2019 Barbados: Evaluation of the human rights training and application of normative principles and standards by judges and magistrates in the Eastern Caribbean Area
EVALUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING PROGRAMMES FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS, COURT STAFF AND JUSTICE SECTOR PROFESSIONALS IN THE OECS 2012-2017
Long period of unevaluated programme implementation and need to ensure effectiveness and impact of judicial human rights training as a key strategy for ending VAC.
Facilitating safety and justice for children is a key priority of UNICEF in the Eastern Caribbean Area. As such, UNICEF has supported the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) and the Judicial Education Institute (JEI) efforts to strengthen the capacity of judicial systems in its nine (9) -member states1 and overseas territories with a view to ensuring each child benefits from all the rights and protection offered by the region’s legal systems. Over the period 2012 to 2017, the ECSC with UNICEF support, has conducted training programmes aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of justice personnel on principles of women’s and children’s rights, facilitating access to social, safety and justice services that are more respectful of their rights and participation and improving the quality of interactions between children and stakeholders by implementing standard operating procedures tailored to children. In this regard, the ECSC contracted Mrs. Alexa Khan on March 22nd, 2018 to evaluate the human rights training programmes conducted in the Eastern Caribbean over the period 2012 to 2017. The report was then reviewed by UNICEF’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Consultant to ensure compliance with UNICEF’s evaluation report standards.
Project Background, Objectives and Description:
Since 2012, increasing numbers of development partners provided support in the adaptation and enactment of legislation under the OECS Family Law Project. The project aimed to: remove all discriminatory differences between children born in and outside wedlock; erase time limits for the establishment of paternity and enforcement of maintenance agreements; eliminate impunity for violence against children in state institutions; expand definitions of abuse and violence against children; modernize approaches to the management of young offenders and expand diversionary measures for young people; and remove all gender differentials in the sanctions against the abuse of girls and boys. The ECSC was instrumental in supporting this initiative and has continued its collaboration with UNICEF most prominently around capacity building. As such, Programme Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) 2 2015/2016 and 2017/2019 identified the training of judicial officers and attorneys on implications of the new legislation, as a priority intervention. In addition, in support of the establishment of a Family Division in Antigua and Barbuda, a study tour to Trinidad and Tobago’s Family Court by key personnel was also included.
The evaluation methodology utilised the Kirkpatrick model3 for evaluating effectiveness of training programmes and comprised primarily qualitative techniques including document review, individual and group interviews, one electronic survey targeting training participants and field visits to three (3) OECS Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Lucia. Work planning and primary data collection for the evaluation took place from 26 March and 27 April 2018. An inception mission to Saint Lucia was conducted from 26 to 28 March 2018 to clarify the parameters of the evaluation and client expectations as well as to finalise the evaluation matrix and methodology.
The capacity building interventions targeting judicial professionals and related sectors have supported enhanced awareness, sensitization and knowledge regarding the implications of international conventions and agreements. The evaluation also determined that training supported attitudinal and behavioural changes in several persons targeted. The effectiveness of the interventions was limited by a range of cultural and structural issues that were beyond the influence of the partner agencies involved.
In the context of design and relevance, the key lessons that emerged included (i) the need for capacity building interventions to be based on a comprehensive training needs or capacity gap assessment utilizing task analysis combined with individual analysis; (ii) capacity building initiatives need to take into account changes in the enabling environment required to support behavioural changes; (iii) comprehensive implementation plans should be established with feasible timelines (taking into account the lengthy process for legislative amendments, for instance); and (iv) continuous advocacy on the integration of human rights perspectives into formal education is needed to build a rights based culture in the region.
In relation to effectiveness, key lessons included (i) the need for clear, realistic and measurable objectives; (ii) the need to establish a comprehensive data collection, analysis and reporting system to ensure that effectiveness can be adequately monitored; (iii) capacity building for adults is generally more effective when experiential methods are utilized and future programmes should incorporate more ‘learning by doing’; and (iv) communities of practice constitute an effective mechanism for ongoing learning, sharing of experience and peer support and should therefore be supported to sustain outcomes.
The recommendation related to design and relevance is that capacity building interventions need to include a clear articulation of their theory of change.
In the context of effectiveness, (i) Measurable objectives that are closely linked to the interventions and the related indicators, data collection, analysis and reporting system must also be built into the programme. (ii) Programme proposal documents must also clearly acknowledge the limitations of the interventions and the expected roles of Governments and related agencies. This will ensure that the programme intervention logic articulates the implications for programme effectiveness if complementary initiatives are not implemented.
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