External assessment of the UNDP Gender Seal

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Title External assessment of the UNDP Gender Seal
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2017
Planned End Date: 03/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 4.3. Evidence-informed national strategies and partnerships to advance gender equality and women's empowerment
Evaluation Budget(US $): 40,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Beth Woroniuk Gender Consultant b.woroniuk@bell.net
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: HQ Global team, Country Offices, regional hubs
Lessons
Findings
1.

Finding 1: The Gender Equality Seal has been an important catalyst for change at the Country Office level.

 


2.

Finding 2: Country Offices participating in the Gender Equality Seal report significant improvements across the domains in the Seal Framework.


3.

Finding 3: Although there are overall general trends, there is a diversity of scores and ratings across regions, with different elements scoring higher in some regions.


4.

Finding 4: The Seal has resulted in many concrete changes at CO level, with reports that it has contributed to improved programming, yet it is too soon to know if the Gender Equality Seal has produced improved gender equality results.


5.

Finding 5: In certain circumstances, the Gender Equality Seal can be an effective tool for crisis-affected Country Offices. The decision on whether this is an appropriate way to focus gender equality investments in this set of COs should be made on a case-by-case basis.


6.

Finding 6: Balancing the learning and certification elements of the Gender Equality Seal is a delicate process.


7.

Finding 7: There is a tension between the Gender Equality Seal common standard benchmarks based on the Gender Equality Strategy (what are considered minimum requirements for Country Offices) and calls from COs for benchmarks to take the ‘country context’ into consideration.


8.

Finding 8: The current Gender Equality Seal Benchmarking Matrix is complex and comprehensive. There is almost unanimous support for maintaining a focus on operations/internal process in addition to projects and programs. However, there are concerns over the complexity of the matrix and discussion is needed on how to strengthen the focus on gender equality results.


9.

Finding 9: There was overall consensus that the Gender Equality Seal process is working well and there is appreciation for the Seal team’s workstyle and support. Further improvements could strengthen the programme.


10.

Finding 10: COs with high certification levels (gold or silver) share common factors.


11.

Finding 11: Resource shortages limit the potential positive impact of the Gender Equality Seal.


12.

Finding 12: While the Gender Equality Seal is a proven tool to stimulate discussion, raise the profile of gender equality issues, and generate change, sustainability of gains is still fragile, especially in the COs with lower certification levels.


Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1: Invest adequate resources in the Gender Equality Seal programme, recognizing that it is a practical and effective tool to ensure that COs are capable of supporting the SDG gender equality agenda. Continue Seal at least next 2 cycles and invest adequate resources.

2

Recommendation 2: Continue with the Gender Equality Seal through the next cycle of UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy.

3

Recommendation 3: Link the number of COs participating in the Gender Equality Seal in each certification round to the resources available.  Greater numbers could be accommodated with increased resources.

4

Recommendation 4:  Review and revise the Gender Equality Seal Matrix in order to: a) reduce the number of benchmarks, b) increase the rigour of the ‘results’ section, c) clarify expectations in terms of documentation, and d) revisit the benchmarks for crisis-affected COs.

5

Recommendation 5:  If a crisis-affected CO is interested in participating in the Gender Equality Seal, they should be encouraged to review whether or not they have the resources and political commitment to undertake this process. 

6

Recommendation 6: Revise the induction process to include briefings and clear communication with senior managers on the logic and rationale behind the Gender Equality Seal and the factors that have enable other Offices to succeed.

7

Recommendation 7: Build in more reflection opportunities (regional workshops, peer-to-peer exchanges, Gold COs mentoring other COs, etc.) with resources committed to facilitate this. 

8

.Recommendation 8: Review the suggestions provided in Finding 9 about improvements to see what can be reasonably incorporated into the Gender Equality Seal process given resource constraints.

9

Recommendation 9: General materials should clarify and reinforce that the Seal benchmarks are minimum standards based on existing UNDP policies and commitments. 

10

Recommendation 10:  Establish a fund to be used by Gold Offices for programming experimentation and commit resources accordingly. 

11

Recommendation 11: The voluntary nature of the Seal should be maintained. 

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: Invest adequate resources in the Gender Equality Seal programme, recognizing that it is a practical and effective tool to ensure that COs are capable of supporting the SDG gender equality agenda. Continue Seal at least next 2 cycles and invest adequate resources.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

The recommendation is well noted. Once the budget for 2018 has been confirmed, the Seal team will draw up budget plan for the next round of the Seal.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Seal team to draw up comprehensive budget plan for senior management.
[Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team 2017/12 Completed History
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: Continue with the Gender Equality Seal through the next cycle of UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

The recommendation is well noted. The next round of the Gender Equality Seal  will be finetuned when the Gender Equality Strategy is finalised.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Budget for mentorship support programme between COs; and incentive for Gold.
[Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal Team 2018/01 Completed Within the limited budget for the new round, support to COs in the new round of the Seal is being provided through webinars and a global workshop. We were unable to provide the financial incentive for gold offices due to budget constraints History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Link the number of COs participating in the Gender Equality Seal in each certification round to the resources available.  Greater numbers could be accommodated with increased resources.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

The recommendation is critical in ensuring that the quality of the support given by the Seal team remains high. Once the budget for 2018 is approved, the numbers of COs will be linked to the budget to enable adequate support. Assuming previous year's budget, this will mean a maximum of 25 COs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Seal team to link numbers of COs with approved budget to enable adequate support.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team 2018/02 Completed We had high demand for the Seal and following a selection process we are supporting 25 new applicants History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4:  Review and revise the Gender Equality Seal Matrix in order to: a) reduce the number of benchmarks, b) increase the rigour of the ‘results’ section, c) clarify expectations in terms of documentation, and d) revisit the benchmarks for crisis-affected COs.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

This recommendation is well noted. Action has been completed to reduce the number of benchmarks and review other benchmarks is in progress. Further fine tuning will be carried out in the guidance when the new GES is finalized.

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Review and revise the Matrix. Reduce benchmarks Simplify language/jargon Increase rigor of results section Clarify guidance notes/ better documents required Revisit conflict benchmarks
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team in consultation with regional advisers, alignment with upcoming UN SWAP 0.2, and upcoming GES 2018-2021. 2018/02 Completed History
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5:  If a crisis-affected CO is interested in participating in the Gender Equality Seal, they should be encouraged to review whether or not they have the resources and political commitment to undertake this process. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

Special attention to crisis countries interested in participating in the Seal will be given, through face to face inductions when the new round opens, in order to follow up this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure this review of resources and commitment is part of the induction process for senior managers of crisis affected COs.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
Seal team 2018/12 Completed this is included in the learning plan that is currently being finalized History
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: Revise the induction process to include briefings and clear communication with senior managers on the logic and rationale behind the Gender Equality Seal and the factors that have enable other Offices to succeed.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

This recommendation is well noted and the induction process is being revised as recommended - for senior management.

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Induction for senior management. Carrying out a “face to face” workshop for gender focal teams just after they apply Establishing minimum criteria for CO to be accepted. Increasing budget or reduce number of Cos applicants (max. 20)
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
Seal team 2018/12 Completed Planning for the workshop to take place in Nov 2018 has been initiated the Global workshop was held in Istanbul Dec 2018, with 52 participants from 36 country offices participating in the new round of the Seal 2018-19, from all of the 5 regions, including senior managers and gender focal team representatives. Key results from the workshop included strengthened capacity and leadership of offices to implement the Seal, including a day’s session on leadership for gender equality History
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: Build in more reflection opportunities (regional workshops, peer-to-peer exchanges, Gold COs mentoring other COs, etc.) with resources committed to facilitate this. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

More face to face workshops, peer conversations, regional events (potentially Quarterly during next round of the Seal 2018-19) are being designed in response to the recommendation. However the plan will depend on the outcome of the budget.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design programme of reflection opportunities (regional workshops, peer-to-peer exchanges, Gold COs mentoring other COs, as appropriate ) with resources committed to facilitate this.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
Seal team 2018/12 Completed We plan to bring some gold COs to the workshop to facilitate their sharing of experience and reflection. the Global workshop for the Gender Equality Seal held in Istanbul Dec 2018 included Gold COs as resource people. They shared their very practical and inspiring experience with new COs and workshop evaluations highly appreciated these particular sessions The learning plan and series of webinars for the new round of the Seal includes opportunities for further sharing of Gold COs experience, as well as peer to peer exchanges. History
8. Recommendation:

.Recommendation 8: Review the suggestions provided in Finding 9 about improvements to see what can be reasonably incorporated into the Gender Equality Seal process given resource constraints.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

The suggestions in Finding 9 are well received.  The improvements in the recommendations have been considered and those outlined in the action below will be incorporated during next round of the Seal 2018-19, budget willing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Extend improvement period to 12 months More systematic peer support. More Webinars and CoP events. Increase regional support.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team 2019/12 Initiated The above actions are planned and ongoing during the 2018-19 Seal round. The Seal team has extended the improvement period to 12 months as recommended. History
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9: General materials should clarify and reinforce that the Seal benchmarks are minimum standards based on existing UNDP policies and commitments. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

The recommendation is well noted and will be implemented during the induction workshop for the next round and also in the guidance materials.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Clarify and Revise guidance materials
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team 2018/02 Completed History
10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 10:  Establish a fund to be used by Gold Offices for programming experimentation and commit resources accordingly. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

This recommendation is appreciated, however such innovations will be highly dependent on the availability of resources. For exampleit  has been planned to Include in the budget an Innovation fund for gold offices of US$20 000. However this will not go ahead if insufficient funds are allocated to the Seal programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Include in budget an Innovation fund for gold offices: US$20 000.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
Seal team 2019/12 Initiated This recommendation can be taken forward to next year's budget. History
11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 11: The voluntary nature of the Seal should be maintained. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/01] [Last Updated: 2018/01/12]

We agree with this recommendation and the Seal will remain voluntary.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Include in call for applications that Seal is voluntary.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2018/09/28]
jan 2018 2018/01 Completed History

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