Pacific Women places a strong emphasis on high quality monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and sharing program information and research relevant to women’s empowerment across the region. This is critical to generating new insight into the enablers and barriers for change as well as testing Pacific Women’s underlying assumptions to ensure that the program is learning and evolving.
This year saw strides in the development of the Pacific Women M&E system. This system is made up of the Pacific Women program M&E framework, M&E frameworks for country plans, and activity-level M&E plans developed by implementing partners. The system also includes the Pacific Women Knowledge Management Database that allows for the entry and analysis of activity level performance data. The Knowledge Management Database will considerably improve access to and analysis of program information to inform the direction of Pacific Women at regional and country levels. A toolkit for M&E data collection provides Pacific Women implementing partners with a range of possible data collection tools to support project learning and improvement. An M&E panel has also been established, comprising specialists and practitioners who can provide ongoing high-quality technical support to the program.
To support a process of ongoing learning, Pacific Women has commissioned a number of evaluations. These include midterm evaluations of two regional projects, the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships (PWPP) project (2013-2018) and the Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific (PGEP) program (2013-2018). Both evaluations will be completed towards the end of 2016 and will inform the year three evaluation of Pacific Women. The year three evaluation of Pacific Women will be completed in February 2017. It will be an independent assessment of Pacific Women’s progress against intended outcomes and will develop analysis and recommendations to inform the ongoing implementation of the program.
This year, Pacific Women convened and commissioned a number of strategic research activities in order to contribute to the body of knowledge and evidence available to Pacific stakeholders.
A significant achievement saw Pacific Women work collaboratively with partners including the University of the South Pacific, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UN Women, SPC and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement to carry out a comprehensive scoping study on gender research in the Pacific. The research was conducted by the University of Auckland and a team of Pacific women scholars including two from the University of the South Pacific. The study has been published as an e-book titled: Gender Research in the Pacific 1994–2014: Beginnings40. It is the first attempt to map existing gender research on the Pacific across eight thematic areas41 and includes a bibliography of over 400 citations, an annotated bibliography of 135 pieces of research and provides a literature review of each of the thematic areas. The scoping study culminated in a research symposium and workshop that brought together Pacific, New Zealand and Australian academics, development practitioners and development partners working in the Pacific to consider the findings and recommendations. They proposed priority actions that would contribute to progressing and expanding high-quality Pacific gender research to inform policy, driven and produced from within the region. Pacific Women’s Research Strategy will be informed by this work.
The following case studies provide further details on the work supported in the area of M&E and research. This area will remain a high priority for Pacific Women over the life of the program.
41The eight areas correspond to eight of the critical areas of concern in the Revised Pacific Platform for Action on the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality 2005-2015: Education, Health, Climate Change, Economic Empowerment, Gender Mainstreaming, Leadership and Decision Making, Human Rights and Violence Against Women.
Project name: Support for Women’s Groups and Coalitions
Project partner: Pacific Leadership Program (PLP)
Total funding: $200,000*
Funding timeframe: 2015–2016
Pacific Women funds three targeted pieces of research through PLP that apply an Action Research methodology. Through this approach, coalition project partners are receiving ‘real time’ feedback on their initiatives as they are implemented and are enjoying deeper insights into the complex, nonlinear and long term change processes in which they have been engaged.
Action Research involves active participation in change processes, whilst simultaneously conducting research into it. This leads to increased understanding of how the multiple inputs around processes (including resources, personnel and relationships) have an impact on outcomes. Feedback and knowledge is then integrated into current and future activities. Researchers typically undertake three or four field visits a year, timed to coincide where possible with key coalition activities.
The Simbo for Change coalition is a partnership between Simbo communities in Solomon Islands, a local woman development entrepreneur; and experienced regional organisation, Samoa Women in Business Development Inc. (SWIBDI). It started with a goal of advancing women’s economic empowerment in this remote community and through the Action Research process it has moved into addressing issues connected to gender roles and family safety.
The Action Research approach has meant that the initiative has developed iteratively. SWIBDI noted, ‘We have been involved in so many projects over the years that have been hampered because the guidelines didn’t suit our intervention model. PLP allowed SWIBDI to do this project ‘the way we knew how to work.’
This more open ended process has enabled the Simbo for Change initiative to adapt to what is learned at each stage, plan in short phases and maintain flexibility. It has resulted in the emergence of women’s developmental leadership in four communities, as well as the formation of the Gizo Women in Business association that is advocating for sustainable livelihoods across the Western Province.
Pacific Women also supports action focused research in Tonga (working with the Tonga’s Women in Leadership coalition in relation to the ratification of the CEDAW) and Vanuatu (supporting capacity building opportunities for local government-level women councillors through the Women in Shared Decision Making coalition).
*This activity is part of a larger program.
Project name: Women’s Leadership Research
Project partners: Developmental Leadership Program
Total funding: $250,000
Funding timeframe: 2014–2016*
Coalitions are increasingly understood as important in bringing about change. Pacific Women has supported the Developmental Leadership Program to conduct research into coalitions in the Pacific that are working on issues of gender and power.
The research draws on case studies of five coalitions of varied sizes, types and locations:
- Talitha Project (Tonga) responding to the needs of young women and girls.
- Women in Sustainable Enterprise (Tonga) network for women in business.
- Nei Nibarara (Kiribati) a women’s handicraft network/cooperative.
- Response to sorcery related violence (PNG).
- A group working to protect and promote universal human rights, including the rights of women and LGBTQI44 people (Fiji).
Findings highlight four factors that seem to have shaped the coalitions, and their ability to promote social change in gender norms and power relations:
- The formative event that brought people together to take action on an issue in a concerted way.
- The nature of the coalition’s ownership and ways of working.
- The shared ground (values/interests) on which the coalition is based.
- The nature of the coalition’s leadership, whether leadership is understood and practised as a process of adaptation, or a characteristic of leaders.
Understanding how these factors influence each other, and how they interact with different forms of power, offers possibilities for better supporting and enabling the work of coalitions. One of the themes emerging from the findings is the importance of safe spaces of participation for relationship building, frank reflection and debate.
Such opportunities can help to foster local ownership and adaptive leadership, and to develop shared values. These spaces can sometimes be usefully convened by regional or international actors.
*This activity is part of a larger program.
M&E and Research activities in Papua New Guinea
In May 2016, a three-day Pacific Women annual partner workshop was held in Port Moresby. This workshop provided support to implementing partners to undertake M&E for their projects and provided partners with the opportunity to share their experiences. Implementing partners, such as Ms Gabriella Marimyas reported that this workshop contributed to program understanding and improvement.
‘It was great to learn about what other projects / programs are doing and meet the individuals in these teams. It was also a good opportunity to tell others about our project and the lessons we’ve learnt so far. Hopefully we will maintain a sharing and learning culture that allows us access to helpful information that we will be able to utilise in informing practice in each of our spheres of activity,’ Ms Gabriella Marimyas, Monitoring and Learning Coordinator, Care Coffee Industry Support Project.
Pacific Women in PNG is also supporting numerous research activities with the aim of linking findings to program improvement. A number of implementing partners are using Participatory Action Research to inform program and activity development. For example, through Participatory Action Research, Population Services International is working with rural communities in Central Province to support a more nuanced understanding of the causes of GBV. Using these research findings, Population Services International is working with communities to implement contextually relevant solutions to GBV with the aim of these communities becoming part of a Safe Village network.
Through a partnership between ACIAR, the University of Canberra and CARE PNG, Pacific Women is supporting research into a promising ‘Family Farmers’ model that seeks to examine how women and girls can generate greater income through a more equitable family team approach to business. This research will inform how the program supports village community educators and women community leaders in the roll out of the ACIAR agricultural training program.
Finally, through a partnership between the Government of PNG and UNDP, Pacific Women has supported the development of the PNG National Gender Based Violence Strategy. This Strategy has been informed by a comprehensive literature review and mapping exercise on the available services to survivors of violence in PNG.
Once endorsed by the Government, it will provide a Framework for GBV interventions and provide guidance to improve planning, budgeting and monitoring of GBV at the national and provincial level. The following case studies profile some of the achievements and work underway in relation to M&E and research in PNG.
Project name: From Gender Based Violence to Gender Justice and Healing
Project partner: Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation and the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)
Total funding: $1,693,366
Funding timeframe: 2015–2017
Educators, defenders, advocates and activists these are all roles that women human rights defenders (WHRDs) play in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. In the project From Gender Based Violence to Gender Justice and Healing (Justice and Healing), participatory action learning research is being used to provide opportunities for reflection during project implementation that, in turn, give direction for the future of the project.
WHRDs are part of the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation’s Justice and Healing project that aims to reduce FSV by addressing the root causes of gender inequality. So far, they have conducted 299 awareness raising activities on FSV, women’s rights and gender equality.
Nearly half (44 percent) have reported advocating for funds from government for activities to respond to FSV and one quarter also reported asking the police and Council of Elders (local community government) to improve services to respond to FSV. WHRDs also interact directly with survivors of FSV, with 13 percent of them reporting that they have counselled women who had experienced FSV in the past year.
At the end of the first year of the Justice and Healing project, Pacific Women supported the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation to conduct an assessment of 78 of its WHRDs to better understand their capacity to undertake work to address FSV at the community level.
The assessment looked at individual capacities such as knowledge of human rights, gender equality and FSV as well as confidence and skills to act; external factors that support or restrict work of WHRDs, including gender relations, networks, support of male relatives and resistance from communities; and the actions that each WHRD had taken.
Applying principles of action learning, the WHRDs and researchers reviewed activities and adapted them to respond to the lessons learned on what was and was not effective.
The methodology enables an environment of equal relationships between researchers and participants, as well as applying culturally and context appropriate techniques to data collection and analysis.
This assessment provided not only a baseline for the project, but also recommendations that informed planning and implementation for the second year of the project. In addition, it allowed active engagement of WHRDs, project team and partners in the monitoring and evaluation of the project.
Project name: Pacific Women Annual Partner Workshop
Project partners: Pacific Women Support Unit
Total funding: $80,000
Funding timeframe: 2015–2016
Pacific Women partners met in Port Moresby in May 2016 to highlight progress made in the last twelve months and to look at lessons for improvement and support for the future.
The three day monitoring and evaluation workshop attracted 101 participants and was opened by the Hon Delilah Gore, the PNG Minister of Religion, Youth and Community Development, and Mr Bruce Davis, the Australian High Commissioner to PNG.
The workshop provided participants with opportunities to discuss project successes, challenges and strategies they could use to overcome these challenges.
In her welcoming remarks, Minister Gore stressed the importance of improving the lives of women and girls; working towards making communities safer, more productive and more profitable; and the impact of violence against women as an impediment to development in PNG.
‘One of the critical barriers to women’s participation is, of course violence. It undermines us as individuals, as families, as communities and as nations,’ Minister Gore said.
Mr Davis reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to gender equality.
‘Empowering women and girls is critical to economic growth and to development and security, particularly in our region,’ Mr Davis said.
The workshop also provided the opportunity to network, share stories and gain useful information and to learn from projects and identify opportunities for future collaboration.
Ms Anna Bryan, Project Manager for the Care Coffee Industry Support Project shared:‘I think achieving women’s empowerment in PNG is like a big complex puzzle and each Pacific Women implementing partner is a crucial piece of that puzzle. For me, the workshop was a great opportunity to learn about the fantastic work so many implementing partners are already doing to empower women in PNG. It was an opportunity to put the first pieces of the puzzle together.’