Value Chain

Gender and value chain development for pro-poor wealth creation (GENVAD)

GENVAD was a joint Oxfam Novib and IFAD initiative. It was pilotoed with Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union and GreenHome Women’s Development Programme in Uganda, based on earlier work by Linda Mayoux on GALS with these organisations. From 2009 under an IFAD large grant the GENVAD methodology was replicated with Oxfam Novib and IFAD partners in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria.

Programme goals and objectives

Goal of the GENVAD project: To contribute to sustainable pro-poor wealth creation and value chain upgrading in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria through empowerment of women and men from the poorest and most vulnerable households and the establishment of equitable participatory processes for economic decision-making. The summarised key indicators include:

  • Increased income, savings or resources for productive investment realised by 70% of women and men direct beneficiaries;
  • 60% of the women report more equal sharing of labour, decision-making and control over assets leading to improved livelihoods;
  • 20% women reached by the project have more secure access to land;
  • In at least 6 value chains marginalised actors have a respected voice;
  • 10 CSO partners and at least 4 IFAD-supported projects have the capacity to provide gender sensitive and inclusive services.

Specific objective 1: 35,000 vulnerable women (67%) and men and a further 65,000 indirect beneficiaries in rural Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria have the skills to empower themselves, through direct and peer capacity-building and action  learning,   to  negotiate  a  better  position  in  value  chains  and sustainable  and  equitable  ‘win-win’  collaboration  between  value  chain actors.

Specific objective 2: Participatory action learning methodology is adapted and integrated into policies and practices of at least 10 CSOs in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria and disseminated through e-fora and capacity-building events   for  upscaling   into  other   relevant   IFAD   and  Oxfam   projects. Involvement of knowledge institutes will contribute to participatory planning and gender mainstreaming in value chain research and training.

Main components:

  1. i. Adaptation  of  the  Gender   Action  Learning   System   (GALS)   and capacity-building in communities and institutions for gender sensitive interventions;
  2. i. Community-led action  research  and  win-win  negotiation  for  gender justice in value chains based on cereals, oilseeds, fruits, cocoa and vegetables;
  3. ii. Development and dissemination of materials and models of integrating GALS to support the scaling up of the approach in other IFAD and Oxfam programmes

Target group/beneficiaries

Approximately 57,557 people benefitted from the GENVAD project directly and about 157,926 have benefitted indirectly.


  2012 2013 2014 Totals
  Men Women Men Women Men Women


9090 9309 6378 10348 5.733 16699 57,557


38882 47727 29691 41626 157,926

The direct beneficiaries include women and men in communities who benefitted from GALS capacity development activities and monitored peer learning. The indirect beneficiaries include household members of direct beneficiaries, local stakeholders like government officials, entrepreneurs, traders and farmers outside the targeted communities reached through peer sharing.

Major results

The external project evaluation (Dec 2014) established that the project introduced GALS to a large number of women and men. The overall total of 57,577 GALS trainees (September 2014) massively exceeds the planned number  of 35,000 direct  beneficiaries.  The intensity and content  of the training has varied,  as training  is cascaded through generations of peer trainers. Oxfam’s ten GENVAD partners in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria have adopted GALS and shared the method with government, civil society and private sector actors. GALS has become part of the household methodologies toolkit promoted by IFAD throughout its projects.

Promising economic outcomes

Encouraging economic outcomes have been reported across the three countries. The strongest income increases were found in situations where GALS was combined with other interventions supporting rural livelihoods, farmers’ organizations and improved access to growth markets (e.g. cocoa beans, maize, oilseeds and rice). Access to affordable loans has improved as well, especially where GALS users have formed groups or registered organizations.

Progress towards gender equality

GALS relates gender equality to people’s everyday experience. GALS enables households to recognise gender injustice as an obstacle on the journey to their shared vision for a better life. Women and men have been empowered to articulate issues, discuss constructively and make explicit, shared decisions. As a result, gender- based violence (GBV) has reportedly decreased, men have taken on a greater share of productive work in agriculture, and  domestic chores/ care tasks are now more equally shared.


The stories of change told by GALS champions reveal deep individual transformation processes, especially in terms of strategic capacity at household levels, as well as greater male participation in agricultural labour.

Long-term work on gender justice, via GALS or other inclusive interventions, is needed to support lasting social norms change for greater gender justice.

GALS-trained NGOs and community-based organizations (CBO) display strong analytical skills.

Lessons learned

  1. Gender roles, relations and inequalities need to be included as strategic issues in value chain development (VCD) programmes, not as an add-on. Programme designers and implementers need to view gender justice and social inclusion as prerequisites for translating VCD into poverty alleviation and local economic growth.
  2. Community-led approaches to transform gender relations and norms can be brought to scale within project timeframes. Although it requires a concerted effort using the right approach with appropriate resources, increased costs are compensated by deeper impact, peer replication and potential uptake, and strengthened sustainability.
  3. VCD programmes have potential to address root causes rather than symptoms of inequality and disempowerment. The advantages of combining GALS with these programmes lie in personal capacity development and empowerment, joint decision making, changing power relations, and focus on sustainability of the actions and changes.
  1. Involving IFAD-supported investment  programmes  effectively  requires  engagement  at  different  levels  By  involving programme staff and resource persons from the first capacity building event onwards they can learn from each of the capacity building phases and appreciate the process of practical implementation. At country level linkages and exchange on GALS between CSO partners and IFAD projects worked really well at local level, but effort is also needed to feed this back to management levels so that scale up can be supported.
  2. The inherent ‘tension’ between community-led and extractive monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) required managing. GENVAD prioritised  information  needs  of the target  group,  based  on lessons  from  programmes  where primary  target  groups  were  excluded  from  accountability  measure  In  GENVAD  it  was  challenging  to combine community-led impact measurement and accountability to management and donors because of the number of community groups. Aggregating the changes at programme level requires much more space for the differences between contexts and groups.

Way forward

GENVAD led to a number of innovations, including a more streamlined methodology, the practice of participatory gender reviews at local and national level, developed a community-led methodology for reviewing progress on gender / livelihoods changes, and published new manuals for phase 1 (2014) and 2 (2015).Development and monitoring of multi stakeholder win-win strategies has shown to be an effective way to involve a variety of actors and create more balanced income growth.

The external evaluation concluded among others that the stories of change told by GALS champions reveal deep individual transformation processes, especially in terms of strategic capacity at household levels, as well as greater male participation in agricultural labour. Long-term work on gender justice, via GALS or other inclusive interventions, is needed to support lasting social norms change for greater gender justice. GALS-trained NGOs  and  CBOs  display  strong  analytical  skills.  The  sustainability  of GENVAD lies in the following dimensions:

–        Community-level through peer learning and integration in community-level platforms and functional group meetings. Successful “champions” are recognised;

–     CSO partners have integrated GALS in their core work, organisational manuals and design of new projects;

–     Local authorities continue GALS beyond the project period. Also private sector actors started supporting the

GALS process. Buyers report promoting GALS with other community groups because it makes business sense to them.

A  sustainability  workshop held in 2014 gathered  lessons  and  recommendations  for  the  sustainable  use  of  GALS  and integration in the core business of the functional groups at community level, organizational policies of CSOs, local governments and service providers. All participants developed GALS sustainability plans using the Multilane Highway tool, focusing on Value Chain development, gendered behaviour change and community learning and peer sharing. Monitoring and support by gender-aware organizations can help maintaining the momentum for GALS implementation deep into individual households.

(Source Value Chain Development for Pro-poor Wealth Creation: Grant Fact Sheet)

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