GEM Thematic Adaptation Workshop for Localisation Initiatives

Vientiane (hotel venue to be determined), 05 September 2008

Localisation projects are often deemed as gender neutral, having a prime focus of developing localised technology only. However, in practice a number of different aspects/kinds of localisation projects could make it extremely gendered. For example, in terms of technology development, the type of job roles that are offered to men as compared to women could distinctly vary. Also the choice of localised technology to be developed may widen or diminish the digital divide between women and men. Similarly in training end-users on the localised tools, the training material used especially its content in terms of the language, terminology and examples; as well as the training approach and delivery, can have different effects and impacts for both women and men.

Thus, from a research perspective, it is interesting to observe how localisation efforts impact women’s and men’s use of ICT and more specifically women’s and men’s lives. What are the gender issues in each context and how could the gender lens be effectively used for evaluation of localisation efforts?

To address these concerns, PAN Localisation project in collaboration with the GEM II project are organizing a four-day workshop to help address these concerns in context of localisation projects, in an effort to adapt the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) for localisation initiatives.

Specifically, the four-day workshop aims to:

1. Encourage the use of the gender lens and provide a gender analysis framework and suitable tools/approaches to PAN Localisation project partners to identify gender and ICT issues in the respective projects and integrate these considerations into their project evaluation plans.
2. Provide opportunities for sharing insights, discussion and mentoring in order for PAN Localisation project partners, to be able to finalise country project evaluation plans based on the identified gender and ICT issues following the Gendered Outcome Mapping Framework (OMg) developed by the PAN Localisation project.
3. Develop the GEM adaptation plan in collaboration with the PAN Localisation project team, its country project partners, and the GEM II project team

The fundamental challenge in adapting GEM for localisation initiatives is that it is the first time, localisation initiatives are being encouraged to use a gender analytical framework for evaluation of their initiatives, and to share their evaluation experiences (both process and immediate outcomes) as part of the GEM II research. Both the PAN Localisation and the GEM II projects recognise that in order to do this well, localisation initiatives would require some level of skills and capacity-building, as well as mentoring support, in terms of gender analysis and interrogation due to the inherent complex nature of such initiatives. Results acquired from this adaptation would benefit both localisation projects and gender and ICT advocates. Through these evaluations, localisation projects would gain a deeper understanding of the different impacts of their work upon women and men while the gender advocates would gain a deeper appreciation of the interconnections of technology and gender, which would enhance their advocacy in the ICT arena.