Global Resources

An introduction to gender audit methodology: its design and implementation in DFID Malawi

Author: C. Moser
Publisher: Overseas Development Institute
Publication Date: May 2005

This background paper outlines the methodology used during an audit of the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) gender equality and mainstreaming work in Malawi. The audit comprised both an internal organisational assessment and an external assessment of development objectives. The auditors examined policy papers, terms of reference, and project memorandums and communications, among other documents. Focus group discussions were also conducted on institutional and operational/programming gender mainstreaming issues. These were held with three groups: combined male and female UK staff, female Malawian staff, and male Malawian staff. In addition, self-assessment questionnaires, made up of 18 multiple choice and three open-ended questions, were administered to all staff to measure internal organisational change. The questionnaires covered both technical capacity and institutional culture. Questions included:

? Does DFID Malawi offer you enough opportunities to strengthen your knowledge of gender issues in your professional or technical area?
? How often do you integrate gender explicitly in your work?
? Does DFID Malawi have an active policy to promote gender equality and respect for diversity in decision-making, behaviour, work ethics, and so on? If so, how would you rate its effectiveness?

Lessons are drawn from DFID Malawi's experience, including the importance of obtaining political commitment and institutional 'buy-in', and the benefits of using a participatory approach. The importance of designing methodological tools to track gender issues in new aid modalities is also highlighted. If this does not happen, gender audits will remain little more than purely programmatic tools.