How CARE Used CLA to Improve Gender Relations in Mali

Oct 12, 2017 by Pranati Mohanraj, Emily Janoch & Emily Hillenbrand Comments (0)

Behavior change is hard, especially when you're embedded in the kind of behavior you're trying to change. Read or listen to this case summary to learn how CARE used a CLA approach to transform gender relations in Mali.

Development Challenge: A common challenge in gender programming is that implementing staff are subject to the same gendered social norms that they are attempting to transform. This leads to a shallow approach to gender that can be unconvincing to beneficiaries. When CARE staff in Mali noticed that it was hard for them to get communities to change their behavior around gender, they decided to examine their own behavior first.

CLA Approach:

  • Internal Collaboration: CARE brought five local NGOs from their Pathways Program together to discuss their obstacles to implementing gender programming. They worked together to develop a tool to collect data and create safe spaces for conversation about gender.
  • Pause & Reflect: During quarterly team meetings, staff used the tool to evaluate their practices around gender. They monitored trends over time and used them to identify areas of weakness and a way to move forward.
  • Openness: The personal reflection and collective solidarity that came from using the tool made the sometimes opaque or onerous work of “doing gender” accessible, personal, and relevant. The tool created an environment where group members engaged in discussion and catalyzed solutions.

Outcomes: As a result of this reflection process, staff noticed an improvement in their own household relations, which persuaded them of the benefits of more equal gender relations. This made them more credible role models in the communities in which they worked. At the end of the Pathways Program, women farmers were more than four times more likely to have control over household assets and nearly twice as likely to be involved in decisions about income and expenditures.

Click here to read or download the full case.

This blog post is part of a series featuring the 10 winners of the 2017 Collaborating, Learning and Adapting Case Competition. A new case will be posted on USAID Learning Lab each Thursday from October 12 - December 14.


Filed Under: 2017 Winners