Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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Measuring the Impossible? - Developing M&E for Gender in Peacebuilding Programming

Increasingly, peacebuilding organisations are being required by donors to include meaningful gender components in their work and to show "what works" and what does not through monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

On May 29, Henri Myrttinen of International Alert led a discussion on what this means in practice, given the extreme difficulty if not conceptual impossibility of "measuring peace" and "measuring gender". He shed light on International Alert's multi-year, multi-country research project that is looking to try and address this conundrum, with the aims of conceptualising and developing a variety of approaches to M&E that would allow for a broader and deeper understanding of gender relations, would reflect the complexities of the various kinds of programming that fall under the broad category of "peacebuilding" and be of actual practical use to beneficiaries, implementers and donors.

About the Speaker  

Henri Myrttinen is a Senior Researcher with International Alert, focusing on Gender in Peacebuilding. He has been working on issues of gender for around fifteen years, mostly in Southeast Asia but recently also in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the MENA region.

Recording and Transcript

Click here to view the transcript of the discussion. 

Increasingly, peacebuilding organisations are being required by donors to include meaningful gender components in their work and to show "what works" and what does not through monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. On May 29, Henri Myrttinen of International Alert led a discussion on what this means in practice, given the extreme difficulty if not conceptual impossibility of "measuring peace" and "measuring gender". 

                -Our speaker today said, if I heard correctly, that integrating new M&E approaches into logframes and other donor-required approaches depends a lot on the donor organization. Sometimes they are more or less rigid. DFID is interested in evidence , e.g., when a tool works and benefits a community. Others want quantitative measurements that show results and are more rigid. They are not as interested in stories, photos, podcasts. It’s hard to translate these more qualitative measurements into numbers.

 

                -I think this is very interesting; it’s a big challenge for this community, isn’t it? There are increasing ways through qualitative research software to count/measure/interpret large quantities of narrative dialogue, from which themes and deeper “measurement” of quantitative data can be contextualized for deeper learning. Perhaps, for example, photos could be the topics of dialogic exchanges that are recorded or on which notes are taken, and then the texts analyzed through qualitative software, to address the more rigid donor requirements for quantitative data? 

Thanks, again!

Hi!

My apologies for the (very) late reply, its been busy weeks... I'd be quite interested in exploring the qualitative software you mention! I think a key challenge will remain, though, in between how local beneficiaries see/hear/comprehend their stories (in whatever form they choose to represent it); how "we" as external peacebuilders read the information presented to us by local beneficiaries; how we present it to donors and how donors interpret it. More than happy to discuss this more! And if you have good examples of such software, do let me know!

 

Cheers,

 

Henri

Hello, Henri.  Thanks for your reply; it seems it's not too late, at all :-)

One example of qualitative software for analyzing large amounts of narrative and other qualitative data is NVivo.  Most universities and research institutions subscribe to it these days.  I do agree that DME researchers need to engage local and donor stakeholders in understanding and desiring to use software for the interpretive process.  I am seeing increasing receptivity, though, especially with the advent of less expensive mobile technologies to help with data submission and transmission. I'm working on some research exploring applications in the public and cultural diplomacy fields. I hope we can continue this conversation. I'm at trent.deborah@gmail.com.  Since you probably won't be back on this page, I'll try emailing this message to info@international-alert.org .  Cheers, 

Debbie Trent