Combating Traditional Practices that are Harmful to Women and Girls (HTP) - Final Evaluation Report
About the publication
- Published: August 2019
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Southasia Institute for Advanced Studies
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: Nepal
- Theme: Women and gender equality, Human rights
- Pages: 52
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Digni/Normisjon
- Local partner: United Mission to Nepal
- Project number: QZA-18/0159-502-503
HTP lasted from March 2015-December 2019, and aimed to address three key issues: Chhaupadi, Violence against women and Alcohol abuse. Two local partner organizations – Dalit Help Society (DHS), and Mahila Kalyan Savings and Credit Cooperative Limited (MKSACCO), were implementing partners of the project, whereas United Mission to Nepal (UMN) is the owner of the project. HTP was implemented in the following (former) village development Councils (VDC): Lekgaon, Sainpasela, Byasi and Sunikot.1 Total number of direct beneficiaries was 1780 (1182 female and 598 male) and indirect beneficiaries was 12121 (8049 female and 4072 male). The overall objective of the project was to encourage men/ women and boys/ girls to develop more positive, supportive, and equitable gender attitudes and practises, and the goal is to enable equitable and harmonious families and communities to develop in Bahjang.
Objective for the evaluation
The purpose of the evaluation was to evaluate fulfilment of the Project’s purpose, assess UMN’s success in delivering outputs and the approaches used, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, highlight lessons that can be useful for future projects, and make recommendations to improve UMN’s work in the future. Specifically, the objective was to assess the project through 5 specific criteria, which were relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact.
The evaluation focused on qualitative and quantitative data collection, including desk review of relevant documents; such as various project reports, reports from interviews/ discussions conducted by the evaluation team, and field observations from all four project locations. In addition, the evaluation team carried out a quantitative endline survey, which is an attachment to the evaluation report.
HTP has worked to bring about community transformation through formation of various groups, in which the project has encouraged group discussions, awareness raising trainings, and workshops. The project has used a participatory approach, Overall, the evaluation report deems the progress made against predefined indicators, as satisfactory.
The evaluation report considers the project highly relevant, given that the project location is characterized by high gender disparity and poverty. It points to the region of Bahjang being ranked as one of the poorest areas in Nepal, and also as a location where discriminatory social norms and harmful traditional practices are still very prevalent. It also notes that the project has had a very inclusive target group- including both gender and of all ages, as well as other structures (media, government, religious leaders).
Through awareness raising, the project has been successful in change of behaviour and attitude in the target population (the group-members), and to some degree also in the wider community. The evaluation team notes that notable reasons for its success, is due to a focus goal, a clear purpose, and uncomplicated indicators.
The evaluation also highlights that the project had gained confidence in the public, due to its focus on community engagement. This is exemplified with the local authorities’ will to continue some project activities after phase-out, notably awareness raising on chaupadi in Sunnikot, and by providing snacks to adolescent clubs in Lekgoun.
It also highlights the project-groups attempts and partial success in managing to restrict alcohol sale at project locations, all the while noting that this is difficult due to policy barriers.
The evaluation considers efficiency to be good, and commends the two solid and longstanding implementing partners. It is stated that resources and expertise has been utilized effectively, and that most participants have responded positively on the project activities. It is also noted, however, that coordination between UMN cluster and the project team had room for improvement, and that more work could have been done in relation to some actors- notably in strengthening linkages with the Rural Municipalities (RM), in order to influence policy making.
The evaluation highlights the strengthening of the local partners, as well as the official registration in the RMs of the women’s groups is important (many other groups are in the process of being registered). Being part of the official structure raises possibilities of being part of official programming, planning, and budgeting.
On a challenging part, the evaluation stresses that the sustainability of all 59 project groups can prove difficult.
Impact the project has been successful in challenging established community norms and practices and has significant results to show for. The Chaupadi-practice has been reduced by 30% in Sunnikot, gone from 10% to 2,94% in Byasi, and in both Lekgaoun and Sainpasela the percentage still practicing these practices were now at 0 (having been 21% and 3% in the baseline).
As mentioned, regulating alcohol sales was another achievement- particularly in Legkaoun- in spite of some policy challenges. Such regulation contributes to more peaceful households, and reduced GBV.
Another major achievement was in terms of improvement in women’s and girl’s leadership skills. Women/ Girls now participate in key positions at ward/RM and child/adolescent clubs. 15 group members, including seven female leaders have been elected in local ward/RM offices (Project Annual Report, 2018)
The project has had a holistic, and inclusive approach to the project theme. A participatory approach was used during project design, hence, ownership and accountability among the community was noted. Three key issues of the project, Chhaupadi, alcohol abuse, Violence against Women (VAW) has been addressed as was envisaged in 2015, and major achievements is noted. Still, however, disparity exists, and more efforts are required, especially at the policy influencing level
The holistic approach taken by the project is considered good practice. Engagement of various stakeholders has ensured ownership and local-buy in. Mobilization and capacity building of local NGOs ensures sustainability. The role of the social mobilisers is crucial for community mobilization on ground. Behavior change at individual level is crucial for society’s behavioral transformation.
All groups should be registered at RM, in order to be part of official planning and budgeting. Policy influencing should be prioritized in future interventions. Policy shaping should also include issues of land rights. Coordination between project staff internally, and with partners needs strengthening. Strengthen capacity of the Women’s Networks involved in the project on knowledge and information about the existing laws and acts on gender equality.
Information about policies, laws and legal provisions need to be widely circulated in society (for example, a policy handbook) IEC materials to be integrated into school curriculum and extra-curriculum school calendar. Project could include private sector actors into discussions.
Strengthen partners to raise funds to sustain work on the three key project themes. Assist adolescent groups, schools and the RMs to hold awareness raising events to stop child marriages. HTP should intensify its efforts to support the RMs in integrating HTP’s three key issues in planning and budget allocation, Media should be engaged to disseminate lessons learnt and good practices from the project for possible up-scaling and out-scaling.
Comments from organisation
Normisjon considers the evaluation to be of high quality, and to reflect our own perceptions of the project, and its achievements. It also points to important learning and recommendation, which both we, and UMN carry on in future work.
UMN has restructured its work, and therefore no longer work in the project areas of this particular project- otherwise, it would have been desirable to apply for a new phase of this project, in order to build on the good practices, and help strengthen the sustainability of achievements. A similar project has been initiated, however, not too far from the area, and entails elements which links it to this project.
- Digni has used the evaluation report, including the quantitative endline survey carried out by the evaluation, to analyse and document results of the project. Digni’s assessment of the project’s results are presented in Digni’s report to Norad in 2019.
- The evaluation findings and recommendations were followed up by Digni during the fall of 2019 when Normisjonen/UMN applied for a similar project in another geographical location. For Digni it was important to secure that the competence and learning achieved in this project would be transferred and used in the new project location. The result of this dialog displayed that UMN secures that some local competence and staff continues in the new project, as well as there will be some continued relations/linkages to the networks of groups established in this project to enhance their sustainability and continuation of change process.