Evaluation of the SAIH programme Young women’s rights and equality in Southern Africa

About the publication

  • Published: 2016
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Elisabeth Fosseli Olsen and Teresa Mugadza
  • Commissioned by: Studentenes og Akademikernes Internasjonale Hjelpefond (SAIH)
  • Country: South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Theme: Women and gender equality
  • Pages: QZA 12/0822
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organization: Studentenes og Akademikernes Internasjonale Hjelpefond (SAIH)
  • Local partner: Generation Alive! (GAL), Agisanang Domestic Abuse Prevention and Training (ADAPT), Katswe Sistahood, The 1in9 Campaign, Youth Empowerment Transformation Trust (YETT), Centre for Reproductive Health and Education (CRHE), and Young Women in Action (YWA)
  • Project number: QZA 12/0822
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.


Two previous evaluations have been done looking at some of SAIH’s partners in the field of young women’s rights and equality. In 2008 looking at SAIHs work with young women’s rights and participation in Zambia. And in 2012 looking at the three partners in South Africa covered by the FOKUS agreement. As SAIH is in the process of beginning a new strategy period it was of high importance that an up to date evaluation of the young women’s rights and equality in Southern Africa programme was done.


The purpose has been to evaluate to what degree the programmatic work in the period 2013-2015 has reached its goal; Young women in Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are advocating for their rights, which is the expected programme outcome.


The evaluators combined qualitative analysis of written documentation of the partner organisations’ activities and development, with qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and analysis of those.

Key findings

The overall findings at the programme level are;

  • Young women are now able to successfully demand their rights
  • Young women are taking leadership positions
  • Young women (and boys) are experiencing safer schools
  • Young women are performing better at school
  • The programme is contributing to changing mind-sets and cultural norms
  • Feminist movement-building is strengthened


Recommendations have been made on how the programme may be improved and developed, both at country and programme levels. The evaluators have also given some recommendations on how SAIH may approach the work on gender equality and young women’s rights. Several recommendations have been made regarding the development of the overall programme. The main recommendations at the programme level are:

  • Strengthening the partner organisations’ capacity; in particular, through knowledge transfer between the organisations and through facilitating increased volunteerism and volunteering as part of the organisations’ activities.
  • Bring the girls (back) to school; the programme motivates drop-out participants to go back to school, as well as ambitious young women to continue their education at a higher level. However, the target group of the programme, vulnerable young women, face several obstacles in the process of (re)entering school.
  • Assist young women into leadership positions; the programme is already successful in enabling young women to take leadership over their own lives, as well as creating change agents. Several participants were eager to pursue a political career as a result of the programme and SAIH should decide if they want to conceptualise activities that enable women to enter political positions.
  • Stronger outreach to rural communities; the need to empower young women in the field of SRHR is severe; however, the current reach of the programme in this field is limited. SAIH should mainstream the module of participants educating peers and implementing campaigns after leadership training, so that the impact of the leadership is rolled out to all of the programme countries.
  • Improve the programme strategy; the programme has produced several positive results, however, we recommend to focus the intended results as the challenges young women face in the target communities are so complex and deep-rooted. It would be prudent for SAIH to prioritise a few specific results/outcomes and invest in supporting activities that achieve those results.

Comments from the organisation

Due to some communication challenges with ZNWL the interview base for the evaluators to draw conclusions from was limited. The evaluators therefore chose to add this part of the evaluation in an appendix. The evaluation is considered by SAIH and its partners as relevant, and will be followed up in a dialogue between the parties.

Published 28.02.2017
Last updated 28.02.2017