There is no one-size-fits all approach to gender integration. This is the clear message of two new gender integration tools launched this spring at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC: Lutheran World Relief’s (LWR) 2014 Storybook: INGO Experience with Gender Integration and Land O’Lakes’ Integrating Gender throughout a Project’s Life Cycle 2.0. Both tools compile challenges and approaches to gender mainstreaming and gender integration from over ten organizations.
Collaborators include ACDI/VOCA, Catholic Relief Services, Cultural Practice, LLC (CP), Development and Training Services, Inc., LWR, Mercy Corps, Partnership for Transparency Fund, Project Concern International, Save the Children, TechnoServe, and World Vision. CP who has served as the external gender advisor for LWR’s Learning for Gender Integration initiative since 2012 worked closely with many of these organizations to develop the LWR’s Storybook and contributed a chapter on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to Land O’ Lakes’ toolkit.
Institutional capacity, political will, and funding effect the extent to which an organization can address gender issues organizationally and programmatically. Land O’ Lakes’ Integrating Gender throughout a Project’s Life Cycle 2.0 is responsive to this reality. The tool is organized around the different parts of the project cycle allowing users at different stages of this cycle to select the most relevant chapters to meet their needs. Chapter topics focus on project design, proposal development, inclusive gender integration, integration into programs, capacity building, capturing progress through monitoring and evaluation, and communicating results.
While there are no cookie cutter approaches to gender integration, common challenges and lessons learned emerged during CP’s interviews with staff, which are synthesized in the 2014 Storybook: INGO Experiences with Gender Integration. These challenges include the need for on-going capacity building, sustaining organizational buy-in, and integrating gender into the program cycle. Collective lessons learned emphasize the importance of gender audits, support from senior leadership, using gender working groups to build capacity for gender integration activities, and last but not least sustained funding. The donor community’s increased attention to gender integration has also supported gender integration efforts in recent years.
During the launch event Christie Getman, Senior Director, Program Quality and Technical Support at LWR emphasized that gender experts across organizations are better able to meet their goals when organizations come together to share ideas and stories. LWR invites other organizations interested in telling their story to contact LWR to have their story told in the second edition.