Coached CBOs are shifting grassroots leaders’ capacities for advocacy and change management

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4 CBO partners of EASUN review successes and challenges, lessons and relevant methodologies for facilitating change in grassroots communities.

Venue and Date: Moshi, Tanzania, 17th – 20th November 2015

Context of the intervention by EASUN: Building partnerships for mentoring and coaching CBOs facilitating change in complex community situations.

A consultation organized by EASUN in Moshi, Tanzania,brought together 4 men and 13 women from civil society organizations based in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The meeting was largely facilitated by 4 partner CBOs (from Tanzania & Uganda) who had received coaching support from EASUN to train their own beneficiaries of women’s empowerment activities in grassroots situations. Concrete examples of changes brought about through application of new leadership/facilitation skills acquired by trained women leaders created a rich platform for reviewing successes and challenges related to facilitating change for women's leadership and empowerment in grassroots communities.

The wide range of CSOs participating in the consultation enriched the experience sharing and also enabled the creation of an important networking platform.

Key aims of the consultation were to:

  • Enable participants to share and experience what had happened in training situations where EASUN coached 10 staff members of 4 partner CBOs in facilitating change, particularly for women’s leadership and empowerment in grassroots communities, in 4 workshop held in 2015.
  • Surface and characterize the transformational nature of methodologies used in facilitating change in leadership practices of individuals and organizations working at grassroots levels.
  • Share institutional development successes and new questions experienced by the coached organizations towards effective advocacy for women`s leadership and empowerment.
  • Identify practices, skills and strategies for effective facilitation of change in grassroots communities. 

2.2.1. Increased opportunity outcomes related to increased self-awareness

In a specific sessions, the 4 partner CBOs shared how grassroots leaders trained had applied their new learning and how this had enabled new awareness and specific changes to come about in local communities. All 4 CBOs highlighted how women trained had become more aware of their abilities—particularly with regard to how they had previously used their personal power within, as well as power to influence others, in ways that either enhanced or undermined women’s empowerment in families and various community situations.

Women initiated more income generating projects, which enabled some of them to double their profits within a span of two months after training.New awareness acquired through training influenced women, in particular, to apply their leadership more consciously and in focused ways to bring about positive changes in gender responsive behaviours. Increased self-awareness alsoexpanded opportunities for women’s economic advancement in families and community life. For instance:

  • One male participant who had received training from a CBO coached in Moshi, Tanzania, shared how he had used his new dialogue skills and networking power (power with) to campaign for a particular woman in his area who eventually got elected to a local government office. Earlier on, the woman had seemed to give up on her aspirations, even though she had the potential to take up the leadership position.

2.2.2. Gender responsive outcomes related to improved listening skills

The sharing of experiences generated new awareness with regard to transformational leadership skills, as well as theimportance of meaningful gender responsive behaviours in organizations and community situations.Sixty five percent (65%) of the consultation participants expressed insights on how active listening (listening at 3 levels) as a leadership quality and a gender responsive practice can create new opportunities to enhance women's rights and empowerment in families, communities and organizations. Some statements shared by participants are highlighted below, showing how active listening skills acquired improved gender responsive behaviours in the direction of women’s empowerment:

  1. Community leaders increased their openness to engage more positively with women’s felt needs and entrepreneurial initiatives.
  2. Women themselves increased their openness in collaborative situations and empowered one another in their development activities and inthe pursuit of leadership opportunities.
  3. Empowered women articulated their needs and influenced change and decision-making at family and community levels.
  4. The world become a better place for women who experienced expanded opportunities to participate meaningfully in leadership and governance processes and experience God's purpose for creating them.