External Evaluation of NPA’s program “Women Can Do It” (WCDI) – A Capacity-Building and Awareness-Raising project for Women
Background: WCDI is a training and capacity-building project for women, initiated in the 1980s by the Norwegian Labour Party (NLP) to promote and strengthen the participation of women in public and political life. Its basis is a training course to build women’s self-confidence, gender awareness, and organisational and leadership skills. Through cooperation with Norwegian Peoples’ Aid (NPA), WCDI has been introduced to women in 23 countries around the world, beginning with the Western Balkans in 2001. It is currently supported by 8 NPA External Offices.Purpose/objective:The Evaluation’s task was to assess the results of the WCDI programme overall, against its goals to:• Strengthen women’s participation in political and public life and in decision-making processes that influence social development at local and national levels.• Promote knowledge of women’s rights and gender equality to the target groups in the specific countries where WCDI is implementedMethodology:• Participative techniques (face-to-face individual and group interviews, focus group discussions, mini-workshops, distance interviews via Skype)• A review of documentation of the project in all implementing countries;• An online survey of perceptions of Country Directors regarding the WCDI;• A questionnaire survey of implementing partners, trainers who conduct training using WCDI material, and participants in training courses where the WCDI material and methods have been used, distributed to all ‘active’ and ‘paused’ countries, and to 2 ‘stopped’ countries;• Two country studies (Angola and Cambodia);• ‘Stories of Change’ were collected to add detail and illustration to the study, but do not form part of the data analysed to assess the WCDI.Key findings:1. Overall, the Evaluation found the WCDI training program to be effective in meeting its goals to strengthen women’s participation in public and political life.2. Clear correlations were found between levels of change recorded, timeliness of training, and follow-up and support given to trainees.3. The biggest area of change reported by trainees was in their motivation to stand for public or political office.4. The level of contribution WCDI has made to the experiences and activities of trainees was difficult to gauge.5. Relevance: The Evaluation found the WCDI training to be relevant to the needs, concerns and policies of its primary stakeholders. There were some questions about the selection of local trainers and trainees, and no convincing arguments for training men within the WCDI core program.6. WCDI has become a successful ‘brand’, and in some countries NPA and/or the NLP trainers thought the ‘brand’ is used to describe activities no longer very closely related to the original aims of the WCDI.7. WCDI is a close fit with NPA’s International Strategy for 2012-2015.Recommendations:1. NPA to consider the establishment of a Global Program for Women’s Empowerment and Public and Political Participation, within its Democratisation Program, that is wider than the WCDI. Consolidate the Program.2. NPA to work on a Theory of Change for the WCDI or the Democratisation Program, in conjunction with key partners, the NLP and selected Advisors and Program Managers3. NPA to Improve Monitoring and Reporting coordination in Oslo program narrative, for internal as well as external uses.4. Consistent Organisation and Delivery of NLP Training5. (Among other: More time and care in the preparation phase, including training needs assessment, Tailoring training to the specific needs of the participants, Good support and communication between the NLP trainers and NPA EOs, Good translation of the training and of training materials to be handed out, Well-qualified local trainers and facilitators, Consistent reporting of the training, Systematic monitoring of training outcomes, in terms of measuring change, Regular follow-up in the form of more frequent experience-sharing or evaluation seminars, Where TOT is conducted, the NLP trainers commit to a longer term engagement to build the skills of the local trainers, over several years.6. Prioritise Support and Follow-up to Local Trainees from local trainers and implementing organisations.7. Ensure that Training is Timely to make it most relevant to the needs of the participants, based on analysis of the trainees’ needs and concerns, and national and local events8. Revisit the Voluntarism of NLP Trainers. Ensure that a discussion take place between NPA and the NLP on the best ways to ensure that the trainers are able to put in enough time for the necessary preparation, follow-up and reporting of the training seminars they carry out9. Underpin training with committed funding over periods of not less than three years, as training is an ethical responsibility (Training is something that is seldom refused – who would say no to some training? Avoid throwing training at problems that are too difficult to solve)Comments from the organisation:NPA takes note of the recommendations from the evaluation and will use these to strengthen WCDI. Specifically, we will include WCDI in our broader democracy work (Democracy Program) that also targets groups in Norway, including minority groups; establish closer coordination with the NLP to ensure better coordination, planning and reporting; and improve our coordination with external offices to ensure that the training is timely. We will also look at a Theory of Change, the possibilities to “Improve Monitoring and Reporting coordination in Oslo program narrative” and possibilities to ensure sustained trainings and programs over several years.