chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
May 2023

Gender and Power Dynamics Training Evaluation

Executive Summary

An evaluation report of Grameen Foundation's Gender and Power Dynamics (GPD) training. The evaluation examines the GPD trainings that were implemented with WAGE partner staff across four WAGE initiatives to shift harmful gender perspectives and behaviors that disempower women economically.

Between 2020 and 2022, the Grameen Foundation provided Gender and Power Dynamics (GPD) training in Honduras, El Salvador, Ghana, Eswatini, and Timor-Leste to key managerial, technical, and administrative staff of its partner organizations (including microfinance institutions (MFIs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)) and in some cases local stakeholders. The GPD trainings carried out varied in duration from one to three days and were delivered to 24 MFIs and NGOs by mixed- or single gender teams made up of two to three international and/or national expert gender trainers.

The GPD training teams used gender-transformative, participatory methodologies to implement a variety of interactive activities to stimulate critical reflection and analysis and enable the articulation of proposals for change at personal and organizational levels. Some participants in the GPD trainings cascaded the GPD workshop to other staff — primarily frontline staff — of their respective organizations. By addressing harmful gender norms that limit women’s participation in society, including their economic engagement, the GPD trainings enabled participants to analyze, through an intersectional lens, the links between gender inequality, power, gender-based violence (GBV), and women’s economic empowerment (WEE).

To support the WAGE consortium learning agenda question that sought to understand the successful ways to design and implement women’s empowerment programs that apply the principles of a) do no harm/safeguarding; and b) diversity and inclusion, an evaluation of the GPD trainings was conducted to determine whether the GPD methodology is effective at sensitizing implementers to issues of do no harm/safeguarding and diversity and inclusion and at identifying areas of change and action for future programming. The evaluation of GPD trainings documented in this report consisted of key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) with GPD facilitators and participants from WAGE core implementing partner organizations in all five countries and, additionally in Ghana and Eswatini, with participants in the GPD training from other local NGOs.

During KIIs and FGDs, participants in the GPD trainings reported being highly satisfied with the thematic content used in the workshops. Participants emphasized its relevance to their everyday realities, opportunities presented for personal growth, and the practical usefulness of the knowledge and learnings acquired for the work they carry out in enabling WEE. Similarly, as a result of GPD trainings, participants were able to identify changes needed in attitudes and behaviors to strengthen equitable relations in their homes and organizations and to enhance WEE programming.

As a result of taking part in the GPD trainings, participants reported changes in personal attitudes and behaviors that included being more reflective and self-critical and less judgmental of others. Participants were also better able to engage in constructive dialogue, to embrace diversity, and to support women who are experiencing violence. Similarly, many male participants, in relation to their homes, reported taking increased responsibility for domestic work and caregiving and greater openness to shared decision making, reflecting a shift away from patriarchal norms that see the latter as ‘women’s work’.

Women, in general, were unable to vouch for the changes reported by men in the domestic sphere, and some observed resistance to change in some men in their workplaces. Overall, however, women enthusiastically welcomed improvements in gender relations in their workplaces brought about by changes in themselves and male colleagues. Factors that contributed to that, and that occurred as a result of the GPD trainings, were a greater openness to talking about and addressing power dynamics; increased buy-in of key male managers and technical staff; and a willingness to challenge gender stereotypes, to listen to women’s voices and to refrain from using sexist language - written and verbal.

Because of participation in GPD trainings, several Grameen/WAGE partner organizations intend to strengthen the development of robust gender policies and/or gender equality action plans. Partner organizations engaged with WEE programming have also taken steps to engage men and boys in constructive ways and promote community gender dialogues to mitigate backlash and reduce the risk of GBV. Similarly, evaluation findings suggest increased male staff commitment to empowerment of women in the community and to the promotion of men as allies to WEE at the community level after GPD training.

Participants highly commended the gender-transformative methodology, participatory and experiential learning approaches, and the skilled and sensitive facilitation teams, which enabled in-depth reflection and analysis and fostered safe spaces for participants to express themselves in supportive, nonjudgmental environments conducive to mutual learning, self-discovery, and transformational change. Skilled facilitation was identified as being particularly important to ensure a safe space was created for productive dialogue among participants. Establishing ground rules for the training was also important, particularly when deep disagreement threatened productive dialogue.

Evaluation findings suggest that the GPD methodology was successful at initiating conversations about principles of ‘do no harm’/safeguarding and diversity and inclusion by providing participants opportunities to safely consider their own unconscious biases and how these influence the way they think and respond to people around them, particularly those from different identities. The GPD methodology also resulted in participants’ heightened awareness of the potential risks to safeguarding women when men are NOT engaged in WEE programming, such as the increased risk to GBV.

Key recommendations of this evaluation include:

  • Carrying out GPD trainings as one of the first activities when implementing integrated WEE and GBV programming to set a stronger foundation and develop a shared language for developing gender-transformative programming.
  • Adequately adapting the GPD methodology to each context to ensure the correct starting point for each group of participants. For example, adapting the methodology for prior exposure to gender as a concept, and to LGBTQI+ identities, whose introduction into the GPD training may require a more phased approach. Adapting methodologies for potential authoritarian power dynamics within the organization, which may require greater focus on individual attitudes and behaviors.
  • Conceptualizing the GPD trainings as part of longer term, whole-organization capacity-building processes.
  • Developing additional modules to integrate new content such as gender, sexuality, and LGBTQI+ issues, and survivor-centered approaches to GBV.
  • Consolidating a simplified GPD training manual for replications of the workshop within organizations and at the community level.
  • Providing comprehensive training for key, selected GPD facilitators so as to form a pool of expert/master trainers from which to draw for future GPD (extended) processes in addition to ensuring that GPD facilitators are highly trained and skilled in gender-transformative approaches.
  • Developing a GPD strategy and plan that contemplates all of the above and also integrates systematic monitoring, evaluation, and technical support to GPD trainings.

View the Evaluation Report

The statements and analysis contained in the report “Global Evaluation for Application of Grameen Foundation’s Gender and Power Dynamics Trainings within Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) Initiatives” are the work of the WAGE consortium, led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation USA (Grameen), and Search for Common Ground (Search). This report represents work conducted by the following WAGE initiatives led or supported by Grameen: The Women Entrepreneurs in Northern Ghana Gain Access to Integrated services via Agent Networks (WE GAIN); Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras (RBI); Integrating the Response to GBV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Economic Marginalization of Swati Women (WAGE Eswatini); Business and Social Support for Female Entrepreneurs in Timor-Leste (WAGE BEST). The Board of Governors of the American Bar Association (ABA) has neither reviewed nor sanctioned its content. Accordingly, the views expressed in this report should not be construed as representing the policy of the ABA. Furthermore, nothing contained in this report is to be considered rendering legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel.

The report was prepared by Patrick Welsh, independent evaluation consultant, and reviewed by Bobbi Gray, Alison Bardsley, and Amelia Kuklewicz of Grameen and integrates findings from focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs) completed with Grameen trainers and partner staff of the WE GAIN, RBI, WAGE Eswatini, and WAGE BEST initiatives. Bobbi Gray and Alison Bardsley of Grameen Foundation and Muthoni Kamuyu-Ojuolo and Salome Tsereteli-Stephens of ABA ROLI oversaw the thorough review and editing of this report.

WAGE is thankful to Alfred Yeboah, Francis Arthur, Kim Panuncialman Billones, Beverly Brul, and Bea Fojas of Grameen Foundation who conducted or supported the Gender and Power Dynamics (GPD) workshops in their respective projects with support from consultants Cesaltino Soares and Januario Soares of TimorLeste; Tom Churchyard and Thokozani Gina of Eswatini; Mabel Esther Martínez Arriaga and Violeta Delgado of Honduras; and Vilma Guadalupe Portillo Cienfuegos and Jose Manuel Ramirez Navas of El Salvador. Without their skillful facilitation this evaluation would not have been possible. Finally, WAGE would like to voice appreciation for Walter Fordham and the team at The Collective 180 for building the capacity of Grameen Foundation to conduct GPD trainings.

WAGE also appreciates the time and assistance rendered by individuals who participated in the assessment as interviewees, FGD participants, including implementing partner management and frontline staff, representatives from gender-based violence (GBV) support organizations and public health departments, among others. Last but not least, WAGE wishes to express its gratitude to the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) for funding this assessment and the WAGE initiatives.

All opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the United States Government, WAGE, or any members of the WAGE consortium.

About WAGE

Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global consortium to advance the status of women and girls, led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation USA (Grameen), and Search for Common Ground (Search). WAGE works to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector organizations in target countries to improve the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV); advance the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda; and support women’s economic empowerment (WEE). In this context, WAGE provides direct assistance to women and girls, including information, resources, and services they need to succeed as active and equal participants in the global economy and public life. WAGE also engages in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence of relevant promising practices in these thematic areas. To account for the deeply interconnected nature of women’s and girls’ experiences, WAGE’s initiatives employ approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, and inclusive. WAGE is funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI)