Participatory Action Learning approaches to raise gender awareness


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Successful gender mainstreaming depends on having a process that effectively engages staff at all levels and enables them to better understand what it means to integrate gender into their own practices and the importance of doing so.

This toolkit provides guidance on how to apply a proven, cost-effective process specifically developed for gender mainstreaming in large, multi-country contexts.

Start here

Enable deep reflection on gender issues to help develop a clear and collective understanding of what ‘gender’ means and how it relates to your work.
Identify key questions to explore, lessons learned and good practices to document and share
Learn how to undertake short, focused participatory inquiries to explore the key themes and questions you have identified
Plan how to effectively share information about good practices, lessons and findings with different audiences
Explore ways to translate your learning into action for sustainable change by applying and adapting lessons at the programme design phase


Examples included in the toolkit derive from the 'Innovations from the Field: Gender Mainstreaming from the Ground Up' programme which was a partnership between The World Food Programme and the Institute of Development Studies. 

To find out more please view our short film about the WFP/ IDS partnership 

WFP IDS partnership video

About the toolkit

This toolkit was written by Alyson Brody, a gender and development research consultant. Alyson led the USAID-funded partnership project with the World Food Programme Gender Office, designed to promote organisational learning on gender mainstreaming for all WFP countries through participatory action learning methodologies and knowledge sharing.

Further reading

Our quick guide to the to the lessons learned (PDF) in the Innovations from the Field programme

You can read more about our learning from the work, and the links between gender equality and food security in the IDS interactive essay - 'Mainstreaming gender: Transforming the debate on food security'. 

La Institucionalización de Género: Transformando el debate sobre la seguridad alimentaria - Traducción al español (PDF)