Participatory Action Learning for Sustainability (PALS) is a methodology that helps farmers to self-asses their situations. It is helping men, women and families to vision a bright future, make the required planning and the changes needed to reach it. Household relationships between husbands and wives have started to transform for the better and agricultural productivity is improving as a result.
SNV is implementing Gender and Youth Empowerment in horticulture Markets (GYEM) project in Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples regions from 2016-2019 with funding from Comic Relief.
In November, 2016 and March 2017, the project trained 10 men and 10 women farmers from Timret Irrigation Development and Marketing Cooperatives Union in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region and 10 men and 10 women from Meki Batu Fruits and Vegetables Products Cooperatives Union in Oromia Region. Those women and men farmers are called ‘gender champions’.
Participatory Action Learning for Sustainability (PALS) is a cost-effective and sustainable community-led planning methodology. It helps women and men to have more control over their lives and work together on a basis of shared visions and values of equality. PALS aims to develop the capacity of all participants to make changes in their own lives and help them become champions of change in their households and communities through sharing the tools and experiences with others. At the same time the changes the champions make serve as an example for the community and their peers that change for the better is possible.
The champions worked on their visions, analysed their current situation and behaviour and expressed their ideas in drawing. Drawing, a very powerful means to express and visualise ideas and dreams, helped all men and women, literate and illiterate to fully participate in the process. In the process they have also analysed the opportunities and challenges they might face in achieving their vision and prepared a plan to make changes that are needed to improve their lives.
After the workshop, the champions started implementing their respective plans based on the self-assessment they made, and continuously kept tracking the changes and the status of their achievements. They also shared the tools and lessons with their peers in several groups and places, like with their family members, neighbours and cooperative members, at churches and mosques, water fetching places and other social gatherings. They have experienced changes in family relationship, productivity and farm management. Their changes have also been recognised by the community. Most of them have become change agents in their community and gained respect from their peers.