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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2013 Global: Joint Evaluation of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change

Author: Evaluation Office, UNFPA; Evaluation Office, UNICEF.

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best Practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report.


The joint evaluation assesses the extent to which the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme has accelerated the abandonment of FGM/C in 15 programme countries (2008-2012). The evaluation provides an opportunity to ensure accountability to donors and other stakeholders, and is also a useful learning exercise. The evaluation assesses the relevance, efficiency, sustainability and the effectiveness of the holistic and multi-sectoral approach adopted by UNFPA and UNICEF in their programme for the acceleration of the abandonment of FGM/C. Furthermore, it also assesses the quality of the coordination mechanisms that have been established at the global level and within countries to maximize the effectiveness of joint programme interventions. Finally, the evaluation provides recommendations for the future direction of the FGM/C policies and programmes and gives UNFPA and UNICEF insights into the successes and challenges in conducting joint programming.


The evaluation will assess the relevance, efficiency, sustainability and the effectiveness of the holistic approach adopted by UNFPA and UNICEF in their programme for the acceleration of the abandonment of FGM/C. The evaluation will also assess the quality of the coordination mechanisms that have been established at the global level and within countries to maximize the effectiveness of United Nations interventions.


The overall approach to the evaluation was utilization-focused, gender and human-rights-responsive, and culturally sensitive. The evaluation used a mix of methods for data collection and analysis.

Based on the evaluation terms of reference, the evaluation team developed a set of seven evaluation questions to guide data collection, data analysis and report writing. These questions covered five evaluation criteria: relevance and programme design, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, coordination between UNFPA and UNICEF (including joint programme management). For each question, a number of sub-questions were identified and related indicators developed.

Findings and Conclusions:

The joint programme has been aligned with existing national and international commitments for the abandonment of FGM/C;
The design of the joint programme showed significant strengths, including its emphasis on pursuing a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to addressing FGM/C;
The horizontal issues of human rights, gender equality, cultural sensitivity, and equity, were reflected in the design and implementation of the joint programme;
Available evidence supports several of the key assumptions shaping the underlying theory of change;
Overall, joint programme contributions to its envisaged results are positive;
The joint programme contributed to strengthening local-level commitment to ending the practice of FGM/C;
Through its achievements at the output level, the joint programme has contributed significantly to progress towards both of its envisaged outcomes;
While the joint programme did not reach its ambitious overall objective, evaluation data indicate that it has contributed positively to change processes at global, national, and community levels;
In all programme countries, interventions reflected the core principles characterizing the overall joint programme approach. In operationalizing this approach, both agencies and their partners used similar strategies across all countries, but tailored their specific approach;
The joint programme helped create a number of favourable conditions likely to support the sustainability of achievements at global and, in particular, national and community levels;
The joint programme made successful efforts to use the available human and financial resources efficiently and strategically;
Its joint structure allowed the joint programme to draw upon the complementary strengths, reputations, and networks of both agencies;
The management of the joint programme by UNFPA and UNICEF, including joint and separate aspects, at both headquarters and country levels contributed to the effective and strategic use of available resources.

The joint programme has been pursued in line with the national and international commitments on FGM/C and priorities of the national governments;
The joint programme has helped expand or accelerate existing change processes towards FGM/C abandonment at national, sub-national and community levels, and has contributed to strengthening the momentum for change at the global level;
The implementation of the joint programme reflected the theoretical assumptions on which it was based; however, a knowledge and evidence gap remains as regards the transition from changes in social norms to visible changes in individual and collective behaviours;
The financial and human resources made available for the joint programme were adequate for its envisaged catalytic nature, but were insufficient for the needs and related expectations of its partners;
The coordination of efforts between UNFPA and UNICEF contributed to the successful implementation of the joint programme;
The management of the joint programme at both headquarters and country levels was appropriate and contributed to the adequate use of available resources;
Experiences deriving from the joint programme have the potential to inform future FGM/C-related programming by UNICEF and UNFPA.


To sustain the momentum for change towards FGM/C abandonment that the joint programme has contributed to, UNFPA and UNICEF should pursue a second phase of the joint programme.
UNFPA and UNICEF, in collaboration with their partners, should continue to help strengthen the commitment and capacity of duty bearers at central and decentralised levels, and support the strengthening of government systems for FGM/C abandonment.
To ensure sustainability of results and efficient use of resources, UNFPA and UNICEF should maintain the catalytic nature of the joint programme in a second phase.
In order to validate the programme assumptions related to the benefits of cross-community and crossborder dynamics for change, UNFPA and UNICEF should operationalize and test those assumptions.
UNFPA and UNICEF should ensure that the FGM/C-related components of their regular country programmes reflect the existing global consensus on the use of a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to FGM/C abandonment, as used by the joint programme.
In light of the negative effects of the annual budgeting cycle on longer-term strategic and operational planning, as well as on the clear understanding of decision-making processes, UNFPA and UNICEF should encourage existing or potential donors interested in contributing to FGM/C-abandonment work to commit to predictable, longer-term financing.
The evaluation noted several areas for improvement with regard to the systems and tools, capacities, and resources available for monitoring and reporting on progress towards results.
UNFPA and UNICEF should further improve their coordination efforts as regards their work on FGM/C, in particular by making explicit the anticipated added value of working together.
Given that related insights would be valuable in view of future FGM/C-related work, UNFPA and UNICEF should invest in more in-depth research on social norms change and its linkages to changes in individual and collective behaviours.

The FGM/C Country Case Studies are presented below:
Burkina Faso Country Case Study Report
Kenya Country Case Study Report
Senegal Country Case Study Report
Sudan Country Case Study Report

The FGM/C Executive Summaries are presented below:
English Executive Summary
French Executive Summary
Spanish Executive Summary
Portuguese Executive Summary

Full report in PDF

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