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In humanitarian settings, women and girls are at extremely high risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Quality services and programs to support SGBV survivors or those at risk of SGBV are crucial. Traditional approaches to program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) using quantitative surveys such as Likert-scales may not adequately allow women and girls to openly reflect on their experiences of accessing services. To address this M&E dilemma and to offer a more survivor-centred approach, the current work aims to offer beneficiaries an improved sense of voice and agency by giving them access to a safe space where their opinion, challenges and recommendations are captured. The ultimate objective remains informing SGBV programming to better serve women and girls.

Our project examines the use of SenseMaker® as an innovative M&E software tool to provide timely and useful evidence aimed at improving SGBV programs and services. SenseMaker® is a mixed quantitative/qualitative data collection app that can be used on smartphones, tablets or on a browser. Developed by Cognitive Edge, SenseMaker® is based on the premise that storytelling is a natural way for people to share complex information about their experiences and a way that we make sense of the world around us. For example, these are the anecdotes or stories that we tell family and friends about our experiences. After individuals have shared a story of interest related to a particular topic, SenseMaker® then presents a series of questions through which the narrator interprets the shared story. These questions provide the quantitative data, which are then contextualised by way of the accompanying narrative.

In the current project, funded through the HIF’s “Exploring New Ways to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation of Gender-Based Violence Interventions in the Humanitarian Settings“, beneficiaries who have participated in any of the SGBV programs offered by six partnering organizations in Lebanon are being asked to complete a SenseMaker® survey about their experience accessing the program or service. The stories are shared anonymously (either audio recorded or typed into a story box) and then beneficiaries interpret their own experiences through a series of SenseMaker® questions.

The pilot is being co-implemented by the ABAAD Resource Centre for Gender Equality , Akkar Network Development (AND) , Caritas , International Medical Corps (IMC) , International Rescue Committee (IRC) , and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Lebanon supporting and coordinating activities. Data collection began at the end of May and in the first weeks of implementation, 69 self-interpreted narratives about experiences accessing a SGBV program have been collected across five sites in Lebanon. Data collection is expected to continue until mid August.

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