Lessons learned @ Participation
respurces resourceslibraryfield tools lessons learned
lessons learned @ 

resources  > library - field tools - lessons learned
interact  > news - contact us - mailing list - discussion
about > participation: our vision - who we are - faq - credits - course
links  > websites - organisations - sustainable livelihoods

Lessons learned



Preliminary guidelines for Improving Gender Equity in Territorial Issues (IGETI).


Paolo Groppo, FAO, Rome (Italy)

Ilaria Sisto, FAO, Rome (Italy)


Background document:

FAO, Promoting gender equality in land access and territorial development. Guidelines for training. Participatory Negotiation Territorial Development (PNTD) and Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programmes (draft)


Applied Participatory Approaches:



Based on its experience with Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development (PNTD)  and the Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programme, FAO has recently started developing a new set of guidelines for Improving Gender Equity in Territorial Issues (IGETI). The guidelines are aimed at promoting gender sensitive participatory methodologies that enable people from different context and background to use dialogue and negotiation to reach consensus on controversial issues regarding land access and exploitation.Thanks to the lessons learned gathered through the implementation of PNTD and SEAGA, and in consideration of FAO latest reflections on the efficacy and adaptability of participatory methods approaches on land tenure issues, this article presents a preliminary version of the IGETI, which is specifically intended to development practitioners for immediate field use



The IGETI guidelines are based on FAO Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development (PNTD) and Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) programmes’ approaches and experiences. They integrate the knowledge obtained from the implementation of both, in terms of failures and successes, and provide more efficient and adaptable participatory methods to promote gender equality in land access and territorial development. Specifically, the IGETI guidelines integrate

  • • The PNTD approach, aimed at fostering trust, social cohesion, systemic negotiations to induce socially-legitimized results in terms of gender equality in land access and territorial development. Specific goals include: i) the promotion of bottom-up participatory decision making processes; ii) the enhancement of consensus building: iii) the reduction of power asymmetries; iv) the promotion of social dialogue and partnership among wide range of actors.
  • • The SEAGA approach, focused on the economic, environmental, social and institutional dimensions of development. Specific goals include: i) understanding gender roles, responsibilities and relations, ethnicity, social differences and livelihood strategies; ii) ensuring a voice to the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged people; iii) promoting participatory processes, recognizing asymmetries of power within households and other institutions; iv) analyzing current situation as a basis for planning future interventions aimed at improving gender equality in territorial development.


Territory and gender-equitable access to land

The term “territorial development” used in the guidelines is based on a systemic view, which goes far beyond classical concept of rural areas intended as anonymous spaces for agricultural production, highlighting the complex interactions between the environmental sub-system and the human sub-system, the latter including socio-cultural, economic, institutional, legal, political components and their multiple linkages – i.e. people, goods and information flows - in a dynamic perspective.

According to the systemic view, the territory is the space where communities, individuals and groups live and are socially organized; it is the space of narratives, dialogue, negotiations according to which rules, visions and myths are built and rights are claimed; it is the space where gender inequality in access to land can be effectively addressed.

Access to land matters are so complex and sensitive that they should be approached with extreme caution, bearing in mind the social and cultural background where social organization and stakeholders’ relationships take place.

The guidelines move from the territory intended as a system, in order to identify the specific processes stimulated and carried on by different actors (including dialogues, negotiations, consultations, confrontations, conflicts, coalitions, partnerships and alliances) and their impact on land access.


IGETI approach

Three PNTD phases (Views, Horizons and Negotiations) and selected SEAGA participatory tools (Development Context Analysis, Livelihoods Analysis and Stakeholders Priorities Analysis) have been combined in these guidelines, to provide an integrated gender sensitive learning tool for access to land and territorial development. Such tool is to be used to: i) analyze the different actors’ visions of the territory, its socio-economic dimensions, the gender dynamics and the power structure; ii) analyze the historical trends and their breaks to understand the underlying causes of existing constraints and to identify viable alternatives; iii) to identify actors/stakeholders’ interests, priorities, problems and actions aimed at improving gender-sensitive access to land a micro-level.

As for the PNTD and SEAGA, facilitation is an integral part of the IGETI approach has a strategic resource in activating communication processes and dialogue, in building trust and in sharing information among actors.


Phase 1: Views (gender sensitive territorial development)

Objective: To carry out participatory gender sensitive territorial diagnosis process of access to land and other natural resources with particular attention to gender equality, taking into account actors and their territory as a whole. The analysis takes place in three steps:

Step 1 - Gender sensitive Development Context Analysis

  • Helps understand how environmental economic, social and institutional patterns influence people’s access to land, livelihood strategies and options for improving land rights and gender equitable access to land.
  • Provides historical analysis and understanding of actors’ visions and livelihoods strategies in relation to their context and its patterns. It is important to take into account past land occupation and exploitation patterns before deciding whether or not rights exist over unoccupied areas. Furthermore, the historical diagnosis reveals specific driving forces affecting any intervention on gender and land access. Risks and opportunities offered by current trends should be carefully taken into account while formulating possible scenarios of change.

Step 2 – Gender sensitive Stakeholders Priorities’ Analysis

  • Highlights the relationships existing within productive chains and livelihoods.
  • Highlights the linkages and interdependencies between the community level (micro), the intermediate and the macro level.
  • Provides views and perspectives regarding interventions on improving equal access to land and livelihoods activities.


Step 3 – Gender sensitive Livelihoods analysis

  • Examines and assesses the land tenure rights arrangements (customary or statutory), how they contribute to livelihoods and how they influence land access at various levels (individuals, households or socio-economic groups).
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities of individuals at (intra-)household level, their needs perceptions and interests.
  • Assess the stakeholders’ commitments, priorities and reaction to interventions aimed at improving equal access to land.


Phase 2: Horizons (dialogue and gender sensitive proposals)

Objective: To open a discussion among actors on the promotion of gender quality in access to land and territorial development. Participatory processes are aimed to support actors in drawing up coherent and feasible perspectives for the future development of their territory, promoting awareness and setting up a negotiation table. Once the actors have accepted the different views concerning gender equality and land access, concrete proposals are elaborated in terms of alternative scenarios for consensus building. The dialogue takes place in two steps:


Step 4 – Dialogue and proposal building in a Development Context Analysis

  • Based on the findings from the territorial diagnosis (Phase 1), dialogue and proposal building in a given context promoting gender equitable access to land is a sort of validation process, aimed at making the actors and the facilitator aware of the issues at stake within the territory, its strengths and weaknesses, problems, needs and opportunities.
  • Scenario building focuses on “most likely and unlikely alternatives”.


Step 5 – Dialogue in Stakeholders Priorities’ Analysis

  • All actors together with the facilitator should participate in validating the findings of the territorial diagnosis.
  • The validation process should give particular emphasis to the analysis of existing conflicts and partnerships between actors, to the causes of the problems identified and to the options for promoting gender equality in access to land.


Step 6 – Dialogue and empowerment Livelihoods Analysis

  • The most important aspect of this phase is dialogue and trust building among all actors.
  • The actors’ willingness to participate is related to their perception and ability to participate in a trust building effort. The role of the facilitator is critical if finding a common ground for dialogue and empowerment of weak actors.


Phase 3: Negotiations (seeking consensus)

Objective: To articulate a continuous multilevel and multi-actor gender sensitive dialogue trough negotiation processes and seeking consensus on how to promote gender equality in access to land and territorial development.


  • Mutual respect and confidence by the participants to the negotiation
  • Frank, open discussion and recognition of the legitimacy of each actor/party
  • Focusing on interests at stake instead of concentrating on the positions of actors
  • Focus on multiple interest that lie behind actors’ positions
  • Have brainstorming sessions where parties express and discuss their respective points of view
  • Possess all information needed to construct alternative scenarios of possible solution
  • Evaluation of feasibility based on objective criteria defined by the parties (laws, regulations, costs etc.)


Step 7 – Negotiations in gender sensitive Development Context Analysis:

  • The consensus building process is an outcome of the territorial diagnosis.
  • Asymmetries in actors’ bargaining power should be eliminated.
  • A bottom-up approach could help in building social cohesion and avert conflicts, thanks to shared local knowledge and institutions.
  • Empowerment, trough learning by doing, is a precondition for success thanks to progressive adjustments.


Step 8 – Negotiations in gender sensitive Stakeholders Priorities’ Analysis

  • The negotiation table is the arena where local actors willing to participate and to cooperate jointly examine problems and potential solutions to improve gender equality in access to land.
  • The negotiation table represents the leading institutions in which the largest local partnership will materialize, among local communities, public officials, local representatives of various categories, private individuals etc.


Step 9 – Negotiations in gender sensitive Livelihoods Analysis

    • Different actors have their own development issues regarding livelihoods activities and how important more equitable land access and territorial development improve their livelihoods.
    • There is not a blueprint for negotiation processes as each is tailored to its context and involve its specific actors.


    Final considerations

    To help activating processes of dialogue and trust building, quite often the participation of someone who is not directly involved is essential. This figure (eventually a group of person and not necessarily a single man/woman) is what we call a Facilitator. An initial document has been prepared on this figure and on the facilitation process. This text will also be reviewed in order to better reflect gender concerns. The outcomes of the decision making process might be manifold. When referring to the idea of a Social Territorial Agreement is not the contractual outcome “per se” that is stressed, but the fact that the decision taken by the actors together is socially legitimised. It should be reminded however that the whole process might not have been successful in starting a negotiation process because common ground could not be found or because key actors could not be part of the process given weak capacities or lack of legitimisation.

    The need to coordinate the various components of the process might force the facilitating team to slow down some of the activities while concentrating the effort on others. Furthermore, it might be the case that even though the actors have entered dialogue, an agreement among them on the specific issues at stake could not be reached at that present point in time. This is to say that IGETI can not ensure positive results that will remain, as is correct, depedent on the willingness of the stakeholders to seat and negotiate.


  Informal Working Group on
  Participatory Approaches & Methods
...to support Sustainable Livelihoods  
& Food Security