Strengthening grantee evaluations to improve work to end violence against women


Graphic of strengthening grantee evaluations to improve work to end violence against women

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) has invested in improving the quality of grantees’ evaluation of their projects to ensure that organizations:

  • deliver long-lasting results, sustained by evidence;
  • qualify for future funding of a diverse portfolio of donors;
  • prioritize organizational learning and strengthen evaluation management capacity.

In 2019, external evaluators, Monica Biradavolu and Radhika Viswanathan, reviewed 79 final project evaluations, covering interventions implemented between 2011 and 2016 across all regions, to identify lessons learned in programming to end violence against women and girls. The analysis provided insights on how the UN Trust Fund can best support grantees to ensure high quality evaluations.

Evaluations satisfactory and above in 2016: 60%, Evaluations satisfactory and above in 2019: 82%

Compared to the initial meta-evaluation completed in 2016, the 2019 exercise revealed significant improvements over the course of the UN Trust Fund’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan period: 

2016: 60 per cent of evaluations satisfactory or better

2019: 82 per cent of evaluations satisfactory or better

Indeed, the 2019 meta-evaluation showed that 100 per cent of evaluations were deemed satisfactory or better for projects that began in 2016. 

The improvements reflect efforts made to support grantees with evaluation management. These include a pilot, centralized and co-managed, approach for small organizations.

“Our approach with small grants is a result of taking up recommendations from the 2016 meta-evaluation, which found that small organizations receiving small grants were not able to budget sufficient resources for a quality evaluation”, said Daniele Elizaire, Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst for the UN Trust Fund. “Our engagement in the process is intended to support effectiveness and efficiency, […] and [for grantees to] use the learning to inform decision making as well as inputs for new proposal development.”

Among the small organizations which received direct evaluation support from the UN Trust Fund, was the Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation (SOAR) initiative to end sexual violence against girls in Abuja, Nigeria. SOAR’s Executive Director Chinyere Eyoh commented about how the co-managed process allowed the organization to make real time decisions during the evaluation process and better understand beneficiary needs, saying:

“We needed to show that the project could work, that the intervention could prevent sexual violence against girls… to use evidence that was generated to get more funding to go into more schools as it showed that the project did work.” 

The 2019 meta-evaluation’s concluding recommendations include:

  • reviewing questions to help evaluators write more nuanced findings; 
  • increasing the disaggregation of data; and 
  • ensuring that recommendations are clear, realistic, actionable and time-bound. 

The UN Trust Fund investment in evaluations aid in revealing what is and is not effective in ending violence against women and girls. This focus on evaluations also supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which puts national evaluation capacity development at the heart of global efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Additionally, the 2019 meta-evaluation established a database that will enable the UN Trust Fund to mine data in past and future evaluations—an incredible source of practice-based knowledge that the UN Trust Fund is committed to feed back into the field of ending violence against women.