Side event: No One Left Behind- Gender Responsive Evaluation at UNODC

Katharina Kayser (Chair): This is an opportunity to raise questions and concerns and raise your thoughts on what we consider to be a transformative process. We would like to thank member states for their financial support. In UNODC, all projects and programmes need good evaluation to reach SDG 5. My panel: Christina Santillan is our gender expert, she has developed norms and guidelines for us; Zhannat Kosmukhamedova is an expert in HIV with a gender focal point; Nan Fife represents the US here who are a big funder here; Pascale and Adan work for the evaluation unit. I head the independent evaluation department of UNODC

As an individual evaluation unit, we are positioned outside the normal structure. We help governments to build evaluation into their ministries – our work is beyond this organisation.

You have seen this ‘no-one left behind’ slogan? It is more than a slogan. IF you take it seriously you see the importance of reaching out to anyone on the margins. It has a strong convening role and an amplifying voice.

Let me point out a report that points out what it means if a big part of society is left out of decision making processes.

The SDGs allow us to measure how we’re doing. In terms of evaluatory challenges. We are at an incipient stage still. We rely on external experts. We measured how many were women and how many were men. We need to take self reflection seriously. We are now saying that although we might currently have much data in certain areas, we look at the SDGs and see what data we need.

Nan Fife: Thank you for inviting me to this panel. My role is to give a member states perspective on this. We strongly support the evaluations conducted by UNODC. The US contributed $1.5 million last year to evaluation at the UN. We know that considering gender in programme planning is essential. A US example of gender sensitive programming is the bureau which internationally supports women with substance abuse disorders. We have seen a decrease in suicide attempts. Given central role that mother’s play in development of children, and how at risk children are if they are parented by someone taking drugs. We are looking forward to hearing results of funds we’ve given.

Adan Ruiz Villalba: What are the substantive challenges that gender and equality give to our projects?

Zhannat: I will talk about our work. We are UNAIDS. We provide countries technical assistance in developing and implementing HIV services for drug users and prisoners. People who inject drugs are too familiar with stigma. The proportion of women who use drugs is growing. HIV prevalence is higher among women who use drugs. There is a lot of stigma and descrimination faced by these women, as well as human rights abuses. What makes women ignored in the wider drug use community? Women are often involved in sex work as well as drugs. Women who use drugs also could be registered and this registration could be used as a criteria to have thier children taken away from tehm. Drug user registration could lead to otehr forums of descrimination. Non-gender specific services do not meet their needs and so women don’t use them, or else they do not feel comforatble with them becasue they are implemetned by men. Women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence when they are incarated. Often women have to have tier children taken with them to prison, or their children are at risk in community while they’re in prision. sexual and reproductive health in hte prisoin is not always provided. On release from prison, she may be such a target of stigma and descrimination tehy cannot even return to their families. i just wanted to highlight the key factors that face women that use drugs.

Adan: These are pressing and important challenges. Do you have a way of tackling these challenges?

Cristina: Let me share my thought on this. What we understand by gender responsive evaluation. Related to what Zhannat was mentioning, a key question for gender responsive evaluation is ‘what are the stereotypes that are at play which lead to women getting ignored?’ And, how do we undertake the evaluation differently. The way we are doing it right now is not the right way. It’s about how we create and sustain an evaluation process that creates the conditions for these issues to be raised comfortably. How can we get people to give us honest and open discussion about their experiences? Gender responsive evaluation is about why and how these programmes are functioning as they do. Gender is not just about women, it’s about other groups who are marginalised, and about women and men in their diversity. We should be looking at age, origin, religion etc. – complex because reality is complex. Marginalised groups have critical insights who can give us a lot of information for our analysis.

Three main principles for gender responsive evaluation:

  • Inclusion of different stake holders
  • Participation, we need to be told people’s experiences
  • Fair

Gender response evaluation is a means to an end – better programming. Four benefits of gender responsive evaluation.

  • Accountability
  • No one left behind
  • Learning and guidance
  • Reinforced capacity

Adan: What are the gender group in the UN doing about this?

Pascale: It is much more complex than ticking a box saying that we have mainstreamed gender. Gender needs to be in title. Team needs to be gender balanced. Recommendations given at the beginning have to be relevant. We are reviewing our evaluation handbook. We are investing in training in order to understand this better. It is the task of evaluation to look at the process, but if we do not have the right people’s voices we might never know useful things to do. I.e., a successful programme used a mobile van to go out to meet women in rural areas.

Question: Evaluation in my experience, comes at the end of a programme or a project. What can we do at the beginning to get a project designed so it takes into account gender?

Adan: We sometimes evaluate in the middle, and we can evaluate programme at the beginning – tick boxes to see whether gender has been central in planning.

Pascale: We have all the reports from previous evaluations so in designing programmes you can look to them for recommendations.

Question: Sometimes a 50/50 split of gender in a team means it’s still dominated by men, how do you deal with this?

Question: I think there is a real issue where we could do a lot more cooperation – how to improve, without necessarily creating a huge burden, and make sure that we are really being inclusive? I.e., with disabled people or many other ways that people can be marginalised. Is evaluation the best way to spend money?

Cristina: I support your proposal for being more inclusive, but I cannot make decisions like that.

Katharina: It is money very well spent, even though evaluation is expensive but this McKinsey report shows it is more expensive not to do a gender responsive evaluation report.

Question: How can we follow up on evaluation? We might often evaluate but the recommendations are rarely fully implemented. How can we ensure that the learning is adequately reflected in future work?

Cristina: While the evaluation is happening there needs to be continuous engagement with programme and team, and continuous recommendations. That’s what I’d suggest for the proces

Chair: Is there anyone in the audience who wants to comment on these questions?

 

 

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