Author: Augustin, E.
Background:In 1994, the UNICEF Executive Board approved the "policy on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls". This decision called for a shift from the "women in development approach" to the "gender in development approach". This approach recognises the structural inequalities that exist between men and women, and boys and girls, and implies the implementation of actions to address the underlying causes that perpetuate the disparities that women and girls face. The policy recommended the integration of gender concerns as a cross-cutting theme in country programs and the promotion of gender equality in national development programs by adopting a life-cycle perspective, giving special attention to the girl child. The policy also calls for the establishment of organisational mechanisms for implementing the recommended actions and mainstreaming gender.
This report documents the process and findings of the Gender Audit of the UNICEF EFO Programme. The audit assessed the extent of gender mainstreaming in five projects.
The analytical framework used was the UNICEF Women's Equality and Empowerment Framework (WEEF). In 1993, UNICEF adopted it as an operational tool for mainstreaming gender in its mandate and work. The WEEF framework is composed of analytical levels leading to increased equality between the sexes and increased empowerment of women and men. The levels are: Welfare, Access, Conscientisation, Participation and Control.
The auditor attempted to make the audit as participative as possible, despite the time limitations. The participatory approach included meetings and discussion with project/program management, project field staff and the beneficiaries. The recommendations were jointly developed and agreed upon with project/program management as feasible and ready for implementation.
Findings and Conclusions:
UNICEF Egypt Country Office:
No resources are allocated to mainstream gender in UNICEF Egypt Country Office (ECO). The Gender and Development (GAD) section has a Gender Mainstreaming component in its program. Nevertheless, due to lack of mechanisms, its activities are directed towards government and NGOs. While specific projects received support from the GAD section for gender mainstreaming, such as FGM and Family Development Fund, there is no mechanism in place, guidance from management or systematic tools to seek support for gender mainstreaming during project planning and implementation. Presently, the GAD section has no mandate and no human or financial capacity to assist the process of mainstreaming through ECO program.
Gender mainstreaming has not been followed up systematically since initial plans in the MPO 1995. Projects are conceptualized along sector lines, with little or no formal linkages between them. There is an absence of mechanism for co-ordination and integration within the agency. Coordination and co-operation between sectors is largely left to individual initiative. No inter-sectoral objectives are defined; there is no system in place to document inter-sectoral achievements; and there is no clear, specific geographical synchronization of activities.
In UNICEF documents, data and information is not consistently gender desegregated. Documents make reference to children, communities etc. Consistent gender desegregation of information is an important tool to illustrate gender gaps and sensitize the reader.
"Gender mainstreaming" or "Gender equitable development" was not included in any job descriptions of UNICEF program/project staff of the programs included in this audit. Assessing gender sensitivity is not part of the recruitment process. Gender mainstreaming is not part of the TORs of the different consultants.
Gender mainstreaming is not part of the office planning exercise. UNICEF attaches specific importance to the mainstreaming of gender in its programs and projects. To ensure implementation, it is important to make reference to gender mainstreaming job descriptions of program and project officers.
Lessons learnt from studies on gender disparities in different sectors, undertaken by the GAD section or different programs, are not consistently disseminated through the agency (and further to the respective implementing partners). This limits successful mainstreaming and is an impediment to a "learning organization." No mechanisms are in place to utilize the experience of the GAD section in mainstreaming gender in government and NGO programs throughout the other programs of UNICEF ECO.
Programs/projects have achieved basic pre-requisites for successful gender mainstreaming:
a) Programs have gained the trust of communities and established a positive working relationship with government agencies.
b) UNICEF, via the Health and Communication Programs, has established access to the media and, particularly, television.
c) Different projects and programs have identified partners on macro and meso levels that are gender-aware or open towards equity issues.
d) There is a general recognition, on program level, that an increased integration and convergence of programs is important for successful gender mainstreaming.
The level of familiarity with the gender concept and the practical implications of gender mainstreaming for program/project implementation varies greatly between project/program officers and counterparts. Capacity building for staff and counterparts is a major pre-requisite for successful gender mainstreaming. The majority of UNICEF staff has not received gender training or did not review it as directly applicable to their work.
The majority of programs/projects has a WID implementation strategy and includes gender considerations only in selected initiatives and activities. This limits their ability to promote equity in the context of their work and to enable women to gain more control over their lives. Consequently:
The program documents and plans do not reflect the shift of UNICEF from its WID to GAD policy. The focus on women and children is clearly visible throughout all documentation. Ultimate beneficiaries are women and children. Gender mainstreaming is understood as "gender training", "gender-desegregated data" in order to identify "gender gaps" and not seen as an underlying approach that needs to be integrated into all project phases and components.
M&E systems of projects and programs do not include qualitative indicators to measure impact on gender relations. The mid-term review makes reference to indicator development on GAD issues and gender gaps, and a planned integration of respective indicators into the country program. This obviously did not happen across the country portfolio. The UNICEF WEEF framework requires qualitative data on concrete behaviour and attitude change in respect to gender relations. Only one program is in the process of developing and testing those. An undergoing evaluation will show how applicable and measurable these are.
UNICEF ECO/GAD section:
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