Author: Astou Diagne, Sarah Houssein and Youssouf Abdallah
Djibouti established a Ministry for Women’s Promotion in 1999 and since 2002 has been implementing a quota system that ensures at least 10 percent of female representation in key government administrative positions. Most development indicators show, however, that women remain mostly disadvantaged; for instance, the literacy rate from the 2006 Djibouti Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) was 62% for men and 38% for women. The United Nations System in Djibouti has been supporting gender mainstreaming in Government institutions and in UN-supported programmes in the country.
This joint assessment was commissioned in 2008 by the UN system in Djibouti to gauge the extent of gender mainstreaming in the 2003-2007 UNDAF.
It was implemented by an external team of evaluators. The methodology used as a mix of desk review and qualitative interviews with community members, programme staff of the United Nations as well as that of relevant line ministries and selected non -governmental organizations.
Findings and Conclusions:
Findings from this evaluation reveal strong institutional commitment for gender equity from Government and the United Nations System in Djibouti. At government level, this is evidenced by the ratification of major international treaties (including CEDAW in 1998) and major legislative breakthrough in the area of women’s rights with the adoption of a gender sensitive Family Code in 2002.
The United Nations System in Djibouti has established two mechanisms to support Government’s gender mainstreaming efforts, namely: a) technical support and monitoring by UN agencies’ gender focal points of key gender initiatives implemented by relevant line ministries and institutions; and b) interagency coordination through a UN Gender Thematic Group. The majority of Government and UN staff interviewed during this assessment indicated that these mechanisms were useful. Key obstacles identified by the assessment were the non-existence of well agreed terms of reference for the UN Gender Focal Points, the lack of leadership of the UN Gender Thematic Group, and the weak technical capacity of some of its members.
With respect to the 2003-2007 UNDAF results framework, the assessment points to the fact that although Gender was considered as a cross-sectoral theme, it was explicitly referred to in only one of the high level results (girls’ education).
This UN interagency assessment recommends that the Ministry of Women’s Promotion set up a Gender Observatory to monitor progress on narrowing gender inequalities in Djibouti. Recommendations made to the UN system in Djibouti pertain mainly to the need for each UN agency to mainstream gender in the programmes they support, to ensure that enough resources are allocated to related activities, and to clearly define and measure gender-sensitive performance indicators. Both Government and the UN System have been advised, as an outcome of the assessment, to define gender-related criterias that would guide eligibility for allocating funds to national development programmes.
Lessons Learned (Optional):
There is a need to strengthen the collaboration and coordination between UN agencies regarding gender mainstreaming efforts. More specifically, the UN should invest in:
o Defining and articulating the different roles for each UN agency;
o Harmonizing existing gender assessment and training tools;
o Developing a common strategy to build capacity of the Government and Civil society in the area of gender, especially the technical support needed by the Ministry of Women Promotion to operationalize the recommendations emerging from this evaluation;
o Strengthen Government’s capacity in CEDAW reporting, with special attention to linkages with the CRC reporting process.
PDF files require Acrobat Reader.