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Chapter 4 Gender Mainstreaming the Project Cycle13

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Chapter 4 Gender Mainstreaming the Project Cycle13

Among the shortcomings in development programmes and projects is that issues of gender, poverty and environment are often included solely as an afterthought. If gender issues are addressed at project conception, they can more easily be incorporated in the design, implementation and evaluation. Programmes that do not take into consideration the differing needs of the rich and poor and men and women during all its phases run the risk of being ineffective, inefficient and unsustainable. This chapter presents a generic project cycle that can be adapted to suit local contexts and demonstrates the gender aspects that need to be considered at each phase of the project cycle. Country officers supporting national programmes, project offices, gender experts and those interested in gender within project implementation can use the generic project cycle. It is important for the project to be clear on the objectives in relation to gender and equity issues.

Some questions that need to be asked are:

  • How are the needs of men and women reflected?

  • Who has been consulted?

  • How was consultation done to facilitate input from men and women of different social classes?

  • Is the project plan based on an understanding of gender differences in the target group?

  • Has the project taken into consideration the expected changes in needs for time, labour and finance commitments?

  • Have gender-sensitive indicators been identified to clarify objectives and facilitate monitoring?

  • How will objectives for gender equality and women's participation be pursued in the project? Have specific strategies been identified?

  • Have obstacles that may hinder the participation of men and women from all sectors of society been identified and strategies put in place to deal with these?

  • Does the project management structure provide the necessary expertise on gender and diversity?

  • Have the budgetary implications of diversity and gender been considered?

  • Does monitoring provide for sex-disaggregated data collection on participation in various aspects of the project and on the selected indicators? (adapted from SIDA, 1996)

Issues and Questions to consider when gender mainstreaming the Project Cycle

4. 1. Programme and Project Identification
Step 1: The external support agency participates in the programme or project identification.

This includes an assessment of key development programmes and trends including those addressed by global conferences and conventions.

Issues and Questions

How can the external support agency support the fulfilment of national commitments to both gender equality and sustainable development?

Can the external support agency help identify opportunities where efforts to support sustainable resource use (especially water) overlap with efforts to support equality between women and men?

Does the overall cooperation framework draw on analysis of how gender inequalities have an impact on environmental issues?

Have government institutions responsible for gender equality been involved in setting priorities?

Have women's organisations and gender equality advocates been involved in setting priorities?

Step 2: Analysis of policies
Issues and Questions
Have gender and diversity issues been given attention in the analysis of existing national policies and programmes in the IWRM sector?

Are national programmes and investments in IWRM likely to extend benefits and opportunities equitably to women and men and especially poor women and men?

Step 3. Engagement of key government officials and other stakeholders in a dialogue on the policy framework for national development
Issues and Questions
Have government institutions responsible for gender equality been involved and consulted?

Have women's organisations and gender equality advocates been involved and consulted?

Have there been discussions with organisations with an expertise in IWRM as to their interest and capacity in dealing with gender issues?

Have efforts been made to ensure women's participation at all levels?

In grassroots consultations?

As water professionals?

At all levels of government?

Has there been an analysis of the obstacles to diverse women's participation and have strategies been developed to overcome those barriers?

Step 4. Assessment of design issues in projects at the community level
Issues and Questions
Technical design. Have both women’s and men's views about technology options and design features been sought?

User contributions. Have differences between women's and men's willingness and ability to contribute labour, materials or money been determined?

Time/Workload considerations. Does the initiative increase women's/men's/girls'/boys' workload both during and after construction? Does the demand for women's and girls' unpaid labour increase? Are there conflicting demands?

Operation and Maintenance. How are operating and maintenance rights and responsibilities shared between diverse women and men? Do these reflect their use of the service system?

4.2 Formulating Programmes and Projects
Step 5: Assessing projects to strengthen institutional capacity
Issues and Questions
Gender issues in capacity building projects.

What is the existing capacity of institutions and individuals to work with a gender perspective?

What is the capacity of institutions and individuals to promote women’s participation at all levels?

What is diverse women’s capacity to participate in diverse tasks in technical fields, in decision making positions, and at the community level?

Do policies exist to guide the institutions?
Step 6: Gender considerations in project development
Issues and Questions
Have gender differentials in existing water rights been identified?

Have existing patterns of access and control of water sources been analysed and addressed?

Has consideration been given to legal frameworks and institutional reform so as to work towards equitable access for both women and men to productive resources?

Have needs, roles and workloads of women and men been assessed?

Step 7: Understanding the context and baseline data
The participants in programme or project design should initially establish a common understanding of the situation including socio-economic, gender and bio-physical characteristics.
Sufficient data, sex-disaggregated wherever possible, must be gathered at this stage to establish a baseline for the project.
A stakeholder analysis is recommended.
Issues and Questions
In looking at the water sectors, has the analysis taken into consideration needs, resources, and the different priorities of communities marginalized due to caste, age, disability/ability, class, etc.? For example,
Within the current water usage and management, are the different roles and responsibilities of women and men in water use and management documented and understood (domestic and productive, commercial agricultural use, subsistence production, the urban informal economy, etc.)?

Compare access to and control over all resources related to water between women and men in different socio-economic classes (rights to land ownership and capital assets, inheritance patterns, credit, etc.); labour supply (unpaid family labour, paid employment, etc.).

Step 8: Create a vision and define problems to be addressed
The underlying causes of problems will often be perceived differently by different stakeholder groups including individual women and men. Experience in participatory processes can prove helpful in establishing a broad understanding of the situation.
During the process of defining problems, the participants could also research similar experiences in the country or elsewhere.
Issues and Questions

Who has been consulted and how were they involved in the consultation process?

Were both women and men consulted? Were there specific attempts to involve gender equality advocates and specialists (academics, researchers, policy analysts)?

Was the consultation process organised so as to maximize input from women and gender equality advocates?

Step 9: Identification of alternative strategies
A wide range of stakeholders should carry out an exploration of alternative strategies so that innovative approaches or new opportunities do not get overlooked and potential risks are identified.

Issues and Questions

In looking at alternative strategies, consider the possible benefits of strategies that promote women's participation and work toward sustainable water resource management.
Step 10: Selecting the most promising strategy
Before deciding on a programme or project strategy, it is important to consider the implications of possible solutions in terms of likely impacts, opportunities that could be seized, and trade-offs between choosing one strategy over another.

Risks. Interventions imply certain risks and can have positive or negative effects.

Opportunities. The defined scope of the proposed intervention may inhibit the search for measures that mitigate negative effects. Looking for opportunities can pave the way for creative solutions.

Trade-offs. It is important that trade-offs and opportunity costs between different strategies be understood.

The capacity of the concerned organisations, institutions and individuals to carry out activities effectively, efficiently and sustainably must also be examined.
Issues and Questions

In looking at trade-offs, is specific care taken to ensure that women do not lose?

Does the risk analysis look at possible and different negative and positive affects on women and men, young and old?

Has there been an analysis of the opportunities for change and potential to both recognise women's participation and ensure equitable benefits for women and men, young and old?

In looking at the capacity of ministries and institutions associated with the initiative, do they have the capacity to identify and work with gender issues? For example:

Do they have access to information on gender-related issues in the sector?

Do they have the skills to formulate and analyse questions on the gender dimensions of IWRM?

Has the institution developed a strategy for public participation and community empowerment that seeks to understand the views and priorities of both women and men?

Step 11: Defining objectives and outputs
Participants should work out the programme support for project design; that is, a hierarchy of objectives, outputs, activities and inputs.
Issues and Questions

Consider whether or not it is appropriate to have specific objectives relating to gender. If there are not concrete expected results related to gender, then gender tends to 'fade out'. Usually efforts tend to focus on the expected results as defined in project planning documents.

Step 12: Using the logical framework
The logical framework is a matrix that summarizes the main elements in programme and project design.
Issues and Questions

Are gender issues clearly set out in the logical framework?

Are there specific indicators identified to monitor results relating to diversity and gender equality?

Will indicators be disaggregated on the basis of sex?

Step 13: Determining activities
Once the outputs have been agreed to, the activities that will produce these outputs must be determined.
Issues and Questions

What activities are required to ensure attention to gender issues?

Is training required?

Is it necessary to research specific issues or draw in particular stakeholders?

Experience has shown that careful planning is required to ensure that the gender focus is not lost.
Step 14: Determine the management arrangements.
As part of project formulation, it is essential to determine how activities will be carried out so that the programme support or project objectives can be achieved within the established limits of time, quality and costs.
Issues and Questions

Does the implementing agency or institution have a commitment to gender equality and to achieving positive outcomes for women through the project?

Are the responsibilities and expectations concerning gender aspects in the project clearly spelled out in project documents, agreements or contracts?
Step 15: Specifying indicators for monitoring and evaluation
Indicators assist in determining the extent to which a programme or project is achieving its expected results.

Through the consultative process outlined above, the participants agree on how progress towards achieving the objectives is to be measured, and what the indicators of success will be.

The monitoring and evaluation arrangements must be determined during the formulation of the programme or project and its objectives.
Issues and Questions

In projects involving community-based initiatives, have both women and men participated in the creation of indicators?

Are there indicators to track progress toward meeting specific objectives relating to women's participation, the capacity of organisations to work with a gender perspective, reduction in women’s time obtaining water, etc.?
Step 16: Identifying external factors and risks
External factors are events or decisions that are beyond the control of the managers of the programme or project and which nonetheless affect the achievement of the objectives, the production of the outputs, the implementation of the activities, and the delivery and utilization of the inputs
Issues and Questions

Women's ability to participate in the initiative may be influenced by a variety of factors outside the control of the programme managers such as discriminatory attitudes, child care and domestic responsibilities, literacy, lack of time, etc.

Step 17: Identifying prior obligations
A common way to minimize risks is to provide for activities to begin only after certain conditions have been met.
Issues and Questions

It is important to monitor whether initial conditions relating to gender issues have been met. For example, if the plan stated that a gender specialist was to be hired, was this done?

4.3 Implementation
Step 18: Ensuring good participation
Issues and Questions

Are government institutions responsible for gender equity and equality represented during implementation?

Is there representation from organisations with an expertise in IWRM in the project team?

Have women been given a chance to participate in technical fields and in decision-making positions?

Does the initiative increase women's/men's/girls'/boys' unpaid workload during construction beyond what was initially predicted?

4. 4 Monitoring and Evaluation
Step 19: Monitoring
Issues and Questions

In preparation for annual reporting and reviews, analyse important changes in the last year, for example:

New legislation, government policies or commitments on gender equality (these could relate to land tenure, credit, NGO policies, etc.);

New women's networks or organisations or changed profile/capacity of existing organisations;

Changes in economic and social conditions or trends that affect priorities, resources, and needs in the WRM sector.

Are data for monitoring disaggregated by sex?

Step 20: Evaluation
Issues and Questions

Do the evaluation 'terms of reference' clearly specify the gender issues and questions to be addressed in the evaluation?

Will the evaluation consider project outcomes/results with respect to differences in needs and priorities of women and men?

Does the evaluation team have the expertise to look at gender issues in the specific context of the project (irrigation, water supply and sanitation, wetlands, etc.)?

In conducting the evaluation, will evaluators:

Disaggregate data by sex?

Seek the input of both women and men and analyse differences and similarities?

  • Will the evaluation identify 'lessons learned' relating to working with a gender perspective in water resources management so these can be transmitted throughout the organisation?

Fong, Monica S., Wendy Wakeman and Anjana Bhushan, 1996. World Bank Toolkit on Gender in Water and Sanitation: Gender Toolkit Series No. 2, Gender Analysis and Policy, Poverty and Social Policy Department; UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DANIDA/S.Q., 1999. Gender and Water Supply and Sanitation: Guiding Questions. Working Paper, August. (mimeo)
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), 1996. A Gender Perspective in Water Resources Management Sector. Stockholm.


Thomas, Helen, Johanna Schalkwyk and Beth Woroniuk., 1997. Handbook for Mainstreaming: A Gender Perspective in the Water Resources Management Sector. SIDA in close consultation with the Department for Natural Resources and the Environment.

Additional Resources
GTZ, 1998. Gender Training Tool Kit. Self-help Fund Project.

This toolkit provides guidelines for participatory gender sensitization training, outlining key

concepts in raising gender awareness. The premise upon which the guidelines are based

is experiential learning. The toolkit incorporates different techniques, exercises, and

games, often utilizing handouts, and prompts people to learn by analyzing and reflecting

on their experience. It includes tools for gender sensitization, and for gender sensitive

project planning.

Available at:

UNDP, (no date). Gender Mainstreaming Learning and Information Packs

Although these Information Packs are meant to be resources for self-training, and for use

in workshop situations devoted to gender mainstreaming, they can also be incorporated

into workshops on other topics, to strengthen their potential for gender mainstreaming.

Each Information Pack contains summary information, along with speaker’s notes,

handouts, exercises, further reading and linkages to relevant Internet resources.

Available at:
Beyond Rhetoric: male involvement in gender and development policy and practice.

Gender Training with Men.

A collection of articles on reflections and pointers on gender training for men. The

experiences include many different countries and cultures.

Available at:

WaterAid, 2002. Indicators for a gender-sensitive approach to Sanitation Programmes and Services. Available at:
WaterAid. 2002. Indicators for a gender-sensitive approach to Water Supply Services.

Available at:

French Language Resources
Van Wijk-Sybesma C, 1996. La politique du genre dans l'hydraulique villageoise, l'assainissement et la protection des ressources en eau : un guide méthodologique et technique. Centre international de l'eau et de l'assainissement (IRC)
Centre régionale pour l’eau potable et assainissement (CREPA), 1992. Rapport final du séminaire de sensibilisation des cadres féminins à la problématique de l'eau potable et de l'assainissement. Bamako. CREPA, Bamako, Mali.

Spanish Language Resources
ANESAPA – PROAPAC – GTZ, 2003. Género en Saneamiento Basico. Sistema Modular de Capacitación.

Los contenidos son formativos y parten de los conceptos básicos que hacen al género, para introducir luego el género en saneamiento básico, el estado actual del género y las herramientas para transversalizar el enfoque de género en proyectos de agua y saneamiento.

Disponible en: documentación/Documentos-sistemaModular
HIVOS – Unión Mundial para la Naturaleza, Fundación Arias Para la Paz y el Progreso Humano, 1999. Ojos que no ven … Corazones que sienten: Indicadores de equidad. UICN, San José de Costa Rica

Esta publicación une las áreas de género y medio ambiente, a través de un proceso que pretende facilitar y apoyar a organizaciones e iniciativas de desarrollo rural de la región, asegurando la incorporación de la perspectiva de equidad de género en su quehacer institucional. Se enmarca en herramientas e instrumentos que permiten incorporar la perspectiva de equidad de género en el ciclo de un proyecto.

Programa de Agua y Saneamiento, América Latina y el Caribe, Metodología e Instrumentos para su inclusión en Proyectos de Agua y Saneamiento. World Bank Office, Lima, Peru.

Methodologies and instruments for gender mainstreaming in water supply and sanitation projects. Disponible en:

Chapter 5 Gender Mainstreaming in Water Sector Policies and Institutions
What is a gender policy?

A gender policy is a public statement of a country’s or an organisation’s commitment to taking gender issues seriously, and a framework for what this means in the context of the organisation’s work. A gender policy in water resources management relates to both of the following:

  • the organisation’s work: - i.e. women’s and men’s involvement in the planning, construction, operation, maintenance and management of domestic water supply, irrigation, sanitation or environmental protection;

  • the organisation’s internal culture and staffing – issues affecting female and male staff at work; for example, recruitment, promotion and training opportunities for female and male staff, sexual discrimination and harassment, and issues such as child care, paternity or maternity leave, and safe travel arrangements (Gender and Water Alliance, 2003).

Why develop a gender policy?

The development of a gender policy is a useful and common starting point for focusing attention on gender issues in an organisation and its work. For organisations which have already taken some steps towards promoting gender sensitivity (for example, through providing staff with training and guidelines), development of a gender policy is an opportunity to consolidate and formalise the steps they have taken, and think strategically about the future. A gender policy provides:

  • a valuable opportunity to involve staff and other key stakeholders in thinking through why gender and social equity are important to the organisation’s work and what the implications are for practice;

  • a public statement of the organisation’s commitment to taking gender issues seriously;

  • agreed gender-related action and indicators of change;

  • an instrument of accountability against which to evaluate the organisation’s performance.

Gender policy development and implementation require an on-going strategy for the capacity building of all members and partners of the institution or organisation.

Policy development is not a one-off process. It is important to re-visit gender policies that have been in existence for some time, evaluate performance, review lessons learnt, and develop and launch revised policy commitments accordingly. The figure below illustrates how policy formulation should be a continuous process.

Policy formulation should be a continuous process

Policy Components

Three distinct components are important for an effective gender policy:

  • Situational analysis – examining gender issues concerning beneficiary groups and the organisation itself. The latter includes an examination of staff knowledge, skills, commitment and practices in relation to gender issues, and an examination of gender issues affecting staff (such as gender differences in promotion opportunities or sexual harassment at work).

  • The policy itself – this should be devised on the basis of the situation analysis and comprise an explanation of why the organisation considers gender issues to be important, the organisation’s vision of gender-sensitive practice, and the various ways in which this understanding will influence the organisation’s work.

  • An implementation strategy or action plan – this sets out in detail how the policy will be implemented over a specific time period, including activities, budgets, responsibility and indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

Policy documents are usually public documents. Strategies and action plans are usually internal documents. Some organisations include aspects of their situation analysis in public documentation; others confine public documentation to the policy itself. Policies vary enormously in length – from two to several pages depending on what organisations choose to include in them.

Enabling Institutions

The implementation of a policy will depend to a large extent on a supportive institutional framework. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the organization itself. Developing appropriate understanding, commitment and capacity as well as addressing issues of gender inequality within an institution or organization is a long-term process of organisational change. Activities such as capacity building, budget allocation, setting of indicators and monitoring need to be undertaken. The table below summarizes some of the organisational pressure points important for implementing gender-sensitive policy.

Table: Organisational Points for Gender Mainstreaming Institutions

Category of inquiry
Issues to consider
Steps to be taken for organizational change


Policy and Action plans

Gender policies:

Attention to gender in all policies.

  • Is there a gender policy?

  • When was it developed and who was involved?

  • Does it use sex-disaggregated data? Is its implementation being monitored?

If there is no gender policy but a desire to address inequalities between men and women, then follow steps outlined above.

Policy Influencing

  • What is the attitude of senior management staff to gender issues? Who are formal and informal opinion leaders?

  • Which external agencies or people have an influence on the organization?

  • What are the decision making bodies?

  • Assess who are the champions for gender equality and equity

  • Engage all relevant and potential staff and management.

  • Create a participatory and inclusive environment for policy development.

Human Resources

- Gender Focal Staff

- All staff

  • Is there a designated gender unit/focal person?

  • What do they do? With what resources? Are other staff members gender-aware?

  • Is sensitivity to gender included in job descriptions and assessed at job evaluations?

  • Have clear TORs for the unit/focal persons.

  • Establish training in gender mainstreaming and advocacy as an on-going process with action targets.

  • Have professional backstopping support.

  • Involve focal units as an integral part of existing processes and programmes.

Financial /time resources

- Gender equality initiatives on the ground

- Staff capacity building initiatives

  • Is there funding for capacity building on gender?

  • Is there funding for gender actions on the ground?

  • Allocate budgets for staff capacity building and for actions on the ground.

  • Allocate time for actions at the operational level.

  • Develop indicators to monitor progress.

Systems procedures and tools

  • Is attention to gender included in routine systems and procedures (information systems, appraisals, planning and monitoring)?

  • Have staff been issued with guidelines on gender mainstreaming?

- Include gender in systems and procedures

- Develop sex-desegregated information systems

- Include gender in staff TORs and interviews.

- Have indicators for monitoring policy progress in implementing gender.

- Develop checklists and guidelines

Staffing statistics

  • What are the numbers of men and women at each level in the organization and according to roles and sectors?

  • Check employment and hiring polices.

  • Have gender sensitive recruitment policies that are not discriminatory, even though gender is not about balancing numbers

  • Provide staff access to decision making processes.

Women and men’s practical and strategic needs

  • Does the organization create a safe and practical environment for women and men e.g., transport, toilets, childcare, and flexibility of working hours?

  • Analyze the organisation with respect to its sensitivity to the different needs of women and men.

  • Look at organisational assets such as equipment, furniture, toilet design and accessibility, etc. Are they suitable for women and men?
Organisational culture

  • How does information flow and to what extent are women and men included in the communication chain?

  • What are the main shared values? Do they relate to equality? And specifically to gender?

  • Is decision making centralized or decentralized?

  • What are the attitudes towards female/male staff?

  • Adopt an organisational culture that values women and men’s perspectives equally.

  • Explicitly state the organisation’s commitments to gender equality in all policies and programmes.

  • Decentralise decision making to allow both women and men a voice in organsiational decision making.
Staff perceptions

  • What are the male and female staff perceptions towards gender?

  • Conduct gender capacity building and awareness raising programmes, especially where gender is seen as just one of the donor requirements and not an organisational value.
Policy and actions

  • Does the organization have equal opportunity polices? What does the policy cover? How is it promoted and implemented?

  • Pay attention to equality within the structure, culture and staffing of organisations as well as in the programmes, policies and procedures.

  • Assess and evaluate continuously using gender-sensitive indicators to enable a comprehensive review.

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