GETNET'S Approach

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Getnet's Approach

Read on to learn about GETNET's approach or click on the above links for specific areas of GETNET's work.

Targeting policy and policy - makers

GETNET recognises that policy is one of the main instruments for making lasting changes. Institutions and organisations perform a crucial role in the exercise of power in society. Gender relations are expressed in, and are part of, the power relations in these arenas. From our extensive experience it is clear that gender training for policy, practices and cultures within institutions is vital.

GETNET therefore targets those responsible for gender transformation in policy interventions and those responsible for the formulation and implementation of policy. This includes women and men who are considered decision-makers in their institutions or organisations, and incorporates management and staff who occupy specific gender posts. GETNET believes that these change agents - if equipped with the requisite skills and expertise - can make critical interventions in the area of gender equity within given institutional and organisational contexts.

GETNET services are designed for people who are well-placed to initiate, lead and maintain organisational change processes within institutions or organisations.

Recognising the need for men's gender training

GETNET is the first training organisation in the voluntary sector to initiate men's gender training. Our men's training programme aims to enable men to play a positive role in organisational and institutional change. GETNET's perspective emphasises that transformation of the power relations between women and men flow from partnerships between women and men.

Our networking, partnerships and co-operative initiatives

Building partnerships and sharing knowledge underline the need for critical dialogue for the development of indigenous theoretical frameworks and methodologies. Only through developing indigenous frameworks and methodologies can we ensure that strategies to achieve gender equality are effective and that the impact of gender training is lasting.

Training Strategy

Our training strategy addresses four major challenges in institutions and organisations:

  • How to involve both women and men in change towards equalising gender power relations in organisations and institutions
  • GETNET's gender training is designed to assist women and men to undertake strategies that integrate gender equality and women's empowerment in organisational planning and change processes. It addresses the costs and benefits of changes to both women and men. It contains a vital awareness raising component and the impact of the socio-cultural factors such HIV/AIDS/GBV/Poverty that shape gender inequalities in society.
  • GETNET assists change agents in institutions and organisations to seek solutions relevant to their particular contexts and germane to their needs. We advocate gender equality mainstreaming strategies as central to effecting and sustaining relations of equality - in policy, practices and culture - in organisations and institutions. These mainstreaming strategies (or integrating equality) involve making choices in planning and procedures so that the situation and needs of both women and men are taken into account. They avoid marginalising gender as a separate 'women's issue'. They lay the basis for partnerships between women and men.
  • GETNET's training identifies the constraints and possibilities faced by individuals charged with responsibility for designing and/or implementing gender policy. It facilitates designing gender sensitive policy and planning instruments. It enables management and staff in gender posts to initiate and lead processes for empowering women and achieving equity. It is specifically aimed at assisting staff in gender posts to effect gender equality mainstreaming.

Knowledge, skills and capacity to accomplish gender equality and women's empowerment cannot be taken for granted. GETNET's experience testifies to the vast need for ongoing training and development of trainers themselves in order to maintain high quality and effective services

Research Programme

In order to ensure that GETNET delivers quality training services, we engage in ongoing research and materials development. These activities are vital to maintaining our position at the cutting edge of debates, stimulating debate among peers and among clients. They enable us to utilise current, indigenous, and internationally recognised gender perspectives on gender equality and women's empowerment.

The value of this ongoing research is evident in the training reports of our gender training interventions.

Our research activities continue to focus on gender theories and training methodologies, workshop and materials design. Through our practice we continuously identify emerging issues from our interventions. We have a more programmatic direction to a defined Research Programme in line with our strategic priorities.

We have identified issues that require detailed research in addressing questions of policy implementation, gender analysis of budgets, the impact of outcomes of patterns of governance for women, and of how to overcome resistance to gender equality in organisational arrangements. Such institutional learning is crucial both for the timely modification and/or refinement of implementation processes and policies as well as for future policy development.

Key areas of Research
  • gender equality mainstreaming perspectives and strategies, with a focus on the role of change agents - a preliminary study was conducted in the Western Cape Provincial Administration.
  • gender and local government, constraints and possibilities for women's empowerment - a plan is in place to complete this study in 2003.
  • the integration of HIV/AIDS /GBV/Poverty in gender training masculinities and power in institutions and organisations - this is an on-going action research.
  • monitoring and evaluation of national and international instruments for achieving gender equality - there is a need to update a study conducted in 1999.

Materials and Resource Development

Materials development, like research, is linked to training.

Production of Relevant Materials for use by Trainers and Trainees

GETNET has produced an enormous amount of materials in the form of reports from training programmes and seminars.

While making good use of material produced elsewhere, it is necessary to produce materials that will respond to the specificity of the South African situation with its socio-cultural variants, because gender oppression is, among other things, country- and culture-specific
In 2002 GETNET started the process for the accreditation of its programmes. This had implications for our materials development. Four modules from the GETNET programmes have been redesigned in the format that is in keeping with the South African Qualifications Authority. These are:

Gender awareness module

Men and masculinities module

Engendering IDPs module

Engendering budgets module

Gender planning and policy module (priority for 2003)

Regional training materials on gender analysis of government budgets

GETNET, in partnership with the Women's Budget Initiative, have completed the SADC Gender Analysis of Government Budgets, focusing on Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The training materials development have been completed and they are in the final stages of production.


Our networking function has developed through the strategy of arranging joint seminars, workshops and other forums, through NETWORK NEWS and through a range of partnerships that have existed in areas of national government; local government; within the NGO sector; within the SADC region; university departments and research institutes.

Building partnerships with government

We place high value on co-operation with government and institutions involved in gender work and research. In South Africa, our co-operation with parliamentary and government structures includes engaging with issues pertaining to national and international machinery for the empowerment of women.

As stated previously, GETNET has worked with several government departments and Parliament. We co-ordinated research that resulted in the establishment of the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Improvement of the Quality of Life and the Status of Women, the formation of the cross-party Parliamentary Women's Group and the establishment of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).

GETNET has been working in partnership with the Women's Budget Initiative to produce training materials for training in civil society groups to enable them to analyse the government budget from a gender perspective. This important initiative is linked to lobbying government for gender sensitive policies, legislation and distribution of national resources

Regionally - based networks in Southern Africa

Our networking function has grown considerably and we are keenly gathering information to link up with regionally-based in networks of Southern Africa.

Co-operation with academic institutions

GETNET believes that information sharing is an important aspect of networking and is continually establishing links with relevant academics, university departments and research institutes. An example of this co-operation is the link with the African Gender Institute (AGI) at the University of Cape Town.

GETNET Director and staff contribute to raising the profile of our organisation in a range of important activities in the local government arena, lecturing to students at the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape, giving expert advice to stakeholders and funders, attending conferences and seminars.

Conferences and seminars
GETNET's gender training conferences offer the opportunity to develop indigenous knowledge and experiences in the field. Our next conference scheduled for 2003, will focus on masculinities

Click here for GETNET activities for 2005

"Tailor made workshops
require that we as trainers understand fully the organisations
that we work with;
their vision, mission, goals, culture, services, people and products.
The clients who are given the opportunity to engage with their own problems
and pathologies are given a better deal."

(Nozipho January-Bardill,
Network News, March 1998)

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