Highlights from the IFAD Household Methodologies Workshop and Writeshop in Entebbe, Uganda

‘A family that works together…..’

The focus on poor rural people in IFAD has for some time now been brought down to targeting the household as a holistic entity, ensuring that all individuals there in are part of the agenda to overcome poverty. The adage in using household methodologies would then be ‘a family that works together overcomes poverty together’.
Role play: participants act out a scenario of a mentored household
Household methodologies holistically target all members of a household to work together as an entity for improved livelihoods by having a joint vision for themselves. The methodologies aim at bringing out the fact that improved gender relations in a household is one of the drivers of change, and hence work towards ensuring gender equality and equity at household levels. For instance, what is the distribution of workloads at household level between women and men, in comparison with sharing of the benefits, and what does this mean for production and productivity?
The USAID Community Connector Approach
'Telling the story and changing it'
The workshop/writeshop has been an enlightening few days from 4 – 10 October. The highly participatory and experiential event had some exciting experiences such as an evening campfire where participants answered questions from the opposite sex, and role plays. It focused on discussing the various household methodologies in IFAD supported projects and other partners in Africa, and then writing down all the ideas into a draft sourcebook. There were a total of 26 participants (58 per cent women), from nine countries in Africa, staff from IFAD and IFAD-supported projects, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), as well as the regional network Improved Management of Agricultural Water in East and Southern Africa (IMAWESA). The workshop was opened by Andrew Musoke, the Assistant Commissioner for Planning in Uganda’s Ministry of Local Government, under which the IFAD supported District Livelihoods Support Project (DLSP) is implemented. Araki Yasunori, the senior representative for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Uganda gave some remarks and shared experience from Japan where household methodologies are used as an approach to improve livelihoods of the poor. During the course of the workshop, Alessandro Marini, the IFAD Uganda Country Programme Manager and Lawrence Kasinga, DLSP Programme Coordinator, also made a few remarks, expressing the need to build on the successes of the household mentoring approach used in DLSP to ensure that more rural people are brought out of poverty.
Participant from Ghana, Zambia and Malawi in a role play
The workshop has brought out the importance of engaging men for gender equality in households and some of the participants are leaders of men’s networks involved in gender mainstreaming work in Africa such as Men for Gender Action Now (MEGEN) in Kenya and the Men’s Campfire Network in Zambia. The role of traditional chiefs/leaders has also been a topic of discussion during the workshop, bringing out how different categories of people can be engaged to increase gender equality at household level, to enable rural households overcomes poverty.
Some of the key issues underscored during the workshop include:
  • Household methodologies often identify the need to address gender inequalities - in workloads, sharing resources and benefits, and decision-making - as one of the key the solutions to achieving sustainable improvements in their household.
  • The recognition that focusing on the households is a good starting point for raising awareness, promoting unity at household level by supporting joint visioning and planning, and gender mainstreaming to overcome existing gender inequalities and injustices.
  •  The importance of visioning at the household level and how powerful it is to see households move forward by expressing their own visions is a key strength for household methodologies. To make the methodologies more effective, there should be a careful targeting criteria, as well as mechanisms for monitoring, measurement, evaluation and learning. There is also need for documentation of impact (with solid figures, evidence and sharing these experiences for up scaling.
  • There are different entry points for household methodologies such as the agricultural extension services, rural finance, irrigation, natural resources management, and other thematic areas
  • Different stakeholders are required to make household methodologies more effective and successful. The question is what are the incentives for getting these other stakeholders on board? For instance at the household level, the shared benefits is an incentive for members to work together.
  • The question of sustainability is an issue in places where the household methodologies are implemented through a project; working with community facilitators is one option as is mainstreaming within the government structures.
putting 'pen to paper'- participants of the writeshop
write out the shared ideas
From the 7 – 10 October, a smaller group remained behind after the workshop to write down all the experiences shared during the workshop, and to draft a sourcebook on household methodologies that can be used by IFAD and other interested partners to make working with households a more worthwhile experience. As far as the participants of the workshop are concerned, a sourcebook on household methodologies is timely.
For Nigist who works with Send a Cow, Addis A baba,  Ethiopia, the source book can bring wider impact especially at household level, by making gender analysis more explicit.
According to Nelson Banda of Men's Campfire Network, Zambia, it is
An awareness raising tool, which for those of us who have not known about the household methodologies before now know and will use it to implement the methodologies in working with men 
The campfire experience where men answered women's questions
and women answered men's questions.
Michael Chishimba from Zambia, household methodologies ensures that households are reached effectively and address those issues that cannot be tackled at community level.
 Going down to the household means that all individuals that would have been otherwise left out are included.
Families are founded differently in different societies hence the need to un pack the different power relations at household level, emphasized Vincent Akamandisa from Zambia.

Stories told around the campfire - different cultural aspects and how these
define gender roles at household level

 Helena from Mozambique