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Conclusion


By mygemadmin - Posted on 19 Abril 2010

This ends our learning session on the GEM Tool

Throughout the entire GEM Tool, we shared various aspects of the evaluation processes that GEM users have planned and implemented. We believe that the greatest value of the GEM Tool, what makes it unique, is that it is derived from actual practice of using it. The very first version of GEM, the version that the GEM testers used, is very different from the version you now hold in your hands.

The latest version of GEM went through a substantial period of gathering and culling lessons and experiences from several and diverse ICT projects and initiatives that used GEM in various contexts and realities. We looked into the challenges that various organisations encountered both in conducting relevant evaluations and in incorporating gender into their evaluation processes and mechanisms. We found out that one of the more difficult aspects of conducting gender evaluations was determining the focus of the evaluation because there were different gender issues in every initiative – from decision-making in project administration to long-term effects of the initiative. This is the reason why the initial parts of the tool are devoted in finalising evaluation questions.

Another area that germinated throughout the testing of GEM is the section on indicators. Of course, this may be true as well for other evaluation methodologies but identifying gender and ICT indicators challenged many GEM users. To develop indicators, they had to understand the gender issues within the context of their initiatives, and then imagine the possible changes their ICT-based interventions/ initiatives will bring about in relation to the gender issues and communities where their initiatives were located. The evaluation team of the Multi-purpose Community Telecenter (MCT) project in the Philippines, for example, had to understand existing gender issues and relationships in the communities before they could begin to develop indicators that could reflect the changes that their initiative facilitated. To be sure, one of the assets of the evaluation was having the members of the project and the evaluation team stay in the communities – the best way to better understand the complex relationships the telecentre had brought into the very lives of the people. It was from this context that the indicators of the MCT evaluation were developed.

GEM recognises the limitations of using indicators in evaluations. For certainly indicators are not the only means of measuring change/impact but its reliability increases when used in tandem with other instruments or approaches which we showed in this manual. Moreover, indicators serve as useful benchmarks for observing change. For example, in the case of the Women Mayors League in Romania, their indicators reflected what they believed were the positive changes they wanted to see as a result of their initiative. Though they were quite aware their indicators were highly ideal given the situation of women mayors in less developed communities in Romania, they were however, optimistic that setting high standards will encourage and inspire women mayors to achieve their best.

GEM will continue to evolve. We are committed to working with more organisations and initiatives, to gather more lessons and experiences, and to cite actual experiences in order to expand the scope of GEM. Through a growing community of GEM practitioners, we hope to keep GEM dynamic, evolving and relevant and continue to be a learning experience to all. Be a part of this continuing process. We encourage you to share your learnings. Join the GEM Practioners’ Network at: www.apcwomen.org. Through this network, GEM users from all over the world can continue to share experiences and challenges in using the tool to further our collective appreciation, understanding and practice in developing better and more sensitive methods in gender evaluation work.

Together, let us enrich GEM. But more than this, let us continue to pursue our advocacy: let us make ICTs serve as effective tools for transformation.

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