Tag Archives: Policy making

Using evidence to mainstream gender in policy making
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Gender Centre for Research and Training running a workshop in training to policymakers on mainstreaming gender in development policies and practices.


– Blog post by Amira Osman, Co-founder of the Gender Centre for Research and Training, Sudan

Gendered evidence is important for policy making because it gives policy makers and development planners a clear picture on the gender needs of the population they are targeting. In recent years, this need has received greater attention. However, there are still numerous barriers and challenges to mainstreaming gender in programmes and policies.

To discuss this, a breakout session was held at the VakaYiko symposium in Accra on 5 October 2016. Policy makers, researchers and civil society organisations from countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe joined the discussion. Also present, was a Regional Director from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana, who shared a practical perspective on challenges and opportunities to mainstreaming gender evidence within government policy. Here are five key things to come out of the discussion:

1. Gender is a socially constructed issue

What we understand by ‘gender’ varies from culture to culture and changes over time. Furthermore, the concept of gender is sometimes seen as a western concept. Therefore the concept needs to be deconstructed and understood in relation to ethnicity, culture, geography, age, disability, religion and social status, making it more relevant to the experiences of people in the local context This is a key to developing a policy that is informed by relevant gender data and gender analysis.

2. Gender is often not seen as a priority

Policy makers at the top of hierarchical decision-making structures – often men – don’t see collecting and using gendered evidence as a priority. As such, adding a gender perspective to their activities challenges the status quo, including their power.

3. Policy making bodies often lack necessary resources, time and skills

Scarce or stretched resources is a major barrier. Even within departments with a specific gender remit – such as Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection – inadequate financial resources to collect gender disaggregated data was raised as a major challenge. The lack of communication between data producers (researchers) and users (policy makers) can further hinder this.

4. Quantitative and qualitative data collection methods are needed

There is often a reliance on quantitative data methods, which tend to favour statistics without paying attention to women’s and men’s different roles in society. For example, quantitative data may tell us about the number of women in a parliament but adding qualitative data will inform us about women’s and men’s experiences/perspectives within such an important decision making body.

Qualitative methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews allow participants, in particular women, to engage in fruitful discussions and to raise issues of concern such as their experiences with domestic violence, which women may not feel comfortable mentioning in a survey conducted by a male interviewer. In this sense, the sex of the interviewers is relevant particularly in contexts where sex segregation is common, i.e. female interviewers are needed for female interviewees and male interviewers are needed for male interviewees.

5. Capacity building on gender disaggregated data and data analysis is a practical step

Capacity building for different stakeholders, such as community leaders, grassroots organisations, civil servants, researchers and policy makers, is needed. Capacity building for stakeholders on gender disaggregated data and gender analysis is a practical step to equip them with relevant skills to mainstream gender in policies and programmes.

To tackle the above key points/challenges, the Gender Centre for Research and Training in Sudan (GCRT), using the VakaYiko grant managed to provide capacity building sessions to mid and high level policy makers from two ministries in Sudan on gender and gender analysis to inform policy. The sessions acted as platforms for dialogue which helped policy makers to raise questions, analyse information and develop plans and policies that address the needs of women, men, boys and girls and to facilitate gender mainstreaming in all programmes.

To tackle the above challenges participants suggested the following:
• Reaching women, girls, boys and men in remote areas and incorporating their perspectives and needs in any gender and capacity building projects targeting them.
• Promote dialogues between policy makers and researchers to enable better collection of sex-disaggregated and qualitative data.
• Develop and sustain a gender perspective and gender analysis in all decision making processes.
• Allocate resources for all of the above suggested activities.

Read an interview with Thywill Eyra Kpe, Regional Director for the Department of Gender (Central Region) in Ghana, on how gender evidence is used to inform regional policy in Ghana.
http://blog.inasp.info/spotlight-evidence-gender-policy-regional-level-ghana/

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Spotlight: Evidence for gender policy at regional level in Ghana
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In April 2015, Thywill Eyra Kpe participated in the first VakaYiko evidence-informed policy making course to be run by Ghana’s Civil Service Training Centre. At that time, she was posted in the Volta Region of the country but she has since moved to the Central Region as the Regional Director for the Department of Gender, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. In this interview, she discusses gender, evidence and regional policy in Ghana. Continue reading

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21 years of climate discussions
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What sort of deal will the Paris meeting agree to? Will it be legally binding? Ultimately, these questions place great hopes in the Paris talks but it remains to be seen if these hopes will come to pass… Guest blog post by Winnie Khaemba of the African Center for the Technology Studies, which presented at COP21 about work funded by a VakaYiko grant to bring together researchers and policymakers to discuss the development of Kenya’s climate-change bill. Continue reading

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Climate-change science roundtables support open dialogue for stakeholders and policy makers in Kenya
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This is a guest post from Winnie Khaemba, Research Fellow at INASP partner, the African Centre for Technology Studies, about a series of climate roundtables that have been held in Kenya to bring together scientists and policymakers. This project is supported by a grant from INASP as part of the VakaYiko project. Over the past year, the Climate Resilient Economies programme of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) has been running the Kenya Climate Science, Technology and Policy Roundtables on a quarterly basis. This roundtable series aims at helping to bridge the gap between research and policy making in Kenya on climate-change and to strengthen the links among Kenyan climate policymakers, researchers, communities and civil society. The roundtable series seeks to document and disseminate lessons learned on effective mechanisms for facilitating the use of research evidence in climate legislation, policy and implementation in Kenya. Since 2014, the Kenyan Parliament … Continue reading

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Reflections from the VakaYiko annual consortium meeting
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As Research Uptake Manager in the Evidence into Action team at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Ed Barney manages INASP funding on behalf of DFID. In this guest post, he reflects on the recent VakaYiko consortium meeting in Ghana. In the final week of July, the VakaYiko consortium came together for their second annual meeting in Accra. This brought a number of partners into one room, with representatives from INASP, the Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS), the Zimbabwe Evidence Informed Policy Network (ZeipNET) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). For the first time (and hopefully not the last!) DFID were also invited to take part in the meeting, which was an offer I could not refuse as a technical adviser to the programme. This meeting was fascinating for me to see how the relationships have emerged over the past two years, both within the consortium and … Continue reading

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Five lessons about the use of evidence in public policy in Peru
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In an article first published in the On Think Tanks blog, Daniel Boyco of the Peruvian Alliance for the use of Evidence discusses promoting the use of research evidence in policy in Peru. The Peruvian Alliance for the use of Evidence (in Spanish, Alianza Peruana para el Uso de Evidencia, will be referred to as ‘Alianza’ here) is conformed by a group of individuals and organisations interested in promoting a debate on the necessary methods, tools and capacities to generate a public culture that prioritises the critical use of evidence during the policy-making process. The Alianza’s objective is to promote the use of evidence for public policy. Its been working since the beginning of 2014, organizing meetings and public events between its members to discuss mechanisms and experiences in Peru on the use of evidence for public policy. It is inspired by the Alliance for Useful Evidence, from the UK. Since … Continue reading

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