Evaluation of Norway's Support to Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Development Cooperation

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The objective of this assignment was to undertake an evaluation of Norway’s support to women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality in development cooperation during the period 2007-2013 and to assess the extent to which results have been in line with the Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Development Cooperation and its four main thematic priorities: a) political empowerment, b) economic empowerment, c) sexual and reproductive health and d) violence against women.

The main purpose was to provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with information to be used to improve future efforts to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Norwegian development cooperation. The main users of the evaluation are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), including its political leadership, its officials, the Norwegian Embassies and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Other users of the evaluation include implementing partners’ e.g. non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The evaluation covered Norway’s assistance to women’s rights and gender equality for the period 2007-2013 at the global level and in three selected countries (Ethiopia, Mozambique and Nepal). All of Norway’s direct support to women’s rights and gender equality in these countries, whether targeting gender directly or gender mainstreamed, and regardless of institutions involved, were under evaluation. The evaluation assessed the effectiveness, relevance and sustainability of Norway’s assistance both at the overall level and by in-depth studies of selected projects/programmes.

The evaluation was undertaken in 2015-16 and the findings of the evaluation were presented to Norad, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders in May 2015. The evaluation found that Norway's support is a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. Where Norway shines is for instance in its focus on long-term support, which is vital for changing deeply entrenching social norms that reinforces inequalities, its strong linkages with civil society and its willingness to think 'outside the box'. However, Norway appears to be underperforming in terms of a lack a clear logic and evidence base around how to support women and girls' rights and what really works, and a lack of a proactive role in donor/government groups at country level.

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