Original Research

Gender responsiveness diagnostic of national monitoring and evaluation systems – methodological reflections

Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 5, No 1 | a191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v5i1.191 | © 2017 Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2016 | Published: 26 April 2017

About the author(s)

Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Africa Gender and Development Evaluators Network, South Africa; Resilience Analysis Consulting, South Africa
Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, South Africa


Background: This article reflects on the implementation of a diagnostic study carried out to understand the gender responsiveness of the national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems of Benin, South Africa and Uganda. Carrying out the study found that the potential for integrating the cross-cutting systems of gender and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are strong. At the same time, it highlighted a range of challenges intersecting these two areas of work. This article explores these issues, which range from logistical to conceptual.
Objectives: This article aims to share reflections from the gender diagnostic study to enable more appropriate capacity building in the field of gender responsiveness in national M&E systems. Developing more sophisticated tools to measure gender responsiveness in complex contexts is critical. A better understanding of how gender and national M&E systems intersect is important to understanding firstly how we can more accurately measure the gender responsiveness of existing systems and secondly how better to engender capacity development initiatives.
Method: As part of the Twende Mbele programme, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) commissioned Africa Gender and Development Evaluator’s Network (AGDEN) to coordinate teams of researchers in Benin, Uganda, and South Africa to collaboratively develop the diagnostic tool, and then implement it by conducting a review of key documentation and to interview officials within the government wide monitoring and evaluation systems as well as the national gender machinery in each country.
Results: The study found that the gender responsiveness of M&E systems across all three systems was unequal, but more importantly, it is important to do more work on how M&E and gender are conceptualised, to ensure this can be studied in a more meaningful way. To strengthen national monitoring and evaluation systems, gender responsiveness and equity must serve as a foundation for growth. However, intersection M&E with gender is complex, and riddled with gaps in capacity, conceptual differences, and challenges bringing together disparate and complex systems.
Conclusion: A stronger understanding of the linkages between M&E and gender is an important starting place for bringing them together holistically.


Evaluation; Methods; Gender


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