PEKKA applies two key empowerment instruments: three-dimensional analysis of power that is also PEKKA’s theory of change and the four-pillar empowerment strategy for women-headed households. Both instruments are built on various theories and the field experiences of the PEKKA team and other resource persons.
Women household heads face multidimensional issues, not only relating to their most basic needs, but also their position and standing in society. PEKKA therefore has identified three directions in which change should occur to enable women household heads to lead decent lives that are equal to others.
1.First direction: gaining access to and control of sources of livelihoods, justice and decision-making processes.
To this end, policy change is imperative especially policies that can hinder women household heads from exercising their rights. To make sure that policies are in favor of them, women household heads need to be actively engaged in development cycles and decision-making processes. In this case, the government is the power holder representing the state within a formal structure
2.Second direction: changing the behavior of women household heads to a more positive outlook in dealing with the dynamics of life.
An initial step towards this direction is helping women household heads develop a more positive mind-set. Being without a husband (divorced, widowed, single, abandoned) should be a source of strength as assuming headship of a household means taking on a vital and honorable role, position and status within the family. Their experiences in becoming the chief breadwinner, managing the household and singlehandedly making decisions form the essential qualities of a leader. Women household heads must challenge deep-seated stereotypes and stigmas with the belief and conviction that they are capable individuals with endless potentials and strong personalities.
3.Third direction: building a new set of values within a more egalitarian socio-cultural system that respects the existence of women household heads as being equal to others.
A value system that is fair and just for women household heads and women in general is an important direction for PEKKA’s work in organizing communities. This can only be achieved if society collectively works toward it. A social movement that emphasizes on relational values and principles within a more just, inclusive, egalitarian and democratic society must engage all elements of society. The role of non-formal structures in society, such as customary elders and religious leaders, can have a significant bearing on moving closer to this direction.
1.Critical awareness and envisioning
Women household heads are encouraged to think critically about their life circumstances, and analyze the different factors influencing their life situation. This will help them understand more about the formal and non-formal structures and value systems that direct and indirectly affect their lives. They will then be asked to envision the ideal life that they aspire to attain, which will become an individual’s vision and mission and will then be developed into a shared aspiration.
Women household heads should build their ability to effectively respond to their life situation by making the most of their potentials. Education and training on life skills and livelihoods according to their respective needs should be regularly provided to help them bring their collective vision and mission to fruition. Apart from technical capacity, their managerial skills and personal resilience also form an integral part of the ongoing empowerment process.
3.Organizational and leadership development
PEKKA’s approach to organizing communities is to encourage the formation of groups. Through these groups, women household head-based organizations will be developed, which will be a political identity and collective strength for making the voices of members heard. These autonomous organizations are then named Unions of Women Household Heads (Pekka Unions). Pekka Unions will come together under a national-level Federation of Pekka Unions. In line with the organizational development of Pekka Unions, the leadership capacity of members is correspondingly strengthened. Organizational leadership is part of a strategy for ensuring the sustainability of community-level empowerment efforts.
4.Policy advocacy and social change
Women household heads as a community need to advocate for policy change and a more just value system in favor of their best interests. Policy advocacy should be based on evidence and the realities of their lives in contrast to existing legal frameworks. PEKKA’s programs and activities are developed contextually, and in collaboration with other institutions championing the same advocacy agenda. Significant policy changes have been achieved through PEKKA’s joint advocacy work with other institutions.