Gender Action Learning System (GALS)

A woman looking at the camera sits in a building reading a book that says 'visitors book'
Participatory climate-service and information training in Tanzania
Cecilia Schubert/CCAFS

Gender-transformative results for rural women in IFAD projects

Why is the method important?

The method offers a pathway for rural projects and programs to mainstream gender equality by addressing the power relationships at the root of inequality to meet IFAD’s policy on gender equity and women’s empowerment.

The method can be applied to all sectors of IFAD projects including value chains, rural finance, agribusiness and rural entrepreneurship, agricultural techniques and technologies, rural infrastructure and natural resource management.

An important feature of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) is that it motivates behavioral change in households, and this fuels wider change through peer-sharing.

Who is the method for?

The goal of GALS is to address gender and social injustice in economic development in IFAD-funded projects by using an inclusive and participatory process that is itself an empowerment strategy.

How can I use the method?

GALS is a change process that is integrated into projects at the design stage. GALS usually takes two to three years to complete. It is used as part of IFAD-funded projects and can also be integrated into country strategies.

It is based on a set of principles that cover gender justice and inclusion, leadership, action for change and sustainability. GALS facilitators and community members use visual diagrams to work through the process, which is conducted in three phases that are led by the community:

  • starts with a change catalyst workshop
  • the desired changes are implemented and scaled up into community action learning when a community champion shares the tools with five other people in the area
  • achievements and changes in gender relations are reviewed.

After this, the focus switches to developing value chains to increase incomes, production, access to markets; and to mainstreaming gender equality. The process also links into local or national institutions and other organizations to support the sustainability of the changes.

When and how was it developed?

GALS is one of the household methodologies IFAD has developed to scale up behavioral changes in households to the broader community.

It was piloted in 2007, and is now the main focus of the platform Empower@scale, which was created by Oxfam and Hivos and supported by IFAD to help organizations to address the causes of gender inequality in their projects. IFAD is pioneering the use of household methodologies to change the persistent pattern of gender inequality, particularly among farming families and communities.

Where can I get the method? Who can I contact?

Download the document that describes how to integrate GALS into IFAD operations.