Policy dialogue on Gender Actions Learning Systems (GALS)

Date : Tuesday 07th September 2021
Venue : Online by use of Zoom


1. Background

Oxfam is a global movement of people, working together to end the injustice of poverty. That means we tackle the inequality that keeps people poor. Oxfam’s vision is a just world without poverty. We are a confederation of 20 Oxfam affiliates working across the world as one Oxfam International on goals that support our shared vision. We want a world where people are valued and treated equally, enjoy their rights as full citizens, and can influence decisions affecting their lives.

The Economic Policy Research Network (EPRN) is a Research and Training Institution formally registered in 2018 as a Non-Governmental Organization (Registration No 403/RGB/NGO/LP/2018). The mission of EPRN is to contribute to the evidence based economic policy making by providing high quality research, building capacity and creating networking opportunities.

COCOF is a national non-governmental local women’s organization founded in 1994. It was accredited by the Ministerial Order no 073/11 of 12/12/2002 governing the national non-governmental organizations. The organization mission is to ensure the socio-economic and political development of women to have the capacity to meet their needs and safeguard their rights. COCOF is one of the Oxfam local implementing partner promoting women’s rights in horticulture value chains using gender actions learning systems (GALS). The methodology aims at generating pro-poor wealth by addressing unequal gender and social relations, which are key constraints to achieving development goals. GALS can be used in many different thematic areas of work including rural finance, value chain development, climate change, rural enterprise development and community development.

To reinforce GALS benefits and create a strong foundation for sustainability, a National GALS network (Rwanda GALS Network : RGN) was formally established, with Oxfam support, at district and national levels in 2017 and operates as a women’s rights and influencing network. Rwanda GALS Network is a GALS champions’ platform helping to disseminate and share learning and best practices from GALS methodology, coordinate District GALS forums for a prompt collaboration and management, efficiency, transfer of knowledge gained. The network is supporting different organizations, either currently engaged in GALS programming or seeking to integrate this methodology into their programs, policy and advocacy work. The network coordinates relevant actions and provides capacity building as well as technical support to GALS participants in different districts of Rwanda. One of the sustainability approaches is to establish district GALS centers specialized in the above-mentioned thematic areas for boosting the fight against inequalities and development agenda.

The Rwanda GALS Network has been established to increase efficiency in sharing local and international experience in the application of proven, quality assured practices of GALS methodologies. The core of the initiative is to provide (i) capacity development and knowledge management ;(ii) quality assurance, certification and public recognition of GALS methodology ; (iii) a framework for networking with other local, national and regional as well as global GALS stakeholders for peer to peer capacity development ; influencing policy and practice changes, contributing to create enabling environment for full enjoyment of women’s rights.

Learning from the previous interventions in WEMAN initiative that promoted and strengthened GALS in different districts of Rwanda, from 2017 Oxfam and COCOF implemented together the project named “Strengthening the competitiveness of women organic pineapple growers in rural areas of Rwanda - PVP”, COCOF has been mainstreaming GALS methodology in horticulture value chain to support women’s economic leadership of smallholders farmers involved in pineapple value chain in Muhanga and Kamonyi Districts.

The project contributed to the country’s vision of transforming the agriculture sector into a profitable industry that benefits poor communities by sustainably increasing the income for smallholder women farmers and influencing key stakeholders to adopt positive policies and practices.

Specifically, the project aimed at :
Increasing the volume and quality of pineapples produced smallholder women farmers through the adoption of organic farming.
Improving access to high value pineapple markets.
Enabling smallholder women farmers to be more active in cooperative management and leadership, increasing their participation in communities and enhancing gender equality.
Influencing systems at national and local levels to promote transformational programming and ensure long-term wider impact.

The strategic approach for achieving the project objectives was to integrate GALS methodology into pineapple value chain resulting in more gender sensitive achievements. GALS training sessions were provided to project participants beneficiaries who were also actively involved in GALS quarterly and annual reviews (outcome assessments) & planning sessions. This intervention was also an opportunity to reinforce linkages between GALS champions from other districts of Rwanda using GALS network.

Oxfam and COCOF are committed to continue challenging stakeholders to scale up GALS successful and tested model, including to (i) use it as planning tool at district (performance contract Imihigo) and local levels ; (ii) produce user friendly GALS toolkits and (iii) collect, document and share success stories from GALS participants.

2. Dialogue’s objectives

From Oxfam funding, COCOF in collaboration with EPRN will facilitate this dialogue to scale up GALS methodology to the Rwandan community with the following objectives :

Raise awareness of the community and leaders on Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology as a potential planning tool that can be adopted and used during district planning / performance contracts planning -to make them gender sensitive- from local to district levels ;

Strengthen capacity of Government personnel and other stakeholders to involve citizen, especially women, in government programs and policies as well as challenging them on women’s rights issues including gender sensitive planning and policy formulation ;

3. Expected Outcomes

(1) Provide a platform to discuss issues around gender equality, women economic empowerment and transformative leadership to various stakeholders including government, local authorities, donors, INGOs, civil society organizations, implementing partners, research Institutions, etc ;

(2) Reach a written consensus with dialogue participants on key immediate actions which would significantly contribute to scale up GALS methodology to the community.

4. Time and Participants

The one day online virtual dialogue will be held on date 07th September 2021 and target around 200 participants to discuss on how to integrate GALS into different interventions. Those participants include :

Government Institutions such as MIGEPROF, MINAGRI, National Women Council, etc ;
Local Authorities such as Districts (Mayors, Gender Officers, JADF, district NWC officers, etc) ;
Oxfam implementing partners
Donors active in Gender such as IFAD, USAID, ENABEL, Embassies
Local and INGOs active in Gender and Women Economic Empowerment including as PAM, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, CNFA/HINGA WEZE, Action Aid, Trocaire, Women for Women International, Food for the Hungry, Send a cow, Save the Children, etc.
GALS Practitioners from RGN (Rwanda GALS Network) including GALS champions from the community and GALS Facilitators/Consultants

5. Agenda

Time Activity Responsible
8:45-9:00 Participants joining OXFAM IT
9:00-9:15 Welcome remarks Oxfam CD (Interim)
9:15-9:25 Keynote address by the Director General of Local Government Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation MINALOC
9:25-9:40 Overview of GALS : (Overview, Key achievements, Challenges, Lessons learned, Recommendation to Scale up GALS to the community) COCOF
9:40-10:10 Testimonies : (DUHAMIC-ADRI, OXFAM, MUHANGA District JADF, 2 GALS Champions from Gakenke/Rulindo, Nyagatare/Kirehe)

Representatives of the concerned institutions

10:10-11:00 Panel discussion on :

MINAGRI (GALS and dairy farming)
IFAD (GALS and Value Chains)
MIGEPROF (GALS and women’s economic empowerment)


11:00-11:40 Questions and answers

All participants

11:40-11:50 Commitments and recommendations


11:50-12:00 Closing Remarks

COCOF Chairperson