Development Connect (co-)designed several gender assessment methodologies for different contexts (public private partnership, violence against women, (livestock, commodity) value chain) which have been applied across the world over the years.

The development of gender capacities is crucial and capacity development interventions are preferably to be designed based on a capacity assessment, e.g. the analysis of desired capacities against existing capacities.

Assessments help a) identify gender capacity gaps along a particular value chain or program; b) foster discussions around priorities for actions in the context of specific objectives set; c) outline opportunities for investments and leveraging capacity development activities with partners; d) provide a starting point for the formulation of a gender capacity development responses; e) establish baselines and indicators for capturing learning, measuring, monitoring, and evaluating progress in capacity development; f) support comparative analyses of gender capacities across value chains, programs and countries.


With a downstream-upstream approach, Development Connect already supported many local governments with gender equality mainstreaming and women empowerment in different countries around the world through e.g.:

  • Capacity assessments of assets and needs for individuals, institutions and service sectors to help analyze the feasibility of gender equality focused pro-poor service delivery partnerships;
  • Enhancing the ability of governments (national and local) to establish and implement enabling conditions, including affirmative actions for gender equality focused pro-poor service delivery public private partnerships (PPP) arrangements in prioritized service sectors;
  • Strengthening the capacities of grassroots women’s groups and women entrepreneurs, local authority officials and others on gender sensitive pro-poor local service delivery PPPs;
  • Tailored training, learning materials and tools on pro-poor PPPs and gender equality for local service delivery developed and adapted for use by resource persons and local training institutions.

Our (assessment) methodologies are based on a systemic approach to capacity development and can be adapted to reflect different contexts. Below a three-dimensional framework designed for a gender capacity assessment and development process is illustrated.

This framework was tested in different (livestock) value chains programs in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Nicaragua (2014-2015).
It differentiates three sets of variables, namely:

  1. Three levels of capacities (enabling environment, organizational, and individual);
  2. Type of partner according to their functions;
  3. Core gender capacities formulated based on insights and experiences from gender capacity assessments and the type of work value chain partners are engaged in.

The first variable is the level of analysis (enabling environment, organizational and individual) recognizing that gender capacities are required at these different levels in order to create maximum impact. Each of these levels can be the point of entry for the capacity assessment and consequent capacity development interventions:

  • The enabling environment: The broader system, including downstream/upstream policies, rules and legislation, regulations, gender power relations, external partnerships, political space and gender norms and values;
  • The organizational level: The internal policies, arrangements, procedures and frameworks that allow an organization to mainstream gender in all its operations, enabling the coming together of individual capacities for achieving common goals; and
  • The individual level: The skills, experience, knowledge, leadership, and motivation of people enabling gender mainstreaming.

The second variable is the type of work and roles/functions the partner is actually engaged in. For example, this assessment framework was used for a global CGIAR program and partnerships occurs at three levels:

  • Operational: Four CGIAR centers (ILRI, Worldfish, CIAT and ICARDA) work in partnership to jointly deploy appropriate research within nine country value chains and are responsible for planning and management;
  • Research: In addition to the combined and aligned research capability of the four operational partners, global and national research partnership negotiations are underway with universities and research institutes to broaden the breadth of research offered;
  • Development: Development partners are engaged to help adapt innovations for wider impact at scale.

Development partners were specified in a separately drafted development partnership strategy:

  • Development actors are defined as national and international development agencies and companies that, from an external perspective, seek to boost value chain performance, often across many countries. They do this for reasons of public good, to open up new supply for markets that they are engaged in, or to stimulate new demand for their goods and services. These tend to be large and influential organizations whose commitment to the value chain lasts as long as their resources and intentions allow;
  • Value chain system actors are defined as those that operate within and around a value chain. They include but are not limited to input suppliers, producers, transporters, processors, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, government regulators; and public and private knowledge, business development and financial service providers. They seek to create or stimulate a wider efficiency within a chain. They do so for reasons that range from creating better business opportunities for themselves, to public good actors that seek social and economic transformation through improved equity and access to services. By and large they are local businesses, civil society organizations, NGOs and government departments whose services and mandates overlap, and who are embedded as permanent features in value chains.

With regard to integrating gender in any program, each of the actors has different roles and functions to play, and therefore have different needs in terms of gender capacities.Researchers, value chain system actors and development actors view the nature and importance of gender and development issues in different ways.

This particular gender capacity assessment and development process excluded operational partners and focused on the following two types of partners and their functions:

  • Research Partners (universities, research institutes), which design and undertake research, integrate gender, and communicate on gender in research.
  • Development Partners (local government offices, extension offices, local / national NGOs, service providers), which co-design programs and deliver joint outputs across similar programming objectives, do joint advocacy and resource mobilization.

We are happy to work with you to adapt the full methodology to assess gender capacities in your context and to develop appropriate capacity development response strategies.