The international learning group is formed. Together they have determined goals, milestones, and developed a tailor-made learning programme to share, test and blend the chosen solutions in the local context.
PREPARATION OF THE PROGRAMME
In a bid to pilot and scale up GALS in youth and Rural finance, the Empower@Scale project set out and undertook trainings for youth on GALS and VSLA. To that effect, a total of 147 youth (92 males and 55 females) from five youth groups from Yumbe, Arua and Pakwach were trained on VSLA and GALS and adequately equipped. Field monitoring reports by the project team indicate that GALS is already improving the savings culture among youth as indicated by the tune of savings realized as they strive to work towards achieving their visions and becoming focused towards their future as individuals and groups.
Several exchanges and learning visits had been planned in April and May 2020 for selected youth to learn from other youth both in-country and outside the country with best practices for youth engagement already identified and documented. However, this was short lived because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures that came through.
The E-motive team crafted new modalities of how to conduct an exchange and learning visit within the new normal that the covid-19 pandemic has presented to the world.
The Emotive exchange and learning visit therefore draws youth who are part of the pilot of GALS in youth and rural finance and will provide an opportunity for youth in Uganda to digital interface with youth from Tanzania to share experiences and best practices for youth engagement.
In order to avoid internet connectivity problems and create the sense of a journey, each team (one in Uganda and one in Tanzania) was sent to for the whole event to an accommodation with conference rooms (respecting Covid-19 measures) from which they connected with the rest through one computer. To make the communication more fluent, the teams in Uganda and Tanzania had at least one facilitator who was in charge of organizing the group, making sure that the presentations are ready and to document by taking pictures and recordings, when necessary.
Differently to previous E-Motive trajectories, in this learning exchange four countries (Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda and Philippines) were involved in order to find solutions on how to improve gender dynamics in rural finance projects in Nigeria. As mentioned before, there were three specific conditions related to this general topic: (i) creation of trust among spouses and among members of VSLA groups; (ii) off-farming activities to ensure income throughout the whole year; (iv) engagement of people who do not know how to read and write.
The learning exchange was organized in an online setting due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions. Each day was dedicated to e-visit and explore in-depth one country and the solutions proposed for some of the previously mentioned conditions. The visit to each country included some level of cultural exchange, to simulate as much as possible a face-to-face trip.
Prior to the exchange the Oxfam Novib team has preparation sessions with the different best practices in which the content of the sessions and materials were discussed. Each best practice was instructed to prepare one video for each of the conditions that they needed to talk about and a presentation (if necessary) to include more details. In order to give participants the sense of a “trip” each day started with a video that simulated a field visit were the best practices showed information about their region (including food, music, landscape) and the main work of their organization. In these links, you can find an example of a simulated field-trip: https://oxfam.box.com/s/h30e7f289khsac66ox78a1mb5i5aydrl