Among the participants, five partners of UTZ, the certification organization, wished to polish their gender and mainstreaming knowledge and skills in order to ensure women coffee producers get a fair share of the benefits accruing from this activity.
AgriProFocus’ main innovation through this TOT and its tailor-made coaching is to combine coaching principles with both gender mainstreaming theories and tools and systemic approaches to VCD. AgriProFocus’ approach is practical and we put a lot of emphasis on research-action, for optimum results. The training of coaches combined practical group exercises and a study visit in the field with orange fleshed sweet potato producers near Mukono. The group also met with service providers (one provider of agro-inputs and two providers of business development services and finance) to undertake an organizational scan and assess whether their services were gender responsive.
From experiences working in the field of value chain development and gender, AgriProFocus realized that gender mainstreaming often remains jargon and an abstract concept if not properly explained and put in practice through continuous, customized and practical support. For this purpose, coaches are trained to accompany their coachees over a long period of time- usually a year- to help them overcome barriers and possible resistance to change within their own organizations. Coaching builds motivation and autonomy, is solution focused and action oriented. It allows people to reach their objectives by digging into their own resourcefulness and unleashing their potential. Organizations and programs having benefited from tailor made coaching from our network include among others IFDC-CATALIST, IFDC- 2SCALE, FAO, UTZ, etc.