The 'river of life' participatory approach uses the metaphor of a river to encourage participants to think about projects in terms of a flowing, connected process with 'critical moments' such as hitches, successes, failures or unexpected events that may lead to a change in course, stagnation or growth. Participants consider where, how and how effectively gender has been integrated as part of these processes.
Participants think about projects that they currently work on or know well that are interesting because they have been successful at mainstreaming gender, or have had significant gendered impacts, but could be improved in terms of gender sensitivity.
After deciding which projects to focus on participants work in small groups, with each group thinking about the different projects from the beginning to the present day, asking questions such as
- How and why was it initiated?
- Who was involved?
- How was it designed?
- How was it implemented
- How has it been monitored? andW
- hat major events have happened?
They draw a river to depict the life of the project. They then think about how gender has (or hasn’t) been mainstreamed into the project, adding in examples of moments which have been important for gender mainstreaming.
Participants then explain their rivers to the rest of the group, followed by questions and discussion.