ENGAGE! Women's Empowerment and Active Citizenship

Project Summary:

ENGAGE! is a five-year initiative co-designed by Coady Institute and five partner organizations:

  • Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India;
  • Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE) in Ethiopia;
  • Gender Training Institute (GTI) of the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP);
  • Christian Commission for Development (CCDB) in Bangladesh; and
  • Centre Haïtien du Leadership et de l’Excellence (CLE) in Haiti.

The project will work to advance gender equality and poverty reduction by enhancing women’s capacity to participate in the social and economic life of their communities. ENGAGE! will apply an asset-based, citizen-led development (ABCD) approach to promote gender-equitable change. This approach ensures that local communities, and in particular women, exercise ownership and control over social and economic development initiatives that respond to their realities and priorities.

Training on the use of animation and facilitation tools at TGNP for their Intensive Movement Building Cycle. The training covered gender responsive budgeting, gender issues, and animation and facilitation training.

The project will work “on the ground” in communities across five countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, India and Tanzania). Project activities will be a combination of:

  • support for community-based training of women leaders and related community initiatives that advance gender equality;
  • capacity building support for partner organizations and their local, national and regional networks; and
  • learning-focused activities (action research, case study documentation, curriculum development, etc.) that build on the community initiatives and share lessons learned through various dissemination and training opportunities, including Antigonish-based training at Coady Institute.

As project lead and convener, Coady Institute will oversee project management and accountability to Global Affairs Canada and co-ordinate cross-partner activities such as governance, baselines, monitoring, and evaluation. The Institute will also provide a range of capacity building support to the implementing partners and their networks. This will include staff training at Coady, as well as opportunities for fellowships and exchanges. The project steering committee will also put in place an ambitious learning agenda on issues and innovations related to women’s community-based leadership, with multiple action research themes, and related documentation and dissemination activities, including regional and global learning forums.

A key component of the Engage program is the priority placed on creating a co-learning environment whereby the partner organizations have ongoing opportunities to share their expertise, learn from each other, and collectively explore new ideas, techniques and tools.

The annual Learning Forum is one of the venues for this collaborative learning process. The 2021 Learning Forum was comprised of six online workshops held over a four-week period through October to early November. Representatives from each partner organization participated in the planning process and took the lead on presenting a topic and facilitating discussions linking to asset-based development, feminism, social enterprise and climate resilience.

A key component of the ENGAGE program is learning. The ENGAGE Newsletter feature updates, key lessons, and changes which partners are seeing. The March 2022 issue features SEWA’s Food Systems Webinar Series, which brought visibility to the informal women farmers and their issues, challenges, and solutions to food systems transformation. It also provides updates and success stories from the other partners: Centre Haitien du Leadership et de l’Excellence (CLE), Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), and the Organization for Women in Self-Employment (WISE) in Ethiopia.

Our Five Partner Organizations are:

Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB)

CCDB will work at community level to support the formation and strengthening of local women’s organizations to address issues of climate change through the development of community-based climate change adaptation plans that address the specific needs of women and girls. Training activities will build the capacity women’s organizations to undertake local action research that examines the vulnerabilities of women in the context of climate change; support them to engage in advocacy and campaigns; and enhance their ability to interaction with local government institutions and develop opportunities for alternative livelihoods.

Centre Haïtien du Leadership et de l’Excellence (CLE) in Haiti

CLE proposes to launch the Haiti Women Global Change Leaders (GCL) Program, a new blended learning and place-based leadership development program. Two cohorts of 25 young social change Haitian women leaders (ages 18-35) will pass through the program in two cycles of the new program. By strategically targeting and investing in a select group of young women, CLE will ensure a multiplier effect whereby these women are able to spread a message of women-led, asset-based change across Haiti.

Gender Training Institute (GTI), with TGNP Mtandao in Tanzania

The GTI-TGNP initiative focusses on empowering women to lead gender equitable change in their communities through use of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB). It will equip women at the local level with the analytical tools and methodology to engage with budgets and identify priorities for their local community, focused on gender related challenges. It will also develop the capacity for civil society engagement in women’s rights and GRB-related advocacy, as well as engage directly with local government, line agencies, and other service providers that hold authority over – or can influence – decision-making on local and national budgets.

Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE) in Ethiopia

WISE is a women’s empowerment organization that will provide national and community based training of women leaders with a focus on women’s empowerment, asset-based approaches, and enterprise development. WISE will build capacity of its local implementing partners in these same areas, and undertake a learning agenda (action research, case study documentation, curriculum development, etc… ) on related issues and topics.

Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India

SEWA is a member-based organisation of more than 1.9 million self-employed women workers of the informal sector in India. The SEWA Manager ni School (SMS) was founded in 2005, and provides leadership and management education to grassroots members from the informal economy. As part of the ENGAGE! Project, three initiatives will be undertaken.

  • community-based training of women leaders focused on the “future of work” in the informal sector;
  • capacity building of SMS as a Community College, and center for innovation and learning, including regional and international outreach; and
  • developing and implementing a research and dissemination agenda on related issues.

Inaugural meeting of a newly formed Women’s group in Shymanagar Upazila.

Through ENGAGE, CCDB will be forming approximately 40 women’s groups that will provide training opportunities, engage with local governments, and strengthen women’s leadership in their communities.

Photo Credit Imran Kibria

The official inauguration of ENGAGE project was held December 15, 2020 at the Organization for Women in Self-employment (WISE).

The project was launched in the presence of its pertinent stakeholders from government offices, civil society organizations and universities. About 30 participants including WISE’s staff have participated in the inauguration workshop. The solidarity of WISE with Global Affairs Canada and Coady International Institute since 2012 was presented in the workshop. The nexus between EMPOWER and ENGAGE project was also presented. Discussion on strengthening partnership among present stakeholders and other potential stakeholders was held. In conclusion, way forward in implementation of the project was discussed.

Group presentation on different methods used during Intensive Movement Building Cycle. (IMBC)

Eric Smith interviews a CCDB participant in the ENGAGE project.

She received training on climate resilient agriculture and explains the impact this has had on her family’s food security and income.

Photo Credit Imran Kibria

SEWA

Yogesh Ghore and a SEWA member provide an overview of the leaky bucket tool, used to better understand household or business finances and local economies.

SEWA’s Kamla Dry Goods and Snacks kitchen, which provides employment security for women who are in the food processing sector.

It procures directly from SEWA members through RUDI (RUral DIstribution, which provides seeds, procures goods, processes them, and provides door to door delivery). Kamla provides nutritious regular homemade food for its customers. The center also provides training in baking and cooking for other Kamla centers in the rest of India.

Question and Answer discussion during TGNP’s Intensive Movement Building Cycle training.

Meeting with a People’s Managed Savings Cooperative at CCDB.

These organizations help women build up their savings to withstand shocks and invest in their businesses. They also help create democratic leadership opportunities through their member-based structure.

News

ENGAGE! One Year In.

ENGAGE! One Year In.

ENGAGE! Women’s Empowerment and Active Citizenship is a five-year initiative co-designed by Coady Institute and five partner-organizations in...

read more
Op-ed: 20 Million Face Masks

Op-ed: 20 Million Face Masks

By Yogesh Ghore and Farouk Jiwa As the world responds to the Covid-19 pandemic, a pressing and immediate issue is the supply of personal protective...

read more

Key Dates

Overall Project: December 2019 to February 28, 2025
Inception Phase: January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019
Implementation Phase: May 1, 2020 to October 31, 2024
Reporting Phase: November 1, 2024 to December 15, 2024

 

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada