Our
Programmes

Have your life transformed by
getting involved in our programmes
at IST

Our
Programmes

Have your life transformed by
getting involved in our programmes
at IST

Transformational Leadership and Learning

Transformative learning is defined as the capacity to be continuously engaged in reflection on experience through questioning why things are the way they are to reach the root causes of problems. It requires that learners propose solutions and take actions to implement them which actions give rise to further reflection on the effectiveness of action and the accuracy of the analysis. Transformative learning can be applied to any situation, and to any sector since the act of questioning can be about issues in the home, in the economy of the community or of the nation, environmental degradation, national security or women’s rights or children’s rights. It can be learned by children as well as by adults. What is important about transformative learning is that is must go beyond questioning to the proposition of solutions and actions to implement those solutions as an individual or together in community. Transformative learning is linked to a critical pedagogical tradition education promoted by theorists such as Freire, Horton, Belenky, and Brookfield.

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    Transformative learning is identified as a thematic area because it is a natural way of learning. However, it is yet discouraged in institutions of learning, giving preference instead to learning that is gained from instruction and one-way communication rather than learning that is gained from questioning, reflection and offering solutions and action by both the student and teacher. The creative capacity of the learner is therefore not harnessed nor is their confidence in themselves as knower’s or creators of knowledge, to be able to take ownership of and responsibility for the learning process. This creates the tendency to look outward for initiating change in our reality, waiting for the NGO, the government or the donors. Transformation, therefore, becomes slow, unsustainable and difficult to achieve and most importantly in the hands – or at the discretion of- another party. The transformation will not be without challenges but when learners are empowered and can take control of their situations, change becomes a sustainable process that is people driven and people empowered.

Promoting Positive Gender Relations

Gender relations refer to relations between men and women that are socially determined by culture, religion, or socially acceptable ways of thinking or being. These relationships between men and women, as they exist in most societies, are characterised by the marginalisation of women in decision making and other forms of power sharing in the home and places of authority. The economic exploitation of women and extensive violence to the person and psyche of women the problem of unequal gender relations is both personal and systemic. This is giving rise to gender-based violence, death, poverty of families, neglect of children and a variety of societal dysfunctions In the interest of justice, empowerment and the development of families and communities, these relations need to be analysed and new solutions found for their transformation. The problem will need to be analysed both from its personal and systemic roots.

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    This thematic area aims at helping men and women revisit the quality and consequences of the relationships as they are experienced now by both and by children in addition to coming up with new ways of relating that empower and enhance the quality of life of all those involved. It also aims at helping practitioners of various disciplines gain the capacity to understand how the problem applies in their own area of work and practice new skills of redressing it.

Economic Empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment is a requirement for sustainable development and growth. Achieving women’s economic empowerment compels comprehensive public policies, approach and long-term commitment and gender-specific perspectives must be integrated at the design stage of policy and programming. Women must have more fair access to access to assets and services; infrastructure programmes should be designed to benefit the poor, both men and women and employment opportunities must be improved while increasing recognition of women’s immeasurable unpaid work. Innovative approaches and partnerships include increased dialogue among development actors, improved coordination amongst donors and support for women organising at the national level. Economic empowerment is the capacity of women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways which recognize the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefit of growth (Eyben etal. 2008).

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    Economic empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development and market information. Women’s economic participation and empowerment are fundamental to strengthening women’s rights and enabling women to have control over their lives and exert influence in society (Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2010) it’s about creating just and equitable societies. Women often face discrimination and persistent gender inequalities, with some women experiencing multiple discrimination and exclusion.

For More Information

The Institute for Social Transformation (IST) is the East African home for Training for Transformation.

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