Facilitating GEM Workshops
The Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) is a new evaluation tool that needs to be introduced to the project holders and stakeholders that will be involved in its use. An introductory workshop to the tool is recommended in order to:
- Discuss the GEM framework and learn about its principles
- Introduce gender analysis to the evaluation project
- Introduce concepts related to ICTs for social change
- Get to know the step by step evaluation guide
- Establish evaluation needs and starting point
- Determine quantitative and qualitative indicators
- Select evaluation methodologies
- Consider from the very beginning the way evaluation results will be used
A workshop is also a good way to introduce GEM to a wider audience of people working in ICT projects who are interested in including a gender perspective in their work.
In general, the best time to hold a GEM workshop is when the project holders have decided to implement GEM in their projects. This will allow all people involved in the evaluation process to get acquainted with the tool and its framework and participate in the discussion of the main issues involved.
One of the distinctive characteristics of GEM is that is offers a new framework to set an evaluation approach. In order to be able to use GEM properly, project holders need to learn about and discuss three key documents that are part of the GEM tool:
These documents provide an innovative perspective, introducing concepts that involve what evaluators have already learned from their daily life experiences and in previous evaluation processes and the quest for change and transformation in relationships and structures that may lead to gender and social justice. They also bring a new perspective on gender analysis, considering gender needs, strategic gender interests and gender transformative strategies.
The documents also discuss women’s empowerment and gender and technology issues from an equal opportunity perspective.
The participants in the GEM workshop should be all those involved in the evaluation process, within the organisation and also in the surrounding community. The list of participants should include:
- Members of the evaluation team
- Organisation’s directors and managers
- Area/section/unit coordinators
- Service staff
- Stakeholders in the community
The local evaluation team together with the GEM facilitators should select those participating in the workshop with an inclusive perspective. It should be understood from the beginning that all people involved in the evaluation process needs to know the tool and its framework because each of them is expected to make a valuable contribution to the evaluation process, at any stage. A participatory approach, that is one of GEM’s key principles, should be put into practice from the very start.
(Main guidelines in this section are taken from “Outcome Mapping”1)
The facilitator should know the GEM tool properly and be comfortable with the concepts of evaluation for learning, participatory processes and organisational change. The facilitation could be in charge of members of the evaluation team or external facilitators.
The role of the facilitator is:
- To engage participants
- To ensure that all opinions are heard and considered
- To note areas of consensus and differences
- To keep the discussion moving so that the group can complete its task in the time allotted
The facilitator should be:
- Skilled in consensus building
- Able to determine the power dynamics in a group
- Able to ensure that the diverse opinions of the group are captured
One of the main tasks for the facilitator is to help the group to develop a common understanding of evaluation, encouraging group members to create a common language for the duration of the workshop and ensure that everyone understands the evaluation approach being proposed.
Sometimes, there can be a combination of internal and external facilitators to enable effective facilitation.
Facilitation tip 2
The facilitator's actions will set the tone for the workshop, therefore the facilitator should try to create a climate of trust and mutual respect by letting participants to know that there are no right nor wrong answers and that everyone has information and opinions that will make the process and product better (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts)
In order to have a GEM workshop, the following human resources should be taken into account:
A skilled facilitator, with good knowledge of the tool
Consultants to lead the discussion on specific issues. For instance, if there is no expertise in the organisation to present gender analysis or issues of ICTs for social change, an external consultant could be invited to present and lead the discussion on these issues.
Members of the evaluation team to help taking notes, getting materials ready, participate in small groups dynamics, etc.
- Papers, pens, small cards, masking tape, markers
- Flip charts
- LSD projector, laptop to take notes
- GEM manual or a copy of GEM main documents for participants
The workshop should have a good mix of theoretical sessions and practical, dynamic sessions
Participants should be encouraged to share their own experiences and stories related to “Learning for Change” issues. This helps to build trust among participants. (See the sample exercise: "Gems in Life")
Participants should take part in dynamics, like the Gender and ICT Sensitivity Game.
Role-playings as a result of small groups discussion is an interesting dynamic to present gender and ICT issues and can be used as starting points for in-depth discussion. It is important to awaken participants’ creativity and show them that everyone has skills and knowledge to contribute to a learning process
Enough time should be allotted to present issues such as Gender Analysis and ICTs for Social Change, including time for questions and discussion
It is important that participants see that the workshop is helping them to advance in the evaluation planning
Never forget to evaluate the workshop. A short questionnaire should be enough to sense people’s feelings and expectations
You can download the .ppt presentation of this information, for presentations before community, organization or board members, or for funders.
1 Earld, Carden, Smutylo, Outcome Mapping: building learning and reflection into development programmes, IDRC, Canada, 2001, p. 17-27.
2 Idem, p. 27