The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is part of UN Habitat. It is an alliance of more than 75 global, regional and national partners contributing to poverty alleviation through land reform, improved land management and security of tenure, particularly through the development and dissemination of work which supports both poor people with little access to land use and land security, and addresses the many challenges particular to women.
Ruth Cook was invited to work with a group of very different people with an interest in, or expertise about access to land and land security for women in Muslim contexts. The task was to find ways that could improve their access to greater land and housing security in a way that fits with Sharia law. Action learning was one of the tools that GLTN used in their work.
This was a very different use of action learning where all the rules were broken! The first few meetings were held in a conference, the membership changed each day, and there were observers (some of whom dealt with their frustration at not being part of the circle by passing in notes to the set members!).
So, a challenge…and a success, once the core principles were established, understood, and, mostly, adhered to. Specifically, action learning enabled those most used to speaking to improve their listening, those previously less confident about contributing to offer what they knew and wanted to learn, and everyone to understand that the productivity of the group was better than conventional debate, discussion or conversation might have produced.
In this context, action learning formed a core part of the work for this project.
Ruth Cook has contributed to this publication by GLTN and UN Habitat which contains details of how action learning was used, what it contributed and the challenges it created (see pages 25 – 27).