A fine balance: Balancing what is possible vs what we want achieved

Cross posted (1) A fine balance: Balancing what is possible vs what we want achi...

Last week a programme manager (implementation) told me:

"Madam, the evaluation team came and graded our project as poor on gender equality, stating that land remained mainly under the control of men (though women's ownership had improved a bit) and agricultural markets were dominated by men (though poor women were entering it now, and not before). In the same district, no development project had achieved gender equality in these respects, and neither did we say that we will achieve gender equality at design, but improve status quo by 50% which anyway was unrealistic".

Influenced by SDG-5, Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination Against women, many donors, designers and evaluation team evolve ambtious gender and (recently) intersectionality goals/targets which they use for design, monitoring and evaluation. There is no assessment of whether other programme in similar context have acheived these goals/targets. The implementing agencies and federations of marginalised groups face a lot of disappointment when these larger gender equality goals, which they have not been party to framing, are used for design and evaluation.

This situation/dilemma merits the following demands:

i) There needs to be context specific analysis of the extent of gender and intersectionality transformative change possible in an area.

ii) A compendium of good practices needs to be available at district level, on a district level portal.

iii) While further improvement over and above changes brought about existing good practices is possible, dramatic transformation may be difficult.

iv) A compendium of what was tried related to gender and intersectional transformation and did not work needs to be maintained. The same mistake need not be repeated.

On the whole a fine balance between what is possible (pushing the boundaries) vs what we want achieved has to be maintained.

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