The Bilital Maroobe Network initiated an action-research project to develop a bottom-up gender policy favouring the integration of women into its member organisations, and to set up a continuous process providing RBM with the necessary material to guide its actions and vision.
A participatory action research
This participatory action research involved collecting 350 stories from women and men in 9 West African countries (Sahel and neighbouring regions). The narratives captured diverse perspectives on the roles of women in improving the livelihoods of their families and communities, their evolving roles in livestock systems, the spaces they hold, and the interaction between men and women in decision making.
Simultaneously, this story collection process served as a learning journey for 18 Young Ambassadors for Pastoralism who collected the stories.
The analysis involved the interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data, laying the foundations for the next phases. To deepen the overall insights and to collectively reflect on the stories, various RBM stakeholders, including the Young Ambassadors, representatives of member organizations, and women who shared particularly inspiring stories, came together in a process of collective interpretation. Over three days, 30 young and adult participants, both women and men, interpreted the 350 narrative fragments.
We pictured three mosaics that reflect the multitude of roles of women in pastoral communities, encompassing their motivations, aspirations, and strategies for action. This now serves as the foundation for a new vision and mission on how to integrate gender into the RBM network and its member organisations.
Additionally, a tailor-made dashboard is utilised to further 'unpack' specific topics and continuously inform RBM’s daily work.
"I have rarely enjoyed working on gender as much as I have this year, and I look forward to continuing to explore the stories. Now that I have tangible material, I find it particularly rewarding. Before initiating this action research, we used to consult gender experts to develop a gender policy for RBM or guide us in specific activities, but often it didn’t resonate. With the outcomes we now have, however, we can truly influence our strategic plan and change the course of gender-related matters within our network."
Nadège Traore, Gender Officer at the RBM (Regional Technical Committee)