Gender equality is a key element of sustainable development – as illustrated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which weave gender across virtually all 17 SDGs. It makes sense that 'mainstream' organisations, which are not specialised in promoting gender equality, have developed gender policies and related activities. Where are they at, and what should come next?
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Friday, 25 September 2020
An addendum to yesterday's post - ICA:UK, a reliable source of materials and training on highly participatory facilitation, has summarised 10 principles to prevent online fatigue. I've been using all of them. They work.
At any rate, avoid text-filled slide shows with voices droning on in the background! Visual aids are great, but if you just show pages and pages of text that you read to your audience, they'll end up muting you and joining a different event on their other computer. I admit that was what I did in a recent conference full of half-hour text-rich presentations by invisible voices. I couldn't help it. Since the different conference followed the same mode, I still felt I would have been better off reading an article, in my own time, at my own (rather energetic) pace.
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
How to recreate a sense of a "real life" team event in a video conference? In real life (IRL, as nerds put it), people usually linger near the coffee/tea kitchen or in the hallway for a quick chat - one reason why it tends to be so hard to get participants back from "real" breakout rooms.
"Random" virtual breakout rooms - if they don't come with too burdensome assignments - can recreate this atmosphere.
Like most facilitators I know, I have facilitated more video conferences in 2020 than ever before. I have discovered that participants tend to hijack virtual breakout rooms: Before getting started on the small group assignment, they'd have an informal chat on totally different subjects. Or, in other cases, they'd get the assignment done as fast as possible so as to spend the rest of the small group chat on their own agendas.
Thursday, 10 September 2020
Evaluations often come with terms of reference (TOR) that discourage even the most intrepid evaluator. A frequent issue are long lists of evaluation questions that oscillate between the broadest interrogations – e.g. “what difference has the project made in people’s lives” – to very specific aspects, e.g. “what was the percentage of women participating in training sessions”. Sometimes I wonder whether such TOR actually state what people really want to find out.
I remember the first evaluation I commissioned, back in the last quarter of the 20th century. I asked my colleague how to write TOR. She said, “Just take the TOR from some other project and add questions that you find important”. I picked up the first evaluation TOR I came across, found all the questions interesting and added lots, which I felt showed that I was smart and interested in the project. Then I shared the TOR in our team and others followed suit, asking plenty more interesting questions.
I wonder whether this type of process is still being used. Typically, at the end, you have a long list of “nice to know”-questions that'll make it very hard to focus on questions that are crucial for the project.
I know I have written about this before. I can’t stop writing about it. It is very rare that I come across TOR with evaluation questions that appear to describe accurately what people really want and need to find out.
If, as someone who commissions the evaluation, you are not sure which questions matter most, ask those involved in the project. It is very useful to ask them, anyway, even if you think you know the most important questions. If you need more support, invite the evaluator to review the questions in the inception phase – with you and all other stakeholders in the evaluation – and be open to major modifications.
But please, keep the list of evaluation questions short and clear. Don’t worry about what exactly the evaluator will need to ask or look for to answer your questions. It is the evaluator’s job to develop indicators, questionnaires, interview guides and so forth. She’ll work with you and others to identify or develop appropriate instruments for the specific context of the evaluation. (The case is somewhat different in organisations that attempt to gather a set of data against standardised indicators across many evaluations - but even then, they can be focused and parsimonious to make sure they get high quality information and not just ticked-off boxes.)
Even just one or two evaluation questions is a perfectly fine amount. Anything more than ten can get confusing. And put in some time for a proper inception phase when the evaluation specialists will work with you on designing the evaluation. Build in joint reflection loops. You’ll get so much more out of your evaluation.
Monday, 13 July 2020
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Sunday, 29 March 2020
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Monday, 17 February 2020
(1) What are the main issues that you are currently working on?
I am an Afro-indigenous activist and researcher from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. I work on topics like rural feminism, environment and energy, and the autonomy and rights of indigenous peoples. I have worked in training projects for community health and human rights promoters, and for the defence of the Right to Free and Informed Prior Consultation.
|Photograph by Shirley Kimmayong|
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Thursday, 5 December 2019
|Photograph by Kusekhaya|
There was one day when I was moved to tears by Nurshaim's honesty in describing difficulties she was facing at the time, at a different work place. Reading her narrative of that conversation now, I remember interviews I have carried out as part of a recent study on gender policies and practice in four German organisations. A couple of persons told me about a leader in their organisation shedding tears in public - which they described as a display of emotional intelligence and an empathetic form of leadership. Interesting! Meanwhile, as I have accumulated more experience in mentoring and coaching, I have learned to empathise differently - but I still get visibly moved when a mentee tells me about her success! And here are Nurshaim's answers to my questions:
Monday, 4 November 2019
Mentorships are great learning processes for everyone involved, I believe. I have happily agreed to mentor further GCL graduates since that first experience. Some mentees have answered a short set of questions to present themselves on my blog. I will post a mini-series of menteesin the coming weeks, starting today with my first GCL mentee, in her own words:
|Photograph by Andriy Maksymov|
(1) What is the main issue - or are the two or three main issues - that you are currently working on?
Currently I am busy with three projects: Creative Enterprise Ukraine (workshops and mentring for young entrepreneurs; keynote speaker for the Gender equality in culture and creative industries research), the evaluation of the UNDP/ADA project “Sustainable local development in rural areas” (two regions in Ukraine) and strategy development for Ivan Honchar Museum – centre for traditional culture in Kyiv. The main issues that are calling me since my childhood and more or less predefine everything I do are:
Sunday, 7 July 2019
These days I have been reviewing evaluations of projects supporting survivors of traumatising human rights violations in countries that are not quite at peace, or even still at war. One would think that in such circumstances, evaluators would be particularly respectful and careful with their interlocutors, avoiding questions and situations that would make them feel uncomfortable, trigger difficult emotions or cause a resurgence of their trauma. In some cases, the opposite is true: