The redWIM LAC network and its contribution to gender transformative evaluation

By: Fabiola Amariles Erazo

(SPANISH VERSION POSTED ON THE SPANISH GROUP OF THIS COMMUNITY-EVALGENERO)

The monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of development projects, programs, and policies with a gender-transforming approach has become an important entry point for measuring and valuing actions that seek equal rights and opportunities for men and women.

At the same time, there is increasing recognition of the value of gender and equity analysis in the management of organizations linked to sustainable development. It has been demonstrated that institutions can have greater impact on the recipients of development programs when their own processes, structures, and programming are democratic and equitable.  

This is how some M&E methodologies (qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting and analyzing data) have merged with Organizational Development (OD) tools (i.e., Appreciative Inquiry, Institutional Change Framework) to achieve a better understanding of organizations. As Campbell and McClintock1 predicted in 2002, "OD-based evaluation can be an important tool in the process of creating dynamic and self-renewable organizations".  

We at redWIM, the LAC Women in Management network, have confirmed this hypothesis in each M&E experience that shows positive changes in the lives of women. Since its creation two decades ago, redWIM has been working from different fronts to help identify the changes that organizations require so that their strategies, processes, and operations are gender-equitable and contribute to the sustainability of their results.   

The celebration of its 20th anniversary in Cali, Colombia was the right moment to reflect on the achievements and on how we can act to overcome the persistent gender gaps in organizations and thus contribute more to equitable development.

Among the emerging issues and the questions that we must answer in the short term are:

  • What are we trying to change in terms of gender equality?

As our founding partner Lidia Heller discusses in her editorial article (in Spanish), despite the legal, political, social and cultural advances of women in the last 20 years, situations of inequality and injustice for women persist. Most indicators of gender gaps show us that we are not making enough effort to achieve gender equality.

Dr. Heller identifies three avenues for change: culture, organizational practices, and individual behaviors. As redWIM, we have the firm intention of working in these three areas to contribute to social change.

  •  What opportunities are available from the field of M&E to contribute to these changes?

It is a fact that we must move from rhetoric to action, focusing on what we want to change, with participatory methods centered on people. For the work in M&E, the development of competencies is prioritized, especially the soft ones that will help to move from the technical skills of knowing “what to do and how to do it” to the “how to be” evaluators with full awareness and decision to promote and act on the transformations needed to achieve an egalitarian society.

The redWIM, together with ReLAC and the regional evaluation networks AGDEN (Africa) and CoE-SA (South Asia), as members of EvalGender+, have built a Competency Profile for evaluators and change actors that promote and apply the gender perspective with cultural sensitivity in evaluations. This tool, which is under continuous review and update, will strengthen capacity building programs and is expected to facilitate gender equity work and evaluation in other regions.

  •  Other emerging issues

The Cali meeting also allowed us to reflect collectively on other actions that, from the field of evaluation, could contribute to moving more rapidly towards social change:

  • Promote transformative evaluations, incorporating organizational diagnoses and change methodologies with gender equality and feminist perspectives.
  • Periodically carry out participatory feminist reflections in development programs and projects that allow detecting how the change is taking place in the lives of women, with the possibility of scaling the results.
  • Promote greater use of theories of change in programs and projects with adequate quantitative and qualitative indicators that facilitate measurements in a manner relevant to the realities of the context evaluated.
  • Enrich the current evaluation methodologies for development with the inputs obtained in studies and work carried out by feminist organizations for gender mainstreaming. That is, challenging traditional evaluation paradigms and still delivering rigorous and useful evidence for transformative change.

To paraphrase Campbell and McClintock, "the evaluation, as a good OD, should make both donors and managers of development programs and projects feel a little uncomfortable, introspective and possibly a bit defensive, as well as appreciative and curious".

[1] Campbell, M. y McClintock (2002). Shall we dance? Program Evaluation Meets OD in the Nonprofit Sector.

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Comment by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria on October 31, 2019 at 17:18

Thank you both! Rituu, I am a fan of this community - I haven't been too active, but I really appreciate the range of materials that you include here. 

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on October 31, 2019 at 11:11

I am happy with this development Luis and Fabiola. 

Comment by Fabiola Amariles on October 31, 2019 at 2:19

Sure! Great idea! please cross-post it and send me the link. It will be nice to exchange information with LeaderNet community! 

Comment by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria on October 30, 2019 at 21:41

Great! I am wondering if we could cross-post your blog on LeaderNet.org? We have a blog from Jhpieg on gender transformative programming and this would be a great addition to the LeaderNet community.

Comment by Fabiola Amariles on October 30, 2019 at 21:35

Thank you, Luis, I am glad you enjoyed it!  Let´s keep in touch.

Muchos saludos, Fabiola 

Comment by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria on October 30, 2019 at 21:17

Thank you for sharing this blog! I really enjoyed it. 

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