4 Major Issues that are Important in the Implementation, Monitoring, and Accountability of the Rural Women’s Component Projects

Other units which is a small sub-sample of the projects listed in the data was composed in an effort to select agro-food projects, a key area to test our underlying assumptions about project success and the common assumption made by project planners that the household is a homogeneous unit.

Thirteen projects of the three types are included in the main, eight general aid projects, three component and two women-specific projects.

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Although the potential for reaching a larger target group is greater for general aid and component projects, these projects do not realise this potential.

It seems in general that increased agricultural productivity has meant more work for women and no more control over resources or access to these resources. In Peru, however, the general provision of water for the families in one area had only positive effects.

By saving women three hours a day in water collection, more time was left for income earning and cash saving activities.

The integration of women should be part of the professional responsibility of all those involved in project management.

This in fact is the thrust of the work on this subject at the World Bank which has been a pioneer in conducting training workshops for Bank staff involved in the design and implementation of project.

These workshops aim at sensitizing technicians with analytical tools to detect the effects on women in project areas. USAID held similar workshops for AID personnel in the fall of 1983.

The Population Council has developed and continues to develop materials to be utilised in the training of planners. The French Cooperation has begun research on a methodology to set up similar procedures.

And last but not least, the DAC High-Level Meeting adopted unanimously (29 November 1983) “Guiding Principles to Aid Agencies for Supporting the Role of Women in Development”. Adoption of the Guiding Principles was an expression of recognition of the importance of the role of women in development, an issue which requires consideration by policy makers in aid agencies.

Major Issues

1. Appraisal and Impact Analysis:

How difficult, time-consuming and costly is appraisal or impact analysis? The initial efforts of the Population Council were “appraisals” which combined the use of secondary data bases and short field trips of two to three weeks carried out by experienced consultants.

The purpose of the first two case studies of the impact of large scale development projects on women (A Series for Planners) was to draw attention to how the inclusion or exclusion of a consideration of women’s roles may affect projects.

The first study in this series, the NEMOW case was a composite of two actual development projects for which data was available which illustrated the ‘interdependence of women’s roles and development”.

The second study focused on sex Rolfe differences in the farm household and provided a planning methodology for development projects to incorporate the gender dimension.

However, subsequent work by the same agency has revised the time estimate upwards for appraisal and impact analysis with the addition of computerisation of the results.

Impact analysis, i.e. ex-post evaluation of the project’s impact on women is reported to be a more difficult and costly endeavor.

According to Singh, an evaluation analyst in CIDA, collecting baseline information and conducting impact analysis is a time consuming and expensive proposition.

Depending on the quantity of information and the depth of analysis required, anywhere from four to six months and 50000 to 70000 US dollars, may be required, for a modest effort.

In the AID evaluation report of Honduras five to six months was also considered necessary for the collection of data and subsequent impact analysis.

Given these costs and time consideration, perhaps the suggestion of Guerrero at the Inter-American Development Bank, represents a useful strategy.

If development projects have negative effects on women it is imperative that during project development these be specified qualitatively to the extent possible in order to obtain a more accurate estimate of overall project feasibility.

It is suggested therefore, that there be a discussion of the way in which the issue of women can be incorporated in the methodologies required for assessing project feasibility.

In the previous section, the project cycle of three general aid projects was presented to illustrate how attention to crucial variables in relation to the projects’ objectives can indicate what we should be looking for “If we are concerned about eliminating huge areas of indifference and ignorance” and how to avoid major blunders.

As Palmer points out, what we need are reliable approximations and reliable qualitative information on socio-cultural structures, relations of economic exchange within the households, the sexual division of labour in different tasks and on different crops, and the way different sources of cash income are earmarked (and by whom) for different household consumption requirements.

The studies by Palmer and Burfisher and Hornstein are brilliant examples of what can be done to forestall major blunders by utilising secondary sources.

The original assumptions of the project can be revised for example in the light of calculations on heavier workloads for women (especially higher seasonal peaks). Palmer further maintains that three to four weeks is sufficient to obtain and report on a relevant data base.

Longer periods indicate a lack of understanding of what to look for in relation to planners’ needs. Ideally, a competent woman ought to be in on an identification, monitoring and evaluation team.

A woman’s brief should be held at the earliest stage onwards and be closely integrated with what the other investigators are doing. Any delay means ad hoc supplements for women dissociated from the rest of the project.

Review of these initiatives must include another dimension the developing country side. Where are the obstacles to the implementation of projects which would in effect integrate women into development according to the criteria set out earlier?

Where do we have to start in making integration a standard operational requirement of all projects as part of the professional responsibility of project management?

Could one of the problems be that the appraisal evaluation has to concentrate on the factors that the project management can influence?

Other colleagues working in related fields at OECD were consulted. It is interesting to note that the DAC Expert Group on Evaluation has found that the lessons identified have long been recognised. The question therefore arises as to why these problems and deficiencies continue to occur.

There are two kinds of constraints to project implementation and it is important to distinguish those based in developing countries and those linked with donor countries. For our purposes, these two sides of the picture in evaluation should be examined with a specific focus on issues related to women.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to understand the nature of the constraints: ideological, structural or administrative.

Evaluators in the Expert Group were given a limited mandate to focus on the evaluation of the appraisal and implementation of individual projects.

However, they suggest that project identification be more closely linked with country programming in planning aid. Socio-economic, sectoral and institutional analysis should replace an excessively project-specific orientation.

The salient points from both OECD sources are: the need for donor co-ordination, flexibility and more grass-roots participation in all phases of the project.

2. Donor Co-ordination:

The DAC Expert Group on Evaluation suggested that greater co-ordination among donors in country programming is needed with special emphasis on co-ordination the policy dialogue when non-project aid is involved.

There needs to be more co-ordination in the collection of base-line data including better briefing before leaving home with data which meets the criteria for “valid decision-making and responsible management”.

If outside technical assistance is needed for the preparation of project requests, it should be financed as part of the donor’s overhead costs and not as part of the projects.

The quality of studies done in the preparatory stage of projects should be improved and the time allocated for project formulation increased.

Donors working in the same countries, on co-financed or similar projects could pool their information and thus save time and financial resources.

This is particularly important for the integration of women in development project since the integration requires more attention in getting the appropriate information on local conditions.

3. Flexibility:

Flexibility is of particular importance to women’s concern for the following reasons:

a) There may be a need to lay down certain pre-conditioning structures or resources for women to take advantage of general project interventions;

b) There may be inadequacies of base-line data concering women, or design faults which need to be addressed after the basic design and during implementation. In other words with a new subject we cannot expect to get predicted effects right. Therefore, there is a need for flexibility in design options, so that courses can be changed midstream;

c) There may be need for an investment component {e.g. domestic water supplies) which has a long gestation period and which particularly affects women, if certain project inputs are delayed this delay may cause chaos in some other aspect of the project’s implementation.

The importance of flexibility in project design and implementation are associated with monitoring, timing of interventions, synchronisation and experimentation.

The latter would include the implementation of smaller less ambitious projects with a pilot phase to allow feedback. However, the difficulty of synchronisation should not be underestimated.

Flexibility in implementation can be estimated by observing whether the project design includes: a process evaluation component, feedback mechanisms and a reserve fund item in the budget.

An analysis of the period of time allowed between fund disbursements will also provide information on the amount of flexibility.

One member of the AID evaluation team (132) for the rural roads projects in Kenya felt that AID needed to “study further the extent to which the sequencing of development needs to be an administrative or aid priority”. In this view, the lead investment in roads, without follow-up will have been untimely. T

he author of this annex to the report stated that, “integrated time-phased development undertaken on a regional basis, i.e. purposefully planned and co-ordinated development activities which are implemented over a period of time,” are preferable to single sector investment, such as roads, or simultaneous integrated development undertaken on a localised basis as in integrated rural development projects.

4. Participation:

A plea was made for more grass-roots participation in the OECD sources and at ILO in all phases of the project including design.

This is especially important for integration. Now that participation of the beneficiaries is seen as desirable it is important to establish at the outset that beneficiaries are individuals as well as households.

Otherwise the quest for participation will stop at male heads of household who may see things differently from women. Participatory research is difficult but not impossible.

If projects are to offer rural women equipment, facilities and service they must be relevant to their needs and priorities, “the best way to discover those needs is to ask.

Poor women whose primary economic activity is cattle rising and dairying, e.g., are unlikely to request an embroidery project…” (135). Built-in mechanism of accountability can be developed with grass-roots participation.

And finally, the effort must involve male allies as well as women … men and who are already or potentially supportive of women’s advancement can be identified within key structures…”, as well as male support within the family and community.

The latter is an important point in relation to socio-cultural practices and more information is needed.

The first level to look for allies is in the woman’s family and household. However, as Date-Bah and Stevens Point out in an article on rural women in Africa and technological change, the literature on rural women poses a major sociological problem for the researcher in terms of identifying male allies.

The first problem is that women are often treated as isolated individuals in the introduction of new techniques and equipment.

It has been reported that by and large, men to the exclusion of women are thought how to use new technology even if women were doing the work for which the new techniques are being introduced.

However, the main sociological problem according to Date- Bah and Stevens is the male image project by the literature: men and women living the same households and villages seem to be leading parallel lives; this is especially true of the portrait for Africa.

Husbands are portrayed as callous individuals who have no feeling for their wives, the mothers of their children.

This image is certainly generated by the resettlement project in Burkrina Faso presented earlier in this paper, where it was reported that some husbands refused to provide the necessary funds for grinding sorghum for family meals, although their income had increased considerably.

“This picture tends to reflect a type of human society where the sexes lead separate lives without interacting and sharing ideas.

It would appear that it is on this premise that a number of projects aimed at improving the lot of women in the rural areas have been planned. These projects have thus tended to focus only on women and therefore have committed the same mistake they set out to rectify.”

However, rural women do not live in isolation and if we want to Find male allies we have to try to enhance the complementarily, of men’s and women’s roles rather than plan for them isolation to counteract past discrimination. Date-Bah and Stevens suggest that the introduction of new technology is one opportunity to change the present state of affairs.

“Thus technological change for rural women should be planned and implemented in such a way that it leads to an improvement in the relationship between the rural couple and generally between members of the rural family and between males and females in the village.” Co-operatives would also provide a way of enhancing collaboration rather than separation.

Shaheed, a researcher from Pakistan indicates that projects having a specific female target, need to elicit male support from within the community, if for no other reason than to allay fears and minimise or counter probable opposition from the more powerful male half of the community. The essential point is that to be allies, men have to have a stake in what happens to women, and perceive them as part of the solution to development problems.

As Carloni states they have to be convinced that the successful outcome of projects depends on including women.

Other ways of cultivating male allies are to meet the men where they are, i.e. to address women’s issues through development plans as suggested by Miralao at the Asian and Pacific Development Centre in Malaysia.

This entry point has an advantage over specific women’s programmes which may operate in isolation of more basic economic and social processes.

At this level as well, areas for complementarily and co-ordination between government policies and aid projects could be made more explicit.

Another suggestion along the same lines comes from Sarthi Acharya at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Bombay. Her proposal aims at strengthening national economic planning and developing a continuum between the grass-roots level and the national planning bodies.

The aid agencies in this regard can work in close co-operation and make suggestions as a necessary condition before any aid is granted.

In addition, she suggests that governments will have to place a higher priority on rural development than they have in the past, “the rural base itself has to be strengthened for evolving an alternative path of economic transformation.”

Thus projects with positive results for women can only be implemented if rural development is taken seriously as a strategy for development at large.

De Arellano, Regional Director for the Organisation of American States’ Inter American Commission on Women, indicates from her experience, a strategy which can be successful at the grass-roots and at the same time “touch” the different levels necessary to create a systematic impact on women’s lives. ”

One must employ elements from both the ‘component’ and ‘specific’ projects. This, of course, implies a certain amount of flexibility and willingness on the part of the financing agency.”

Furthermore, according to De Arellano, the relative success of the Inter American Commission on Women technology project in Bolivia and Ecuador and its applicability to ten additional Latin American countries, can be attributed to having combined the phases which “We now know work”.

Her impression is that the women in Development process has to come this in a number of countries: a women-specific project which has its national locus in an on-going development effort that has partial responsibility for monitoring, while respecting its “speciality”.

“This means including sympathetic and interested males in all phases (and levels) of planning, implementation, and evaluation (technicians, community men, grassroots promoters).”

As Ingrid Palmer points out confrontation is an open invitation to chauvinism, it provides “more heat than light”.

The traditional relations between men and women can be expanded, not perverted, by realistic incentives and opportunities for both men and women.

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