Increased Accountability of Asean and Saarc for the Realisation of Children’s Right to Protection
- Utgitt: desember 2017
- Serie: --
- Type: Gjennomganger fra organisasjoner
- Utført av: Claire Dijoux
- Bestilt av: Plan
- Tema: Barn
- Antall sider: 46
- Serienummer: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organisasjon: Plan International Norway
- Lokal partner: Plan International Asia, CRC Asia, Group Development Pakistan on behalf of NACGs
- Prosjektnummer: GLO 0742 QZA-15/0442
Plan International Asia Regional Office (hereafter, Plan ARO) is implementing a 5-year project supported by Plan International Norway, Plan International Sweden and Plan International Finland, with the purpose of increasing the accountability and commitment towards children’s rights (and in particular the right to protection) of key regional bodies related to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
The project contains specific thematic focuses for each region: child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children in the case of South Asia, but a broader focus on child rights, gender equality and protection against all forms of violence against children in the case of South East Asia. Plan ARO is the project lead, convenor, technical hub and coordinator, while two regional partners – Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia) for South East Asia and Group Development Pakistan (GDP) on behalf of National Action and Coordination Groups (NACGs) for South Asia.
The purpose of the Mid-Term Review (MTR) is to provide an assessment of the project’s progress, contrasting achievements at output and outcome levels with baseline values. This presentation of mid-point results is also envisaged as a process towards advancing the understanding of the project context, challenges and implementation, as well as supporting learning for the project teams more widely. This MTR aims to propose actionable, realistic, results-oriented and concrete recommendations to inform further thinking around project strategy, approaches, planning and implementation for the remainder of the project.
This mid-term review is an external, independent assessment aiming to gauge the continued relevance of Plan International’s Asia Civil Society Regional project and the progress made towards achieving its planned objectives. Tools and methodology used: desk review, progress assessment, online survey, key informants review, gender rapid mid-term assessment, log frame review.
A. Remarks about continued relevance at mid-point
Half-way through its lifecycle, the project was found by this review to remain highly relevant in its regional and global contexts; the design choices and core assumptions made (and in particular the focus on regional-level policy advocacy through civil society strengthening) have been confirmed by this review as pertinent. All things considered, its continued relevance from multiple perspectives (regional, global, thematic, organisational) is, at mid-point, the most salient strength and asset of the project. In spite of positive policy developments (including those generated and supported through this project) and increased general awareness on VAC issues, as observed and reported in this review, the scope of the problem is still vast and to some extent endemic in both sub-regions.
The policy gains already generated with ASEAN and SAARC through engagement with their regional bodies specifically mandated to prevent and address VAC, are an indication that the project assumption around regional-level engagement is appropriate, relevant and effective in nurturing more protective frameworks for children’s rights, as well as being aligned with the upward regional integration trend in both sub-regions. The value-added of partnership and coalition work has been highlighted through this review process, including some benefits of cross-regional collaboration (particularly around peer learning).
B. Project progress and key achievements
In spite of a reported slow start mainly due to time required for contractual negotiations with donors and between all parties, the project has been found by this review to be prolific, productive and highly performant, and is in fact meeting or on track to meet its stated goal, objectives and expected results.
Key achievements have included:
- Positive influencing of policy development with ASEAN through ACWC, and in particular, project contribution to the ASEAN Guidelines on non-Violent Child Rearing in all settings, and the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Ending Violence against Children, which presents a verbatim adoption of the definition of VAC proposed by CRC Asia and members.
- The process of adoption of the SAARC Strategic Regional Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation including Online Exploitation, has given ample and genuine spaces for civil society at large and project actors in particular (including NACGs through GD Pakistan) to engage with the development of the Plan.
- The capacity building components of the project is highly appreciated by CSO partners as being relevant, tailored, and impactful.
C. Project overall effectiveness and cost effectiveness
This review concludes that the overarching logic of the project remains pertinent in the regional context. The result chain is clear, and passes the “if-Then” test. The goal, specific objectives and expected results remain pertinent at this point, albeit with some limitations as listed below. This review highlights some aspects of the project logic which would require strengthening, including:
- More consistent and exhaustive thinking around assumptions, including the “regional to national” linkages assumption (see details in other sections of this report); this may imply additional inputs (e.g. support for national-level activities) or outputs for national-level work
- The necessity to express indicators more clearly and “SMART-ly”, particularly in relation to the civil society strengthening outcome (a clear gap currently)
- The possibility to simplify the overall logical framework, currently unnecessarily complex and layered, and thus with a certain degree of repetition and overlap particularly between objective and result levels Specific and detailed recommendations are made to address these limitations, and some other minor ones, further on in this report.
In terms of cost effectiveness, a cost variance analysis conducted through this review concluded that with an aggregated budget utilisation rate of 88%, the overall spend performance is satisfactory and more importantly in line with overall progress through activities and outputs.
D. Partners’ commitments towards gender equality and child protection
Overall, this review found that project participants reported high level of commitments to child protection. In particular, it demonstrated that:
- organisational child protection policies and procedures are reported as being in place,
- internal compliance vis-à-vis these protective frameworks on the part of staff and volunteers is reported to be observed
- the prioritisation of prevention and safeguarding is reported With regards to gender equality, this review concludes that the project is gender aware in its design and core ambitions, but gender neutral (to blind) in its experience and practice. This illustrates a gap between theory and commitments on the one hand, and capacities and practices on the other hand, as also expressed by respondents and informants.
E. Challenges and lessons-learned
In terms of challenges and lessons, two key issues emerged:
- The linkages between regional-level work, actions and engagement, and national-level (expected) follow up actions are insufficient. This is in fact one of the main current limitations of the project logic, to have omitted this link in design assumptions, and to have insufficiently reflected or resourced national-level work.
- In the specific situation of South Asia, there are a number of issues related to the governance and coordination of NACGs. The particular situation in Pakistan, which has crystallized throughout the years over the dual role played by GD Pakistan (as project partner and NACG Chair for Pakistan for the first two years of the project), requires urgent attention to ensure that existing tensions do not harm the positive spirit of collaboration which exists between NACGs.
Better coordination between the regional and national level
This review recommends that Plan ARO coordinates a project-wide effort to reflect national-level expectations and assumptions within the project logic and work plans, and an effort to identify opportunities to resource such plans accordingly.
Leveraging expertise on gender equality
This review recommends that Plan ARO leverages more strategically and consistently expertise available at regional or country level towards regular, concerted and multi-level gender advisory capacity to support a range of activities and actions which will in return facilitate the transition between theory and practice in the effective mainstreaming of gender equality throughout all project dimensions.
Depending on resources and prioritisation of work in the remaining project period, the value-add of cross-regional collaboration could and should be enhanced, through opportunities for civil society actors to work on joint pieces of research or advocacy, rather than in parallel. Cross-regional collaboration could and should extend beyond peer-to-peer information and experience sharing, and beyond joint training programmes, in order to fully utilise the benefit of adjoining two regions together in one same project.
Finally, in both sub-regions, more dedicated and focused efforts are recommended to streamline communication from regional to national level and vice-versa, cognisant of the genuine communication challenges inherent to coalitions
Comments from the organisation
The evaluation findings are in line with the organisations observations and will be followed up by Plan to the extent possible within the rest of the program period.