GENDER TOOLS HELP BALANCE RELATIONSHIPS

Profile:
Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative Enterprise

Product focus: Coffee
Location: Mbale, Uganda
Type: Small producer – 12,000
Fairtrade certified since: 2003
Contact: Tabitha Namarome -
tnamarome@gumutindocoffee.co.ug

Challenges

Land ownership and income streams management have been the domain of men in the Mbale area. Traditionally, a woman’s place is at home, taking care of the household and children. When Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative heard about the positive results of a gender balance project rolled out in a neighbouring cooperative, they decided to implement the programme in their own organisation.

Solution

With support from Fairtrade trader Twin, Gumutindo introduced the Gender Action Learning System (GALS), an empowerment programme that transforms and enhances gender justice economically, socially and politically. In February 2012, members of Gumutindo learned about their gender position and their rights through gender balance working tools. Below are the two most successful tools Gumutindo implemented:

Trainers ask couples to draw a diamond shape on a paper.  Both husband and wife are allocated two corners of the diamond, each writes down what pleases and displeases them in their relation. Both parties must adhere to the diamond. For example if a woman writes that she does not want to serve her husband while kneeling, he has to follow her wishes. The diamond is hung in a strategic place in their house to act as a reference point.

The Vision Journey

The vision journey was introduced to Gumutindo to encourage couples to save for and invest in family projects. The main premise is that good family budgeting helps improve relations between family members. Husbands and wives are trained on how to set up long- and short-term investment goals together. Throughout fortnightly meetings, trainers monitor progress and further share insights on how families can work and plan together.

Cost

Fairtrade trader Twin funded the roll-out of the gender project. So far the money that has been allocated to the following activities:

Activity Costs in USD
Kick-off training (5 days) 3,825
Follow-up by trainers (five months, incl. transport) 6,040
Exchange visit to Bukonzo Joint Co-operative to share experiences 5,035
Total cost 14,900

Gumutindo is planning to use the Fairtrade premiums to run the projects as from next year.

Results

The programme has grown exponentially. At the kick-off in February only 20 men and women took part; today the number has risen to 472 participants. The programme has helped shift the views of farmers and workers on women in general and their wives in particular. According to the farmers, men have started assisting in household chores, and consulting their wives when making critical decisions.