"Earlier, Women Were Just in a Corner of the House": A Critical Review of FORUT's Programme on Promoting Gender Equality

Om publikasjonen

  • Utgitt: 2011
  • Serie: --
  • Type: Gjennomganger fra organisasjoner
  • Utført av: Dr. Meera Pillai, Bangalore, India
  • Bestilt av: FORUT, Campaign for Development and Solidarity
  • Land: Sri Lanka, India, Sierra Leone
  • Tema: Kvinner og likestilling
  • Antall sider: --
  • Serienummer: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organisasjon: FORUT, Campaign for Development and Solidarity
  • Lokal partner: FORUT Sri Lanka, FORUT Sierra Leone, Association for social Action (APSA), The Concerned for Working Children (CWC)
  • Prosjektnummer: GLO-0732 GLO-08/440
NB! Publikasjonen er KUN tilgjengelig elektronisk og kan ikke bestilles på papir

FORUT’s gender programme, Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, with the overarching strategic objective Advancement in the status of women and gender equality, is implemented in India, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone. This objective is addressed in various ways throughout each partner country. One methodology is through the formation of women's savings and credit groups, to increase access to economic resources. Such collectivisation also provides social support and better opportunities to negotiate for greater rights. Training in livelihoods-related skills development and entrepreneurship is also provided to varying degrees in the three countries, together with information critical to women's advancement.  Such information may include access to basic amenities, prevention and amelioration of gender-based violence and promotion of women's health.

It was designed as a mid-term evaluation, to understand progress in implementation and impact at operational level, and the extent of gender mainstreaming at internal and external level, to indicate course corrections if necessary, to contribute to greater learning and to serve as an input for further project and programme planning. The specific objectives were to look at effectiveness, impact, relevance and sustainability.

The primary evaluator was a consultant from India with extensive experience in gender and development, evaluations on gender and other development issues. The evaluation was conducted using multiple methodologies: Field visits to project sites in Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and India, in-depth interviews with project personnel and local government officials, focus group discussions with community members, document reviews and self-assessment questionnaires for internal and external mainstreaming for all partner organisations including FORUT Norway.

Key findings
Gender Economic Empowerment (GEE) component (India, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone):
The evaluation confirms that women in all three countries have increased their ability to earn an income, increased their financial independence and increased their ability to contribute financially to the household. Women have also gained greater voice and are able to negotiate for higher wages and more dignity. The programme empowers communities to demand greater accountability from government service providers (e.g. in hospitals or from the public distribution system). 
The programme has met challenges like women's lack of prior experience in engaging in independent economic activity and lack of initial support from family, especially husbands. There are also limitations to expansion and securing economies of scale given that economic activities were microbusinesses.  In India the systemic and structural challenges that the urban poor face from vested interests continue to pose challenges for the programme. In Sierra Leone almost all the women participants in the savings and credit groups are illiterate.
The inadequate banking system in Sierra Leone means that the savings and credit groups function without the back-up support that banks usually provide, including lack of physical security of the money collected as savings.

The Gender-Based Violence (GBV) component (Sri Lanka):
The evaluation confirms that families, communities and government have acknowledged the existence of family conflict and domestic violence and identified elements to be addressed to reduce these. The programme has created increased roles for women in the public life of the community, and government agencies are paying increased attention to mental health issues. Police report a reduction in the number of domestic violence cases requiring police intervention. There is a challenge to obtain clear data about what people largely perceive as a private issue, and obtaining permission to work on it was difficult. A limitation of the programme largely to domestic violence, rather than GBV more broadly, was observed.

Women's Health and Maternal Care component (Sierra Leone): 
The evaluation confirms that there has been increased visibility on the issue of reproductive health, and government sources report a decrease in maternal and child mortality in FORUT-served areas. The community health promotion aspect has tended to focus on 'soft' (though important) issues like environmental sanitation, and has given less attention to more difficult - but extremely gender-inequitable - issues like female genital cutting. 

Internal and external mainstreaming of gender:
All the partner organisations understand the concepts of internal mainstreaming of gender and have implemented many of these. All partner organisations, except for FORUT-Sierra Leone, have done extensive work with external mainstreaming of gender. In the case of FORUT-Sierra Leone, a beginning has been made with external mainstreaming of gender into the Child Rights programme. 

Recommendations relevant to each specific partner can be found in the main document. Some collective recommendations are to:
• Increase sharing of gender expertise between FORUT Norway and its partner organisations.
• Improve attention to issues related to masculinities.
• Assist organisations with theoretical and technical support to tease out complex gender issues

Comments from organisation, if any:
FORUT feels that the evaluation provides a thorough, recognisable and detailed review of the programme, and is pleased that it gives a very positive overall assessment of the gender programme. It gives many reasonable recommendations, of which some already have been put in place and even more will be brought into action.
However, FORUT wishes to emphasise the challenge in comparing results between organisations working in very different local contexts. What could be considered a small step for women living in urban slums in India could be a long step forward for illiterate women living in tiny villages in remote rural areas in Sierra Leone.

Publisert 15.12.2011
Sist oppdatert 16.02.2015