Starting with Women

What does it mean to Start with Women?

How to Use this Toolkit

Download PDFs of Individual Tools

One of the most important pieces of the Starting With Women methodology is the use of Community-Based Facilitators (CBFs) to work with the women, groups, and communities. It is important that these CBFs be selected carefully.

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Community-Based Facilitators (CBFs) should be given Part I of this assessment to fill out at the beginning of their training. This assessment should form the basis for their training and for ongoing support. Part II of the assessment should be conducted as an interview with the CBF, to assess the CBF’s understanding of the gender and social dynamics regarding land and resources in the community.

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The purpose of this analysis is to identify the different stakeholders in the quest to improve the tenure security/land rights of women in the intervention area. The analysis is framed to show the value of engaging specific individuals and institutions that have influence and a role to play with regard to land rights matters at household and community levels.

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As part of a Monitoring and Evaluation plan, ideal implementation of the Starting With Women approach will include conducting a baseline survey with both project participants and a control group. All project participants should be interviewed, and a robust sampling method should be used to ensure validity of the control group. Below is a sample survey, although questions should be tailored to the particular project context.

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This logic framework is linked to the baseline survey tool. The baseline survey should be developed after conducting initial qualitative research on land and resource security for women in the context of the project area. This framework, like the baseline survey tool, is illustrative and should be amended based on context.

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Before the project begins, a needs assessment should be conducted with each group. This will form the basis for curriculum development and other ongoing engagement. These questions are illustrative; interviewers should be sure to probe answers. The discussion should be based around the goals for the project. In this example, the focus was on understanding the land and resource tenure situation in the area and women’s experiences of tenure.

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Once Focus Groups and Women’s Needs Assessments are completed, it’s important to compile the input into a one-page document that can be reviewed by the participants. Here is a sample of the Key Messages for Capacity Building and Implementation from the project in Uganda.

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The Starting With Women approach is based on the needs and aspirations of participants. Implementation activities must therefore be responsive and flexible. The following template includes suggestions for how to easily chart out a plan for implementation, including common methods for engagement. This implementation plan begins after the activities of identifying and hiring Community-Based Facilitators, identifying project participants, and conducting the baseline and needs assessment.

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Plan for quarterly meetings to review the progress of the project. This sample agenda template is broken into four different quarterly agendas that will guide the review process during the project’s lifecycle.

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These trainings focus on how to speak up, how to negotiate, and how to lobby. The end goal is that participants will be better able to advocate for themselves, both individually and as a group.

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Through the creation and sharing of dramatic performances, participants learn to identify priorities, issues, experiences, and methods for understanding and changing land tenure rights. During this training, they’ll learn to develop meaningful communications for their target audiences at different community levels.

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This training focuses on empowering participants to mediate conflicts within their groups and their communities. The training is interactive, and participants should be encouraged to take an active part in the discussion and group activities.

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Community-Based Facilitators (CBFs) should write a monthly report for each group. Appended to the report should be meeting minutes. Reports need not follow the same format each time, but should include at least the following items, in as much detail as feasible.

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This activity should follow the needs assessment and the baseline, and begins with validating those findings with the groups. Facilitators should work with the group to identify or validate problems and aspirations, ask for confirmation, amendment, or addition to that list, and work together to identify action points. It may be helpful to use large sheets of paper to do this. Be sure to record the action points, as they will form the basis for ongoing engagement.

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This template should be used by CBFs to track land issues that arise during the intervention and note the process through which they were resolved. Ideally, CBFs should complete on a monthly basis.

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This template should be used by CBFs to record and keep track of any stakeholders that may influence the project. This can be used in concert with the Stakeholder Analysis Template.

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Education and engagement are key components of any intervention. One method for educating the community is through radio messages. Here is a sample of a radio announcement created for the project in Uganda.

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Groups should be taught to take their own minutes in group notebooks, where possible. However, facilitators should also be taking minutes in their own notebooks to ensure an accurate record is kept. After the meeting, facilitators should fill out the Emerging Issues table to keep their supervisors apprised of any issues and for ease of follow up.

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As part of a robust Monitoring and Evaluation plan, group participants may be asked to keep journals where feasible. Journals may be kept by participants, but will more likely be notes on short interviews the facilitator will hold with selected participants. These should be kept in a separate notebook just for journals.

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As part of a Monitoring and Evaluation plan, ideal implementation of the Starting With Women approach will include conducting an end of project survey with both project participants and a control group. All project participants should be interviewed, and a robust sampling method should be used to ensure validity of the control group. Below is a sample survey, although questions should be tailored to the particular project context.

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Once the project has concluded, engaging the community in a guided discussion will enable you to track and measure any progress or improvements that have been made as a result of the interventions.

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When recording in the field, explain all the time, to everyone in the community, what you are doing. This is very important in helping to make sure that the project is not seen as something suspicious, secretive, or threatening. Just explaining what is happening and what you are doing with your camera or audio recorder can go a long way to easing any possible tensions that may arise about it, or any suspicions that it is hostile to the interests of men in the community.

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Before beginning the interviews, it is necessary to explain to the individuals why we would like to conduct the interviews, and what they’ll be used for. It should always be made clear that taking part in being interviewed is completely voluntary, and that individuals can change their mind about being interviewed at any time during the process.

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The Communications Officer is an integral part of the project team and will help facilitate interactions with the community.

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