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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2015 Mexico: VAC Evaluation: Mexico Case Study

Executive summary

Protecting Children from Violence: A Comprehensive Evaluation of UNICEF’s Strategies and Programme Performance, Mexico Country Case Study

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A comprehensive evaluation of UNICEF’s global strategies and programme performance in addressing Violence Against Children (VAC) was undertaken in 2014/15. The current report covers one of four in-depth country case studies and 14 desk review countries included in an overall thematic evaluation of UNICEF’s efforts to address violence against children (VAC). The evaluation assesses UNICEF’s strategies and programme performance to respond to and prevent VAC in each country. The focus of the evaluation is primarily on interpersonal violence in homes and communities.
A two-week intensive evaluation field visit was carried out in Mexico, comprising interviews with key informants and focus groups with a wide range of individuals. These ranged from federal, state and local Government officials, to international and national NGO representatives, UNICEF and other UN staff, community based committees and children. Information collected was triangulated with available documentation. 


The country case study focuses on assessing Child Protection indicators falling under the VAC-specific UNICEF/Mexico 2008-2013 Country Programme outcome “children in marginalised urban, rural and indigenous communities are protected from violence and all forms of exploitation by inter-institutional mechanisms for the protection and restitution of their rights”.
The overall objectives of the Country Case Study in Mexico were to:

  • Assess the design, implementation and results of UNICEF supported approaches to reduce VAC in Mexico.
  • Assess UNICEF’s leadership, leveraging, and convening role at Mexico country level.
  • Assess the adequacy and relevance of UNICEF’s global strategies on VAC in Mexico.
  • Assess application of strategies at national level, considering both prevention and response.
  • Provide forward-looking conclusions, lessons and actionable recommendations.


The field visit to Mexico to conduct the evaluation took place from 28 August to 12 September 2014, involving three international consultants and two national consultants. Activities included extensive interviews within UNICEF across programme areas, interviews with government officers and civil society organisations, child protection programme site visits in the Federal District in and around Mexico City, as well as fieldwork in the states of Hidalgo, Tabasco and Chiapas.

The evaluation team met with stakeholders and partners in the Federal District (the area around and including Mexico City), in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Villahermosa and Tenosique in the state of Tabasco and Tuxtla Gutierrez, Simovel and Jitotol in the state of Chiapas. The field sites were selected to represent a cross section of activities undertaken during the 2008-2013 Country Programme, i.e.: a) urban and rural locations; b) locations with significant indigenous populations; c) sites that would yield insights into policy development, advocacy, capacity building; d) interlocutors that would give insight into strategies, programmes and legislation at national, state and local level; and e) sites that would give insights into UNICEF technical support and advocacy for prevention and response models for scaling up.

The evaluation used a purposive sampling methodology to select the specific individuals to be included in interviews and focus groups. Purposive sampling involves strategically selecting appropriate respondents to provide relevant information in line with the evaluation questions. Considerations with respect to gender and equity were also included.
At community level, evaluators prioritised the purposive sampling of interviewees and/or focus group members to adult and child leaders. Other adults and children were selected as randomly as possible within the context of the overall approach.

Findings and Conclusion:

Please see pages vi-viii


  1. Continue to actively provide advocacy and technical support for the strengthening of co-ordination to address the fragmentation of legal and policy frameworks on VAC across sectors and levels of government.
  2. Provide technical support for scaling up mapping of bottlenecks and service provision gaps together with identification of roles and responsibilities of duty bearers at sub-national level.
  3. Continue advocacy to ensure higher government budget allocations for actions on the prevention of VAC and provide technical support for the expansion of SBCC and similar approaches.
  4. Increase focus on motivating the use of innovative methodologies among both government and various non-state actors for effective actions to prevent and respond to VAC.
  5. Strengthen results monitoring and evaluation procedures—accompanied by technical support—to assess the utility of the developed inter-institutional protocols and methodologies to respond to violence and exploitation.
  6. Deepen integration of information gathered, including regarding good practices and lessons learned on preventing and responding to VAC, into further strengthening systems at all levels.
  7. Increase advocacy and focus on specific groups of children—such as children with disabilities—and the types of VAC that affect them. Consistent with this, increase focus on the prevention and response to sexual and physical abuse of boys. Continue to focus relevant project attention on more deprived indigenous communities.

Lessons Learned:

UNICEF/Mexico’s role is focused on advocacy, developing and sharing good practice tools and knowledge products, and helping government and civil society actors to focus attention on underserved areas and underserved communities. In these respects UNICEF/Mexico has effectively used its partnerships and products to increase national attention on violence against children in a manner relevant to promoting equity in an upper middle income country.

As a well resourced state, Mexico is in a position to increase financing in VAC programming. UNICEF/Mexico has been effective in helping to put VAC increasingly at the centre of the child protection agenda at both state and federal levels through evidence-building, identifying gaps in child protection spending, and advocacy, appropriate for the country context.

Nevertheless, with high rates of VAC, it is difficult to see how scaling-up response initiatives can even begin to put a dent in the number of abused children who are not reached by any services. This is the case despite the plethora of initiatives around the country aimed at responding to VAC. 

UNICEF/Mexico has shifted from a focus on most-deprived states to a more strategic focus on all states, helping to ensure that protective policies are developed and implemented. This is to address equity gaps between but also within states, and to be able to address situations of violence in states that may have higher living standards, but a greater violence burden. This is consistent with UNICEF’s role in an upper middle income country, especially in a federal system where there are significant differences in levels of development and developmental challenges, as well as government accountability between the states.  UNICEF/Mexico has shown itself to be a respected partner in the area of child protection in general and VAC in particular in Mexico.

[See more in Executive Summary]

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Child Protection - Violence and Abuse



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