2012 Nepal: Evaluation of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Project
Author: UNFPA, UNICEF, PHD
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A decade long (1996-2006) armed conflict in the country and subsequent civil unrest in the Terai mostly affected women and children. Nepal is committed to implement several UN Security Council Resolutions including UNSCR 1325, 1612, 1820 and 1882. In this respect with the objective of contributing to peace building in Nepal, UNFPA and UNICEF jointly implemented since April 2010 a two-year project funded by the UNPFN. The main objective of the project has been to support sustainable peace by improving access to transitional justice and other peace building activities for survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in most conflict affected districts. The incidents of sexual violence have not been officially recognized by the Government, and survivors remain silent and continue to suffer from physical and psychological effects of the violence. Survivors of sexual violence often face ostracism.
The project used reproductive health camp as an entry point to document potential cases of survivors of SGBV. These camps offered an environment where confidentiality and safety are ensured and survivors can access psycho-social and legal counselling services in addition to medical services.
The project deployed two multi-disciplinary teams comprising of six different NGOs to conflict affected areas. Each team conducted mobile reproductive health camps (6 days initially and follow-up camp for 4 days) in two VDCs of each district. Clients and survivors who participated in the camps were referred to various services based on their needs, encompassing psychosocial and legal support, shelter and rehabilitation and uterus prolapse surgeries. The mobile camps ended in February 2012. The project also has additional components including policy and media advocacy. Through three civil society organization partners, radio interviews, radio dramas and TV serials were aired to raise awareness on the issues of sexual and gender based violence.
As per the requirement of UN Peace Fund, UNFPA Country Office jointly with UNICEF conducted a final evaluation of the project with dual propose to:
- Determine the extent to which whether the objectives and performance indicators outlined in the project proposals were achieved with the allotted timeline and analyse the associated risk factors; in particular, to assess relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the project;
- Document lessons learnt and recommendations in assess the project contribution to the Nepal’s peace process and to utilise the results to improve the performance of implementation of a future similar project.
The evaluation team employed three methods of data collection to conduct the evaluation:
- Rapid assessment methods (in-depth interviews, FGD)
- Analysis of secondary data and reviews
- Field visits in six districts of different regions, observation of ongoing RH camps and logistics systems, and opportunistic discussions with beneficiaries where feasible.
Data triangulation was achieved by survey of clients, FGD, in-depth interview of a range of stakeholders at different levels from a variety of institutions, and review of programme documents. Finally, the engagement of evaluation team with divergent backgrounds and expertise focusing on complementary programmatic areas helped to ensure a measure of investigator triangulation.
The strong culture of silence on sexual violence poses severe constraints on the assessment of effectiveness and impact of the project; in other words, as people do not openly talk about SGBV, the project might have left out number of women and girls affected by SGBV. In addition to the analysis of periodic project progress reports and documentation of sexual violence cases, the evaluation also heavily relied on responses of internal and external stakeholders, partner agencies, service providers, and project beneficiaries.
Findings and Conclusions:
Effectiveness: Despite the sensitivity of the issue of sexual violence persistent efforts made by all partners including support from the Government made it possible to implement planned activities in the target districts.
Relevance: The project outcomes and outputs are aligned with UNSCR 1820 in that it has advocated for the benefit of women and girls affected by sexual violence in armed conflict and post conflict situations. The project outcomes and outputs are relevant to NAP on implementation of UNSCR 1820.
Efficiency: The project was financed by UNPFN and the total fund was US$2.1 million and of that UNFPA received 66% and the rest by UNICEF. The use of human and technical inputs was efficient. The human resources comprised mainly of females; nearly 70% and this is good in view of the fact that the beneficiaries were females.
Impact: The project was implemented for two years. Therefore, it was too early to measure the true impact of the project. However the evaluation noted that impact of media campaign was already noticeable because Katha Mitho Sarangiko radio series has become very popular and it is raising awareness in gender issues. Most of the in-depth interview and FGD participants said that their RH status has improved after attending the camp.
Sustainability: The project initiated a number of strategies for sustaining the gains of the project. They include the transfer of knowledge and skills to the DHO and health facility level staff, provision of equipment support to the health facilities, training and orientation to local level FCHVs and CPSWs on RH and SGBV issues and basic knowledge on how to manage them. These activities have enhanced the capacity of government, non-government and civil society organizations at various levels to deliver programmes. At the community level, stakeholders have been given capacity building training on SGBV issues.
1. The UNFPA and UNICEF should make efforts to prepare or ask IPs to prepare project proposal with results framework based on baseline data or secondary data analysis so that indicators for the project become more scientific in the sense that when endline data are compared with the baseline indicators the results are consistent.
2. UNFPA or UNICEF singly or jointly or for that matter UN should commission a national level research to explore the nature and extent of SGBV in Nepal. The NDHS 2011 study was limited to domestic violence and therefore does not cover violence outside the home.
3. To strengthen the integrated model - the model that provides health services, legal counselling, psycho-social support and imparts income generation skills to women and girls affected by conflict it is necessary to orient and train medical team on post rape care protocols.
4. Since large numbers of implementing partners with their own policies will be difficult to manage operationally and programmatically, future projects should explore if less partners can be involved without compromising on the quality of interventions.
5. The project needs to improve recording, reporting and analysis of project monitoring data.
6. UNFPA should set target for UP surgery based on demographic profile of districts and not the same target (50 cases in every district). For instance for Kalikot the target set was 50 and for Kanchanpur too the target was 50 but the size of population in Kanchanpur is nearly four times larger.
7. Project should be designed in such a way that the proportion of referred cases ending up in surgery is maximum. Although the incentive package was good it was found that overall in 14 districts 26% of referred cases did not go to the surgery centers. The referred clients need to be closely followed-up until they arrive at the surgery centers; the clients need to be convinced that it is to their advantage to visit the surgery centre.
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