Gender analysis is an important step in mainstreaming gender and better integrating gender considerations into development practice. Frameworks, being “methods of research and planning for assessing gender issues”, (March, Smyth, & Mukhopadhyay, 1999, p. 11) that analyse gender, allow for an understanding of “what a goal should be, but also how it can be achieved”, (Andersen, 1992: Buvinic, 1984, p. 21). More than simply including gender, “gender frameworks mean a bigger end game: that of devising and implementing policies and programmes which . . . may help to redress gender imbalances.” Encouraging gender specific programing is a move towards more equal development and women’s rights in developing nations, if it is implemented in a sensitive, skilled and appropriate manner.
Gender analysis frameworks highlight existing relationships between men and women in society, and question the ways in which they exhibit and relate to gender. These questions include; who does what? Who has what? Who decides? Who gains? Who loses? (March, Smyth, & Mukhopadhyay, 1999, p. 18). Looking at power relations within households and communities, these questions allow key issues in development to be prioritised by the state and non-government organisations. This considered, the Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM) is the most appropriate to capture the causes, solutions and dynamics of female sanitation issues in West Africa.
Primarily, a GAM is used because it emphasises a participatory, grassroots approach to development intervention, (March, Smyth, & Mukhopadhyay, 1999, p. 68). This is important, considering the lack of sanitation in itself is made worse by the fact that existing sanitation does not alw...
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...lows for better planning because t becomes obvious who and where the lack of resources are most apparent.
The GAM itself would be conducted following the PRA and Needs Analysis, where community groups of equal gender highlight sanitation problems, classify them and prioritise them. These discussions can happen as a group or by separating women and men which can work well in order to combat the shyness, cultural taboos and discrimination often felt by women discussing menstrual issues in rural communities. When the problems have been identified and prioritised, solutions and contributions of the community must be discussed, be it in cash, kind, or labour. All of this information is then transposed into a GAM for each issue, with these documents being constantly reviewed with changing results, effects, positive outcomes and negative ramifications added to the matrix.
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