Household Methodologies

Integrating Household Methodologies (HHM) in agricultural extension, value chains and rural finance in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Household methodologies are participatory methodologies that enable family members to work together to improve relations and decision-making, and to achieve more equitable workloads. Their purpose is to strengthen the overall well-being of the household and all its members.

Clare Bishop Sandbrooke, 2014 Household methodologies: harnessing the family’s potential for change 

Household Methodologies position poor female and male smallholder farmers as drivers of their own development rather than recipients of aid or victims.  HHM have been successfully applied in a number of countries and can effectively be integrated into agricultural extension, rural finance and value chain development to increase the pro-poor impact of such economic interventions. Based on the positive results achieved with different methodologies over the past years, Oxfam and IFAD have extended their collaboration through a new grant project:
“Integrating Household Methodologies (HHM) in agricultural extension, value chains and rural finance in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

There are a number of different methodologies with similar aims that have been developed with Oxfam Novib and/or IFAD partners since 2008. The IFAD Toolkit reviewed nine methodologies:

  • Gender Action Learning System
  • Transformative Household Methodology, Ethiopia
  • Family Life Model, Uganda
  • Household mentoring, Uganda
  • Household Approach, Malawi
  • Household Approach, Zambia
  • Men’s Campfire Conference, Zambia
  • Men’s Travelling Conference, Kenya
  • Chiefs and Traditional Leaders, Zambia

Each HHM has its own strengths, purpose and elements:

  • Firstly, most HHM have an element of tools, visual or written, for envisioning the future, analysing relations in the household and with outsiders, and planning change strategies.
  • Secondly, principles related to participation, gender or leadership are used to steer the use of the tools.
  • Thirdly, some HHM use structured peer-to-peer learning in communities and/or household mentoring for changing social norms, assisting the development of household plans and developing livelihoods.
  •  Fourthly, there is an element of integrating HHM into other interventions – such as extension or rural finance; and existing groups and organisations.

This project aims to align the different methodologies and promote their wider use in different contexts and for integration into different types of interventions.

Purpose of this Blog discussion

This blog brings together resources on the different methodologies to promote further discussion and innovation between practitioners of household methodologies as a complement to community-level workshops and face-to-face reflection meetings. The  following outputs of discussions are expected:

  • Key strengths and challenges based on practical experience identified of the different HHMs;
  •  Effective combinations of HHM identified for catalysing gender transformative change and engaging public and private actors to support community-led empowerment;
  • Proposition drafted for aligning HHMs in a process to be piloted in Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, with an outline for training.

  Some key questions

  • What do we mean by households? what types of household are we trying to promote? why? how does work at household level link to broader family and kinship networks, neighbourhoods and communities?
  • Which level to start? individual, household, community and how do these interlink?
  • What tools? are most effective for whom and in which contexts? What are the benefits of pictorial methodologies? spoken and storytelling methods?
  • Monitoring progress? what process and what tools are best? Who should do the monitoring and how often? How should the information be fed back and to whom?


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