About this tool

Company members participating in the CLP matching grant program can, working with their implementing partners in cocoa productivity and community development, use this tool to:

  • Increase internal organization gender capacity by identifying current gaps in that capacity. This could be done either by starting ‘from scratch’ or by building on current gender knowledge.
  • Integrate gender considerations into current activities, in order to increase their sustainability by leveraging increased gender capacity.
  • Identify opportunities to implement new gender-focused activities by leveraging increased gender capacity.
  • Establish a baseline to monitor progress on gender mainstreaming.
  • Conduct a monitoring or evaluation exercise to track performance compared to baseline.

How did this tool come about?

This tool is based on a rapid gender capacity assessment of ANADER’s2 field activities in Côte d’Ivoire, following Mars’ interest in identifying opportunities to mainstream gender into its Vision 4 Change project.

Steps to use this tool

Step 1: Prepare for the assessment

  • Develop an assessment work plan
  • Ensure buy-in from senior leadership
  • Brief staff on assessment procedure

Step 2: Review organizational documents

  • Review program and strategic documents to assess existing gender systems and activities

Step 3: Administer staff questionnaire

  • Solicit a breadth of staff perspectives and opinions through a written questionnaire

Step 4: Conduct focus group discussions

  • Discuss preliminary results from the assessment to increase the depth of responses

Step 5: Synthesize and share results

  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data
  • Compare results from data sources to draw conclusions


With the results of your gender capacity assessment, you can move forward to create a gender work plan, to build the capacity of your organization and mainstream gender in its field activities. The results from the assessment should help you identify the gaps in current initiatives and organizational processes for gender equality; many of the gender action items that can benefit your organization will become evident, based on feedback you received during the assessment process.

To develop an action plan, it is recommended to use participatory methods, to increase buy-in from organization staff and solicit multiple perspectives (Harvey, 2010). A template for a gender work plan to be used during a group session can be found in the Appendix.


Harvey, J. (2010) Based on Morris, P. (1995; 2003). The Gender Audit Handbook: A Tool for Organizational Assessment and Transformation. Washington, D.C.: InterAction.

Reeves, H. and Baden, S. (2000). Gender and Development: Concepts and Definitions. Report No. 55. Brighton, UK: BRIDGE (Development – Gender).

Moser, C. (2005). An Introduction to Gender Audit Methodology: Its design and implementation in DFID Malawi. London, UK: Overseas Development Institute.


What is a gender capacity assessment?

A gender assessment is often the first step in increasing an organization’s gender capacity, and ensuring that gender equality is mainstreamed in program activities in the supply chain. An assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses, and provides a road map towards increased gender sensitivity by highlighting key activities for capacity development or gender-related program design. This is an essential step in both implementing gender-sensitive field activities in the supply chain, and in mainstreaming gender in current field activities within CLP. In addition, the assessment process provides a platform for collective reflection, a valuable process to raise awareness and promote organizational learning. Last but not least, the assessment can serve as a benchmark against which to measure progress on gender mainstreaming.

It is important to differentiate a gender capacity assessment, which focuses on the organization itself and its programs and activities in the field, from a gender situational analysis, which focuses on the conditions surrounding field activities in order to implement successful gender programs. Both are essential components of gender mainstreaming. The tool focuses on three assessment areas, each of which are particularly tailored to gender equality in rural extension efforts:

  • Program mainstreaming
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Human resources and field capacity

The tool will guide you through an adaptable step-wise process to conduct an organizational assessment. Illustrations from the ANADER assessment are featured in boxes throughout the text to showcase examples of practical application.

Men and women’s different roles and responsibilities sometimes necessitate adapted responses. The assessment of ANADER’s gender capacity in V4C revealed that different agricultural extension strategies were used to meet men and women’s differing needs; women were particularly targeted with food crop extension services as their main area of operation. Extension services for cash crops like cocoa can be further adapted to meet women’s needs.

Who should apply this tool and how?

This tool is particularly designed for company members participating in the CLP matching grant program as well as their implementing partners, in order to assess the gender capacities surrounding program activities. This tool is intended to be used by a team or individual leading the gender assessment process. These are assessment facilitator(s). These facilitators can be external consultants, implementing partner members with particular gender knowledge, and/or a matching grant staff person involved in community development (in some cases, this would be a self-assessment). The facilitator(s) should be proficient with key gender terms and concepts included in the assessment, and possess some expertise and experience in gender; this is essential in order to gauge the depth and quality of gender initiatives. In addition, the facilitator(s) should have experience with research techniques such as focus group discussions, access to relevant organizational units and field staff, a basic familiarity with most organizational processes, and should have a working knowledge of Excel for data analysis.

The assessment should target those actors on the ground working in cocoa productivity and/or community development in order to assess the gender capacities surrounding program activities. This generally concerns matching grantees’ implementing partners, and particularly those implementing partner staff involved in program design and implementation (rather than, for example, administrative or human resource staff); the framework below assumes the assessment is to be directed at the implementing partner organization in CLP. Each of the assessment areas outlined above includes a set of indicators, detailed in the Appendices below. This tool guides you through information collection for each indicator, through document review, questionnaire data, and focus group discussions. Once collected, you can analyze and cross-reference data from different sources according to the indicators by referring to the assessment framework.

This tool is designed to be flexible; the indicators and research process can be adapted to organizational needs and resources while still following the general step wise process. The assessment should take about six weeks to complete, although the timeline can be extended depending on staff availability; a proposed timeline of activities is included in Figure 1, below.

Figure 1: Proposed activities timeline for assessment

While an assessment need not be excessively costly, some resources are nevertheless required. The proposed timeline above assumes the following to be in place:

Table 1: Investments for assessment

Who and/or what? Time/costs
Facilitator(s)Part time availability during the 6 weeks
Consultant fees
Staff in the organizationTotal of 20 staff hours over the 6 week period as assessment respondents (questionnaire and focus group discussion)
Organizational staff that can help the facilitator(s) access relevant documentation and communicate with staff
Trips and VenuesField trips to reach field staff, as necessary
Venue for briefings and sharing of results

The assessment focuses on four assessment areas, shown in Table 2. The Appendix details the whole assessment framework, including assessment indicators.

Table 2: Summary of assessment areas, rationale and key components

Assessment AreaRationaleKey Components
Program mainstreamingGender considerations are effectively reflected in field activities; women's diverse needs are taken into account in program design and implementation to address the different dimensions of empowerment.- Gender considerations are mandated in program design as an organizational priority. Program design is based on a needs assessment that includes a gender perspective. Empowerment, not just representation, is considered for women. - Gender-sensitive tools and approaches are consistently applied in the field.
Monitoring and evaluationProgram implementation is monitored and evaluated in relation to both men and women, and sex-specific impacts are discerned for organizational learning and to improve gender-sensitive program design. - Data collected is consistently sex-disaggregated - Gender-specific analyses are conducted with monitoring data. - Evaluations consider differential impacts for both men and women for continued refinement of program design.
Human resources and field capacitySufficient gender-sensitive staff capacity is a pre-requisite for effective gender initiatives.- Female staff are equally represented at the field level for extension activities to reach women beneficiaries and farmers. - Staff have sufficient knowledge on gender issues, and benefit from the guidance of a resource person with particular gender expertise.


Appendix – Focus Group Discussion Guide – self-assessment

Appendix – Gender Self-Assessment Framework

Appendix – Gender Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Appendix – Template for Gender Work plan

Step 5: Synthesize and share results

Key points:

  • Analyzing the data is one of the most important steps of the assessment; it will allow you to draw conclusions from your research and discern follow-up action items.
  • With the organizational documents, the survey and the focus group discussions, you will have both quantitative and qualitative data to analyze.

Analysis of organizational document

In analyzing organizational documents, the first step is to simply note the presence or absence of relevant documents by indicator, and/or the inclusion of gender consideration in these documents. This will give an insight into whether gender is considered in organizational systems. The next step of analysis concerns the quality of consideration given to gender: do the gender objectives, strategies, and initiatives take into account the multiple dimensions of gender equality or empowerment, or do they pertain only to outreach to women and female representation? Do they consider the strategic needs of women in order to address social inequalities, or do they focus only on practical needs, such as education, health or food security? In other words, the documents can be analyzed for their depth of gender consideration. Finally, the gender objectives and strategies outlined in various organizational documents can be analyzed for consistency across departments, organizational levels or systems. For example, is gender considered in community development activities, but not in cocoa productivity activities?

Analysis of questionnaire data
The organizational questionnaire will provide quantitative data, which you can record and run basic analysis on using Excel. The information from each respondent can be recorded using the sample Excel sheet provided in the Appendix, which mirrors the questionnaire. To record the data for analysis, convert each answer to a score, following Table 3 below. The sample sheet provided in the Appendix also features sample answers from several mock questionnaires to illustrate the analysis process.

Table 3: Conversion matrix for questionnaire coding

Response Ato the fullest extentto a great extentto a moderate extentto a limited extentnot at alldo not know
Response Bfrequentlyregularlyoccasionallyseldomneverdo not know/not applicable
Response Cstrongly agreeagreeno opiniondisagreestrongly disagreedo not know
Response Dyesnodo not know/not applicable

Once the coded answers have been recorded in the Excel spreadsheet, the data can be analyzed. The first step is to calculate the average per indicator, which will yield a score on a scale of 0-4. Remember to exclude any ‘X’ answers from these totals, as these are void answers (Excel will do this automatically), although note that void answers can still be indicative of a lack of awareness or knowledge of gender issues. The score per indicator can give you an idea about how gender capacity is perceived in each assessment category; the higher the score, the greater the degree of gender consideration. You can also analyze the variance—the range of answers given—by looking at the distribution of answers between 0 and 4, which will give you an idea of the divergence of perceptions. This can be done using the ‘count if’ function in Excel, and can be represented with a graph. However, it is important to note that the data may not be statistically representative, depending on the sample size; rather, it is indicative of trends in perception of organizational staff.

Percentages by indicator can also be aggregated into assessment categories to give a broader picture, and to allow for comparisons between categories—for example, to compare M&E processes with gender mainstreaming in program activities. Further analyses can be conducted using Excel’s ‘filter’ function, for example to sort by respondent sex or function- do men have different perspectives than women? Or do management and field staff? The questionnaire data can be analyzed together with results from the focus group discussion(s), as detailed below, to gain a more complete picture.

The text box at the end of the questionnaire (which asks for any remarks considering gender in the organization), if filled out, can be considered part of the qualitative data collected and analyzed as such.

Analysis of focus group data

Qualitative data from focus group discussions can shed light on the ‘how’ and ‘why’, and add depth to the questionnaire responses. FGD data can be analyzed according to main trends or topics, highlighting conflicting opinions or confirming the causality behind shared viewpoints. The opinions shared during the focus group discussions can be summarized and recorded by assessment category, paying particular attention to the nuances voiced by participants: very often, results per indicator fall into a ‘grey zone’ where the answer is not as clear-cut as laid out in the questionnaire.

The ANADER assessment findings were nuanced by comparing and contrasting questionnaire and focus group discussion results. The questionnaire highlighted differences in perception between field staff on field capacity to promote gender equality, while the focus group not only shed light on the causality behind this difference in perception, but also drew consensus on organizational objectives and processes. Another key element that added depth to the results was feedback from a variety of staff members, whose different positions gave them unique insight into the application of organizational systems for gender equality.

Bringing it together: Data triangulation

Data from organizational documents, staff questionnaires, and focus group discussions can, together, give a complete picture of organizational gender processes. This is called triangulation.

For the triangulation of all your data, you can go back to your gender assessment framework in the Appendix. You can proceed indicator-by-indicator in the framework and see whether the data results have given responses to the indicators. You can then draw conclusions for each assessment area and after that, compare the different assessment areas together. Also, probe your own data. In this case for example: What systems are outlined in the organizational documentation? What do staff responses tell us about the application? Also ask yourself: Why this is so?

At this stage, it may be useful to write up a brief report to share with management, and to prepare a power point presentation highlighting the main assessment results to share with your office staff. This will establish a shared viewpoint on the organization’s standing in terms of gender equality, and lay the groundwork for a gender strategy moving forward.

Step 4: Conduct focus group discussions

Key points:

  • Focus group discussions help to understand results and causalities.
  • Tips for group discussions: Be prepared, give participants an overview of the whole process, avoid debates, keep notes and encourage participation.

For the purpose of a gender assessment, focus group discussions (FGDs) are conducted to better understand the perspectives and opinions guiding gender activities. Where the assessment questionnaire gives a simple response, FGDs can help us explore the causality behind these answers. Therefore, a preliminary review of data from the assessment questionnaire is recommended to tailor the FGDs to the organization’s needs. To conduct a preliminary analysis of the data, see the questionnaire analysis in the next step (Step 5).

FGD participant selection in the case of the gender assessment

The configuration of the FGD should be determined by the organization’s needs. These are determined through the outcomes of data collection in Step 2 (review of documentation) and Step 3 (staff questionnaire). For example, is it more interesting for you to have a focus group discussion with extension field staff only? Or would you like to get a diversity of opinions from different staff? Are there significant gender differences in perspectives uncovered during the questionnaire that you would like to explore in all-male and all-female discussion groups? Sharing some of the main findings from the survey can serve as starting points for the discussion: Are the findings in line with participant expectations? Does the current state of affairs correspond to the staff’s vision of gender equality?

Selecting focus group participants can be most effective when you first consider the objectives of your assessment. In the ANADER assessment guided by Mars, focus groups were mainly conducted with field agents, as the objective was to gauge the application of gender systems on the ground.

A template guide to conduct a focus group discussion in the particular context of a gender assessment can be found in the FGD Appendix, while the box below highlights key tips and tricks for FGD facilitation.

Be prepared. Make sure your participants know the time and location for the focus group discussion. Have your questions and prompts in place, and a note-taker or recorder at the ready. Be clear on what you aim to get out of the discussion.
Give participants an overview of the self-assessment process to remind them of the focus group discussion’s purpose. Be sure to answer any questions the participants may have.
Avoid debates. Facilitators should remain neutral and non-judgmental, and remind participants that the objective of the focus group discussion is not to reach consensus, but to share different perspectives. It’s okay to disagree.
Keep notes on a flipchart to record key discussion points, and for participants to refer to throughout the discussion.
Encourage participation by all participants, but make sure to close a topic and move on once it is exhausted.

Step 3: Assessment questionnaire

Key points:

  • A questionnaire will give a breadth of responses to inform the assessment.
  • A variety of respondents will allow for data analysis that represents different perspectives.

While a review of organizational documents gives insight into the systems in place, feedback from staff will shed light on how these systems are applied, as well as on the less tangible factors affecting gender, including opinions and perceptions. A written staff assessment questionnaire can give you an overview of a broad range of perspectives and experiences relating to gender, and complement the document review. It should be filled out by as many staff as possible and should target all staff involved in program design and implementation, including managers, field agents and technical staff. Getting a variety of respondents to complete the questionnaire will allow for a data analysis that represents different perspectives, so that the conclusions are not limited to a small group of respondents.

While an organization can have systems in place, this does not give us insight into how these systems are applied. The ANADER assessment therefore documented both the systems used to promote gender equality, as well as their practical application in the field. In CLP projects, gender sensitivity in the field depends on both the systems in place and their application; for example, if women are specifically defined as beneficiaries in program design (i.e. in the gender system), are they effectively targeted in the field (i.e. in the systems’ application)?

A suggested template of the assessment questionnaire can be found in the Appendix, but it can also be adapted and tailored to meet specific organizational needs. The questionnaire is designed to capture the frequency, intensity and extent of different indicators, to give a more nuanced perspective of each assessment area. These ‘grey areas’ can be used as starting points for deeper exploration during focus group discussions, in the next step. It also collects basic information on the respondent, so that the answers can be analyzed through different lenses; for example, is one team or department more or less gender sensitive than another? Are field staff more likely to be men? The order of the questions corresponds to the assessment framework indicators detailed in the Appendix.

Step 2: Review organizational documents

Key points:

  • A review of organizational documents gives insight into the systems in place, as well as how activities are tracked.
  • Take into account the quality of data and any gaps in information.

Organizational documents provide insight into the systems in place for gender mainstreaming (for example, strategy documents or programmatic tools), as well as how activities are tracked and reported on (program reports or evaluations). While they reflect the systems in place, they do not offer insight into the ways in which these are applied. Having a consistently gender-sensitive system in place is essential to gender mainstreaming in the field.

The assessment framework in the Appendix outlines the type of data to be collected from various organizational documents by assessment category, the corresponding indicators and their significance. Documents to be reviewed for gender considerations include, as relevant: gender strategy or organizational policy documents, organizational reports, program documents, evaluations and reports, field assessment reports (including gender assessment reports), as well as staff performance review templates. As you go through these documents, note the information relevant to the indicator. Make sure to take into consideration the quality of the information, and any gaps you see. The analysis of the organizational documents will serve to cross-reference data collected from questionnaires or focus groups in Steps 3 and 4, and to identify potential discrepancies between the systems in place and their application.

Step 1: Prepare for the assessment

Key points:

  • The buy-in of senior leaders of the organization involved in the assessment is fundamental, in addition to local ownership of the process.

In preparing for the assessment, the scope of the assessment needs to be clearly delineated: What are the objectives? What are the questions to be answered? Who will answer them? A plan that clarifies activities, roles and responsibilities, timelines, deliverables, and a communication strategy should be prepared at this point to answer these questions.

Clarifying the assessment work plan, according to organizational objectives, can limit the scope of the assessment to make it more efficient. The ANADER assessment focused on gender capacity at the field-level because of their involvement in the implementation of Mars’s V4C project; this eliminated the need to consider the entire organization, and focused the research on the field-level implementation of the organizational gender systems.

The assessment team then needs to get everyone on board. Arranging leadership buy-in is an essential first step which will ensure that the assessment can be successfully carried out, and the results implemented. Staff in field offices and on the ground also need to be briefed on the assessment’s objectives and procedure, as well as their expected level of participation. This will promote ownership of the process, and present an opportunity to clarify the procedure and assuage any concerns. It can be most efficient to brief staff during an all-staff meeting. The work plan developed by the assessment team can serve as a basis for this briefing.