Gender training with Wolaita Sodo ATVET in Ethiopia

Gender training with Wolaita Sodo ATVET in Ethiopia

And we're off in Ethiopia! We just finished our first week of training with Wolaita Sodo ATVET in Ethiopia. The week consisted of three trainings which Olivia and Julot designed and conducted together with our partner Fikadu, the founder of YESS Ethiopia (read more about the project here). 

A short recap - The project is called:

"Training programme to build a gender responsive agricultural vocational training system and promoting female entrepreneurship within SNNPRS Ethiopia"

For this first week, we mainly focused on gender and inclusion: an introduction to gender concepts, roles, power relations, stereotypes, frameworks, and strategies. Although unfortunately Olivia and Julot had to join the sessions remotely, the trainings were very interactive, fruitful, and consisted of valuable contributions and good teamwork!

During the sessions, we discussed various topics. First, we talked about gender concepts. What is gender? How do stereotypes work and what influence do they have? What are examples of gender stereotypes in Ethiopia? How can we overcome these stereotypes? Next, the connection to gender in agriculture was made more explicitly. We discussed the most important challenges and barriers for women in agriculture, and why it is important to be gender sensitive. We discussed these topics with the help of examples and practical assignments, which encouraged everybody to think about gender in their own environment and perspectives. A related and very interesting assignment we did was on gender analysis of agricultural value chain upgrading strategies. Can we think of specific barriers or obstacles for women in upgrading strategies? And how can we cope with these? Next, we also talked about attracting more female students and teachers to the college, and we discussed how communication is a key ingredient in this. We worked in groups on specific action points to attract more women and how to make the college more inclusive. Things that came up were: promotion of the ATVET through local radio channels, conducting capacity and confidence trainings for students, and designing a more specific framework for gender policies within the college. These plans will all be laid out in the coming months, and we will have a follow-up and evaluation session in the second week of training. And finally, we discussed gender mainstreaming in higher education, where Fikadu shared his personal experiences and expertise in the challenges and opportunities. 

Next trainings, we will dive deeper into creating a gender-responsive learning environment, and how to improve incubation and entrepreneurial skills. But for now, we have made a good start and there is lots to think about. Thank you to all who participated in the training sessions! 

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