BUILDING TRAINING AND MENTORING CAPACITY
IN GENDER ANALYSIS AND PARTICIPATORY METHODS
FOR APPLIED RESEARCH
Systemwide Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis
For Technology Development and Institutional Innovation (PRGA Program)
(Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis)
Elena P. Bastidas
December 2, 1998
University of Florida
Building Training and Mentoring Capacity
in Gender Analysis and Participatory Methods
for Applied Research
Submitted to: Systemwide Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis for
Technology Development and Institutional Innovation (PRGA Program)
Submitted by: MERGE (Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis)
Prepared by: Elena P. Bastidas and Kathryn Lynch
The present proposal is in response to the letter of request by the Coordinator of the PRGA
Program (15/11/98) and previous meetings between MERGE/UF and PRGA/CIAT. From these
communications we understand that the PRGA Program seeks to build training and mentoring
capacity in Africa, Asia and Latin America that can respond to the needs of applied researchers
from national and international research institutes and NGOs involved in participatory action
II. MERGE Background
The MERGE initiative began in 1992 as a combined effort of the Women in Agricultural
Development (WIAD) and the Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) programs at the
University of Florida. WIAD was an interdisciplinary program, was formed in 1984 to promote
understanding of the effects of gender roles in agricultural production practices, and the
differential impact of agricultural development processes on women, children, and men.
Reflecting growing interest in natural resource management issues, WIAD became GEAP
(Gender, Environment, Agriculture and Participation) program in 1992. TCD began in 1986 to
offer interdisciplinary research and training opportunities related to problems of biological
conservation and the livelihoods of the rural poor, especially in Latin America. TCD and GEAP
support academic research and training activities at the University of Florida, and seek to link
academic training to policy issues and to field-level projects and activities.
The MERGE program coordinated at the University of Florida is a cross-national partnership of
organizations seeking to develop strategies to strengthen the understanding of gender issues in
natural resource management in tropical areas. The program also seeks to encourage the
application of that improved understanding in research, training, policy decisions, and project
implementation related to conservation and development.
Current MERGE activities include development and testing of gender analysis research and
training materials, training programs emphasizing gender analysis skills, training of trainers
(TOT), a strategy of working with partners to incorporate gender considerations in project
implementation, and publications to disseminate the results of this work. Those working in the
MERGE program recognized the need to institutionalize attention to gender by working
simultaneously at different levels: policy-making, training, research, networking, and technical
IIL. MERGE Training and Training of Trainers (TOT) Approach
Training in gender and stakeholder analysis, by itself, is not enough to lead to change in
institutional policies and project applications. We must adopt a broader approach, working
through partnerships, learning together, across disciplines, regions, and institutions. We perceive
institutional change as a process that begins with participatory training.
Through several years of experience facilitating learning workshops throughout Latin America,
we have begun to grasp many of the key elements that make training in gender and stakeholder
analysis successful. First, training involves far more than developing and delivering technical
information in a conventional course. A learning workshop must provide tools, opportunities for
analytical thinking and candid discussion of critical issues. Both facilitators and participants
bring important and valuable knowledge to the workshop, and training provides an opportunity
for mutual learning. Therefore, it is important that participants are committed to understanding
and incorporating gender and participation in their work, and that facilitators are committed to
serving as active resources. The emphasis on mutual learning is central to our philosophy.
Second, each learning workshop needs to be adapted to and build on a local context. This site
specificity requires us to go beyond pre-prepared training packages. In this way we can test and
adapt techniques, draw on audience experience and knowledge, establish relationships and
facilitate exchanges. Training is an active and participatory process that is learner centered,
follows an experiential process, and enhances knowledge, skills and attitudes that are
immediately applicable to research efforts.
Third, a successful learning workshop requires collaboration with PRGA staff during the
conceptualization, planning, implementation and follow-up of training activities. It must be
relevant to local needs, involve participatory methods and group work, and incorporate
continuous evaluation and feedback throughout the process. If the goal is learning something
that can immediately apply to their professional activity, then learning objectives must have
relevance and meaning for participants in terms of their own goals. Participants must understand
why the information is important and how this knowledge fits into their life, job or other
activities and how it can be used productively. Activities encourage innovation and self-reliance
and incorporate a variety of approaches, methods and techniques.
IV. The MERGE Team
The MERGE team is an interdisciplinary, international team with extensive experience with
participatory research and training in gender and stakeholder analysis, participatory methods, and
adult education. The MERGE trainers come from a diverse set of disciplines, including farming
systems, agricultural economics, tropical conservation and development, anthropology,
education and communication, among others. In addition, our team includes both male and
female trainers. The MERGE advisory board consists of Dr. Marianne Schmink, Dr. Sandra
Russo, Dr. Peter Hildebrand, and Ms. Lisette Staal. The Advisory Board will play a critical role
in the strategic planning of the workshops, and will be involved in reviewing the training
process, content and materials developed by the MERGE trainers.
PROPOSED STRATEGIC PLAN
This proposal covers a period of three years and will be administered through the TCD program
at the University of Florida. To reach the stated goal, a comprehensive training approach is
needed. Delivering learning workshops is insufficient. Therefore, our comprehensive training
approach includes coordination, networking, technical backstopping, monitoring, evaluation and
development of appropriate materials, in addition to on-site learning workshops and training of
trainers. Rather than providing isolated workshops, our approach will help the Program build a
common philosophy regarding participatory approaches that incorporates gender and stakeholder
a. To train applied researchers involved in site-specific work in Africa, Asia and
Latin America to recognize the importance of gender and stakeholder analysis and
to incorporate gender/stakeholder considerations when implementing their plant
breeding and natural resource management programs and projects in a
b. To develop training capacity in Africa, Asia and Latin America to provide future
training in participatory research methods and gender/stakeholder analysis;
c. To develop, test and refine training materials and approaches appropriate for
professional personnel involved in research activities related to participatory plant
breeding and natural resource management;
d. To strengthen links and networks among trainers in participatory research and
gender/stakeholder analysis and involvement in Africa, Asia and Latin America in
the use of gender analysis for natural resource management issues;
e. To develop, test and evaluate strategies by which learning experiences and
materials can be made use of by other groups under different socio-cultural and
agroecological management conditions.
MERGE experience has shown that it is absolutely critical to have a team in charge of
coordinating the overall training effort. This team provides continuity, and ensures that the
learning workshops address the needs of the participants and provide useful and relevant
materials. This team also facilitates the critical evaluation of the training process, synthesizes the
lessons learned, produces the final reports, and ensures a network function for the sharing of
these lessons learned (Figure 1). True to MERGE philosophy, the strategic thinking behind a
learning workshop will be a group effort between the MERGE trainers and Advisory Board,
PRGA staff, local hosts, and regional trainers.
VII. Learning Workshops
There are no recipes for 'the successful learning workshop.' We believe that each
learning workshop must build on the knowledge and rich experiences that the participants
bring to the training. To do this successfully, MERGE offers an experienced team that
can adapt the training framework to meet the needs of the participants. We are flexible,
and capable of developing materials that address the needs of the participants in the areas
of gender and stakeholder analysis, participatory methods, and the goals of the projects.
As our audience will consist of applied researchers, some of the main questions we will
explore will include:
1. Why is gender and stakeholder analysis critical to participatory research?
2. What are the goals and characteristics of diverse types of participation?
3. At what stage of research is a particular type of participation most valuable?
The MERGE training team will conduct the learning workshops, training of trainers
workshops, process the experiences, and write the final reports. We understand that local
logistics and photocopying costs will be the responsibility of the host organization.
Identification of workshop participants, location and dates are the responsibility of the
In order to meet the stated objective of developing local capacity to provide training of
trainers, as well as the objective of strengthening networks, we propose that participants
in the training of trainers (TOT) workshops assist in the design and implementation of
future learning workshops. For example, the Lima TOT participants would help design
the Nepal workshops, and one member would accompany the MERGE team to Nepal to
help facilitate the workshops. This provides a much more powerful TOT experience, and
illustrates a true commitment to building local capacity and strengthening links and
networks among trainers in participatory research and gender/stakeholder analysis in
Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Based on our experience and training approach, we propose the following minimum
schedule for each of the workshops:
> 2 days for in-country preparation
> 2 days for learning workshop with all participants
> 1 day for Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop
> V day to 1 day for evaluation/debriefinglanalysis of lessons learned with TOT
d. Monitoring and Evaluation
One of the biggest weaknesses in training efforts is the lack of monitoring and evaluation.
To ensure that we meet our long term objectives and goals, we will initiate the evaluation
process on-site at the end of each workshop using a participatory appraisal approach. We
will follow up with two-month, six-month, and one-year post-course evaluations via
email to assess the impact of the workshops.
With our goal of building capacity and tracking the impact of this program over time, we
propose the development of an extensive and inclusive network. We are envisioning that the
member of the team in charge of the network will be a "contact" person for PRGA staff, for the
regional hosts, and for participants in the courses. Networking will rely on two listserves, and
national, regional and international meetings.
a. Listserves Two Internet listserves will be developed:
i. For all learning workshop participants. The purpose of this listserve is to facilitate
the exchange of information and lessons learned within the region, as well as across
regions for the participants in the workshops. It will be a place for participants to
share how they have used the new information, innovations they have developed since
the course, and insights into how to apply participatory approaches in their work. It
will also facilitate critical analysis of how gender/stakeholder analysis and
participatory methods have not been applicable to their research, and how the training
workshops could be adapted to better address their needs.
ii. TOT listserve. This listserve will be a space for sharing our philosophy and training
approach, reinforcing the information learned during workshops, and facilitating
dialogue among the TOT participants regarding their progress in becoming trainers
themselves. This listserve will provide general mentoring/backstopping to the entire
TOT team as well as a space for debate and exchange of experiences. In addition, the
MERGE team will also offer backstopping and individual mentoring to TOT
participants as needed during the first year.
b. National, Regional and International working group meetings
Our experience has shown that working group meetings facilitate the learning process.
While electronic networks provide a valuable forum for exchange of ideas, we have
found that nothing replaces the richness of face-to-face interactions. These meetings
provide an opportunity for exchange among regions regarding the learning process, and
how participants have been able to apply gender analysis and participatory methods in
their work. Although these meetings are not included in our budget, we think they are
critical for reaching the overall objectives of strengthening links and networks among
TOT participants. We propose a meeting (at the most convenient location) after the first
four workshops, perhaps in mid-1999. The participants in this meeting should include
the MERGE team and Advisory Board, PRGA staff, and selected TOT participants.
a. Training materials
As we are addressing two distinct objectives in one workshop, we believe it is necessary
to compile two separate notebooks for the course.
i. General workshop notebook. This notebook will go to participants in the general
workshop, and will include background information on gender analysis and participatory
methods as well as examples and practice activities/ideas.
ii. TOT notebook. The second notebook will be designed for the TOT participants. We
envision compiling the materials used in the course into a training manual, such as
flipcharts with objectives, goals, macro-plan, etc. These materials will be available for the
TOT participants to serve as a model/example of the materials useful in a participatory
i. Workshop report. This report is for both the PRGA Program and for the course
participants. This report will consist of three parts: a summary of the learning workshop,
a summary of the training of trainers, and a description of the overall lessons learned.
There will be one report per workshop.
ii. Process report. At the end of every year a report which analyzes the processes and
lessons learned, complete with reflections on how different techniques work in different
contexts, and the synthesized "lessons learned" will be compiled with the inputs of the
different workshops. This report will also synthesize the impact of the workshops.
STRATEGY FOR YEAR ONE
Following the overall strategy for the 3 years, the first year strategy provides 4 learning
The following chart describes activities and corresponding outputs for the first year:
Coordination Link to SWP-PRGA and ensuring program responds to needs
Training Training planning and on-site delivery of 4 learning workshops
Networking Technical assistance and backstopping
Creation and maintenance of 2 listserves linked to SWP-PRGA
Monitoring and Evaluation 6 month and 1 year follow-up with workshop participants
Materials 4 Training of Trainers (TOT) notebooks
4 Learning workshop notebooks
4 Training Reports
1 Process Reprt
Place Date Field Researchers Trainers
Lima, Peru 15-19 February 5 CARE 5
5 INIAP (Bolivia)
Katmandu, Nepal 15-19 March 15 5
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 30 April 5 May 15 5
Nairobi, Kenya (June/July) 15 5
Total Trained 60 20
b. Time Table
Proposed timetable for 1999
The following budget is exclusive of travel costs, per diem and local logistics. We understand
that photocopying of training notebooks for workshop participants will be done by the host
organization. The trainers fees cover contact and preparation days of 3 MERGE Trainers.
Proposed budget for 1999
Trainers fees (30 days/workshop x $ 300/day x 4 workshops)
Planning and coordination