Update on the Practitioner's Learning Group on Social Norms

Oxfam and SEEP are pleased to announce the launch of the Practitioners' Learning Group (PLG) on Shifting Social Norms in the Economy at Scale!

This initiative, which aims to better understand how to address social norms in the economy and create change at scale (see here for more details on this initiative), generated great interest, with a total of 46 applications received. The composition of the PLG (see bio below) represents diverse expertise and includes representatives from Oxfam, CARE, Swiss Contact, Mars Chocolate, Promundo and International Youth Foundation.

The PLG process is supported by:

  • Claudia Canepa, Oxfam, PLG Process Coordinator
  • Nisha Singh, on behalf of SEEP, Facilitator
  • Anam Parvez Butt, Oxfam, Researcher
  • Rukia Cornelius, Oxfam, Technical expert

Main questions of focus

  • What are social norms in the economy?
  • How do we diagnose social norms in specific contexts?
  • What strategies are effective at creating change at scale?
  • How do we measure change in social norms?

Process and progress to date

Step 1: Initial interviews with PLG members

In April, PLG members participated in bilateral interviews with Nisha Singh, facilitator of the PLG process, to share their key challenges in addressing social norms in their markets development work. These bilateral interviews helped shape the overall learning process of the PLG.

Step 2: Initial call and testing a tool to diagnose social norms

On May 4, all PLG members participated in a joint call to launch the PLG where they discussed: What social norms in the economy are, and reviewed and commented on a tool developed by Oxfam to identify and understand the social norms that are at play in the context where the Empower Youth for Work programme is operating in Bangladesh.

After this call, Oxfam tested the tool in Bangladesh, and processed the findings. Mars Chocolate will also be testing the tool in Côte d’Ivoire.

Step 3: Sharing of results, and thinking through strategies to create change

The PLG organised a session at the WEE Global Learning Forum on May 26 to share initial insights from the PLG, and promote wider discussion on strategies that are most effective to create change at scale. The video recording can be accessed here.

In mid-June, a more detailed PLG discussion will be held on the results from the implementation of the diagnostic tool and the identification of effective strategies for shifting one or two specific social norms identified through the tool, which are the most critical for creating wider change.

Step 4:  Sharing of approaches to measuring change, and creating change at scale

The PLG will convene once again at the end June to focus on how to measure social norms change and how to create change at scale. 

As was done in the WEE Global learning forum, the PLG will reach out to a wider community of practitioners at different points in the process to engage with others on key questions or challenges that they are identifying during the process.

Expected outputs:

  • Briefs on the work on social norms of each organisation represented in the PLG
  • Practitioner guide on how to shift social norms at scale in markets development programmes
  • Literature review on organisations that are working on social norms in the economic sphere, how they diagnose them and strategies for creating change, including approaches to measuring change.

Join the Community of Practice on Social Norms

The progress from the PLG will be disseminated widely and we aim to establish a Community of Practice around that topic in order to collaborate with interested individuals and organisations beyond the course of this learning journey. If you are interested in joining the CoP, please let us know by sending an email to Claudia Canepa at ccanepa@oxfam.org.uk.

PLG members

Roselyn Nyatsanza - Oxfam
Roselyn is passionate about poverty alleviation and in particular women’s empowerment. She has over 15 years experience of managing gender, women’s rights, youth and community development and hands on programming from design to evaluation. Rose has been involved in the social-development sector managing and coordinating multiyear projects since 2003 moving from the private sector straight into heading a network of local nongovernmental organizations working on food security and child rights. Her first years centered on financial and grants management She was instrumental in building capacity of local organizations from governance to grant management and strategy development.
Thalia Kidder - Oxfam

Thalia leads Oxfam's initiative WE-Care (women's economic empowerment and care), designing the Rapid Care Analysis and Household Care Survey to collect evidence for  advocacy and programme design. She was Oxfam’s lead trainer on women's economic leadership in agricultural markets in Asia and Latin America, and advised the research project Women's Collective Action, covering Ethiopia, Mali, and Tanzania. Over 25 years, based in Central America, US and UK, her work also includes women workers' rights in Make Trade Fair campaigning, gendered micro-finance, and community and labour organizing. Thalia holds an MA in Economic Development (University Minnesota) and is member of IAFFE.

Tanjima Ali - Swiss Contact - Kosovo
Tanjima has spent the last seven years working on a wide range of projects within the private and international development sectors. Having gathered extensive knowledge in quality assurance of monitoring, data collection, research design, analysis and documentation of PSD projects in South Asia and East Africa, Tanjima is now the MRM specialist at the PPSE project in Kosovo. Tanjima completed her MBA from Dhaka University and her BS in Engineering from BRAC University, Bangladesh.
Ritu Sharma - International Youth Foundation
Ritu Sharma leads the Global Center for Gender and Youth (GCGY) at the International Youth Foundation. Prior to IYF, Ritu was the co-founder and president of Women Thrive Worldwide, a leading advocacy organization bringing the voices of women and girls around the globe to Washington’s highest-level decision makers. Ritu’s advocacy was instrumental in the creation of the White House Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, announced by President Obama in August 2012. Also under her direction, Women Thrive was the driving force behind the US Agency for International Development’s establishment of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy in the same year. After 17 years at the helm of Women Thrive, Ritu departed in December 2014. In addition to her role as Director of the GCGY, Ritu trains groups around the world in the art of advocacy; advises non-profit and private firms on programs for youth, women and girls; and hosts an occasional radio special on SiriusXM’s Insight Channel.
Emily Hillenbrand - CARE
Emily Hillenbrand is Team Leader for the Pathways Program, a flagship initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to empower and increase the productivity and empowerment of 52,000 poor women smallholder farmers in more equitable agriculture systems. Emily’s work and research focus is on integrating gender-transformative approaches to food and nutrition security programming. She has expertise in leading and designing qualitative approaches and participatory processes to assess gender behavior changes at intra-household and community levels. She has co-produced several training curricula and published a number of articles and presentations related to gender and food security. She holds a MA in Women, Gender and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. She has previously worked as Regional Gender Advisor at Helen Keller International (HKI) Asia-Pacific Regional Office, and as Program Manager and Gender Technical Advisor for HKI Bangladesh.
Imogen Davies - Oxfam
As Youth Active Citizenship Adviser, Imogen coordinates Oxfam GB's youth strategy and manages programme development and design processes. She also feeds into the strategic direction of Oxfam's cross-affiliate Youth as Active Citizens network, leading the Gender Justice working group and supporting the Learning Community and Programme Development Coordination Team. She has previously worked in programme advisory, development and learning posts for Oxfam GB programme initiatives on Women's Economic Empowerment and Youth Active Citizenship (including My Rights, My Voice, Women's Economic Empowerment and Care, Researching Women's Collective Action in Agricultural Markets and Gendered Enterprise and Markets). 
Kate Doyle - Promundo
Kate Doyle is a Senior Program Officer at Promundo, where her experience centers on program development, training, and research related to engaging men and boys. She currently coordinates several research projects and programs related to engaging men as allies in women’s economic empowerment, preventing intimate partner violence, and men’s caregiving and participation in maternal, newborn and child health. She previously worked as a Program Officer for Promundo in Washington, DC and as Promundo’s Rwanda Project Coordinator in Kigali, Rwanda, before relocating to Belgium. Prior to that, she worked with UNAIDS and other NGOs in Rwanda to research and develop programming related to gender equality, HIV, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This work included the development of national policies related to gender equality and HIV, and advocacy on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth and key populations. Kate has a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh.
Inge Jacobs - Mars Chocolate
Inge Jacobs was born in Belgium, grew up in Rwanda and has been living abroad, in Africa and Latin America. She has an academic background in law, with master’s degrees in human rights and public health. Inge has an extensive experience leading, implementing and evaluating programs that improve the lives of vulnerable people, with a passion for increasing the rights and quality of life of women and children. Inge has extensive experience in capacity building and strengthening of community organizations, monitoring and evaluation, results-based management as well as forming strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in benefit of the programs and projects she led. Inge covers broad knowledge and experience on human rights and women and children´s rights in particular, gender, community development, capacity building and health systems strengthening, HIV/Aids, and social and behavior change communication processes. She is currently working as a consultant for Mars Chocolate, based in Abidjan, where she is acting as Mars’ gender focal point in Côte d’Ivoire, working in cocoa producing communities.
Nurul Siddique - CARE
Siddiquee supports CARE’s Agriculture and market systems program in more than seven countries of Asia and Africa. He provides technical and programmatic support to other food and non food value chains program and social enterprises at a number CARE country offices. Siddiquee is a key contributor to CARE’s agriculture and market systems work and has developed guidance notes and approaches to agriculture programming and ensured the systematic sharing of lessons to CARE’s peers and partners. He has coauthored CAREs book on ‘Sustainability of Smallholder Agriculture value chain: Lessons learned from Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain Project in Bangladesh’.
Pranati Mohanraj - CARE
Dr. Pranati Mohanraj is the Technical Advisor for Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation for the Pathways program at CARE. She has extensive experience in establishing monitoring and evaluation system; providing technical leadership for development of critical program indicators, monitoring and assessment tools; and in conducting impact measurements. Her work life spans engaging with country level government departments; grassroots level organizations; as well as providing technical support and guidance to countries across Africa and South Asia. She leads processes for developing monitoring, learning and evaluation framework and system; impact measurement and evaluation research; and capacity building of staff on program implementation. She came to CARE with a Masters’ degree in Social Work and a PhD in Women’s Studies from University of York in the UK.
Pushpita Saha - Oxfam
As Sr. MEAL Officer for Oxfam in Bangladesh, Pushpita supports the project Empowering Youth for Work- which aims to bring economic and social empowerment for young women and men living in rural climate-change affected areas in Bangladesh. She has over four years of practical experience in monitoring and evaluation of non-profit programmes aiming to protect and secure the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable women and men through more equitable access to and control over natural resources and influence national and local governments to ensure a more favourable, transparent and accountable resource allocation for service provision to rural and urban poor. She has experience in developing tools, processes and automated systems for monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management of development programmes that integrates gender-sensitive and rights-based approaches.

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