Participatory Lunch is an institutional event which Dr Martha Farrell introduced in PRIA more than 15 years ago. The Martha Farrell Foundation brings the principles and method of organising Participatory Lunches to help you host similar events in your organisation. Send us photographs of the Participatory Lunch you have held, write about your experience and share interesting recipes in the Your Martha Story section http://marthafarrellfoundation.org/martha-story.php of this website.
Participatory Lunch is a contributory, fun-filled, participatory process in which all staff members of an organisation collectively cook a meal to champion equitable relationships at home and work. It signifies that no work is below dignity, and women's work at home is the most dignified. Men participating in the most traditional of gendered tasks â€“ cooking, menu planning and searching for the perfect recipe, which are usually regarded as a woman’s “domain” – means they are willing to break gender stereotypes and participate as equals in work at home.
It is also an organisational team-building exercise, usually held every 3-4 months, giving staff an opportunity to interact with each other. Participating in a “non-formal” activity that is far removed from official work breaks barriers between senior managers (who are usually men) and junior staff (who are often women). Cooking varied dishes (from different regions of the country, and from around the world) opens our minds to diversity. The themed entertainment and dress code helps create an informal atmosphere through which staff, especially new recruits, begin to feel more comfortable within the organisation.
Participatory Lunch is based on four simple principles:
- Cooking is not the responsibility of women alone. Gendered roles and stereotypes are broken when both men and women take on the responsibility
- Participation in a “non-formal” activity helps to build linkages between different levels of staff in an organisation
- The challenge of diversity (in teams and work) should be embraced
- Team-building is an ongoing process
How To Organise a Participatory Lunch
There are 10 easy steps you can follow to organise a Participatory Lunch. These steps are intended to act as guidelines. If you would like to know more about how to organise a Participatory Lunch, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At PRIA, the occasion of a Participatory Lunch is also an occasion to celebrate staff birthdays, weddings and babies. The organisation gives special gifts to those staff who have grown a year older, got married and/or become parents in the intervening months. Acknowledging such personal milestones helps bring our loved ones into the circle that is the PRIA family.
And thus ends the Participatory Lunch, till everyone gets together again a few months later!
Past Participatory Lunch