A Gender Audit Toolbox from Liberia shows how this can be done
A toolbox supports health pre-service training institutions in assessing their gender responsiveness, in developing gender action plans and in conducting basic gender trainings. It was developed and tested at training institutions in Liberia and contains many useful tools for health training organisations in low-resource settings.
In 2018 and 2019, the “Employment-oriented support for Women in the Health sector” (EWH) project in Liberia conducted a participatory gender audit process and this toolbox assembles all the instruments that were developed in this process.
The toolbox aims to support health training institutions in becoming gender-responsive through a participatory eight-step process. The tools required for each step can all be found in the text below. They can also be accessed by clicking on the graphic which opens the pdf version of the toolbox (see picture on the right).
Step 1: Gender audit concept development
The gender audit concept paper outlines the objectives, approach and methods used for the gender audit, including a 1-day workshop program. The concept is flexible enough to be slightly adapted to the individual HTIs. It considers international good practice and tools such as the ILO Participatory Gender Audit handbook, local evidence such as the USAID gender assessment of health training institutions, as well as the views of local stakeholders. A (lean) monitoring/evaluation concept is also part of the approach.
Step 2: Information event
The experience in Liberia showed that school management, and even gender focal persons, may not have much knowledge of what a participatory gender audit is. It was therefore decided to have an information event for each school to explain the gender audit process, its objectives and potential benefits. The following materials were developed for these events:
- Preparation notes for the information event that list all organizational activities before the event
- Briefing note for the schools informing about the information event and its program
- Information leaflet explaining the process of a participatory gender audit to be distributed during the information event to all participants
- Definitions of selected gender terms that are used during the information event
- A power point presentation explaining the overall process of the gender audit
- A poster – “The road to more gender equality at the school” – developed to visualize the various steps of the gender audit.
Step 3: Self-Assessment
The self-assessment aims to collect information about the existing gender knowledge and competence at the school. The questionnaire was developed based on the Interaction Gender audit handbook and adapted to the Liberian context. The toolbox contains the cover page for the questionnaire and the questionnaire that was completed during the information event. In other environments it may be possible to have the self-assessment done online using a suitable software. In addition, the toolbox contains an Excel template for the analysis, as well as an example for a filled in data base. In this project, analysis was done using Qualtrics, however, it could also be undertaken using another software, or in Excel directly. A template for the presentation of the self-assessment results as power point is also included.
Step 4: Focus group discussions
This component contains all documents used during the focus group discussions. Questions for the focus groups were derived from the self-assessment results. The focus group discussion template can be used as an example of how to develop focus groups questions. It also contains the structure of the focus group discussions as well as an example of how a discussion can be documented.
These documents should not be used as they are. They have been included to be used as a guide to develop context-specific materials. The guiding questions and the structure for focus group discussions should always be based on a prior assessment. It is important to note that a focus group should not last for more than 90 minutes. It is also important to document the results in order not ensure that all contributions are captured.
Step 5: Gender audit workshop
The most important document for the gender audit workshop is the gender audit manual for the facilitator. It contains all necessary information and material to conduct a gender audit workshop. In addition, the documentation of one workshop is included to illustrate how the gender audit workshop was developed as well as the products/results at the end of the workshop. The workshop documentation serves as report for the participants after the workshop, as there is normally no distribution of material during such workshops.
Therefore, we highly recommend having such a workshop documentation as a product for the participants after the workshop.
This component also contains two power point presentations:
- Consolidated presentation of the self-assessment and focus group discussion results
- Feedback to the university management after the gender audit workshop
An example of a gender action plan developed during the gender audit workshop and later adopted by the institution is presented under Step 8: gender action plan implementation.
Step 6: Gender training concept paper
The gender training concept paper outlines the objectives, approach and methods used for the two-day gender training workshop. It also includes the expected outputs and products of the training; monitoring and sustainability considerations: as well as lessons learnt during the gender training process in Liberia. The concept is again flexible enough to be slightly adapted to the individual HTIs.
Step 7: Gender training workshop
In Liberia the gender training workshop followed the gender audit. In other settings it may make sense to conduct the gender training immediately after the information event or even as a stand-alone activity independent from a gender audit itself.
A PowerPoint presentation about (transfer) project proposal planning and development is also included. Each training workshop should produce a practical and concrete result for the participants, which aims at transferring the transmitted knowledge and abilities into concrete measures to be implemented after the training.
Step 8: Gender action plan implementation
The component contains an example of a consolidated gender action plan developed during the gender audit workshop and later adopted by the university’s executive management.