Introduction to Feminist MEAL
For more than a decade, Oxfam Canada has been developing and refining feminist approaches to assess and learn from its projects in ways that challenge us to think differently about knowledge and power – redefining who and what is valued most.
First, let’s start with an understanding of what we mean by MEAL:
- Monitoring: the continual collection and analysis of project data to help with ongoing project management.
- Evaluation: usually completed at the beginning, middle and end of a project, evaluations provide bigger picture information about the value or significance of projects, which helps us to develop new projects or make program or policy changes in the long-term.
- Accountability: activities and planning that ensure any knowledge that emerges from projects is accessible and relevant to our partners and the people we work with.
- Learning: the steps we take to apply the knowledge that emerges from projects in order to make evidence-based decisions.
At Oxfam Canada, we use a feminist lens to assess and learn from projects. Doing so involves focusing heavily on: ethics and how they apply to the lives and experiences of women and girls, intersectionality, women’s rights and power relations.
Feminist MEAL challenges the international development sector to think differently about what knowledge is useful, pushes the boundaries of what data is captured and considered relevant, and questions who gives knowledge its meaning and power. Applying a feminist lens to MEAL requires that Oxfam staff apply as many feminist MEAL foundations as possible in our work. Our approach is as important as any of the specific processes used. To learn more, read our Guidance Note on Feminist MEAL.
Oxfam Canada lives our feminist values in every area of our work, including MEAL, through our 10 feminist principles (see below). We’re committed to shared decision-making and relationships that respect the autonomy and independence of our partners.
Click on the stories below to learn more about how feminist monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning is transforming how we understand our work at Oxfam Canada.