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Learning about women's empowerment in the context of development projects: do the figures tell us enough?


Carter, Jane; Byrne, Sarah; Schrader, Kai; Kabir, Humayun; Uraguchi, Zenebe Bashaw; Pandit, Bhanu; Manandhar, Badri; Barileva, Merita; Pijls, Norbert; Fendrich, Pascal (2014). Learning about women's empowerment in the context of development projects: do the figures tell us enough? Gender and Development, 22(2):327-349.

Abstract

In this article, we consider three projects implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation: a project in Nepal focusing on capacity building (vocational skills training); a project in Bangladesh focusing on income generation; and a project in Kosovo working on agency – enhancing the voice of citizens in local governance. The article examines how donor requirements for demonstrating evidence-based results challenge project management in different ways, how facts and figures are generated, how experience is translated into reports, and how qualitative methods are used for evaluations. This is compared against a stakeholder (participant) perspective of their degree of satisfaction with project performance, obtained through case studies or focus group discussions. We take the four dimensions of empowerment, notably ‘power-over’, ‘power-to’, ‘power-within’, and ‘power-with’, and consider the degree to which these are captured through qualitative and quantitative monitoring and evaluation systems. The main finding is that quantitative methods stress aspects of ‘power-to’, whilst qualitative methods have potential to provide insights into a broader range of outcomes and impacts.

Abstract

In this article, we consider three projects implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation: a project in Nepal focusing on capacity building (vocational skills training); a project in Bangladesh focusing on income generation; and a project in Kosovo working on agency – enhancing the voice of citizens in local governance. The article examines how donor requirements for demonstrating evidence-based results challenge project management in different ways, how facts and figures are generated, how experience is translated into reports, and how qualitative methods are used for evaluations. This is compared against a stakeholder (participant) perspective of their degree of satisfaction with project performance, obtained through case studies or focus group discussions. We take the four dimensions of empowerment, notably ‘power-over’, ‘power-to’, ‘power-within’, and ‘power-with’, and consider the degree to which these are captured through qualitative and quantitative monitoring and evaluation systems. The main finding is that quantitative methods stress aspects of ‘power-to’, whilst qualitative methods have potential to provide insights into a broader range of outcomes and impacts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Sep 2014 13:22
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 21:40
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN:1355-2074
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13552074.2014.920986

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