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Evaluation report

2013 Sudan Case Study: Joint Evaluation of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change (2008 - 2012)

Author: Evaluation Office, UNFPA and Evaluation Office, UNICEF

Executive summary

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In 2012/2013, in its fifth year of implementation, an evaluation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joint programme entitled “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change” is being undertaken. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the extent to which and under what circumstances (e.g. specific country contexts) the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme has accelerated the abandonment of FGM/C in programme countries during the period 2008-2012. The evaluation includes a total of four country case studies conducted in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Sudan.


The purpose of the country case studies is to explore and illustrate key issues, while taking into account specific national and local contexts in which the joint programme was implemented. Each country case study is intended both as a stand-alone document, and as a contribution to the final evaluation report. Criteria for selecting Sudan as a case study country included: It is one of the eight initial countries in which the joint programme was implemented in 2008; it provides an example of a national context influenced by Islamic and Arab cultures and Anglophone heritage; it is a representative of the Eastern African sub-region; and several geographic areas in which the joint programme had worked in were accessible at the time of the evaluation.


The case study employs mixed methods of data collection, emphasizing participatory approaches. Key sources of data and methods of data collection used for the case study were: review of programme and related documents including global and country annual and mid-term reports, global and country annual work plans, communication materials, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) documents and tools; consultations with stakeholders at national and community levels (key informant interviews and community-level group discussions); and observations at the community level.
In total, 391 individuals were consulted for the country case study. Key methods of data analysis were descriptive, content and contribution analysis.
The case study involved three stages: i) preparation and planning, including document review; ii) data collection in Sudan from January 20-31, 2013, as well as a separate data collection visit to the Blue Nile State from February 15-17, 2013, and iii) data analysis and writing of the country case study report.

Findings and Conclusions:

- The joint programme has been relevant in view of national commitments and priorities, as well as in relation to various international commitments of the government of Sudan.
- The design of the joint programme in Sudan has been appropriate in view of the specific needs and characteristics of the particular context(s) that it has been located in.
- The joint programme has made significant contributions to strengthening the national environment for the abandonment of FGM/C in Sudan.
- The joint programme has been successful in fostering and strengthening local-level commitment to FGM/C abandonment.
- The coordination between UNFPA and UNICEF and the chosen approaches to managing the joint programme have contributed to the adequate use of available resources.
- The joint programme helped create a number of favourable conditions likely to support the sustainability of both national and local level achievements made to date.
- The cross-cutting issues of gender equality, human rights, cultural sensitivity, and equity focus were strongly reflected in the design and implementation of the joint programme.
Conclusion 1: The joint programme has been highly relevant given the existing commitments and priorities of the Government of Sudan, and considering previous gaps in efforts to abandon FGM/C. The joint programme has helped accelerate existing change processes in social norms relating to FGM/C at national, state and community levels.
Conclusion 2: The sustainability and longer-term impact of achievements to which the joint programme has contributed depend on the extent to which national and international actors in Sudan can maintain and expand the momentum for change created at national, state and local levels.
Conclusion 3: The joint programme has supported the implementation and expansion of promising approaches to addressing FGM/C. [...]


Recommendation 1: UNFPA and UNICEF should explore how to support the national Task Force on FGM/C in fulfilling its mandate of coordinating national and state level efforts effectively and in a sustainable way.
Recommendation 2: UNFPA and UNICEF should continue to support national actors in efforts to strengthen the national legal frameworks to prohibit all forms of FGM/C. Also, both agencies should shape FGM/C programming to support the operationalization and implementation of existing FGM/C legislation at the state level.
Recommendation 3: To sustain and expand the existing momentum for change, UNFPA and UNICEF should make efforts to support their national partners to systematically collect and analyse information on the results, strengths and gaps of promising approaches to addressing FGM/C at national, state and community levels.
Recommendation 4: UNICEF, in consultation with UNFPA and is national partners, should make efforts to further strengthen the linkages between the Saleema initiative and other efforts to end FGM/C in Sudan.
Recommendation 5: UNFPA and UNICEF should continue and expand their efforts to engage leaders from a variety of religious groups in discussions on the well-being of women and girls, in order to sustain the momentum of the FGM/C abandonment movement.

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