We’ve been busy! In April and May TTI held five workshops in four countries with think tanks participating in our new Gender Action Learning Project. Participating organizations included: BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (Bangladesh), Fundación Salvadoreña para El Desarrollo Económico y Social (El Salvador), Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales (Guatemala), Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (Ghana) and the Centre for Population and Environmental Development (Nigeria).

We met with these organizations through in-person sessions to hear the stories they tell about their own journeys and their work on gender. Common questions included: Do we need a gender policy? Are we doing enough to promote female leaders? Can we find new ways to build the capacity of our staff around gender? Gender at Work facilitated these workshops, and are also overseeing overall project design. This project has a second tier to it: as a small step towards ‘walking the talk, we’ve also set up a similar action learning process for TTI staff so we can build our own capacity to support these organizations.

We’re in year 9 of a ten-year program, so an obvious question is why now? The short answer is that think tanks are telling us that this topic matters to them. Over the course of TTI we’ve seen gender emerge as an important theme, both in terms of the research that organizations undertake and the organizational policies and practices that they adopt. Nearly every one of the 43 organizations we work with is exploring gender at the research or organizational level, and many are leaders in the field. Think tanks are taking all kinds of innovative approaches to exploring gender in their research and organizations (see our recent blog series for some examples). So as a means of supporting their efforts we’ve decided to bring together a small group of organizations to work on this.

We’ve decided to take an action learning approach, which is a modality that TTI uses for many of its capacity development work such as the current project on business models in Africa. An action learning process aims to achieve change or transformation of some kind. Each organization will develop a plan to achieve the change they seek, build moments of reflection into the process, and document outcomes of the reflections and the change process itself.

We look forward to following their journeys over the next ten months.