The three concurrent workshops last 90 minutes each. Each will have a slightly different dynamic. In the feminist participatory research methods and the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning workshops the facilitators will present current knowledge and practices on the topic and guide participants through hands-on exercises. The third workshop is a conversation on sexual harassment and other challenges in the field including anyone who wants to share experiences and strategies or just listen to the group; it will be co-led by a person with extensive experience working with survivors of sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. and a person with extensive experience being a woman carrying out fieldwork internationally.

Community engagement in feminist participatory research methods - Dr. Ann Oberhauser

In recent decades, participatory research has become more diversified in terms of the types of approaches and applications in the development arena. Feminist and gender studies continue to interrogate the complex and often contested dimensions of participatory research by focusing on the power relations that comprise different aspects of the research process. This workshop draws from feminist perspectives on participatory research, addressing sustainable community development, gender and other inequality, rapid rural appraisal, and specific techniques and goals of these methods.

Participatory research grew out of development approaches that challenge conventional, top-down, and modernist development projects and research. Participatory approaches focus on perspectives that are grounded in community-based knowledge, shifting locations of power, transformation, and shared outcomes in the research process. Feminist research examines gender inequalities that are manifest in the cultural norms, economic status, and political institutions of the field.

This workshop explores dynamic and critical research that contributes to both participatory and feminist approaches in diverse geographical contexts. Topics that will be addressed in the workshop include techniques and thematic issues such as natural resource access, mobility patterns, household dynamics, sustainable development, and gender-based violence. Participants are asked to bring their own ideas about and experiences using participatory research to the workshop.  We will engage in activities and focused discussions about how to effective apply feminist participatory methods in our research.

Gender equality in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning - Jennifer Himmelstein & Daniel Sumner

Increasingly, development practitioners, partners, and funders are promoting the need for information to more appropriately assess and respond to the size and scope of social, economic, and environmental challenges. This application of data-driven development extends to efforts promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, despite the call for increased focus on understanding how development interventions reduce gender-based constraints or improve the wellbeing of women and men, Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning (MEL) activities are frequently done without taking gender into account, focusing alone on quantitative sex-disaggregated data or including analysis and learning that  neglect intended or unintended impacts on men’s and women’s wellbeing.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce current approaches and challenges linked to documenting how program interventions affect men and women. While this workshop will only scratch the surface of these topics, we hope that participants will leave with a greater understanding of how a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches can be utilized to implement a gender-responsive MEL strategy. We ask that participants come ready to share their experiences and questions linked to gender equality and MEL.

Being-in-the-field: A conversation on discrimination, sexual harassment and other challenges - Caitlin Nordehn & Christine Dennis Smith

Piggybacking on the momentum of the #MeToo movement, the international development and humanitarian communities have recently increased their attention to and approaches for addressing challenges around sexual assault and harassment, discrimination, and other related challenges in workspaces including headquarters and field offices and within targeted communities. This movement has been referred to as #AidToo.  

This workshop session has two main components related to this topic. First, it will provide an overview of the current issues and challenges women and men face in the field around discrimination, sexual harassment and other challenges drawing on current evidence and trends in the #AidToo movement. This will be complemented by discussion from Caitlin Nordehn, a gender specialist and international development practitioner from Cultural Practice, LLC, who will share some of her own observations and experiences working in West Africa, Asia, and the U.S. Secondly, Christine Dennis Smith, Co-Director of the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, will co-facilitate a participatory session on strategies different types of actors can take to address discrimination, sexual harassment, and other related challenges in international development workspaces.