Self-Assessment Tool

Toolkit arrow-right Before you start

This tool helps encourage organisations to undertake a thorough self-evaluation and to assess their current level of commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice. It provides guidance and resources to help organisations identify areas for improvement and develop a roadmap towards becoming a more equitable organisation.

Table of content

Annex 1: Sample questions for an organisational survey
Annex 2: Questions to steer a conversation on the organisational survey analysis
Annex 3: Action plan template
Annex 4: Self-assessment case stories


Intersectionality offers an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. This makes us aware of the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as ethnicity, class, gender, age, sexual orientation and ability. We also then see how these overlap to create compounded and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage, as well as power and privilege.

When applied to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), an intersectional lens can enable us to identify the interlocking vulnerabilities that make existing barriers to the realisation of SRHR even more difficult to overcome, as well as the societal and systemic changes that are necessary to tackle these vulnerabilities effectively. Focusing on intersectionality also helps us to assess assumptions, prejudices, ideologies and power imbalances, and to determine how these affect both traditional (e.g. religious, cultural) and modern SRH practices (e.g. policies, regulations).

Social accountability begins at home. If we as SRHR civil society organisations want to advocate the application of an intersectional lens to improve SRHR, it is essential to understand our own biases, assumptions and approaches. This intersectionality self-assessment tool is designed to aid you in the exercise of becoming more aware of your own position and how that affects your interaction with the world around you. That is an essential step in addressing preconceptions, power imbalances and other challenges related to inclusion, equity and participation in your own organisation.

The objectives of a self-assessment are:

  • To inspire honest self-examination of personal values, attitudes and behaviour patterns related to SRHR for all and regarding different (overlapping) identities. And how these may influence your advocacy efforts.
  • To assess the extent to which staff members of an organisation find that diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice are grounded in their organisation, and to take stock of the strengths and weaknesses within organisations.
  • To develop a plan per organisation to transform systems and structures for diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice.
  • To reflect as a group within each organisation on the anonymised results of the assessment. Taking the time to discuss in depth the common beliefs, attitudes and norms – as well as the differences – while challenging assumptions and myths. And to develop a joint action plan, to begin to tackle at least some of the identified challenges at an organisational level.

This tool provides guidance on how to undertake intersectional self-assessment – at both an organisational and an individual level. It outlines some practical steps in self-assessment processes, and includes case stories, guiding questions, and an action planning template.

It is advisable to read our “Intersectionality 101” tool in combination with this tool.

Organisational self-assessment

The survey:

  • Create a survey for your organisational self-assessment (see Annex 1: sample questions for an organisational survey).
  • Hold internal consultations and make a list of people who should participate. Consider all staff, but also volunteers, board members or others who are relevant (depending on your organisational set-up).
  • Share the survey with the intended participants and give adequate time for responses. Encourage people to respond to the survey by a certain deadline.
  • Assign someone (for example from the Human Resources or Monitoring & Evaluation department) to collect and analyse the responses, and produce a report on the findings. This report should also be shared with the consultation facilitator.

Joint reflection and action planning:

  • Plan a session to discuss and analyse the survey findings (see Annex 2: questions to steer a conversation on the organisational survey analysis).
  • Decide on the mode of facilitation and identify a facilitator to lead the conversations. Ideally, this facilitator is someone external who can be more neutral.
  • Dedicate time to agree on actions to be taken in response to the findings.
  • Jointly develop recommendations for your organisational action plan to implementing your learning agenda (see Annex 3: action plan template). This should include tangible outcomes: the deliverables.


Ideally, two deliverables should emerge from the group discussions:

  • A brief report on the survey findings (result of the group discussions).
  • A plan for organisational strengthening activities in line with the survey findings (e.g. staff training, policy development, budgeting, monitoring & evaluation).

Individual self-assessment

For the partners in the Make Way programme, we have developed two case stories to help assess their employees’ own individual values and attitudes (see Annex 4: self-assessment case stories). These are two intersectional stories on matters related to sex and sexuality, age, ability and disability, and poverty. While going through the stories, and answering the questions, you start to realise and reflect on your own values and attitudes. Further analysis may show to what extent those values and attitudes impact the way you do your work, and how you view or approach others, especially the young people with compounded vulnerabilities you work with in your SRHR programmes.

There are many tools available that facilitate similar self-assessment and reflection processes. For some excellent tools on Value Clarification and Attitudes Transformation (VCAT) related to abortion, we would recommend you explore and use these Ipas resources:

This is a resource for trainers, programme managers and technical advisors who organise or facilitate training sessions and advocacy workshops in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Experienced trainers are provided with the background information, materials, instruction and tips they need to effectively facilitate VCAT interventions.

A toolkit that provides information and guidance on delivering and ensuring access to appropriate induced abortion care for young women (aged 10-24).

This publication supplements the training toolkit mentioned above, and modifies six VCAT activities to focus specifically on young women and abortion.

For guidance and activities on Gender Transformative Approaches (GTA), we would recommend exploring the Rutgers toolkit:

Annex 1: Sample questions for an organisational survey

Discovering how your organisation is working to guarantee inclusion, equity and justice.

These are survey questions that enable you to look at the policies, practices and tools your organisation  has in place concerning inclusion, equity and justice. The first set of statements refer to how much you know about what your organisation has in place to promote inclusion and equity. The second set of statements is about how well you think your organisation is managing matters related to inclusion, equity and justice.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Answer categories (to be ticked on paper or in an online survey format)

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither disagree nor agree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree
  • I don’t know
  1. My workplace has (or makes available) safe spaces where staff can share experiences on issues they face in the workplace.
  2. My organisation takes action to address issues raised by staff, addressing not only the issues at hand but also the deeper systemic causes.
  3. My organisation has inclusion and equity training available.
  4. My co-workers are a diverse group of people in terms of ethnicity, class, ability, sexuality, migratory status, etc.
  5. My organisation adapts benefits and services to changing conditions and innovative ideas, based on the needs of its employees (i.e. disabilities, mothers of young children, visual or hearing impairments, diabetic or asthmatic patients, religious practices, etc.).
  6. My organisation has people from minoritised groups represented in our board and senior leadership team.
  7. My organisation makes financial provisions to ensure that the workplace is open, safe, welcoming and accommodating to all people in their diversity.
  8. My organisation’s programmes and interventions reflect the needs of its target population(s).
  9. My organisation adheres to a code of conduct that upholds joint values and safeguards against unwanted behaviour in the workplace.
  10. My organisation uses any incidents that occur to adapt the response plan or protocol it has in place to safeguard staff against sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment.

What do you think about the quality of how your organisation addresses the situations described in the statements below?

Answer categories:

  • Very poor
  • Poor
  • Acceptable
  • Good
  • Very good
  • I don’t know
  1. The way staff support each other when there is talk of discrimination, bias and equity at work.
  2. The way my organisation handles challenging and sometimes controversial issues related to inclusion, such as racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia.
  3. The way my organisation facilitates training on inclusion and equity at work.
  4. The way my organisation undertakes action to recruit, mentor and retain a representative number of minoritised groups within the organisation.
  5. The way my organisation accommodates employees (i.e. disabilities, mothers of young children, visual/hearing impairments, diabetic or asthmatic patients, religious practices, etc.).
  6. The way my organisation undertakes action to recruit and mentor people from minoritised groups to enable them to take on leadership positions.
  7. The way my organisation translates its vision and mission into programmes and interventions.
  8. The way my organisation facilitates access to a confidential counsellor who you can turn to if you are confronted with behaviour or circumstances you experience as unwanted.
  9. The way my organisation deals with incidents related to sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment.
  10. The way my organisation uses consciousness-raising training and events on issues related to being an open, safe and welcoming work environment for staff members.

Is there anything you wish to share that we did not ask?

(Leave an open space on your paper form or in the online survey format).

Annex 2: Questions to steer a conversation on the organisational survey analysis

After the surveys have been completed (anonymously), a session will need to be organised to discuss the outcomes. This should be a facilitated discussion that enables the group to talk about the analysis report in depth. It will help you to find the gaps in the policies, practices and tools your organisation has in place concerning inclusion and equity – and the employees’ knowledge of them. Together, you will identify the actions required, and develop an organisational plan to address the issues highlighted in the survey findings.

Guidance for the facilitator

Present the report with survey outcomes to the group, and give them a few minutes to reflect on this.

Suggested questions to ask the group:

  1. How do you feel about these outcomes?
  2. Is there anything that surprises you? Why?
  3. If you could change two things in the culture of your organisation, what would they be?
  4. Do the findings show that the policies in place are appropriate? Are they sufficient? Are they responsive to organisational demands, including in terms of the environment in which your organisation operates?
  5. Do the findings show that the policies are known among all staff? If not, what would be required?
  6. Do the findings show that the policies are implemented?
  7. Do the findings show that implementation is monitored?
  8. How would you recommend adapting your programming in light of the findings, in terms of content, activities, and what you measure?
  9. How would you recommend adapting your budgeting in light of the findings? What would you prioritise or do differently?
  10. Can you discuss matters related to sexuality freely within your organisation?
  11. Can you discuss matters related to sexual orientation and gender identity freely within your organisation?
  12. Can you discuss matters related to abortion freely within your organisation?
  13. Did the questions in the survey address all the relevant areas of concern to make sure your organisation promotes equality, equity, inclusion and diversity? If not, what area was missing?

Take sufficient time to reflect together on the actions that can be taken to address matters that arise during this discussion. Depending on the size of the group, it might be advisable to do some work in smaller groups as well.

Provide a review of the survey findings (on culture, policies, practice).

Provide a report of the group discussion on the organisational scan.

  1. Give a summary of the topics that emerged.
  2. Specify the strengths identified.
  3. Specify the gaps identified.

Turn these points into recommendations and include them in the action plan (Annex 3).

Annex 3: Action plan template

After your analysis and the reflection on the survey findings, the next step is to jointly develop an action plan with recommendations for your organisational learning agenda. The following is important:

  • Define specific actions for each objective in your organisational strengthening plan.
  • Try to be concrete about the form your organisational learning could take (e.g. teaching webinars, regular safe discussions, collective coaching moments).
  • Describe who is responsible for each activity, and give the timeline, including when important goals should be achieved and the means of verification. See template below.
  • Finally, describe how your action plan will be monitored.

Action plan template

Annex 4: Self-assessment case stories

The following exercise is meant to help you gain an understanding of where you stand on different issues that may be relevant to the minoritised youth you work with. It presents two case stories, followed by statements. Read the stories and pick the answer that you most agree with for the statements that follow.

This exercise is anonymous, so please feel free to give an honest response from your personal perspective – not the most ‘politically correct’ answer. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They will serve as an entry point to determining the learning agenda for your programmes. The questions can be answered online or on paper, and it will take 30-45 minutes.

After the case stories exercise, the facilitator guides a reflection session on this self-assessment. Some guiding questions are provided below the case stories. Remember that the reflection is meant to be a dialogue, and every person has the right to their own views and beliefs. However, considering the SRHR advocacy you are involved in, it is important to establish some basic values within your organisation, such as non-discrimination and a rights-based approach.

Individual value clarification: Discovering our own views on the different identities in our world

In this section, you will read about Grace, Sarah and Michael. The stories start with an introduction, followed by Sarah’s story and Michael’s story. After each story, you will find a number of statements. And, as already said, there are no wrong or right answers.

Introducing Grace, Sarah and Michael

That fateful phone call on the morning of Easter Sunday in 2001 changed Grace’s life forever. There had been an accident, her husband didn’t make it, and her five-year-old son would never be able to use his legs again. Overnight she found herself widowed with two young children, Sarah and Michael. She promised herself that she would do whatever it took to give them a decent life. In addition to working as a domestic help, she sold vegetables at a market, making just enough money to keep the kids in school and put food on the table. On those long exhausting days, she’d pray to God and remind herself that soon the kids would grow up and be able to support her. Days turned into years, and before she knew it Sarah was 16 and Michael 14, almost adults ready to take their rightful place in the world.

Case story 1 – Sarah’s story

Sarah had grown up without a father, and her mother was always working. From a young age, she had to take on a lot of responsibility in the house, including cooking, cleaning and looking after her younger brother Michael, who had a physical impairment. While other 16-year-old girls were busy studying, dancing and talking about boys, Sarah spent her evenings working as a receptionist at a local hotel, to make some extra money and lessen her mother’s burden.

Ted was the manager of the hotel. He was charming and kind, and seemed to have a soft spot for Sarah. He would often comment on her looks and give her expensive gifts. Sarah enjoyed the attention, but she knew that he was married and 20 years older than her, so she never really expected anything more. One day, Ted asked her to stay late after her shift to help with some administrative tasks. When they were alone in his office, he kissed her, and she happily kissed him back. Soon, a few stolen kisses turned into weeks of ‘late-night shifts’, and Sarah found herself madly in love. Ted said he loved her too and would leave his wife so that they could be married when she turned 18. All they had to do was keep this a secret until then, because they would both lose their jobs if this got out.

Sarah was so caught up in the thrill of first love that she didn’t realise she was pregnant. When she told Ted, he became hostile, saying that she had been unfaithful to him, and threatened to fire her if she made it public.

Sarah didn’t want to deal with the stigma of becoming a single mum at 16, but she had been told all her life that abortion was a sin. And even if she did decide to have an abortion, she couldn’t afford to pay for it to be done at a hospital. Although abortion had recently become legal in her country, Sarah knew that, as an unmarried pregnant teenager, the doctors would judge her harshly. They might even contact her mother. What would she say? Sarah was overwhelmed with anxiety; she knew she had to find a way out soon.

Her friend knew a woman in the village who performed abortions in her house, but there were stories of girls getting seriously ill afterwards, sometimes even dying in the process. Sarah was desperate and decided to go ahead, despite the risks involved. Two weeks after that nightmarish procedure, Sarah was still having stomach cramps and bleeding. The woman had told her that she would ‘get back to normal’ within a week. Sarah was also losing a lot of weight and started looking very pale. When she looked her symptoms up online, she suspected she had an infection that, if left untreated, would make her infertile. Sarah believed that this was her punishment from God for having such an unsafe abortion. She had never felt lonelier or more scared.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

5 answer categories:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither disagree nor agree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree


  • Sarah made the right decision by having the abortion, despite it being unsafe.
  • Doctors should be able to demand parental consent when people younger than 18 want to have an abortion.
  • If safe abortion is made affordable, more young women would have an abortion.
  • Sarah and Ted’s relationship was consensual.
  • Ted should have paid for a safe abortion.
  • Dealing with the stigma of being unmarried and pregnant is better than getting an unsafe abortion.
  • Becoming infertile would be a fair punishment from God for having an abortion.
  • Sarah should have known better than to have an affair with Ted.
  • I would see Sarah and her story in a different light if her pregnancy was a result of Ted raping her.

What would you do in Sarah’s situation?

[open question]

Case story 2 – Michael’s story

Michael lost his legs at a young age and had been unable to walk for as long as he could remember. A few months ago, a teacher at his school enrolled him in an NGO programme that fitted young people with prosthetics. In addition to a prosthetic leg, he would also receive physical therapy at the local recreational centre. His new-found mobility opened up a whole new world for Michael. On top of that, he had met someone at his physical therapy classes. He was in love, and happier than he had ever been. The only issue was that the person he loved was a boy named Samuel.

Last summer, when all his friends were talking about the girls they liked, Michael never participated. They thought it was because he was disabled, but Michael knew that it was because he had always liked boys. One day, when he knew his sister was doing extra shifts at the hotel and his mother was away working, he invited Samuel over to his house. They were watching TV and kissing on the couch as his sister walked in. When she saw them, she started crying and yelling loudly, saying that their whole family was going to go to hell. She left before Michael could stop her.

The following Sunday, his mother Grace took him to church earlier than usual and said they needed to meet Pastor David. Michael had heard that Pastor David ran a church camp for the lost souls who had strayed towards homosexuality – where they could pray the gay away. Pastor David welcomed them and, after saying a short prayer, asked Michael if he had anything to confess? He meekly said, “no”. Grace did not talk to him the entire way home after church. When they got home, she started packing a suitcase for him and said, “I do not know where I went wrong in your upbringing for you to think it is okay to sin this way. I will not let you be even more of an outcast than you already are. You will be going away to church camp and get all these unnatural ideas out of your head, and we will never talk about this phase of your life again.” Michael had never seen his mother so angry. He knew that all protest was futile, and his only option was to go along with it. He had only just discovered what it felt like to be free, and now he would have to give it all up again.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

5 answer categories:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither disagree nor agree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree


  • Michael can choose to be gay or straight.
  • Michael’s friends were right to think that he wouldn’t be interested in girls because of his disability.
  • It is possible to pray your way out of homosexuality.
  • Michael is gay because he is disabled.
  • Michael is gay because he grew up without a father.
  • It is Grace’s fault that Michael is gay.
  • Being gay and disabled would make Michael more stigmatised in society than if he was only gay.
  • Michael is too young to know if he is really gay, it is just a phase.
  • Grace made the right decision to send Michael to church camp.

What would you do if you were in Michael’s shoes?

[open question]

Facilitated reflection

After the exercise questions have been answered anonymously, a trained facilitator guides a reflection session to discuss the outcomes. This discussion will enable the group to look closely at common attitudes, beliefs, norms and values. It will also help identify whether participants want to learn more about a particular issue in light of the findings. These areas for further learning can then be added to the organisation’s action plan as an activity.

Guidance for the facilitator

Present some general quantitative outcomes to the group (e.g. most people said xxxx, only one person thinks xxxx). Give participants a few minutes to reread the stories and gather their thoughts.

Suggested questions to ask the group:

  1. How do you feel about these outcomes?
  2. Is there anything that surprises you? Why?
  3. With regards to the introductory piece – Do you think Grace has agency? How/why?
  4. In what ways was Sarah empowered and disempowered in her story?
  5. Would you feel differently about Sarah’s decision if her pregnancy was the result of ‘explicit’ sexual abuse?
  6. What would need to change for Sarah to be able to freely access health services?
  7. What are the various intersecting identities that minoritise Michael and make him more vulnerable to stigma and abuse in society?
  8. Do you think Michael had any other options than to silently accept his fate? What option?
  9. What would need to change so that Michael is able to live freely in society?
  10. Is it possible to work on an issue if you don’t agree with it morally? How?



Your questions and suggestions:

"*" indicates required fields

Your question or suggestion:

"*" indicates required fields