RE: Developing effective, inclusive and gender responsive MEAL systems | Eval Forward

Dear fellow EvalForward members,

Following the insightful contributions shared by other partners in evaluation here, mine are a small addition to the discussion adopted from Save the Children's approach of including the Gender Quantum in MEAL with regards to overall programming.

In the journey from gender exploitative programming and evaluation to such which is gender-sensitive, or in better circumstances gender transformative;

  • Institutions are urged to begin with proposals or plans that are inherently informed by a gender assessment or have an integrated needs assessment that considers gender issues.
  • Having specific individuals (boys, girls, men, women) considerations for analysis and not generally; households, people, families or communities
  • Clearly describing relevant and unique gender inequalities such as discriminatory social norms, gender barriers, etc.
  • Expressing how the different gender inequalities experienced by girls, boys, women and men will affect the fulfilment of project objectives, including in relation to equitable benefits and participation for girls, boys, women and men.

When these factors and others are considered in program/project development; the following specifics can be considered at MEAL planning to ensure Gender sensitivity/transformity;

  • Quantitative indicators (including targets) should be disaggregated by sex and age
  • Indicators should be strategically set to close gender gaps (disproportionate differences between sexes).
  • M&E methodology should include working in gender-safe spaces (e.g. conducting data collection separately with girls, boys, women and men, and using female enumerators with female stakeholders and male enumerators with male stakeholders [gender matching]).
  • The MEAL framework should explicitly include ongoing gender analysis, enabling the identification of gender gaps.
  • The system should track the changes in knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours related to gender equality at the outcome level.
  • Results statements are included in the M&E plan that measures outcomes related to changes in gender equality (e.g. progress towards closing a gender gap or addressing gender-based barriers).

These considerations should also reflect in budgeting so that the MEAL system and programming operations should not face unintended bottlenecks in ensuring gender inclusivity overall;

  • The budget proposal should allocate financial resources for the full implementation of the project's gender-related activities. This can either be through;
    • Budget lines dedicated to specific gender equality focussed activities; and/or,
    • Budget lines dedicated to activities that explicitly include gender equality components (e.g. construction of latrines which will respond to the specific needs of girls and boys).
  • The project budget line(s) dedicated to gender equality technical support during project implementation (e.g. gender equality advisor etc.)
  • The project includes budget line(s) dedicated to gender equality training and capacity strengthening for local staff, local partners, beneficiaries and/or key stakeholder

Lastly, on a perspective of sustainability of interventions;

  • The program/project explicitly identifies and addresses discriminatory social norms and institutions
  • The program/project advocates for legislation and policies that promote gender equality (e.g. replacing laws that discriminate against females or males, or advocating for the inclusion of gender equality components in existing laws.)

Adopted from Save the Children Zambia - Gladys Musaba