Case Study: Gender coaching in ATVET

Coaching for gender-transformative change

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has partnered with Korumo in a project on agricultural technical and vocational training for women (ATVET4W) in Africa. The project aims to increase women’s access to training in the agricultural sector, and to transform unequal gender relations through value-chain interventions in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Togo. Our role as gender coaches is to support the project team as change makers using a gender-transformative lens.

Like the caterpillar who turns into a butterfly, transformation is the shifting from one state into another fundamentally different state, the change is irreversible. Gender-transformative change means that individuals and groups are no longer held back on the basis of gender and other markers of difference. What this looks like in ATVET is that regardless of their backgrounds women, men and non-binary persons can develop their full potential and thrive in agriculture and agribusiness.

We have depicted the ATVET4W project as a lotus flower. The lotus flower grows in muddy waters and matures into a strikingly beautiful flower. In wisdom traditions the lotus flower is often used to narrate the journey of change, the challenges encountered on the way, and the astonishing transformation at the end. The journey of project staff, country teams, stakeholders, and women beneficiaries to become gender-transformative leaders has been enriching and rewarding. As change navigators we gained many insights along the way.

These are some of our insights:

  1. Transformative change requires system’s interventions. Critical reflection and conscious action are needed at different levels.

2. Change starts with me. As a change maker you are challenged to engage in critical self-reflection, to become aware of and examine your own beliefs, norms, and values.

3. To transform (gender) inequality, interventions are needed in four domains:

  • Individual: A person’s self-belief and agency to exercise their rights.
  • Relations: Power is exercised, reproduced, or confronted in relations between individuals and groups.
  • Culture: Social norms and stereotypes are reinforced or challenged.
  • Systems: Policies, institutions, and rights undermine or promote equality.

4. Light touch, deep reach. A mix of individual coaching, team coaching, facilitation, and training takes individuals and teams on their own personal journey of becoming confident and competent gender-transformative leaders.


Coaching on gender-transformative change is impacting on me as a person even in other spaces outside work. I am now challenging attitudes that suggest that women can’t be in business – Edward Koloviko, GIZ- ATVET Malawi

Our dream is to see gender-transformative change being an integral part of the culture in agricultural training colleges that should be evident in shifts in thinking, feeling, and doing – Joseph Sarpong, GIZ ATVET Ghana

Gender-transformative change is like a journey on a boat in a storm, not knowing how to veer the boat. Now we have found direction, we have the paddles and are no longer lost at sea – Sara Jabril, GIZ AU ATVET & ATVET4W team



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