Capturing Change in Women’s Realities A Critical Overview of Current M&E Frameworks and Approaches

by Srilatha Batliwala and Alexandra Pittman. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Dec 2010. Available as pdf Found courtesy of @guijti

“The two part document begins with a broad overview of common challenges with monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and identifies feminist practices for engaging in M&E to strengthen organizational learning and more readily capture the complex changes that women’s empowerment and gender equality work seek. The document concludes with an overview and in-depth analysis of some of the most widely used and recognized M&E frameworks, approaches, and tools.”

[RD Comment: A bit of text that interested me…”Some women’s rights activists and their allies consequently propose that we need to develop a “theory of constraints” to accompany our “theory of change” in any given context, in order to create tools for tracking the way that power structures are responding to the challenges posed by women’s rights interventions“. ….[and before then, also on page 12] … most tools do not allow for tracking negative change, reversals, backlash, unexpected change, and other processes that push back or shift the direction of a positive change trajectory. How do we create tools that can capture this “two steps forward, one step back” phenomenon that many activists and organizations acknowledge as a reality and in which large amounts of learning lay hidden? In women’s rights work, this is vital because as soon as advances seriously challenge patriarchal or other social power structures, there are often significant reactions and setbacks. These are not, ironically, always indicative of failure or lack of effectiveness, but exactly the opposite— this is evidence that the process was working and was creating resistance from the status quo as a result .”

This useful proposal could apply to other contexts where change is expected to be difficult]

One thought on “Capturing Change in Women’s Realities A Critical Overview of Current M&E Frameworks and Approaches”

  1. Just to add to Rick’s highlighting of this insight from this really great summary paper: I think Michael Woolcocks work on impact trajectories of interventions is quite useful here (Woolcock, M (2009) Toward a plurality of methods in project evaluation: a contextualised approach to understanding impact trajectories and efficacy, Journal of Development Effectiveness 1:1, 1-14) – for example, he shows that in some empowerment interventions – with similairities to some of the women’s empowerment examples discussed in the paper – things may get worse before they get better, as constituencies react and try to defend the status quo. Some simple graphs of different expected impact trajectories illustrate what might be expected from different types of interventions


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