Practical Toolkit for Public Policy Analysis with a Gender Lens
With support and funding from the Capacity Development unit of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics), the Program’s Central America and the Caribbean (CAC) Flagship, led by CIAT, developed and validated a practical toolkit for public policy analysis with a gender lens. Developed by local consultants, the toolkit is based on available and tested methods which can be easily implemented by organizations that normally do not have staff with specialized and formal training to carry out policy research. It is a collection of nine tools which are used in a sequential manner to generate outputs essential for public policy analysis with a gender lens.
The toolkit follows a sequential process that starts with setting the scene by discussing critical concepts and myths surrounding public policy relevance and impact. A timeline is then used to document and analyze background information, and the history of legal frameworks is organized for a better understanding of the policy or program being analyzed.
Once the policy or program’s context has been established, the research problem is defined and the research questions and methods are clearly identified and stated. The tool provides guidelines to construct a conceptual framework by revisiting literature and placing the research question in perspective of the knowledge and opinions of previous researchers, as a crucial preparatory step for the policy or program analysis.
Criteria and procedures to conduct a general analysis are established, as well as providing tools such as matrices for a more specific analysis with a gender focus. Finally, the toolkit renders a series of steps to identify conclusions related to the research questions, and provides a guide to ensure the referenced documents have been cited correctly.
To validate the toolkit, it was used to analyze a high profile Nicaraguan public policy program (Programa Productivo Alimentario or Hambre Cero 2007-2014), resulting in a short analytical report. In addition, two digital libraries, one on Nicaraguan public policies and the other on rural women, were also elaborated to facilitate the work of local territorial partner organizations taking on the challenge of policy analysis with a gender lens.
In February 2015, a two-day pilot workshop was held in Nicaragua, to initiate the training process of partner organizations to carry out public policy research. Ten women and two men from six allied organizations and CIAT carried out policy analysis exercises with a gender lens, using the digital libraries, the toolkit, and the example analysis of Hambre Cero. In the coming months, these organizations will use the toolkit to analyze relevant public policies with a gender lens and will write policy analysis reports, which will be used to generate policy debates at local, regional and national levels in the coming year.
Photograph by: Falguni Guharay, CIAT and Blog edited by: Shadi Azadegan, CIAT