To bring about the needed gender transformation, there is need to work with both men and women. Men and women need to agree to change certain things for transformation to take place. Mostly women and men are found at the household level(families) and real transformation has to begin here.
For the last three years I have been working with smallholder coffee producers in cooperative societies in Kenya. For along time coffee at the household level has been taken as a male crop and women only provide labour for production activities. When coffee payments are done, they do not benefit from the incomes because its paid to the men who own the bank accouts or are shareholders.
Sustainable Management Services Ltd, a company owned by Ecom Agroindusrial commodities introduced the Gender Action Learning System(GALS) to be renamed (Family action Learning System) approach to the producer organisations and the farmers. The aim of the approach is to encourage men and women to have common visions, plan on how to achieve the visions as they also analyse the family issues that can hinder the achievements of those visions. In this way the men and the women start seeing coffee as an opportunity to assist them achieve their dreams. Its out of this that men have been able to let the women have bank accounts from where they access coffee payments. Men have been able to invest in biodigetsres to lessen the burdens for women in the kitchen. With Biogas the men can be able to prepare food. From the visions families are able to buy water tanks for water storare, lessening the burden for women to fetch water from long distances and hills. Women are able to use the coffee payments to secure loans from the savings group and are able to meet other needs of their own. Men have been able to reduce unnecessary expenditures that contribute to the poverty of the family through cooperation with the wives.
For real transformation to take place, there is need to invest in the real things that can assist to remove on some of the barriers that make women not enjoy equality.