Supporting Evidence-Based Decision-Making
MSH prioritizes monitoring and evaluation efforts in order to garner health information and facilitate evidence-based decision-making. This includes not simply disaggregating data by sex , but also identifying women and girls in need and ensuring project designs incorporate appropriate strategies for reaching them. For example, we have developed community-based systems to track women of reproductive age and ensure family planning and reproductive health products and services were made available to them.
Gender is a key cross-cutting consideration in MSH’s global Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) program. This program, funded by USAID for $198M over 5 years, builds upon MSH’s successes and lessons learned from its preceding Leadership, Management and Sustainability project, to promoting gender equity within health systems and investing in women’s leadership. A few examples of strategies that the project has successfully introduced to meet these objectives include the following:
- Incorporating gender into training programs: MSH mainstreamed gender into all of its training programs and several programs included full sessions on gender issues, including preventing and managing gender-based violence in the workplace and ensuring gender-equitable personnel policies for recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention.
- Partnering with women leaders: LMG conducted a series of interviews with women leaders across Africa to better understand the challenges they face and the needs they see for encouraging the next generation of women leaders. In addition to documenting and disseminating the stories collected, MSH is working to introduce new activities that respond to the information shared by the participants. For example, several of the women interviewed referenced the need for networks for women leaders to mentor and support one another and LMG is responsively working to establish such networks.
- Promoting gender equity at the country level: MSH has also been introducing gender activities through its field programs. For example, in Afghanistan, LMG is conducting a gender audit to ensure that gender issues are understood and addressed in the project’s design and activities. Furthermore, in Ethiopia, MSH is working with the Gender Directorate of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop a curriculum on gender mainstreaming for MOH staff and to develop the leadership skills of members of the Gender Directorate team
- Targeting women with disabilities: In cooperation with USAID’s Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau’s Programs for Vulnerable Populations, MSH is also supporting efforts to help those with disabilities, and particularly women with disabilities. Through LMG, and by applying its gender approach, MSH is ensuring these vulnerable populations have equitable access to essential health services and are able to participate in all aspects of the health system. For example, MSH is supporting the Women in Leadership for Women with Disabilities imitative.