Underpinning the community-led focus of WEMAN is development, capacity-building and implementation of an innovative methodology: Gender Action Learning System (GALS). Based on inclusive and participatory principles and simple mapping and diagram tools, this is used for:
- Individual life and livelihood planning: women and men, including those who cannot read and write, keep individual diaries to develop their own visions for change in gender relations and improved livelihoods, to plan how they can move towards these goals, and gain more control over their lives.
- Institutional awareness-raising and changing power relationships: communicating these aspirations and strategies, and using the same tools at institutional level for staff reflection and learning, increases respect for the views and interests of poor women and men, challenges established attitudes and behaviours and gives poor women a voice in institutional decision-making.
- Collective action and gender advocacy for change: the individual visions and strategies are shared to develop collective strategies, bringing women and men together, linked into participatory decision-making in governments and development agencies to better target and focus resources for empowerment and wealth creation.
The GALS methodology originated in work on a generic methodology, Participatory Action Learning System (PALS) by Linda Mayoux with entrepreneurs and staff of GreenHome, Bukonzo and Kabarole Research and Resource Centre in Uganda, Port Sudan Small Enterprise Development in Sudan, ANANDI in India, Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan and Trickle-Up, US.
Over 2,000 women and men in Uganda are now using GALS and over 25,000 in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere in Africa as a result of WEMAN.