What is the GEM+ Toolkit?

The GEM+ toolkit is made available primarily to support Oxfam and partners in-country to design robust market-based livelihoods projects and programmes. It hosts a selection of tools that bring together good practice guidance on how to collect, analyse and integrate information applying Oxfam’s Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) approach – more information on the GEM programme is available below.

A revised toolkit

The GEM+ toolkit can be used to design new programmes or improve and scale up existing ones. To-date Oxfam has been using this methodology and a selection of tools in 14 countries around the world for project design. The first version of this toolkit launched internally in May 2013, and this revised version has been launched in June 2016. We revised it for four reasons;

  1. To improve the user-friendliness
  2. Update existing tools as well as introduce a selection of new ones
  3. Make it publicly accessible

The fourth reason, which explains the newly introduced ‘+’, is to enable practitioners working in crisis-prone and post-conflict settings use a markets-based framework of analysis to help beneficiaries recover quicker and improve their resilience for the future. The GEM+ toolkit provides a range of tools that go beyond long-term development work to support programming that is looking to transition from humanitarian to development contexts, thus including recovery and preparedness phases. The ‘+’ emphasizes not only the extended range of  tools and approaches, but also the broader range of people that GEM + programmes aim to support.

Bridging the gap between humanitarian response and development work.

While GEM programme primarily targets market-ready groups or individuals, the ‘+’ indicates that the approach now encompass those groups that are usually not considered by development efforts, because of their total lack of assets or high level of vulnerability to even small shocks. The GEM + toolkit helps better understand how some of the marginalised groups (eg: the land less and absolute poor) can best shift from food insecurity to resilient livelihoods.

While the role of markets in delivering humanitarian assistance is now widely acknowledged, the opportunity of supporting markets to reinforce their capacities and resilience, remains largely the domain of developmental strategies and interventions. The GEM + toolkit has been designed to speak to  development and humanitarian workers, by putting vulnerable groups at the centre of the analysis. Some of the tools of the toolkit, for instance the market selection, market mapping and the Impact group, will particularly appeal to practitioners working on DRR, emergency responses and recovery.

Getting your feedback

While some tools have been tried and tested many times, others are newly developed…. and we might have made a typo in some places or linked to the wrong thing. But like you we’re practitioners and so learn from our mistakes – so it would be great if you could provide user-feedback through the ‘feedback’ tab which you can find in the bottom right-hand of the screen.

The GEM programme

Oxfam’s Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) programme is a cutting edge approach to sustainable livelihoods development, driving change in markets and social systems to empower women and men smallholders, and integrating the organization’s expertise in three areas;

  1. Improving smallholder access to agricultural markets
  2. Women’s economic leadership
  3. Adaptation to and reduction of risks, including climate change

By integrating these thematic areas GEM programmes and projects in-country are designed to empower women and men smallholders to improve and sustain their livelihoods through more consistent sale of goods to the market, greater bargaining power through collective action, and improved resilience to shocks. Ensuring that changes are not just limited to localised communities, but have a far wider impact is brought about through the underlying driver of delivering systemic change. More information about the GEM programme is available from the Women’s Economic Empowerment in Agriculture knowledge hub.