5 Min Inspiration: Walking the talk of gender equality in Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda

 Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda
 AdvocacyEconomic Development, Other,
 7th Nov 2019

Women and girls continue to struggle to have their voices heard in decision-making spaces around the world. The Learning for Change (L4C) Programme set out to strengthen women’s voices at home, in the community, in politics and at work in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. To this end, L4C supported 21 civil society organizations and government institutions to embrace and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, in principle as well as in practice.
L4C reached more than 340,000 community members by working with approximately 5,000 staff members of partners and CARE and more than 10,100 community change agents to facilitate gender transformative change. It improved knowledge and expertise in gender equality not only for staff, as individuals, but also at an institutional level.  Participants have hailed the programme as ‘a big eye opener` and credited it with having ‘changed mindsets’ on the rights, potential and benefits of greater gender equality.
What did we accomplish?

  • Empowered individuals – “Prior to the discussion, I was shy and timid. Now, after that I just had this training I will  not fail anymore.” A core principle to L4C is that change starts with the individual. The programme helped to transform attitudes and behavior, and to build participants’ competencies such as in gender equality or women leadership.
  • Improved gender sensitive programming – “The usual way of doing business has changed. My colleagues all the time now try to plan and measure results with a gender lens. I have tremendously improved in the way I execute my duties.” L4C trainings provided partner organizations and CARE staff with tools that allowed them to design, implement and manage projects with a gender lens and to share these skills and knowledge with others.
  • “Gender competent” partner organizations -  “Power relations are now better managed between staff.” More gender sensitive organizational practices and policies contributed to working cultures that fostered gender equality and staff wellbeing and fulfilled teams for achieving more impact.
  • Challenged harmful social norms – “The community is changing positively in a way we didn’t expect before.” L4C addressed inequitable gender norms at the workplace, in households and in communities. Many stories of change demonstrate, for instance, how women and girls broke new grounds and how men endorsed  women and girls’ empowerment  as a strength rather than a threat to families and communities.
  • Women’s rights’ advocacy – “We started to advocate for an ordinance and the Council opted for it. Currently we are in the drafting process - which is a big achievement. It was a big eye opener – and it is the first time for us to work on advocacy.”  L4C built partner and CARE staffs’ capacity in evidence-based advocacy and supported advocacy actions for gender equality and against gender-based violence, such as campaigns against child marriage.

How did we get there?

  • Gender assessments – the L4C teams, in close collaboration with organizational staff,  conducted in-depth organisational gender assessments at the start of the programme . These gender assessments highlighted areas for improvement and helped inform the development of capacity development plans. 
  • The integrated approach - L4C was designed as an integrated programme combining trainings in various capacities and skill sets. It systematically applied the gender equality framework. This holistic approach created opportunities for synergies and greater impact. L4C’s thematic areas were: 1) Gender Equity and Diversity; 2) Women’s Leadership; 3) Engaging Men and Boys; 4) Advocacy; and 5) Psychosocial Support.
  • Comprehensive and interactive learning packages – Capacity building in each of the thematic areas, in Results-Based Management and Knowledge Management was delivered through a number of learning packages, which included: two training workshops, with time in between to practice the learning; training manuals to accompany the workshops; and ongoing technical support from the CARE country offices to support the implementation of individual and organisational action plans developed by the participants.
  • Drawing from local and regional expertise and resources – Regional thematic specialists were in charge of developing and facilitating the learning packages. They were based in the country offices and cooperated closely with CARE Austria and with national specialists in order to ensure that programming reflected contextual priorities and local expertise. The trained L4C partners cascaded L4C contents to the community and household level by engaging and capacitating community change agents.

Want to learn more?
Read the final evaluation or read L4C knowledge and learning products.

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