Developing Country-Specific Gender-Behavior Change Monitoring Indicators

Understanding the complex process of transforming gender roles and relations is a challenging task. While some impact indicator instruments exist, there are few rigorous instruments that permit monitoring of the kind of incremental intra-household gender-related behavior changes that CARE Pathways hopes to facilitate. This year, the CARE Pathways team sought to change that. Following a qualitative midterm review, the team looked for ways to translate the evaluation into a set of user-friendly monitoring tools. They hoped that these tools could help CARE country staff be alert to and promote the incremental behavior changes that lead men and women to behave in more gender equitable ways, and to respond in real-time to the risks and resistance that may emerge during implementation.

With the assistance of a microgrant from the USAID/Food For Peace Technical and Operational Support (TOPS)[1] Program, participants from five Pathways countries (India, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mali) and gender specialists convened for a working group meeting in Malawi in March 2015. Participants discussed the results of their midterm reviews and collectively developed a set of monitoring indicators that were country-specific but based on a common Pathways framework. The intent of this process was to provide countries with useful, usable, and country-specific gender-behavior change indicators for men and for women, so that they can monitor incremental steps toward social norm change and gender equality.

Since that initial workshop in March and a follow-up presentation in D.C. in April, the Pathways teams have taken the indicators through a process of peer review and then through a validation process with their communities, to ensure that the communities themselves agree on using the Working Group mechanisms, Pathways Core Team members Emily Hillenbrand and Pranati Mohanraj convened the Pathways teams in August to provide global guidance on monitoring process, and a template for analyzing and reporting on progress markers.


For collecting the information, country teams will experiment with different qualitative interview guides—such as utilizing a picturial tool to facilitate the discussion or an open-ended questionnaire guideline to lead the discussion. With a global template for analyzing and reporting out on the monitoring data, the country teams’ work can feed into a global report on intra-household changes happening across the Pathways program.

Each of the Pathways core countries will conduct at least one round of monitoring before the end of Pathways’ first phase, with Tanzania set to begin its monitoring in November as part of its end-line evaluation. In addition, other programs have taken up the process, including the ENSURE Food for Peace program in Zimbabwe. Benefits of this approach include the opportunity to report on early and incremental changes, complement quantitative data, and improve strategic approaches to gender. As Janet Nakuti, a participant at the initial workshop, stated, “We’re all aware social norm change is complex. We have to be complex also in our systems of monitoring change. This is a beautiful model to understand the pathways where we’re shifting, where we’re not. It’s especially helpful for the staff/implementers – the process of reflection, the sense of achievement and motivation, understanding why.”

A case study of Pathways’ development of the gender-behavior change indicators was selected as a winner of the USAID CLA Case Competition. The process will also be presented at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) annual convention in Chicago, in November.

[1] The USAID TOPS program seeks to bring the highest quality information, knowledge, and promising practices in food assistance programming to implementers and donors so that more communities and households can benefit from U.S. government investments to alleviate global hunger. See for more information.