[Report prepared by: Cheekay Cinco, GEM Regional Coordinator for Asia]
The Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) Testing Process in Asia was participated in by a diverse set of initiatives from a variety of countries.From the Multi-purpose Community Telecentre in the Philippines, which aimed to provide basic access to remote areas in the country, to the multi-media web-based project in Australia, the GEM Testing Process tried to cover as much of the spectrum of the ICT scenario/s in the region. The deliberate attempt to partner with a range of initiatives aimed towards reflecting the overall ICT inequalities and diversities in Asia Pacific.
GEM Testing Partners
The GEM Testing Partners in Asia Pacific were mostly organisations that the APCWNSP had encountered or worked with in the past. The initiatives were invited to participate in the testing process based on the type of project as well as in their geographical location. We had aimed to have the most equal sub-regional representation in the testing process. Of the organisations invited to participate in the evaluation, nine expressed an interest in gender evaluation and were able to participate in the regional GEM Workshop held in Manila in Septmember 2002. Of the nine organisations that participated in the workshop, only six were able to complete the testing process:
Name of Organisation / Initiative: Mothers4Mothers
The Mothers for Mothers network, formed in 1998, is a network of mothers from multi-ethnic communities and ages, involved in women-connecting-women activities, promoting the concept of working from home. For the GEM testing, M4M looked into the situation of the M4M Virtual Team members (staff) and the M4M network members, aiming to probe into the barriers that women encounter in teleworking towards proposing recommendations to the Malaysian governments on the pre-requisites for promoting working from home on a national scale.
Name of Organisation / Initiative: Community Communications Online (c2o) / Web Origami Kit (WOK)
Community Communications Online (c2o) is an Australian-based applications service provider that targets local activist and civil society groups. One of the main services they provide is a web content management tool called Web Origami Kit (WOK), which allows for collaborative web-based multimedia projects. In particular, c2o tested and implemented an evaluation plan based on GEM on a project called d3, a prototype interactive story-telling engine that runs through the Melbourne Central Business District, gathering images and stories. D3 is currently being managed by the Australian Centre for the Moving Images, with c2o providing creative and technical support for the project. c2o used GEM in project evaluation, particularly looking into how gender, race and age affected the formal and informal roles the various project team members played for the duration of the development of the project. They also used GEM to guide them in developing a user-assessment of the D3 project. c2o aims to use the tools that they have developed through the GEM testing in all their other software development project assessment as well as to propose a guide for other software developers in ensuring that gender, race and age issues are taken into account in project development and implementation.
Name of Organisation / Initiative: Centre for Women's Research (CENWOR)
Country: Sri Lanka
The Centre for Women's Research is one of the main women's organisations in Sri Lanka promoting the use of ICTs for women's networking. Through the GEM testing, they aimed to assess their Internet-based women's network of researchers and activists, and to look into how the network members have benefitted from the network and the use of ICTs. The main goal of their evaluation is to use the results for the expansion of the project that will take into account how women and women's groups in Sri Lanka can maximise the use of ICTs.
Name of Organisation / Initiative: InfoCon / Distance Education Project
InfoCon is a private company that supports ICT for development initiatives in Mongolia. One of their main projects is the Distance Education Project (DEP) which aims to make online training on various basic subjects (i.e., Math, English, Basic ICT courses, Mongolian Grammar, and Gender Education courses) available to teachers and students in rural communities in Mongolia. InfoCon developed web-based training modules that will enhance education programmes in rural Mongolia. For th GEM testing, Infocon looked into two levels of project implementation: the gender roles played by the DEP team members, and how women and men beneficiaries used the training modules. InfoCon intends to use the results of the evaluation for further project planning.
Name of Organisation / Initiative: Women's Electronic Network Training (WENT)
The Asian Women's Electronic Network Training (WENT) workshop is an annual regional activity held in Seoul, Korea that aims to equip women from civil society organisations in the region ICT skills necessary to use ICTs effectively and strategically. The main goal of the WENT evaluation is to assess if the training as it has been designed so far is really benefitting the women's movement in the region. An opportunity for a more creative evaluation for WENT came up when the organisers decided to hold WENT Awards in celebration of the 5th year anniversary of WENT. The WENT Awards presented a good opportunity for the organisers to get in touch with the trainees and find out what they have been up to since WENT and how the training has benefitted them and their organisations / initiatives.
Name of Initiative: Multipurpose Community Telecentres / Philippine Council for Health Research and Development
The Multi-purpose Community Telecentre (MCT) is a pilot project spearheaded by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), an agency of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The MCTs are being piloted in four sites in Southern Philippines. For the GEM evaluation, PCHRD decided to evaluate two MCT sites in Lanao: Taguitic and Malingao. The methods used for the evaluation included story-telling, interviews, logbooks and Focus Group Discussions.
The main reason given by the organisations that were not able to continue with the testing process was lack of funding and staff to implement the evaluation. However, in the case of IT for Change in India, which was running a community telecentre in Bangalore, they were unable to implement their evaluation plans because the community had decided that because the telecentre was in its initial phase, it was not yet ready for a gender evaluation. Definitely, the APCWNSP could have argued that it is precisely because the project was in its initial stages that gender evaluation could have been put into place. However, given that one of the cornerstones of the GEM philosophy was the importance of community involvement in the evaluation process, the issue was not further pursued.
Overall GEM Testing Process
Overall, the testing process ran from October 2002 to December 2003. The evaluation schedules and timelines of each Testing Partner varied according to the plans they had made based on their other organisational priorities.
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