How to Write Gender-Focused Success Stories

How to Write Gender-Focused Success Stories
This tip sheet is designed to help create powerful and engaging success stories
with a gender focus that can be shared with colleagues, peers and donors.
n all its programs, Land O'Lakes is deeply committed to
addressing the constraints that women and girls face around
the world. We proactively partner with women on the ground
to ensure their inclusion in the development process and,
cognizant of the fact that change is a collaborative process,
we aim to engage men at every stage. Our programs analyze
how cultural attitudes and norms that revolve around gender
impact agricultural practices, household decision-making and
access to services. Land O'Lakes also seeks to identify other
gender-related factors that influence the success or failure
of food security programs. We have effectively empowered
and inspired individuals and communities to take control of
their economic futures by intentionally increasing women’s
participation in key value chains — such as agriculture,
health and nutrition, and education. As a result of our work,
households and entire communities are rethinking traditional
gender roles and increasing their incomes, food security
and nutrition. By facilitating these positive outcomes, Land
O'Lakes' projects are contributing to the global evidence base
that supports engaging women and men on gender issues
as an essential component of effective development work,
particularly when an aim of this work is to increase agricultural
productivity, food security, and nutritional outcomes. We hope
you feel pride in being part of an organization that understands
the important role gender plays in all aspects of our work.
Now, let’s make sure that the stories behind our efforts are
documented and shared!
Tips to Help You Get Started
≥ Use a Gender ‘Lens’: Look at all aspects of a program: ≥ Teach a lesson about the impact of gender
how does it impact women and girls, and men and boys,
integration: Some people, including many local
especially in relation to health and nutrition? How could
government officials or members of the private sector, do
the program affect them in the future? What is the project
not see the need to invest time or resources in women’s
doing to change traditional views? What is it doing to
empowerment or gender equality. However, if we can
challenge traditional gender roles and norms?
show that integrating gender considerations improves
≥ Successes can happen in groups, too!: Success
outcomes for individuals and groups, and enhances
stories don’t have to center on just one person. Rather,
economic development, this will raise interest and demand
think creatively about the ways that a project is increasing
for these activities. Wherever possible, stories should
women’s decision making abilities at the village level.
demonstrate that integrating gender into programming
Are women becoming active leaders in cooperatives
benefits value chain performance. (Continued on the next
or associations? Is a community speaking out against
gender-based violence?
≥Create awareness among project staff: ≥ Find the men!: When looking for success stories
Technical staff are often the best resource for identifying
about gender, don't just seek out women and girls! Be
gender-focused success stories. They are in direct contact
careful not to overlook men and boys who are involved in
with individuals we work with and witness the programs'
or supportive of challenging gender norms. While these
impacts firsthand. Take time to inform technical staff that
stories may be less common, some of the most powerful
collecting ideas for success stories is a priority. Make sure
ones can be found by taking a closer look at how a program
they have a contact for sharing their story ideas.
is reaching out to men. This can particularly true of health
≥Include quotes and photos: To attract more
and nutrition-related programs. How is it helping to
attention to a success story, incorporate a few good quotes
change their attitudes and practices? Is it training boys to
and high quality photos. These are especially important
be advocates for their mothers and sisters?
for stories that are submitted to donors. We all know that ≥ Contact the Gender Task Force!: We have a great
quotes and photos make a story more interesting to read!
network ready to support and guide your efforts. Members
of the Task Force are available in most offices. Don’t be
afraid to reach out and ask questions.
What is the Gender Task Force?
The Gender Task Force (GTF) is a diverse group of men
and women from our field and headquarters offices. The
GTF is comprised of staff from multiple departments and
practice areas, and provides strategic direction and thought
leadership in this area. The task force is open to all staff who
wish to participate in the group.
How can you join the GTF, get more information, or solicit
assistance from GTF members? Contact Mara Russell at
[email protected]
To submit a gender-focused success story, contact Gender
Task Force Member, Ashley Rajaratnam, at
[email protected]
Examples of Impactful Gender-focused Success Stories
To read one of the stories listed below, simply click on the link. You can also read more examples of success stories on the
IDD website by visiting
≥ Mary Rono: A Cooperative Leader Advancing Food
Security and Gender Equity
≥ Helen Usiri: Leading Women Everywhere She Goes
≥ Water: The Milk of Life
≥ Empowering Women through Dairy Development
≥ Working her Magic to Become a Top Yielding Farmer
≥ Delighting in Time with Her Daughters (Read an excerpt
from this story below.)
Success Story: Delighting in Time with Her Daughters
eethai Velayutham, a widowed mother of three girls, once
struggled to have time with her daughters, since she was forced
to spend so much time working in local rice paddies to make ends
meet. But, when she got a small grant from Land O’Lakes through
the USAID-funded Dairy Enhancement in Eastern Province
(DEEP) project, she was able to add one improved breed cow to
her small herd. She also learned how to improve production thanks
to DEEP’s training modules, which enabled her to refocus her
livelihood and how she spent her time. “I’m now getting 10 liters
a day,” said Seethai. She also joined a cooperative formed through
DEEP and she’s earning more than $111 per month from dairy
compared to $13.88 a month before — which makes a tremendous
difference in her quality of life. “Now I’m able to spend more time
with my daughters, and make sure they grow up right. And I don’t
have to beg from anyone to achieve my dreams.”
Seethai on her dairy farm in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province,
where she improved her dairy management skills that
enabled her to enhance her quality of life and spend more
time raising her children.