Gender and evaluation of food security

@FAOEvaluation

Gender and evaluation of food security

Dear members,

In the context of our network, I would like to share with you some recurrent concerns on the question of gender during the various evaluations in which I participated for more than twenty years now.

Could you give me your opinion and share your experiences and resources on this issue?  

  1. How to properly take charge of the "gender" theme during evaluations of food security projects and programs or sustainable agriculture? Is it enough to simply associate women to different activities carried out in projects / programs as it is often practice to say that one is gender-sensitive? What are the general and specific evaluation criteria that can be put forward without creating controversy?
  2. How to capture the changes induced in gender by projects / programs when this issue has not been taken into account in baseline / baseline diagnosis during formulation projects / programs?
  3. What quantitative and qualitative indicators (some examples) formulate to assess the gender aspect in the field of food security and other related areas such as nutrition?  

I thank you in advance for the interest and for sharing;  

Georgette Konate Traoré

This discussion is now closed. Please contact info@evalforward.org for any further information.

Dear all, 

here is a summary of the discussion and main issues raised by participants. 

  • Gender should be addressed at the time of formulation of the development action and design of its results framework, including the choice of indicators and data collection methods.
  • If gender was not included in the programme design and baselines are not available, it will be more difficult, though still possible, for the evaluation to address it and for baselines to be replaced by historical analyses;
  • The type of evaluation (process, impact or outcome evaluation) and the target audience will influence the way the evaluation considers gender aspects.
  • Given the complexity and multisectoral nature of gender, evaluations of gender should include social analysis, which is necessary to understand social systems and the constraints that perpetrate the women’s condition in the context of food security. 
  • To evaluate gender equality and empowerment of women, gender-responsive methodologies, methods, tools, and data analysis techniques should be selected (see references below).
  • It is important to consider possible trade-offs related to gender: an example from a project that aimed to support women by assigning them livestock with higher productivity but did not consider additional workload and the missing links to market opportunities that could allow to translate the higher production into income.
  • Examples of gender-responsive indicators were referenced and on how to make indicators gender sensitive.
  • Women, along with other stakeholders, should participate in co-producing the evaluation framework and take part in evaluations themselves, in a participatory approach. The evaluator / evaluation team should play the role of a facilitator and recognize the experiential knowledge of stakeholders.
  • Gender evaluations in Africa, as in other regions, must consider that unfortunately the level of understanding of the gender approach still varies a lot, which does not facilitate its application.
  • Some country initiatives:
    • Benin: a study on the sensitivity of the national system of monitoring and evaluation in relation to gender allowed to identify national indicators by sector to evaluate the gender aspect and to incorporate norms and standards to take gender into account in all evaluations.
    • Burundi: the Ministry of Local Government is looking at how to integrate gender in the five-year development planning process of municipalities, defining the basic "gender" indicators that will be monitored and evaluated during the life of this plan.
    • Costa Rica: The Ministry of Planning worked with UN Women on a guide on how to evaluate gender and human rights to complement the evaluations carried out within the National Planning System of Costa Rica.

References and links shared by participants / Références et liens partagés par les participants / Referencias y enlaces compartidos por los participantes 

Other references / Autres références (en anglais) /Otras referencias (en inglés)

 

Dear members,

Sorry for catching up late on the discussion on gender and evaluation.

One of the comments posted to the debate raised by Georgette highlighted that disparity between women and men persists in many communities and in the mindset of many people.

I believe that, as evaluators, we should be guided by the human rights and gender equality principles to which our organizations are committed.  In fact, our own personal bias can have a significant impact on the way that we view an evaluation subject, the questions we ask, the conceptual framework that we use and the methodology that we adopt. The UN Evaluation Group Norms and Standards norm on ‘human rights and gender equality’ states that, “The universally recognized values and principles of human rights and gender equality need to be integrated into all stages of an evaluation. It is the responsibility of evaluators and evaluation managers to ensure that these values are respected, addressed and promoted, underpinning the commitment to the principle of ‘no-one left behind’.”  The UNEG standard on a human rights-based approach and gender mainstreaming strategy further elaborates that the evaluation design might also include some process of ethical review of the initial design of the evaluation subject. More specifically, the evaluation terms of reference should:

  • Indicate both duty bearers and rights holders (particularly women and other groups subject to discrimination) as primary users of the evaluation and specify how they will be involved in the evaluation process;
  • Spell out the relevant human rights and gender equality instruments or policies that will guide evaluation processes;
  • Incorporate an assessment of relevant human rights and gender equality aspects through the selection of the evaluation criteria and questions;
  • Specify an evaluation approach and methods of data collection and analysis that are human rights-based and gender-responsive;
  • Specify that evaluation data should be disaggregated by social criteria (e.g. sex, ethnicity, age, disability, geographic location, income or education);
  • Define the level of expertise needed among the evaluation team on human rights and gender equality, define responsibilities in this regard and call for a gender-balanced and culturally diverse team that makes use of national/regional evaluation expertise.

The UNEG publication Integrating Human Rights and Gender Equality in Evaluations, already mentioned during this exchange, provides additional guidance on this topic.

With regard to the specific questions raised by Georgette around data, monitoring and measurement related to evaluations in the agricultural sector, please find the following documents on this topic:

We are proud of the diversity on this Community of Practice, which is open to all opinions and reflect the practice and realities on the ground of evaluators and professionals working across sectors at country level and hope to continue these lively exchanges.

Deborah

Dear Friends,

I would like to share with you a document (in Spanish) elaborated by UN Women and the Ministry of Planning of Costa Rica which provides many proposals how to integrate the themes gender and human rights in the entire Evaluation process:

https://documentos.mideplan.go.cr/share/s/UWG8czewS5-A8GJsx8xBCw

Best regards

Erwin

DEval - FOCEVAL

Réverien Ndikubwayo

Réverien Ndikubwayo

Hello dear members

I would like to share Georgette's concerns which are very relevant. I do not have an answer to propose, but I would just like to say that in Burundi, the Ministry of Local Government is looking at how to integrate gender in the five-year development planning process of municipalities. This will then allow to define the basic "gender" indicators that will be monitored and evaluated during the life of this plan. The planning activity will begin soon, therefore I have no answers for Georgette's questions at the moment.
 

Jamal Berdaa

Jamal Berdaa

Hello everyone.

Regarding the evaluation of food security programs, regardless of the type of program, the evaluation should be carried out with and not on the stakeholders.

In our case, this means the participation of women in the first place, along with all others concerned in any way by the program (program manager, supervisor, producers, retailers ...). All these people should sit down at the same table to work together first for the co-production of a concerted evaluation framework and then for the participatory evaluation itself. It is no longer the case in evaluation to play the role of an expert who comes up with his predefined evaluation model, but rather of a facilitator and negotiator who accompanies the stakeholders throughout the evaluation process, from the design of the tools to the communication of the results. This way of doing things, which is increasingly used, allows a greater acceptability of the results but also the empowerment of the different actors who become more autonomous in their decision-making. It has nothing to do with traditional methods of action-research for example where participation is rather a formality rather than a recognition of the experiential knowledge of stakeholders.

Hello all,

Following my message of 29/06/18 related to the subject, many of you responded (Bintou from Mali, Elias and Emile from Benin, Dowsen from Zimbabwe, Mustapha, Dorothy and Emmanuel ...) giving me information, points of view as well as documentary references on the proposed questions.

I am aware of the fact that we have not exhausted the question but the very useful reactions you have made will certainly allow me to reinforce my own opinions on the issue and especially to move forward in my work with more confidence.

Many thanks to everyone and also to Alena for this very informative information on the questions asked.

I welcome further contributions!

Cordially

Georgette

Alena Lappo

Alena Lappo

Dear members,

In relation to the questions of Georgette:

Q 1. Many evaluators struggle with the evaluation of the gender equality and empowerment of women, limiting the assessment to women’s participation in different project activities. This approach, however, does not allow the evaluation of the multiple dimensions of gender equality and empowerment of women, such as the allocation of resources to gender programs, equal participation in decision-making, and access to productive resources, services and markets. To better evaluate gender equality and empowerment of women, gender-responsive methodologies, methods and tools, and data analysis techniques should be selected. Guiding documents for gender equality and empowerment of women such as the System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP), which provide guidance on gender-responsive indicators can be consulted to do so.

It is important to assess/map the possible positive and negative consequences right from the start and possibly include them into the evaluation methodology. Data rehearsal/finding rehearsal method can be applied: https://evalsdgs.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/unicef-innovation-in-evaluation-webinar-ppt.pdf (p. 22).

The implication of trade-offs related to gender activities need to be taken into account. For example, in the project X there were indications of added responsibilities for women that were not necessarily accompanied by proportional income gain. “The single women supported under ‘One Cow Per Poor Family project’, were provided with the cow breeds which have higher milk production.  However, women were concerned about increased work drudgery related to fodder supply, especially within the context of its scarcity. Higher milk production per cow could result in additional income source for women. However, the project did not foresee connection to a potential markets making income gains uncertain.”

In addition, as mentioned by Dowsen Sango, the type of evaluation matters – some project and programmes provide little or no space for gender dimension.

Q 2. The UNEG Guidance Integrating Human Rights Further provides examples of the gender-responsive indicators helping to design/access/evaluate projects www.uneval.org/document/download/1294 (p. 46-47). 

The UN-SWAP assessment is done through scorecards answering the following questions:

1) Gender equality and the empowerment of women (GEEW) is integrated in the evaluation scope of analysis and evaluation criteria and questions are designed in a way that ensures GEEW related data will be collected.

2) A gender-responsive methodology, methods and tools, and data analysis techniques are selected.

3) The evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendation reflect a gender analysis. 

Technical note on how to score the above criteria can be read here:

www.unevaluation.org/document/download/2148 

These guidance documents might be well-known, yet not often applied in evaluation design and projects assessment.

Alena Lappo
Evaluation Analyst
FAO

Emmanuel Ndongo

Emmanuel Ndongo

Hello,

In the context of our network, I come to share with you my point of view on gender issues.

In my opinion, it would be desirable for us to talk about parity between men and women instead of spending time wanting to let everyone know that women have never been considered whole beings. Since the creation of humanity, we know the place that women occupy in society. Men will always occupy his first place and will always have at his side the woman. The notion of gender should not overturn these values.

Hello everyone,

I would like to contribute to the debate on gender mainstreaming in the evaluation of development actions - I use the generic term development action to refer to a project, program or policy. I find Georgette's debate quite important and that will have to be taken out of a debate that would remain philosophical and sterile, so much the development practitioners need practical elements to make the necessary corrections to their way of doing things. It goes without saying that the "gender" dimension is very important for development but this should not lead us to use it as a "master key" to use in all development actions; we must therefore deal with this "gender" issue in a systematic and mandatory way in development actions that have an undeniable gender dimension.

Following the watermark of this debate, I have the weakness to think that we are dealing with this issue right at the time of the evaluation - it is a debate that I come across very often among practitioners of the "simple and simplified" evaluation. However, this aspect must be dealt with well in advance, in general at the time of formulation of the development action and design of its results framework, and in particular in the choice of indicators and data collection - which should be disaggregated according to the gender dimension, and in the establishment of the monitoring and evaluation system for the development action.

If a given development action is articulated on a strong gender dimension, the reading of the project document, its results framework and indicators, and its monitoring and evaluation plan, etc., must reflect this strong gender dimension, even before the activities of this development action are launched on the ground. Without such an integrative perspective of Results-Based Management, the evaluation will be totally disconnected from the rest of the activities of a development action, including monitoring-evaluation activities, and will not help us in such a situation to bring all the necessary answers to questions about gender that we might ask ourselves at the time of an evaluation.

It is on this restrictive debate on evaluation, which reduces and "chops up" a process of management of the cycle of a development action to which I wanted to make an initial contribution during my first message on this platform; it is since a few weeks that I wanted to draw the attention of all members to the danger of speaking in a restrictive way about evaluation outside of a Results-Based Management perspective.

A word to the wise!

Regards,

Mustapha

Hello everyone,

Here are the answers I propose to Georgette's three questions:

1. How to properly take charge of the "gender" theme during evaluations of food security projects and programs or sustainable agriculture? Is it enough to simply associate women to different activities carried out in projects / programs as it is often practice to say that one is gender-sensitive? What are the general and specific evaluation criteria that can be put forward without creating controversy?

No. It is not enough to simply involve women in project implementation activities. Is it to incorporate at all stages the specific aspects to be taken into account differently for men and for women so that the projects / programs in question are more effective and have more effects and impacts.

2. How to capture the changes induced in gender by projects / programs when this issue has not been taken into account in baseline / baseline diagnosis during formulation projects / programs?

In this case, a historical survey of the effects and impacts of projects / programs is needed.

3. What quantitative and qualitative indicators (some examples) formulate to assess the gender aspect in the field of food security and other related areas such as nutrition? 

Normally, there are no specific indicators to formulate to evaluate the gender aspect. Rather, it is about making indicators gender sensitive to guide their measurement. Ex: "The number of malnourished men and women" or "The rate of malnutrition among men and among women".

Thank you.

Bintou Nimaga

Bintou Nimaga

Hello to you dear members of Eval Forward, Gorgette’s question is indeed very interesting as a subject of debate but difficult to answer in a practical way. From my experiences, I understood that the whole difficulty of application of gender in evaluation programs, is in its transversally to different sectors but also to social subgroups. The most complicated aspect is also the capacity of the evaluator to be able to make an integrated analysis according to the objectives, the expected results and the methodology used. Therefore, gender in evaluation requires competence in evaluation but also in social gender analysis.

In fact, gender analysis is integrated and cross-cutting throughout the evaluation process, notably the analysis of the evaluation elements (relevance - effectiveness - sustainability - efficiency ...) and the indicators of the program in question. Obviously, it is more efficient to have a team of evaluators with various skills related to the objectives.

Gender is not the woman, although we try to remove social constraints that limit the development of this category. You will agree with me that these constraints are not only at the woman's level, but especially in the ways of living, the look of the other towards her, behaviors, social values, and so on. All things that give, maintain and perpetuate the power of the masculine on the feminine and which generates for her a confinement in a lower status. Social analysis is necessary to understand this system in the context of food security, in order to act to reduce this power to the benefit of the feminine. Only in this way sustainable and efficient food security can be envisaged, giving households, communities and our countries the chance to access food welfare.

We are used to having a list of gender indicators, but I think that, over time, they have proved to be ineffective because food security is a large area. The integrated analysis of the indicators during the evaluation also requires adaptation reflections depending on the program, the social context and the objectives of the evaluation.

Finally, I think that the answer to your questions will be found in the teamwork and the complementarity of the competences created for the evaluation. However, we can make it a subject of debate in order to make the experiences of each other profitable. 

Bintou NIMAGA

Mali

Dowsen Sango

Dowsen Sango

1.       How to properly take charge of the "gender" theme during evaluations of food security projects and programs or sustainable agriculture? Is it enough to simply associate women to different activities carried out in projects / programs as it is often practice to say that one is gender-sensitive? What are the general and specific evaluation criteria that can be put forward without creating controversy?

Gender in Evaluation is a thorny issue. I would like to think that first it depends on the Type of Evaluation (Process, Impact or Outcome Evaluation). It also depend on the audience of the evaluation report. A project is often a contractual thing therefore an evaluator is guided by contractual obligations the project implementer went into with the funder. In this regard Gender should only be evaluated if it was contractual. Let’s say a Market Linkages project had not in its design been focused on making markets work for women but then a crossectional impact study shows that women made less money than men. Would one conclude that the project was not gender sensitive?

Good evening dear members,

Georgette's concerns in Burkina Faso are extremely relevant. We have not yet found the answer in Benin, but we have initiated an activity that we hope will help us begin to provide relevant answers. This is the assessment of the sensitivity of the national system of monitoring and evaluation in relation to gender. This study was done in Benin, South Africa and Uganda. The diagnosis focused on national evaluation policies and the national monitoring and evaluation systems of the three countries. The results of the study allowed us to adopt a plan of improvement actions including, among others, the definition of national indicators by sector to evaluate the gender aspect, as well as the revision of our national policy of evaluation, to incorporate norms and standards to take gender into account in all our evaluations.

This certainly does not answer Georgette's questions, but it is to show at least that the concern is shared.

Best regards

Elias A. K. SEGLA

Spécialiste en Gouvernance et Management public Présidence de la République du Bénin Bureau de l’Évaluation des Politiques Publiques et de l'Analyse de l'Action Gouvernementale Palais de la Marina

01 BP 2028 Cotonou - Bénin

Evaluating the Sustainable Development Goals - through an equity and gender lens

Authors/editor(s): Michael Bamberger, Marco Segone and Florencia Tateossian

lac.unwomen.org/en/digiteca/publicaciones/2017/06/evaluating-the-sustainable-development-goal

Dear members,

Thanks to Georgette Konate Traoré from Burkina Faso for raising these concerns on evaluation of gender with the EVAL-ForwARD community. Please feel free to share your view on any of the issues she raises by replying to this email.

I take the opportunity to invite you all to use this space in the weeks to come to:

  • Start discussions: post queries on topics of your interest inviting members to respond and to share their experiences and views.
  • Post information on and links to publications, events, calls and other activities of interest to other members.

Discussions, resources and information shared will start forming the knowledge base of the EVAL-ForwARD community. Please contact me for practical support or any further information at Renata.mirulla@fao.org

Related to quantitative and qualitative indicators to evaluate gender (question 3 below), FAO is adopting the pro-WEAI index, which helps assess women’s empowerment within agricultural developmental projects using 12 indicators. Here is a link to the WEAI webpage weai.ifpri.info  and to a recent presentation in FAO www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4695/icode