Author: Häusermann, J.
The Master Plan of Operations 2002-2006 (MPO) between the Government of Mozambique (GoM) and UNICEF states that the aim of the Country Programme (CP) is to "support and strengthen Mozambican commitment and capacities to promote, protect and fulfil child rights, meet their basic needs and expand opportunities for children to reach their fullest potential." The Partners are committed to using a human rights based approach to programming (HRBAP). Support to the GoM with respect to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and protection is one of the three priorities identified for the CP.
The aim of the Evaluation is to review the implementation of the HRBAP within the context of the MPO's cross-cutting theme of HIV/AIDS. It forms part of the Mid-term Review of the Mozambique CP, which is being undertaken in order to allow mid-course adjustments and the identification of measures to further improve and strengthen the Programme. The objectives of the Evaluation are to:
(a) identify lessons learned about both successes and constraints in the process of applying a HRBAP within UNICEF's programme priority of addressing HIV/AIDS
(b) facilitate participation of rights-holders and duty-bearers in the assessment and evaluation of the HRBAP.
The Evaluation Team was requested to focus primarily on process, rather than on outcome or impact, since at the mid point of the CP, it is still in the process of implementation. Although the TOR for the Evaluation limited it to a review of the HRBAP in implementing the AIDS priority, since this is a cross-cutting issue, it was sometimes necessary to consider the CP as a whole.
Findings and Conclusions:
UNICEF is to be congratulated on the introduction of the HRBAP into its Mozambique Country Programme (CP) and for its transparency in commissioning an external evaluation at the mid-term of the CP. The joint GoM/UNICEF MPO illustrates an example of a human rights-based country programme and the experience of its implementation provides useful examples for other country programmes. This Evaluation recognises that the process of implementation of the Mozambique CP is only half-way through and that the modalities of implementation are still being articulated and developed.
The Evaluation found that, by and large, the CP was designed and is being implemented in line with the HRBAP and is leading to capacity development of rights-holders and duty-bearers. The overall difficulty with the design of the MPO remains its lack of a clear CP goal for the implementation of HRBAP. This can be contrasted with the Uganda Country Programme at its Mid-Term Review. This contains specific Country Programme goals relating to HRBAP with defined objectives and the desired HRBAP process results are identified. Although many of the objectives highlighted in the Ugandan Country Programme are integrated into aspects of the Mozambican CP, the identification of a specific CP goal would strengthen the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the HRBAP in Mozambique, both in terms of process and outcome.
An element of confusion seemed also to remain in some project officers' minds about human rights principles and norms, and their relevance to effective and sustainable programming. This appeared to stem from a lack of clarity about the core content of the HRBAP and its value to the CP. Despite considerable training efforts when the HRBAP was first introduced, due to staff changes, only half of the project officers who responded to the questionnaire stated they had received training in implementing a HRBAP.
Those staff that have received training or have had access to the training manuals relating to a HRBAP seemed to have a better grasp of the subject and the implications of using a human rights approach. Other officers seemed less aware of the implications of the approach and appeared to equate it simply with CCD and/or a participatory approach. Whilst these are essential features of the approach, it is also necessary to bear in mind other key human rights principles, such as non-discrimination, equality, respect for dignity and privacy, responsibility, accountability, equitable access to resources and the principles of universality and indivisibility of human rights. These human rights principles appear less in the literature and discussions than one would have expected in a review of a CP implementing HRBAP. The Guidelines produced for the Mid-Term Review Working Groups provide a refreshing exception in this regard.
The Evaluation notes that there remain some people who consider that the HRBAP is inappropriate in certain circumstances because they consider that CCD is not the most appropriate tool in all circumstances, such as in emergencies. This opinion could be regarded as stemming from the assumption that the HRBAP is equivalent to CCD, but it is not. It is a much more nuanced approach.
Similar issues have arisen in the context of participation. It has been questioned whether it is appropriate for children to participate in all circumstances. This may be more a question of the manner in which participation is facilitated and the purpose to be achieved, than whether participation is desirable per se. Is the purpose of the participation simply to acquire information from the child? Or is it rather to assist the child to know and understand her rights and the steps she can take to claim and realise those rights? In the former circumstance, consideration must always be given to the psychological effects on the individual child of participating in any given activity, particularly if it is likely to raise fearful or painful memories (for example, in assessments of abuse or loss of a parent), but efforts can still be made to find appropriate ways of involving children and young persons in programmes designed for their benefit.
The confusion surrounding the conflation of HRBAP and CCD, on the one hand, and HRBAP and participation on the other, is evident in the discussions about the application of the HRBAP in circumstances of immediate need and/or vulnerability. In applying its principles, the primary consideration should always be 'the best interests of the child', as required by Article 3 of the CRC. Article 3 of the CRC provides:
1) "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."
The HRBAP is, as its name suggest, an 'approach'. It is not a prescription of precise instructions for every situation. For the essence of this approach is how we view the 'other'. Do we regard the poorest and most vulnerable members of our human family as objects of our pity and charity, or do we regard them as individuals with potential waiting to be released? The human rights approach is about nurturing supportive families and communities, developing public services and establishing enabling legal and policy environments in which everyone has the freedom and opportunity to enjoy their rights and make their own contribution to development.
Recommendation for further conceptual clarification and simplification of the HRBAP
The HRBAP could benefit from some further conceptual clarification, for instance, by differentiating between the philosophical underpinnings of the approach, the fundamental principles that shape human rights law, the implications for programming and the desired outcomes. Additional thought needs to be given to the terminology of rights-holders and duty-bearers, and the identification of these categories in the context of the cross-cutting priority of HIV/AIDS. In explaining HRBAP, the message could be simplified so that the essence of the approach - viewing people as individuals with rights and entitlements and the potential to help themselves and their families, rather than as objects of charity - is highlighted. GoM and UNICEF staff could work together to develop greater appreciation of the implications and added value of the HRBAP.
Recommendation for expansion of the current interpretation of vulnerable groups
The focus of HRBAP in identifying the inequities and discrimination that lead to disparities in the enjoyment of the rights of children and women could be broadened in order to reveal additional groups suffering vulnerability, such as children with disabilities. A greater emphasis could be paid to addressing these underlying causes of disadvantage by promoting equitable access to public resources and combating stigma and discrimination, as a complement to the two existing strategies of participation and CCD.
Recommendation for training and orientation to strengthen the understanding of human rights and implementation of the HRBAP by partners
Strengthened training and orientation in human rights and responsibilities is required at all levels, particularly for institutions involved in service delivery. This should include the fundamental principles of human rights as well as the implementation of HRBAP. Focus should also be given to strengthening horizontal and vertical cooperation across all aspects of the CP, to ensure a holistic approach to realising the rights of children and women. In particular, links should be enhanced between the various aspects of capacity development implemented to support families to nurture children, to develop supportive communities, to establish an enabling legal and policy environment, and to strengthen the civil society/GoM interface.
Recommendation for the development of clear goals, objectives and indicators for the implementation of the HRBAP
The desired goals of the HRBAP, such as disparity reduction, ownership, empowerment, sustainability and strengthened accountability, need to be identified, and objectives and targets set for the level of achievement within a given timeframe. These aspects should be "unpacked" to identify their components as a basis for the development of key indicators to measure the impact of the HRBAP on the progressive realisation of children and women's rights. Similarly, further process indicators need to be identified and refined to capture the fact that the process of implementation of HRBAP is desirable in and of itself.
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