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Evaluation report

2012 Macedonia: Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence



Author: Aida Orgocka, Nikolina Kenig

Executive summary

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Background:

The UN Joint Program “Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence” (SNC PDV) was launched in November 2008 in support of the FYR Macedonia Government’s effort to implement the National Strategy for Protection against Domestic Violence 2008-2011 (NSPDV). With the funding from the Government of the Netherlands and the UN Trust Fund, for the past three and a half years, SNC PDV has supported the Government and the civil society sector in improving the inter and intra-sectoral coordination and strengthening the mechanisms for prevention of violence and provision of adequate victim support services with the following outcomes: (1) Efficient policy-making and improved policy-implementation accountability of all relevant national stakeholders; (2) Extensive and comprehensive protection and support to the victims of DV; (3) Increased public awareness on DV.

A team of two evaluators were contracted in April 2012 to conduct an external and independent evaluation of the SNC PDV. The objectives of the evaluation were to assess the overall progress towards achieving the three SNC PDV outcomes, their relevance, efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of SNC PDV and implications for future similar interventions.

Purpose/Objective:

Three years and half into implementation, the performance of SNC PDV was evaluated by a team of two external evaluators, one international consultant and one national consultant. UNDP as the Administrative Agency of this programme led an outcome evaluation exercise to determine the extent to which SNC PDV has achieved the outcomes in accordance with the stated goals, i.e., how SNC PDV has informed, coordinated and systematized interventions related to advancing reduction of domestic violence in an environment in which (1) there is an expressed political will toward the nation’s socio-economic development and integration; (2) principles of international covenants regarding gender equality and development as well as tasks related to EU integration have been embraced by the Government of FYR Macedonia; yet (3) prevalent support for traditional gender roles in all walks of life and reluctance to embrace diversity remain serious challenges to tackle.

The objectives of this exercise were thus to determine the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and mechanisms by which SNC PDV informed interventions to promote coordination and strengthen the mechanisms for prevention of violence and provision of adequate victim support services thus contributing to the reduction of domestic violence in FYR Macedonia. In doing so, the evaluation identified the linkages the program has made with the NSPDV and has made forward looking recommendations that will help with future initiatives targeting reduction of domestic violence nationally, regionally and locally.

Methodology:

The evaluation was carried out in April – May 2012 in three phases – inception report, data collection in Skopje, FYR Macedonia, and analysis and report writing. The evaluation was based on an approved evaluation matrix and was guided by the United Nations the UNDP’s Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results (2009) and Outcome-Level Evaluation: A Companion Guide to the Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results for Programme Units and Evaluators (December 2011).

Data were collected through document review, field mission, desk review and a survey. More specifically, document review included SNC PDV programme documentation such as proposal, revised M&E framework and annual reports; field mission in FYR Macedonia consisted of group and individual interviews with 50 participants representing the five participating UN Agencies, donor, government agencies, civil society and private sector as well as independent experts; desk reviews of two key newspapers and project documents for the economic empowerment pilot project and semi-structured survey with 20 beneficiaries of this project.

Data were analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods. Thematic analysis was applied to the review of documents and interview/focus group responses. Statistical analyses were performed on the results of the survey. The triangulation of data allowed the team to identify key findings and formulate recommendations. The first draft of the evaluation report was shared with all the participating agencies; these provided additional comments and documentation in support of the final report.

Findings and Conclusions:

In the period between 2008 and 2012, SNC PDV achieved numerous short-term results, and these results were important to beneficiaries. It is certain that contributions of SNC PDV, especially its awareness campaigns are bound to have produced long-term impacts in that DV has become an issue of public concern and there is more proactivity to report DV in the media and to authorities mandated to address DV. Further, contributions at the legislative and policy level, capacity development of public officials at various levels and service provision are bound to affect how state agencies work and coordinate at the national and local level. Yet, for these results to have a longer duration, they also require interventions that are sustained over time and that are multifaceted; greater participation, including financial support from core resources, from the government is needed.

With respect to efficiency, the SNC PDV is managed frugally, has a very lean management structure, and low overhead costs. SNC PDV has used its resources well, i.e., results achieved were commensurate with resources invested. While this is laudable in that most resources are directed at beneficiaries, agencies participating in SNC PDV vary in terms of size of their staff and composition and may not have appropriate or sufficient dedicated staff to conduct the routine monitoring and evaluation that a project such as this required. 

Recommendations:

Policy making and implementation

Embed DV within the larger context of gender-based violence and ensure that gender relations and gender issues in general, continue to be given significant emphasis especially in M&E.

Protection and support to victims of DV

Develop mechanisms that ensure policies and protocols relate to DV are consistently applied and monitored, and the rights and needs of victims are duly considered by law professionals and service providers.

Expand training for first responders to DV cases among the police, health professionals and SOS lines with more advanced knowledge; customize training for front-line workers and offer training of longer duration.

Support should be sought and maintained for direct services for women and children, victims of DV. These include initiatives to reform the CSW, further training for SOS lines and ensuring the sustainability of specific centers dealing with DV and the shelters.

Prevention

Create and sustain primary prevention programs aimed at preventing DV. These programs should be available to people starting with early childhood and continuing across the life span and should recognize and reflect the social determinants of health, including gender, poverty, employment and inequality.

Sensitize journalists about the complexity and importance of the issue in order to provide better quality of the DV articles in future. Special consideration should be placed on presenting the DV as an infringement of human rights, avoiding the perpetuation of DV myths and taking stronger commitment in condemning violence.

Building on the work started at the Counseling Centre for DV Perpetrators, explore modalities that target men who are abusive and controlling in intimate partner relationships, hold them accountable and support them to move towards respectful and non‐violent relationships. 

Lessons Learned:

The existence of NSPDV with specific activities prioritized, enabled the UN to plan on a short- and long-term basis with the government for better utilization of resources.

The integrated approach to addressing DV, one that recognizes the need to include multiple agencies in interventions has facilitated inter-agency cooperation. More importantly, it has changed the government mentality to ensure that addressing prevention and protection from DV is an integrated function and no longer confined to one specific agency.

Learning to articulate and prioritize demands for capacity building link directly to the improvement in the work of government ministries. Ensuring that resources are allocated to DV and that this is backed by an institutionalized agreement for cooperation allows for a more targeted and efficient intervention.

The inclusion of civil society and the private sector contributes to the global ownership of DV initiatives, and allows for general buy-in among the public. By modifying activities as needed, the flexibility shown by SNC PDV has enhanced its prospects for local ownership.

Solidly-designed communication strategies have been conducive to the satisfactory results of SNC PDV. Sound planning of the communication scheme throughout SNC PDV was essential in preventing misunderstandings, improve communication among agencies, secure buy-in from the counterparts, and build institutional memory within the beneficiary institutions.

UN agencies hold a comparative advantage to assist FYR Macedonia with DV activities. Sound expertise is located in their staff. Further the solid reputation and positioning of the UN in FYR Macedonia are factors that contribute to the establishment of relations that are based on trust and respect, hence leading to positive results. 



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