In May this year, Julie held a three-day workshop with active participation from members of each village - both men and women. The purpose of the training was to develop a strong leadership base at village level with a clear understanding of the gender aspects that affect their lives and overall development at both household and community levels. This was part of the Gender in Value Chains (GVC) program which is a 1-year training to learn about gender issues in the agribusiness in Uganda. Two of our members - Peninah and Sylvia - is attending that training, but this 3-day workshop with Julie was for the whole community.
Julie walked the group through the meaning of the GVC, qualities of becoming a strong leader, communication in social groups, communication barriers and how to minimize them, gender analysis of seasonal activities, lessons learned and individual resolutions to promote gender equality.
The group concluded that the success of this project greatly lies on the active participation of the EV members as leaders and as individual participants from household level. It was interesting for us to hear that the men's understanding of the women's lives increased after first discussing in separate groups and then coming together to share. After the plenary discussion the men conceded and accepted that they had to improve on their current attitudes. The men especially were able to realize that they have to reconsider their actions for improved well-being of their families. The women also noted that "gender-responsiveness should embrace both women and men, promote positive collaboration between couples since some activities require the masculine muscle while others need the attention-to-detail and tenderness of the feminine touch", as reported by Julie.
Another very positive thing was that some of our women took the lead in some of the sessions, showing improved confidence and leadership skills which is so important for empowering the community. They all also agreed on an action plan to follow through with the gender bias in value chain training.
Photos from the 3-day workshop. From left: The men discussing their role; Julie facilitating a session; An alert audience; An EV leader taking responsibility.