Empowering More Women to Empower More Women

Cascading Training

JemimahLenjirr, Basecamp Maasai trainerLeadership & Business Skills for Women Fair Trade Producers uses a cascading approach to training that dramatically increases the number of women it will reach.

It works like this: a small group of experts are trained in each organization; they train local facilitators, who in turn train women in their own communities. In Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, WIEGO’s partners reached about 7,000 women with training in areas ranging from leadership to record-keeping, from marketing to governance. 

But while the project has ended, this is only a beginning. This method of knowledge-sharing creates sustainability so women can continue passing along the skills and concepts.

Also, an online resource has been developed to export the flexible, broad-based training to other African countries.

Does cascading training in development work?
Read the
blog post at Make Every Woman Count.

The training regime respects organizational, economic and cultural realities. Although training always focuses on women’s legal rights, leadership and business skills, organizations have customized it. The coffee coop Gumutindo, for example, trains its women coffee growers to improve their farming practices, while KEFAT and UGAFAT have trained handicraft producers in product design and quality assurance.

Customization can also mean translation into local languages, and addressing local culture and custom. In these very traditional communities, where husbands maintain a stronghold on household power and land ownership, some organizations have found it helpful to invite men to a session to help them see the benefits of women’s economic empowerment.

Mabel Addy, head of Research and Development at Ghana’s Kuapa Kokoo, a fair trade cocoa cooperative, explained that community facilitators often bring new ideas and information for content during their training. After the training session, these new ideas were rolled into the materials before manuals were distributed to community facilitators.

An Online Resource makes an Ongoing Legacy

A training package for broader use has been developed by WIEGO and the project partners. Combining the learnings and best practices from the three project countries, the online resource consists of seven modules focused on women’s leadership, governance and business skills (including clear, accurate record keeping, marketing and quality assurance). The project emphasizes this bottom-up approach that utilizes local expertise and a participatory process. 

According to WIEGO’s Global Trade Director Elaine Jones, the result is innovative, creative material that really speaks to Africa’s informal women workers. “Too many training materials sit on the shelf. We aimed to create lively material that captures the voices of these women.”

The seven manuals can be downloaded for free from this webpage.

“This will be a lasting legacy from this project,” Jones said.