Oxfam's Claudia Canepa receives SEEP's Practitioner of the Year Award in Women's Economic Empowerment

Claudia Canepa, Coordinator of Oxfam’s Knowledge Hub on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE), received SEEP’s Practitioner of the Year Award for her leadership and contribution to learning and collaboration in WEE.

Claudia talks about the significance of the award for Oxfam:

“It was an honor to receive SEEP’s WEE Practitioner of the year award both personally and as an organization. This recognition from SEEP has given more visibility to Oxfam’s efforts to learn in a more open manner with other organizations and invest in more effective learning and knowledge sharing.”

About SEEP

SEEP - a collaborative learning community of 100 development organizations working in 150 countries - supports strategies that provide new and better opportunities for vulnerable populations, especially women, to participate in markets and improve their quality of life. Last year, over 6,000 practitioners and thought leaders from more than 1,300 organizations engaged in our peer learning events, research and publications, and communities of practice. Oxfam has been a highly active and valued member of The SEEP Network since 2005.

Practitioner of the Year Award

At the 2018 SEEP Annual Conference, we inaugurated the Member Practitioner of the Year Award to highlight outstanding contribution to and engagement with the Women’s Economic Empowerment learning community, as well as carrying those insights and collective voice forward to the sector.

Our selection was inspired by the following selection criteria:

  1. Contributes in a significant way to learning and collaboration with peers
  2. Provides thought leadership and innovative approaches
  3. Takes on a leadership role in working group activities
  4. Serves as a champion in the sector

Lis Meyers, co-facilitator of the SEEP Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group, explains why Claudia was selected for the award,

“Claudia Canepa is an active champion in the WEE Working Group... She served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the 2017 WEE Global Learning Forum and played an essential role throughout that conference. Claudia was also one of the key facilitators of a very productive Practitioner Learning Group. She is a true collaborator, actively seeking opportunities for meaningful engagement, and fueling valuable connections across the network.”

James Deane, Director of Policy and Learning at BBC Media Action, worked with Claudia at the International Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit. He adds:

“She is extremely proactive and highly collaborative. The Summit… was covering a broad range of issues and Claudia was instrumental in helping conceptualize and operationalize our efforts to crystallize insights gained through the Summit. The conversation on shifting norms around women's economic empowerment was a real highlight in productively linking up previously disconnected development efforts.”

Shifting social norms for WEE

The 2017 Practitioner Learning Group, “Shifting Social Norms in the Economy to Create Change at Scale,” hosted by The SEEP Network and Oxfam’s WEE Knowledge Hub, brought together 13 representatives from 6 organizations (Oxfam, CARE, Mars, Promundo, International Youth Foundation and Swisscontact) to tackle common issues and challenges in their work.

In the words of Claudia:

“Efforts to empower women economically may show only limited increases in women’s income and control over decision making in their households, and at times can even lead to unintended consequences for women, such as exhaustion or increased exposure to gender-based violence. For this reason, WEE practitioners and researchers have found it necessary to tackle wider structural barriers. For example, social norms limit women's choice and agency over the terms of work that they undertake, and lead to much of women’s work, especially unpaid work, being invisible or undervalued.”

Partnering with SEEP to launch a Practitioner Learning Group on social norms has enabled Oxfam to benefit from SEEP's methodology, which not only promoted peer-to-peer support, but also cross-industry learning in both the WEE and social norms change sectors.”

The learning from the Practitioner Learning Group was published in a brief co-authored by Claudia, Nisha Singh and Anam Parvez Butt, and highlights practical tools, approaches and frameworks that practitioners and researchers can use to diagnose, measure and change social norms.

Claudia and other members of the Practitioner Learning Group presented key findings in two sessions at the SBCC Summit held in Indonesia in April of 2018. In her opening remarks at the “WEE versus ‘Petty’ Work” session, Claudia shared, "social norms change experts bring a wealth of knowledge and experience on social norms research methodologies and evidence-based practice in the health and social spheres. We would like to see this expertise extended to addressing norms in the economic sphere."

The Practitioner Learning Group was funded by Oxfam’s Empower Youth for Work program, a multi-country program operating across Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Saima Sadaf, coordinator of the program at Oxfam Pakistan, led the application of a diagnostic tool for identifying social norms within WEE programs with a youth focus in her country. For her, the peer-to-peer learning facilitated by the Practitioner Learning Group and the WEE Knowledge Hub has been crucial:

“Oxfam's Knowledge Hub has supported my country team to put knowledge gathering and sharing at the center of our work, [and] connected me to wider networks of practitioners and academics working on WEE across the globe.”

Ronald van Moorten, researcher at Empower Youth for Work, reflects on the valuable role that the Practitioner Learning Group played in facilitating the learning of this multi-country program:

“Without the WEE Knowledge Hub, our learning would have been more inward-looking. The Hub played an essential role in linking the program to knowledge that is out there, in Oxfam and outside. It would have taken time to find out what had been done before. And with a higher risk of reinventing the wheel.”

We are delighted to have found in Claudia, a true ally in accelerating knowledge sharing through innovative means and look forward to continued collaboration with her.

By Carla de Chassy, the SEEP Network

This blog was originally posted on The SEEP Network

Photo: Claudia Canepa.

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