03/2015. Celebrating IWD: Showcasing the Gender Action Learning Systems Methodology
BY DOREEN NANYONGA, M&E and Documentation Officer
Posted March 2015
To mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), Oxfam in Uganda in partnership with the Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN) members showcased the Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) Methodology to a cross-section of stakeholders under the theme ‘Empowering Women to optimize resources for the benefit of all Ugandans.’ The showcase was held on Friday 6th March and included a photo exhibition, documentary and photo story booklet.
GALS is a community-led methodology that uses visual diagrams to addresses power issues between communities, religious & traditional authorities, private sector and Government actors thereby challenging and changing gender inequalities in households and communities. GALS comprises a series of tools that enable household members to negotiate their needs and interests and find innovative, gender-equitable solutions in livelihoods planning and value chain development.
The national Exhibition follows the tremendous success of the GALS methodology in Kasese, West Nile, Acholi and Karamoja where over 60,000 Women and men were reached with the methodology. In the West Nile region, Oxfam worked with 5 partner organisations on implementing GALS i.e. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum Uganda (ESAFF), Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), Community organisation for Rural Enterprise Activity Management (CREAM) and Community Empowerment for Rural Development (CEFORD). The event was attended by various stakeholders including donors, Civil Society, Government, MPs and media.
The objective of the event was to showcase the success of the methodology and advocate for support on its uptake by government, donors, and civil society organisations among other stakeholders. During the event, Oxfam recognised and awarded women and men considered who were considered Champions of Change in their communities. See link to a photo story booklet on the impact of GALS as developed by Oxfam https://sumus.oxfam.org/uganda/documents/gender-action-learning-systems-methodology-gals-photo-story-booklet.
Speaking on behalf of the WEMAN members, Mrs. Stella Lutalo, the Country Coordinator of PELUM Uganda said that, “by utilising the various GALS tools such as the vision journey and gender balance tree, vulnerable stakeholders were able to develop individual and group strategic plans for change in gender relations, empowerment and improved livelihoods. They were also able to identify, negotiate and implement sustainable and equitable win-win strategies with more powerful private sector actors in the value chain.” She further said that ” all 5 partners that interfaced with GALS between 2011-2014 found the methodology to be very effective in mainstreaming gender and promoting equality at the workplace and within communities. For instance, partners integrated GALS in key documents such as strategic plans, policies and training manuals.”
While addressing the guests, Peter Kamalingin, Country Director Oxfam on behalf of Oxfam and partners made specific asks and recommendations on the methodology;
Development actors and agencies: To support the uptake of this methodology because we know it works. It is sustainable and cost light. It builds on capacities within the community and less reliance on external agency. It draws the energy of all stakeholders and all gender. It enhances justice and equality. It challenges gender based violence and maximises happiness for everyone.
- Policy makers including Parliament, district councils, National Planners (NPA), government ministries and agencies can use this approach for example to engender national and local budgeting processes.
- Private business and finance institutions can use the approach to promote financial inclusion and increase viability of their clientele.
- Donors – to consider supporting scale up of this approach. There is existing knowledge and experience in county and the region to bring this to scale.
- CSOs can use the approach to mobilise citizens on issues of governance, accountability, equity and justice.
- To everyone – This is a methodology in almost all spheres of life and by everyone, illiterates and literates. We invite you to experience. Oxfam and the partners are happy to share all that there is to share about this methodology.
You can also visit and Like our Facebook page for more about the event https://www.facebook.com/pelum.uganda/posts/432581840237797?pnref=story
OR the Oxfam Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/oxfaminuganda#!/oxfaminuganda/photos/