One of the activities foreseen in my terms of reference as a volunteer was to carry out one systematization with gender perspective. The experience I had to systematize was the construction of an aqueduct, the creation of a Water Committee and several training sessions in La Paz Community in El Tambo, Popayán, Colomba.
Its objective was to obtain lessons from our APS´s work experience to transform power relations between men and women and to achieve equality.
The systematization axis was the participation of men and women in the activities of the Project as a way of empowerment so as to modify power relations

But why do we systematize?

We systematize to understand our practices and transform them, to understand what we did, how we did it, to understand the different phases of the process, its key elements and why they happen, why a practice occurred in a way and not in other, what changes were produced, and if those changes were the expected in the path followed to the transformation towards equality between men and women. It also implies to recognize if the changes produced are permanent or temporary, what elements were important in order to modify the power relations and what was the participation of men and women during different moments. In this way we contribute to identify the moments of strengthening of the project in relation to the generation of opportunities and conditions to access and control of resources and benefits in an egalitarian way, and those moments of crisis, breakdown and weakness, reflex of the asymmetry of power relations. Then the systematizations looks to improve our practices, analyze the coherence and results of our actions, to overcome weaknesses and to insist in those elements that may better contribute to empowerment.

To obtain lessons from our experiences and share them
To know the processes of others and their projects let us see how others have face there critical questions and will help us to better tackle inequalities. From the need to share experiences appears the need to communicate our experience. From sharing we learn and others learn as well. To share our experiences systematized is a way of keep on thinking how to transform reality.

To generate inputs for the theorizing
The systematization of experiences with a gender perspective and the communication of the new knowledge produced, contributes to modify a knowledge that is patriarchal and the creation of a more democratic knowledge. In this process the experience of APS´s staff and the women and men of the communities are the most important source of knowledge.

One of the main findings of the systimatization is that APS is in the good path towards the empowerment of women.

Written by Carmen Miguel