In Bangladesh, patriarchal norms, ideology and social institutions shape women's role and status in general. Within this patriarchal system external forces like NGOs may affect the relationships between men and women with respect to prestige, power and control, by enhancing or lowering the status of women in the different spheres and locations. BRAC as a national NGO involved in poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment represents one of these external forces. Since women are relatively more adversely affected by poverty BRAC emphasises gender equity in its development programmes for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. The various programmes of Brac reflect the organisation’s concern with this disadvantaged group. In the process of implementing these programmes the need was felt to develop a positive attitude in the society about improving gender relations and enhancing gender equity and equality, which would ultimately contribute to women’s empowerment at individual, social and organisational level.
The GQAL programme for VO members was initiated with this aim in mind. The project was initiated as a two-year pilot in three areas of Brac’s development programme. Project activities were carried out between November 2001 and December 2003, and an evaluation to assess the effects of the pilot programme was undertaken during February to May 2004. The objectives of the evaluation exercise was as follows:
a) Using quarterly monitoring data the evaluator will assess whether the outputs in the
log frame have been achieved.
b) The evaluator will identify whether there is any differences between the cells in
terms of villagers’ knowledge, ideology and practice regarding gender issues.
c) The evaluator will identify the main factors affecting villagers’ knowledge, ideology
and practice regarding gender issues in different cells.
d) The evaluator will examine whether the pilot project is replicable and what are the
steps should be taken up for replication of the pilot project nationally.