community pictorial manual replicated by everyone in their diaries. It uses some adapted variant of GALS Stage 2 Manuals eg 'Steering Life's Rocky Road' or 'Growing the Diamond Forest' or FALS Financial literacy.

Stage 3: Upscaling and negotiation of multi-stakeholder win-win strategies Once there is a solid 'demonstration' community/ies with adapted tools and very visible change, the methodology can be upscaled through capacity building by these champions and the coordination team for staff and other stakeholders. And the peer training process is reviewed and upscaled. It uses some adapted variant of GALS Stage 3 as described in eg 'Steering Life's Rocky Road' or 'Growing the Diamond Forest' or FALS.
Stage 4: Ongoing sustainable action learning process for sustainable change. The change processes, methodology innovation and upscaling continues, including replication to other organisations. The information generated in the diaries, group meetings and and planning workshops are aggregated by the organisation for participatory planning, impact assessment and advocacy.

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who is involved?

GALS is distinctive, not so much because of its diagram tools, but its insistence on a Community Design Process (CDP) with women and men who really need the methodology as the basis for upscaling through peer training.

The role of 'experts' and organisational staff is to catalyse this process and respond to the needs which emerge and maintain the focus on changing power relations.

Stage 1 is set up initially by a team of process catalysts comprised of :

  • 10-20 women and men 'champions' from vulnerable groups in 2-3 communities where the process is initiated.
  • a GALS expert consultant who has detailed knowledge of both gender issues and the methodology in different contexts.
  • 3-5 key implementing staff/local leaders from both the field and management who will be catalysing and monitoring the methodology for Stages 1 and 2.
  • 3-5 other key stakeholders whose support may be needed/desirable for Stage 3 so that they are involved from the start. These might be local government, community elders, larger traders in value chains etc.

Stage 2 then focuses particularly on strengthening the change process and skills of the initial champions, but aims to bring in as many people in their social networks as possible through the peer training process - as long as this continues to focus on people who really need the methodology and does not take ownership away from these people.

Stages 3 and 4 then upscale to the whole organisation, other stakeholders who can support whatever process GALS is being used for and other organisations. Once the participatory monitoring systems are well established (after about 2-3 years) local or national research institutes may also be extremely useful in aggregated the information for policy advocacy and macro-level change.

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GALS processes so far

Every process has been different.

GALS started in Uganda as Participatory Action Learning System with Kabarole Research Centre in 2004. It was then adopted by Bukonzo Joint Cooperative and Green Home Women's Development Association focusing first on livelihoods (as PALS in 2005 ), then adapted for gender transformation (from December 2007) and recently value chain development (from July 2009)

It has been used:

  • in LEAP Sudan for organisational development and women's empowerment from 2004
  • in India for a participatory review with ANANDI and livelihood development with JSS in 2005
  • for gender training with Pakistan Microfinance Network in 2005 and 2006
  • for gender training in MFIs in Latin America and Azerbaijan at part of WEMAN from 2008
  • for gender mainstreaming in coffee cooperative partners of TWIN UK from 2012

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