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MaFI (The Market Facilitation Initiative)

Market Facilitation Clinic 4: Case Study

 Bringing Gender Norms to the Forefront of Systemic Interventions

Market Facilitation Clinic 4: Case Study

SEEP BEAM Exchange

Developing a Learning Agenda
 Initial Participant Challenges
Participant Case Studies Expert Voice

 This group is comprised of members who have roles related to integrating gender and women’s economic empowerment into market systems programs. They are positioned to experiment with putting gender and social norms into play in market systems interventions and strategies. The group explored how to analyze social norms around gender and act upon that knowledge within interventions. This included tactics and strategies for getting market actors to explicitly include women in their business model, as well as development of  cutting edge M&E/MRM indicators that go beyond gender-disaggregated data to understand qualitative changes in women’s roles within market systems.

Developing a Learning Agenda

In the first group call, the group got to know one another, and upon hearing about their individual contexts (and with some framing provided by the facilitator), they converged around the question they wanted to address together through this group.
Listen hereListen here>>

Learning Agenda:

How can we use a market systems approach to catalyze wider behaviour change related to gender and social norms? How do we make the (business) case to market actors for women’s economic empowerment?

When it comes to making the business case, the tactics for doing so will differ based on beliefs and awareness of each actor. Some will see it instinctively, while others will be entrenched in their worldview and harder to convince.  

Listen hereListen to the group's shared context across countries here>>

Given this shared learning agenda, each of the group members then prepared and share with the rest of the group a "live case study." Fellow group members were given the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and make suggestions on possible strategies their colleague might test out. The cases are described in the sections that follow: 

Participant 1: Theresa Baveng

Gender and Social Issues Specialist
DFID Ghana Market Development Programme (Ghana) 

Theresa's Challenge:

  • MADE is supporting the growth of aggregators who are investing in informal outgrower schemes to increase their supply of key crops (groundnuts and rice in particular).
  • The program realized the need to address gender-based constraints facing women farmers who were unable to achieve productivity levels because they were held back from the time and land needed to farm properly.
  • MADE co-funded trainings with key aggregators to simultaneously raise questions around gender norms and devision of labor AND deliver productivity training to both male and female farmers.

Sample Group Questions for Theresa:

  • Which crops?
  • What is the breakdown of labor between men and women for the crops currently?
  • How are the farmers organized? How big are the land plots?
  • How will the training tangibly translate into productivity gains?

Theresa's Key Insights:

  • Test the fact that having gender-aware aggregators and both male and female outgrowers can increase their productivity and yields. Help women to access resources for production.
  • After training, wait one cropping season - get a researcher to go into the field to see changes in yields, especially of women.
  • Interest of aggregators: want to get maximum benefit from their money (ROI). Be certain that providing gender-aware training will give them maximum results (yield increases and more produce to buy).
  • Need to understand the cost of training, so aggregators can know that and weigh up the ROI of paying for it themselves in the future.

 Decisions, Actions, and Follow-Up:

  • Incorporate male trainers in gender training for other men to increase the likelihood of the message being received well.
  • Monitor the actual behaviour change - both in aggregators and in farmers - to see how much the interest expressed translates into action.
  • Find ways to decrease the cost of trainings so aggregators are more likely to pay for it themselves in the future.
Paritcipant 2: Sarah van Boekhout

Women's Empowerment Program Manager
Watershed Asia (Cambodia) 

Sarah's Challenge:

  • Broadly interested in overcoming barriers for women to participate in the water, sanitation, and hygiene market.
  • Currently producing guidelines for various market actors to mitigate the challenges, reduce barriers, and leverage success factors so women are more successful in the WASH market.
  • Action research, taking an experimental approach to understanding issues for women as sales agents of WASH products: safety & security, physical safety, and skin exposure to the sun.
    • Thinking about what gender barriers show up at different stages in the lifecycle of a WASH business: startup/recruitment vs. performance/growth vs. maturity/innovation/retention.
  • Looking for ideas on how to make any sustainable change within the market system that isn’t simply imposed by project? How to take into consideration that many concerns are related to gender norms (women are weaker/vulnerable, need to maintain beauty, and shouldn’t talk to people they don’t know).

Sample Group Questions for Sarah:

  • How are you integrating the "lifecycle" perspective into your research given the project's limited timespan?
  • Ivy and Rosa acknowledged ways in which the same challenge around remote travel showed up in their contexts. How could the model be re-organized to decrease travel (different people playing different roles)?
  • How do you collect the various types of data (sales, sex-aggregated, qualitative)?

Sarah's Key Insights:

  • Gathering people at a commune-level market for events - bring customers to sales agents rather than agents always having to travel.

 Decisions, Actions, and Follow-Up:

  • Valuable and useful to be exposed to other organizations/projects and make connections - see the common themes or specific issues that we could dive deeper into (i.e. safety and security).
  • “I haven't implemented anything concrete yet, but our group conversations have inspired a few ideas that might occur later in my program at work. For example doing 'share out' meetings (I can't recall whether it was Ivy or Theresa who shared this example) as a way to incorporate men's engagement.”
Participant 3: Rosa Chiappe

Country Director
World University Services Canada - Uniterra (Peru) 

Rosa's Challenge:

  • Uniterra works in the cocoa sector, and targets women’s producer groups who can achieve a high quality which lets them access niche international markets. Part of why women are best positioned for this quality is that they invest the manual work in taking care of the cocoa plants (something men don’t typically do.
  • Challenge is that women do not own their land, even when it’s an inheritance from their parents it gets passed on the the men (social custom).
  • Seeking to find and work with cooperatives who are open minded about shifting this social norm - both in changing the land ownership norms and in having women involved in cooperative governance.
  • Deeper challenge is in Uniterra’s operational model: the main resource the programme has is volunteers, who need to grasp the market systems approach and the social context for women in these markets. They don’t have financial resources to  cost-share like other value chain programmes in Peru do.

Sample Group Questions for Rosa:

  • Does the income go to the husbands? What is the split in terms of labour for production vs. marketing? Have you consulted men in the cooperatives?
  • What do volunteers do exactly? How long are they there for, what kinds of training and support do they receive?
  • Is there a mechanism for creating a forum for your staff and volunteers to learn about market systems in real-time?
  • Listen hereListen to the Q&A here>>

Rosa's Key Insights:

  • In early days of program, use of a web-based platform to share learning around market analysis, but could be strengthened by creating regular calls/Skypes to talk and motivate each other (like the PLG is doing for Rosa).

 Decisions, Actions, and Follow-Up:

  • We have created a database of women, gender materials, tools, studies. We are searching for new opportunities to attend webinars like these [PLG calls].”
  • “Develop tools to provide our team members with advice to the organizations we work with on how to apply new gender approaches."
Participant 4: Sonia Jordan

Women's Economic Empowerment Advisor
Adam Smith International (UK/Global)

Sonia's Challenge:

  • Broadly, to develop a richer understanding of the gendered impact of market systems programs beyond sex-aggregated data reported against conventional M4P logframe indicators.
  • ÉLAN RDC recently introduced two new logframe indicators around the progression of women’s roles within market systems, recognising the limitations of using increased income as means of understanding broader WEE outcomes.
  • To support the MRM team, Sonia developed a definition of “more beneficial roles” which requires women to experience at least one of the following features (as distinct from increased wages) as a result of the intervention:
    • Greater job security
    • Formalization of role / employment
    • Improved position in value chain
    • Greater sustained opportunity for training and capacity development
    • Improved working conditions
  • Current challenge/status: Sonia is now working with the Results Measurement team on ÉLAN RDC to develop the measurement approach for each intervention where they anticipate the adoption of more beneficial roles for women.

Sample Group Questions for Sonia:

  • What are some examples of the specific "beneficial roles," and which have been the most frequently cited?
  • How did your gender champions group come to be?
  • How much buy-in do you have from the MRM team on this, given that is might be perceived as "extra work"?

Sonia's Key Insights:

  • Gender champion model at ÉLAN RDC is crucial to pushing this change forward.
  • Three of the gender champions are Results Measurement analysts-- great buy-in because they understand the complexity of who counts as a beneficiary.

 Decisions, Actions, and Follow-Up:

  • "Since the PLG, we’ve actually developed an complete measurement methodology for measuring the adoption of more beneficial roles, which is differentiated for the 9 market system changes where we anticipate seeing changes. The next steps are to share this with the gender champions (those who aren’t MRM Analysts) and generate understanding and buy in from the broader team."
Participant 5: Ivy Mwayuka
Agribusiness Coordinator and Gender Lead
PROFIT+ (Zambia) 

Ivy's Challenge:

  • Working to promote women's entrepreneurship through female community agro-dealers that sell to savings and credit groups and producer companies.
  • Trying to combine support and facilitation of village-level Savings Groups and farmer groups that include more women, with the creation of larger market actors (aggregators and input dealers, called producer companies) that explicitly sell to, or buy from, these local groups that involve more women.

Sample Group Questions for Ivy:

  • Do you work with men in trying to change their behavior or cultural beliefs regarding women?
  • In the formation of savings and credit groups, are there some women's only groups, or mixed? What differences do you notice in the gender dynamics?
  • How long have you been working with the community agro-dealers? How sustainable is the model likely to be?

Ivy's Key Insights:

  • Strong relationships exist between the groups and the companies, likely to be sustained. Question remains about how much gender norms will continue to be challenged though. Especially in mixed groups, women's voice tends to be quieter.
  • Have had success with doing "celebration" style events for groups, where the whole community comes out to hear about the learning and success. This generates interest and also is a platform for women to show their progress and success. Spouses attend together.

 Decisions, Actions, and Follow-Up:

  • Ivy plans to improve on the network between Community Agro-Dealers and Savings groups so more women are involved and strengthen the activities of Cooperatives in the district. Already the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) has been lobbied to provide solar Hammer mills to the Cooperatives so that maize can be processed into meali-meal for sale. More women are involved in cooperatives activities and in this way market system is shifting to address gender and social norms affecting production. Secondly, Savings Groups that are near the cooperatives provided with solar hammer mills will be attached to solar energy supply  to use in other sources such as processing of finished products e.g Cooking oil and peanut butter. In addition gardening will be done through the use of solar water pumps.

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