Monday, June 17, 2013

Gender integration of Indicators in Monitoring and Evaluation

The Gender dimension in Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation of developmental support will always require developmental indicators that signal whether any change has been achieved. However these days there is a growing demand to see the gender dimension integrated within programmes or projects at whatever level. Ofcourse you know what Gender really means here right? The world as we know it today is growing in concern for women and the vulnerable. Lets face it, women are usually discriminated, abused and shunned opportunities especially in the least development worlds were a number of international programmes or projects are running. Because of the growing concern for women, many programmes or projects are being tailored to empower the woman even if such interventions were not initially designed for such a cause.So as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer you will soon discover how challenging it can be sometimes. However, Monitoring and Evaluation is for a perfectly great cause. Lets briefly understand what Monitoring and Evaluation of the Gender dimension really is?

Understanding the Gender indicators as you Monitor and Evaluate

The word gender is used to denote the different roles that both women and men play as they interact in society. You will have to agree though that most times when people hear of the word gender the first thing that comes in their mind is the woman. Now when it comes to monitoring and evaluation of gender its really the same principle you would apply to any other indicator except that as all specific indicators you have to grasp the whole idea in a broader sense. Questions you have to ask yourself is what is the programme or project trying to achieve? How will this information be collected and analysed? How will it be reported? Ofcourse all that information is available in the Monitoring and Evaluation Matrix but sometimes you need to dig deeper. For instance take a look at this example below and see why it can be hard sometimes to really Monitor and Evaluate gender.

Objective: "Empower the woman to better take care of herself and her family"

If you look at this statement you will soon realize that Monitoring and Evaluating this is really a challenge because how do you measure it? For instance, the word empowerment could mean economic empowerment, social empowerment or political empowerment. It is generally a challenge to measure the state of mind of a human being. For instance lets say your programme or project is trying to empower the woman through training's. How do you really capture whether they have become more knowledgeable within the shortest possible time? Measuring empowerment of a woman in this case is a complex time consuming process which will require an in depth study.

Most programmes or projects have usually faced a challenge in Monitoring and Evaluating the gender dimension because of its complexities. However, that is not to say that it shouldn't even be included in programmes or projects. There is just earnest need to clearly understand the gender dimension and plan for the programme or project well. Speaking of planning, lets see how planning to integrate gender into your programme can really be done.

Participation of key stakeholders is Key!!!

The intention to integrate gender in a programme which originally had no intention to promote gender mainstreaming is a very welcomed move. If you are a programme or project coordinator you should congratulate yourself because the gender agenda is important. Now where do you start? It is important to involve all important key stakeholders in the planning phase. If you have an opportunity to contract a gender specialist or someone within those lines that is also a welcomed move. During the planning phase ask yourself these questions 1) Why are you integrating gender into the programme or project? and  2) How should it be integrated?

Imagine you have a programme that is trying to achieve an increase in incomes in your target group through business development activities. How do you integrate the gender dimension? Well first of all you have to understand what challenges hinder women to enter business development and then try to address them. If you are going to promote training's, those training's must be tailored to address your participants effectively.

Now, when it comes to Monitoring and Evaluating indicators such as income levels  ensure you are collecting your information that can be gender dis-aggregated. This will enable you to compare which sex is making more or less income than the other. If women are making less income, you want to know why. After you understand why, then can you take corrective action to empower the woman. Take Monitoring and Evaluation to a whole different level folks.


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