Greetings! I am Nidal Karim, Gender and Empowerment Impact Measurement Sr. Advisor at CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. The promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment defines CARE’s programs worldwide. This means, on a daily basis, I have to think about how to pursue meaning and justice in monitoring & evaluation (M&E) in the context of programs trying to catalyze gender transformative social change.
- M&E must keep an eye on the forest while documenting the changes in individual trees: Otherwise we risk letting critical harmful unintended outcomes to fly under the radar (e.g. if the burden of household chores and childcare falls disproportionately on girls as women become more engaged in economic activities, political participation, etc., narrow documentation will show positive outcomes for women while missing the negative outcomes on girls)
- All M&E designs and approaches fall on a gender continuum: The choices we make—from data collection methods and indicators to how we share and utilize findings—either further gender equality or reinforce harmful gender norms (see gender integration continuum figure below). Applying a gender lens to M&E plans/systems is imperative to avoid doing harm.
- We need to acknowledge the gaps that exist in our toolbox of evaluation approaches and frameworks and push for innovation: Gender transformative social change is complex. We should challenge ourselves to think outside the box and be innovative in our M&E designs and systems in order to fully capture the processes and impacts of programs trying to catalyze complex social change. We need flexible systems to pick up emergent changes that were not foreseen or planned and to be able to respond to these changes in complex environments.
- Capturing Change in Women’s Realities – Batliwala and Pittman’s critique of current M&E frameworks and approaches as experienced by women’s organizations and movements worldwide
- AWID’s Wiki on M&E houses a compendium of frameworks, approaches, and links to blogs and tools that have been used and adapted by women’s organizations to capture the complexity of changes in women’s rights and gender equality work
- IGWG’s Gender Continuum and CARE’s Gender Equity Continuum provide tools for programs to figure out their position on the gender continuum
- CARE’s Good Practices Framework for Gender Analysis outlines core areas of inquiry that can inform methods and indicators for gender equality programming
- Gender and Evaluation community which aims to strengthen understanding of gendered implications of policies and programmes and to enable formulation of more gender sensitive approaches to evaluation
- The Big Push Forward – space for discussion, debate and the exploration of appropriate approaches for assessing transformative development processes
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