Gender Responsive Training Pilot

May 16, 2023

This post was originally published in the UNESCO GRO GEST newsletter

At the end of January, two short intensive training courses on Teaching Gender to Youth were implemented in Uganda. The training courses were targeted at teachers and education administrators at primary school level and took place at two locations in the north part of Uganda: in the city of Gulu, and in Imvepi Refugee Settlement. The training courses are a result of a collaboration between GRÓ GEST and Pangea in Uganda, where GEST‘s short courses on Teaching Gender to Youth, implemented in Malawi in 2019 and facilitated online for the NGO Girls of A Feather in St. Lucia in 2021 were developed and adjusted to the Ugandan context.

Pangea’s Director of Programmes, Brenda Apeta, a GEST alumna from 2020, led the implementation of the two trainings in Uganda, along with two teachers’ trainers from Pangea, Ibrahim Kadara and Edina Akello. Furthermore, GRÓ GEST consultants, Þórður Kristinsson and María Hjálmtýsdóttir, who both have vast experience of teaching gender to youth in Iceland, and who largely designed the training’s curriculum, contributed to the first training in Gulu.

Fifty primary school teachers attended the training in Gulu district, all of whom were interested and dedicated to learn methods on how to teach about gender equality in their school surroundings. The training in Gulu was conducted in a participatory environment over the course of four days. The participants were provided with gender sensitive tools and strategies to incorporate in their teaching, with the aim to improve literacy, learning outcomes and inclusion of all children in the school environment.

The second training was conducted in Imvepi refugee settlement in the West Nile region, Terego district in Uganda. Imvepi is home to approximately 68,000 refugees from South Sudan. The training was conducted for 50 primary school teachers: both Ugandans and South Sudanese refugees. The participants were very engaged in the class discussions and their enthusiasm for the session on cultural biases and gender spread around the community, leading to participants reaching out to a local reporter who attended a session on gender-based violence. Furthermore, the reporter interviewed Brenda, the team leader, and a few participants of the training, in English and the local dialect. The interview was broadcasted on a radio station which reaches an audience of 8 million listeners.

The teams are working together to analyse approaches that stuck, those that didn't, and which concepts were particularly engaging by location during the trainings and will be reporting publicly.

The Gender Equality Studies and Training programme (GEST) promotes gender equality and social justice in low income countries, conflict and post-conflict societies through research, training, and education at postgraduate level. Its main target group is professionals working for government and civil society organisations in low income countries and post-conflict societies undergoing reconstruction. It is an office under the auspices of UNESCO managed at the University of Iceland and primarily funded by the Icelandic government.

The mission of the Gender Equality Studies and Training (GEST) programme is to use a multidisciplinary approach to promote gender equality and social justice in low income, conflict and post-conflict countries through:

  • high-quality, collaborative, and policy-relevant research
  • strengthening capacity of professionals, scholars and organizations
  • creating a platform for transnational dialogue, knowledge production and exchange

GEST alumna of 2020, Brenda Apeta, is the Director of Programmes at Pangea, and leads the gender training course initiative. At the GEST programme, Brenda received the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Award in the category of Applied Projects for her project titled Equipping Primary Teachers in Gender Responsive Pedagogy to Strengthen Quality and Equity in Schools at the Imvepi Refugee Camp.