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How to make Outcome Harvesting Gender-responsive and Equity-focused Part I by Awuor Ponge

Awuor Ponge
Awuor Ponge

Hi, I am Awuor Ponge, an Independent M&E Consultant; Associate Research Fellow in a Think Tank and Adjunct Faculty in a Public University in Kenya. I have a passion for Participatory Approaches and Tools in Gender and Development and this prompts my interest in Outcome Harvesting (OH) as a Participatory Evaluation approach, and the desire to make the process gender-responsive and equity-focused. In today’s post, I share some methodological considerations, and will share additional considerations tomorrow, in Part II.

I asked Ricardo Wilson-Grau, just before his passing on, about the ways in which OH as an emerging participatory approach to evaluation could be made gender-responsive and equity-focused. This generated some debate in the Outcome Harvesting Forum.

For a start, it is important to ask these important questions in designing the Outcome Harvest:

  • What is the Outcome? What was done? How did each category of actors contribute to this?
  • Who did what? How did each category of actors contribute to this?
  • Where was it done? How was the choice of location and actors?
  • How it was done? What was the role of each of the actors?

To address issues of gender-responsiveness and equity-focus, the Harvester as well as the Harvest users need to identify the contribution of the outcome to the needs of men and women, as well as the marginalised categories. The harvest process should be able to isolate the specific vulnerabilities and inequalities and how these play out during the outcome harvesting. For example, how do we engage single-female headed households, rural women, women with disabilities among others, in the process?

Lesson Learned: Ricardo Wilson-Grau’s Methodological Considerations

During the debate, Ricardo Wilson-Grau did give some methodological guidelines, which are worth mentioning:

  • Reference for Principal Uses and Users: Make sure that the terms of reference explicitly or at least implicitly require that one or more of the principal uses of the primary intended users is that the OH process and product be gender-responsive or equity-focused or both.
  • Negotiating the Terms of Reference: If the harvesting or evaluation questions that will guide the application of OH are not gender-responsive or equity-focused or both, in negotiating the terms of reference, make them explicitly so.
  • Identifying the useful Harvest Questions: In the design of the harvest, ensure that the information that will be required to answer the harvesting questions, and how it is collected, are gender-responsive or equity-focused or both.
  • Context specification for intended users: Gender-responsiveness or equity-focus have to not only be methodologically sound but also adapted to what the primary users understand those terms to be and contextualised for their specific uses of the Outcome Harvest application.
  • Utilisation-focus of the Harvest Findings: Throughout the outcome harvest, primary users, co-evaluators will check on the gender-responsiveness or equity-focus and adapt as necessary, to make sure that the harvesting process and findings are proving useful in the light of the other principal uses.

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2 thoughts on “How to make Outcome Harvesting Gender-responsive and Equity-focused Part I by Awuor Ponge”

  1. Dear Joe!
    So sorry that I have not been able to respond to this question all this long. I don’t know how it passed my eyes. Accept my apologies for this. I may not have specifics on how to identify as many vulnerabilities as possible, but I think some simple guidance may be necessary.

    The first guidance would be to start by developing a gender and equity lens to guide your analysis. This involves understanding how gender and other intersecting identities (such as race, ethnicity, class, disability, etc.) can influence vulnerabilities and inequalities. We can consider the different experiences, needs, and perspectives of diverse groups and individuals.

    The second guidance would be to conduct gender analysis. This would mean analysing the disaggregated data to identify patterns, trends, and disparities. We can look for variations in outcomes, benefits, access, participation, and decision-making power. We can also assess whether the process or program has unintended negative consequences or exacerbates existing gender-based disparities or inequities.

    Lastly, we should identify the underlying factors and root causes that contribute to the identified vulnerabilities and inequalities. This may involve examining social norms, power dynamics, discriminatory practices, or systemic and social barriers that perpetuate gender-based disparities and inequities.

    I pray that this would be some useful starting point to address this issue! What do you think?

  2. Hi Awour,

    I think it is very interesting that you have emphasized the importance of simple, yet crucial basic questions that should always be addressed when trying to gain understanding; who, what, where, and how. I believe it is important to never forget to address the basics in gathering data. I believe negotiating the terms of reference to have the evaluation questions be gender-responsive and/or equity-focused is a great way to keep focus on their considerations. Ricardo’s methodological guidelines seem to be stressing the importance that every step of the process needs to have consideration for gender-responsiveness or equity-focus to ensure the outcome harvesting has the desired results.

    You have highlighted the importance of isolating specific vulnerabilities and inequalities during the outcome harvest process as being important. Do you have any advice on how to identify as many of these as possible?


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