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Evaluation report

2003 BAN: Multi-Donor Evaluation of the Acid Survivors Foundation



Executive summary

Background:

The mission of the ASF is to aid the recovery of survivors of acid violence to a condition as near as possible to that of their pre-attack situation and eventually eliminate acid attacks in Bangladesh. The ASF works with NGOs, the Government of Bangladesh and the international community to support the elimination of acid throwing, a vicious and damaging form of violence in Bangladesh where acid is thrown on people. The overwhelming majority of victims are women, and nearly half are below eighteen years of age.

The ASF began its work in May, 1999 to tackle the problem of acid violence in Bangladesh with a staff of two, which has now grown to a staff of sixty. The ASF acts as a co-ordinating and fund raising agency to assist other organisations working on specific issues related to acid violence and providing services to survivors of acid attacks. Where no services are provided by existing organisations, the ASF provides services, such as specialised nursing care for acid burns.

Purpose/Objective:

It was agreed jointly between the donor community and the ASF that an evaluation was needed to assess the progress achieved by the ASF prior to formulating an organisational action plan for the next five years. The main objective of the evaluation/formulation mission was to identify progress towards achieving all of the objectives of the ASF: to stop violence; to ensure survivors have access to the best available medical treatment; to ensure that survivors have better access to legal support; and to assist survivors in their rehabilitation process.

The outcomes of the evaluation were to include lessons learned to benefit the continuation or replication of ASF interventions, including the operational aspects of program implementation from a programming and organisational perspective. The evaluation was to include recommendations on how to improve activities and programs that could assist the ASF in designing the next phase of its program, including a detailed action plan, outputs and activities.

Methodology:

The two most important aspects of the methodology chosen for the evaluation/ formulation mission were the involvement of project stakeholders in all steps of the evaluation process and the focus on the development of lessons learned that were then translated into a draft action plan.

Ten focus group discussions (FGDs) with 42 males and 81 females were held in Dhaka from May 22-31, 2003, with the following groups: the ASF staff (5); survivors and their families (5); members of the Trustee Board (1); partner organisations (1); and, donors (1). Separate discussions were held with staff from all ASF Units - Finance /Administration (5 females, 3 males); Legal, Social Reintegration, Prevention Units (3 females); Notification/Referral, Medical and Counselling Units (14 females, 3 males) to discuss unit-specific concerns. Individual interviews were held with the chairperson of the ASF Trustee Board, ASF senior management (Executive Director, Office Manager), a former senior staff member, and one donor.

Two field trips were carried out – one in Gazipur and one in Mymensingh. In each community, focus group discussions were held with 26 community members (in Gazipur with 10 males, 5 females; and in Mymensingh with 9 males and 2 females), including representatives of government and the press, as well as FGDs with survivors, their families and immediate neighbours. Confidential questionnaires were provided to ASF staff (48 out of 57 staff responded) and to the Trustee Board of the ASF (six of 12 trustees responded).

Findings and Conclusions:

The evaluation found that the ASF has made remarkable progress since it was started in 1999. In the short time of its existence, the organisation has grown from two to sixty staff and has provided support services to increasing numbers of survivors. They have initiated a number of partnerships with organisations working in areas that support acid survivors and have brought the issue of acid violence to the attention of the government, as well as civil society in Bangladesh. The ASF was active in the initiation of, and the current work of, the National Acid Control Council, as well as Acid Control Committees at the local level. Additionally, the ASF successfully advocated with the Government of Bangladesh for the passing of two new laws to address the issue of acid throwing.

However, the organisation has grown faster than available resources - not only financial resources but staff resources, systems and procedures to ensure a well-managed organisation. Forward planning is critically needed for the Foundation. Prior to making any decisions about new activities, the ASF should consolidate its current work by undertaking a review of the relationships between the Trustee Board and the management and operation of the ASF.

The ASF works in partnership with other organisations in a number of areas (notification and referral when there is a new attack, medical services, prevention campaigns, legal services, and reintegration support). For the most part, ASF staff report that, overall, they are quite satisfied with their partners and the activities they carry out. Several units voiced some dissatisfaction with the performance of partner organizations and stated that some coordination areas require attention. For example, ASF has no written policies about coordination partnerships, including how activities should be planned and implemented.

Recommendations:

Recommendations arising from the review were made in two broad areas - the management and operation of the ASF and support services to survivors. The main recommendation is the need for ASF Trustees and staff to work as one unit, with a clear understanding of what work is needed to support survivors of acid burns and to reduce acid violence. The first step in achieving this is for Trustees and senior staff to jointly participate in developing a long-term Strategic Plan for the ASF. As part of the strategic planning process, the roles, responsibilities and levels of decision-making of Trustees, Advisory Groups, the Executive Director, Senior Management, Line Managers and staff should be reviewed, clarified, documented, and disseminated to all staff. These changes will facilitate and strengthen the organisation, which should result in enhanced services for survivors of acid violence.



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Report information

Date:
2003

Region:
ROSA

Country:
Bangladesh

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Gender Equity

Partners:
CIDA, the Royal Netherlands Embassy

PIDB:

Follow-up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2003/034

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