Frequently Asked Questions

A: The GAM is accessed from the website. It can be used to enter information directly while online. The form can also be bookmarked for later use, to access and enter information when the computer is off-line.

A: No! The GAM can be applied to country- and cluster-level strategies and reports, to see how well they integrate and address gender and age differences. It has also been found helpful and is being used in development, peace-building and governance settings.

A: YES. The GAM (design phase) is mandatory for all projects developed and submitted for funding in the current Humanitarian Response Planning Cycle. The monitoring phase of the GAM can be applied at any point during implementation, though it is only mandatory at the end of the project. Many donors are also expected to make GAM use a requirement. As an IASC tool that improves the quality of humanitarian programming, IASC agencies are also expected to use it.

A: A box has been added to the OPS system requiring the GAM code as well as the GAM reference number. This step is mandatory for all projects submitted in the OPS. As from January 2019, the GMS system will require the GAM code and the GAM reference number. The CBPF GMS will allow partner to use the same OPS linked GAM code or create a new GAM code for the CBPF project.

A: OPS GAM codes will be correlated with completed forms in the GAM database. Projects reporting a GAM code without a corresponding project in the database will be easily identified.

A: The GAM is not primarily intended to be an externally applied ‘testing’ or ‘compliance’ tool: it is a learning tool for project improvement by the designers and implementers. It is not possible to review all the elements of the GAM for each project. PLEASE SEE THE NOTE ON PROJECT VETTING UNDER ‘RESOURCES’.

Donors, clusters, and/or HCT are recommended to spot-check GAM and GEM codes as part of the project review process. This can be done by a panel with gender, age and programming experience collaboratively spot check to review random or different combinations of the 4 key GEMs.

Clusters or organizations may also decide to identify which GEMS are most important or of greatest interest to them. Depending on the country/cluster/donor strategy, reviewers may decide to focus on participation, accountability/complaints mechanisms or perhaps program consistency and responsiveness.

If reviewers feel that the key indicators (“GEMs”) have not been adequately addressed in design (i.e. that gender differences are clearly evident in the analysis, tailoring of activities, influence/participation, and project benefits) they may want to refer to the narrative explanations and references provided in the GAM tool, to ensure good gender programming is equally reflected in the project narrative and logframe.

A: At the end of the GAM, users receive a report of each GEM code and the overall project GAM code received. IMPORTANT – Before pressing ‘submit,’ SAVE a PDF version of your results – you will not be able to retrieve this after you submit. To save your GAM, press the PRINTER icon at the top of the form, but instead of a printer, press CHANGE and select “save as PDF.”

The PDF can be uploaded as an attachment in OPS. Software is in development that will allow users to recall and receive a report of all information submitted; this is expected to be available in early 2019.

A: The feedback comes from the tool itself. The GEM codes indicate where attention to gender or age can be strengthened, and where programming elements (GEMs) are missing. It is up to project holders to make these changes, using the Action Plan section of the GAM if desired. GenCap Advisors and many gender focal points have been trained to provide support with the GAM. PLEASE SEE THE NOTE ON PROJECT VETTING UNDER RESOURCES.

A: It is for each Agency and/or Cluster to inform its partners about the specific age breakdowns required for their projects. Age categories are different for different organizations, so the GAM uses broad age group descriptions instead. This allows comparison and analysis beyond the agency or cluster level. While the GAM only looks at generalized age groups (younger, older, etc.) the cluster is likely to expect a more detailed breakdown in project documents.

A: The GAM tool determines the code for each GEM (program step or element), based on the answers provided. The tool also provides the GAM code for the whole project. Users do not rate or assign a code for a project.

Keep in mind that you will not be applying the GAM to someone else’s project; you will only apply it to your own projects. The purpose is for program staff to reflect on the results and identify ways to improve the project. When project holders see that one activity does not get a good GEM code, they will decide to go back to the project and see how that element can be improved.

A: The Name is whatever the project holder decides to call their project, usually the same as the name submitted to OCHA if the project is part of an appeal. Project ID refers to the OPS project number, only available after a project has been accepted for inclusion in the appeal. Project ID can be left blank until entered in the OPS system and a number generated.

A: GEM E reminds that all humanitarian action should try to reduce the risk of gender-based violence. The Code indicates whether your actions to reduce risk of GBV include different gender and age groups. If you feel GBV prevention is not strong enough in your project, discuss with others how this can be improved. The GAM simply draws your attention to this topic and the gender and age groups affected by your intervention.

A: Percentages are often more realistic targets than numbers. You may not know exactly how many people will participate, but you CAN commit that 50% (or any %) of them will be female!

A: When returning to a GAM you’ve already entered, it will ask again about things that may have changed:

  1. Project Phase (Design, Monitoring During, Monitoring End of Project), and person completing the form,
  2. Project Details – Gender and Age Groups

You will NOT repeat the two screens requesting:

  1. Project Details – Basic information (Agency, OPS number, Years & Duration, Location)
  2. Project Details -sectors

A: The 12 GEMs reflect the basic requirements for good programming. Some of them may be more difficult to achieve, particularly for some organizations or clusters. This is why project teams are encouraged to apply the GAM together, to discuss what realistic changes or improvements can be made to be more responsive and inclusive of gender and age differences.

A: GAM application during monitoring is only mandatory at the end of the project. However, it is recommended to apply it at least once during implementation to identify areas where improvements can be made. The monitoring GAM should only be applied after project implementation has been underway for at least 3 months of implementation have elapsed. Very short projects (3 months or less) may choose to only apply it on completion.

Project holders/implementing partners are the only people who should apply the GAM to their project. While OCHA, donors and others may spot check GAM and GEM results for consistency or validation during monitoring exercises, only project holders have the depth of knowledge to answer the questions in the GAM.

A: Yes. If a project is already operating, it is not necessary to do the GAM for the design phase. Ideally the GAM (monitoring) should be used after the project has been underway for at least 3 months, and again at the end of the projects.

A: The GAM is not a test! The main purpose of the GAM is to encourage thinking and learning, to help humanitarians decide how to improve their projects. How the examiners understand the questions doesn’t matter.

The GAM provides topics and questions for project teams to discuss, reflect on, and decide if there are ways they can improve the project. It can be completed by a single monitoring officer, but users report it is most beneficial when project teams work together to complete the exercise. Nobody is going to apply the GAM to your project (this is very different from the old gender marker.)

YOU decide if YOU are happy with how gender and age concerns are reflected in your project. The GAM merely guides a reflective, learning process.

A: Unlike the old gender marker, the GAM is not a “compliance” tool. It does not seek to enforce a certain standard of gender equality programming. It is a reflective learning tool. This means that the GAM results are intended to encourage thought and discussion by the people who design and monitor projects and programmes. Clusters and donors may decide to use GAM codes to indicate an acceptable threshold for funding, or they may have expectations for coding improvement between the Design and Monitoring Phases.

A: At present, reports (e.g. for clusters/sectors, agencies, or countries) can be generated by making a request to iasc-gam@un.org. Software and protocols for GAM access and reports are currently being developed.

A: Agencies usually require the use of their own gender marker for internal project documents. Projects developed for a humanitarian cluster/sector or applying for inter-agency (UN) humanitarian funds must apply the GAM. If in doubt, check within your own organization about whether the internal marker is required in addition to the GAM for humanitarian appeal proposals.

A: Humanitarian programs are expected to demonstrate relevance, responsiveness and accountability, particularly with respect to gender and age; this was underscored at the World Humanitarian Summit, and in the Grand Bargain. The GAM is the simplest tool for doing precisely this. Getting programs right may take time and effort, but this is not optional.

GAM users report that it takes a project team of 4-5 members about 90 minutes to discuss performance on each of the 12 gender equality measures and decide necessary program changes.

A: No. Gender mainstreaming is a basic requirement for all humanitarian interventions: UN Agencies and INGOs will not accept programming that does not mainstream attention to gender equality

A: It is possible that correcting unintended effects might add to costs, but failure to do so would not only be bad programming but could also do harm to beneficiaries.