Meet Danit Shaham, the Programmes Director of ECF as she talks candidly about a few lessons the organization has learnt in the last quarter.

Question: What would you share as the programmatic highlights of the last quarter?

Danit Shaham: A lot of our thinking this past quarter has revolved around reviewing the structure of the programme so we can take the ‘Action for Equality Programme’ forward to ensure we are able to raise community leadership to promote gender equality.

Question: What are the elements that have been restructured?

Danit Shaham: We have worked on developing the Curriculum. We had identified a tendency in the previous curriculum to emphasise knowledge on gender equality and inequality at the expense of developing attitudes to take action or skills that will enable participants to become agents of change in their own communities. Over the last few months we have invested in developing an improved version of our curriculum, and in the coming cycle of AfE, the 11th cycle, we are going to pilot it!

Question: What are the changes you expect to see with the new curriculum?

Danit Shaham: The new Curriculum will help us in promoting evidence. We have taken a big decision recently, to change the balance of our research to support more internal research and ensuring AFE is our “Sandbox”. We wanted to be able not only to have the “know how” of the operational side, but to be able to draft a solid evidence from this experience and understand better: (i) what works in changing social norms, (ii) how to add more men to this journey of gender equality, (iii) how to retain them on this journey and (iv) how to ensure they are becoming pro-active agents of change in their communities.

Question: How will this be implemented?

Danit Shaham: We want to ensure there is a substantial impact for AfE, and women can take more decisions in their private life as well as the public life. We have a great team of mentors, dedicated and devoted to that goal, and we have great groups of graduates, volunteers and leaders – we want to be able to derive substantial learning from all of their collective experience. In effect, external research had to reduce so we could make more room for internal research and the development of a new framework of indicators and tools.

Question: How have you empowered the team to see this taking shape?

Danit Shaham: The team of Mentors have been assigned new responsibilities and individual projects for professional as well as organisational growth, have been developed. Now Mentors are also coordinating projects in Action for Equality, Leadership opportunities, Mapping of new communities, voice of participants in M&E framework, and so on, and we support them on this new course of professional development. One of the immediate benefits is a stronger buy-in and ownership of mentors in the decision making process, and better understanding of needs and objectives.