ABSTRACT

In 1999, the Executive Director asked the Gender Team to extend the GQAL Programme to communities in which BRAC worked. He believed that greater support among community members for equality between women and men was needed. This programme would support BRAC in its goals of alleviating poverty and empowering poor women and men. The changes in attitudes and behaviour and analytical skill-building among men and women in the staff GQAL demonstrated what was possible, and he was eager to experiment with ways in which GQAL could be transferred to villagers. During the staff GQAL process in the Jessore region, at the request of the Regional Manager of RDP, the Gender Team also organized a GQAL-inspired process with a group of very poor fisherwomen and fishermen. After the sessions, realizing the benefits of women’s participation in fish farming, including increased fish harvests, the men stopped poisoning women’s pools. Male participants also committed to treating their wives with respect and refraining from using violence against them and their children. During this project, the Gender Team also noticed how neighbouring families were monitoring male violence in some households and acting as a group to protest such behaviour. The experience gave the Gender Team confidence to start working with Village Organization (VO) members.