In October 2016 Integrity Action (IA) launched a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategy. This five year strategy will mainstream GESI within the organisation, meaning that GESI will be engrained within all aspects of IA: in its thinking, planning and operations.
The ultimate goal of the GESI Strategy is:
Women, girls, and people at risk of exclusion are empowered to act with and demand Integrity, actively taking part in building institutions to promote a state that is open, accountable and responsive to their concerns, needs and expectations
Many of the objectives laid out in the organisation’s first PoA focused on mainstreaming GESI in all of IA and our partner’s work. The aim was to set the foundations to ensure that GESI can be mainstreamed in all activities, by creating tools that enable IA staff and our partners to deliver projects which are GESI sensitive. Substantial research was conducted before writing the strategy and planning the activities for the first year. IA staff attended several external training events to improve knowledge on the topic. IA’s recognition in the sector was reflected in one member of staff obtaining the position of chairing a working group for the Gender and Development Network. We have been successful in the primary aim of mainstreaming GESI within the organisation in our GESI inception year.
This knowledge was used to help create several new tools and modify existing ones that the organisation use. For example, IA improved our due diligence process for selecting new partners by including questions to assess the organisation’s capabilities on GESI.
A particular highlight of the GESI inception year was our interaction with partners on GESI. Each partner organisation that IA works with elected a GESI Focal Point. These focal points then attended training sessions organised by IA. Training sessions focused on the following:
- Mainstreaming GESI in our projects
- Equity and Equality
- How to conduct a GESI analysis
The trainings equipped attendees with relevant skills and knowledge to overcome challenges related to delivering GESI sensitive projects.
In addition to the trainings, Focal Points participated in calls throughout the year to discuss any issues, thoughts, and experiences they had in mainstreaming GESI within their work.
In this financial year we will build on the foundations laid last year. Part of this will include us looking internally and creating a data collection system to collect GESI sensitive data of IA staff members and trustees. We will also continue to build their existing tools with the aim of adapting their innovative tool DevelopmentCheck to be more GESI sensitive high on the priorities for the year.
Some activities will carry on from last year. For example new Focal Points have already been selected, and the first training of the year was held on Disability Awareness. More trainings and group calls will be held throughout the year. A training on including men and boys in gender focused programmes has been announced to take place later this month.
In addition, we will introduce new activities. We will develop new strategies to better engage power holders to be GESI sensitive when interacting with their projects. This will include creating new materials and a Code of Conduct for IA’s partners to use when interacting with power holders. Separately to GESI, we recently launched Moodle. This is an online learning platform for their partners to engage with. This year we will fully utilise the platform to mainstream GESI.
In IA’s first year of implementing their GESI strategy, we went a long way towards mainstreaming Gender Equality and Social Inclusion within the organisation and programmes. This year’s PoA will develop on the foundations put in place last year, bringing IA and their partners closer to their goal of empowering people at risk of exclusion to act with, and demand Integrity.