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Workshop on Feasibility and Value of Using SenseMaker® in the Humanitarian Setting in Lebanon

Members of international non-governmental organisations, local organizations and partners of the research project „Exploring New Ways to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Interventions in the Humanitarian Setting“ participated in training on the use of SenseMakerÒ in Beirut at the end of October.

The aim of the project, funded by ELHRA and initiated by Dr. Susan Bartels from Queen’s University[1], Kingston, Ontario (Canada) is to examine the use of this innovative software as an M&E tool to provide timely and useful evidence aimed at informing quality GBV programs and services. Previously, this mixed-method approach has been used in Lebanon to better understand factors contributing to child marriage among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.[2]

As a result of that experience, SenseMaker® was considered to be efficient for data collection and was believed to be acceptable to participants in a refugee setting. Thus, the objective of this project is to explore whether SenseMaker® complements more traditional M&E approaches and whether it can offer new insights to improve and adapt GBV services and programs to better meet the needs of beneficiaries. During the workshop a SenseMaker® survey evaluating GBV programs and services was designed to document and reflect on the process of integrating the tool into an organization’s Monitoring and Evaluation Accountability and Learning (MEAL) process.

A well-functioning MEAL process is mandatory in the humanitarian setting to determine if interventions went as planed and if they do meet the goals and objectives. Discussing the current perception of M&E tools and its benefits and gaps, social workers generally agreed that specific measurements for GBV including both quantitative and qualitative data are currently missing, although some similar toolkits do exist (e.g. GBV Information Management System (IMS)). The piloting will take place across multiple sites in spring and will be followed by its analysis and a follow up workshop in September 2018. Hence, NGO partners like ABAAD, AND, IRC and UNFPA were asked to share their field experience with GBV in order to benefit from their expertise and to collect the most important M&E information.

When brainstorming types of data most useful for a rapid needs assessment in GBV, such as identifying affected populations, exposure risks and needed services, participants discussed how SenseMaker® could be used to gather this data. Some challenges were identified, however, such as diversity among participants, relevancy and comprehension of questions as well as logistic issues, such as the mode and the tracking of data collection on and off sites and the identification of various organizations willing to implement the project. Yet, SenseMaker® is different from other traditional tools in offering the unique capabilities to contextualize a large volume of stories being collected and to reduce the bias of interpretation and social desirability. Furthermore, results are quickly available and data can be filtered in many different ways. Hence, this study aims to identify whether SenseMaker® can be considered a useful M&E toolkit for GBV programs and services and, if so, to ensure the most effective and efficient use of M&E resources, as well as to enhance its accountability and transparency.

[1] Department of Public Health Sciences and Emergency Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

[2] Bakhache N, Michael S, Roupetz S, Berquist H, Davison C, Bartels S. Implementation of a SenseMaker ® research project among Syrian refugees in. Glob Health Action. 2017

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