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Evaluation of the UNRWA Protection Audit Mechanism - Department of Internal Oversight Services Evaluation Division (April 2021)

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Sara Yousef, a student at the UNRWA Deir El-Balah Elementary Co-Educational School, Gaza © 2021 UNRWA Photo by Mohammed Hinnawi


Executive Summary

Context and Approach

  1. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) created the Protection Audit (PA) mechanism to systematically measure the Agency’s progress towards mainstreaming protection in service delivery and compliance with global protection mainstreaming principles.

  2. Managed by the UNRWA Protection Division, and implemented by field protection functions, the PA is planned and conducted in two-year cycles. The PA assesses service delivery through the Agency’s four core programme areas of education, health, infrastructure and camp improvement, and relief and social services, and is conducted across all five fields of operation, including Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

  3. First tested in 2010, the PA mechanism was subsequently refined through a participatory process. In 2015, the PA was implemented using a common approach across all fields of operation. Further updates to the methodology were made, and the PA was conducted again in 2018. A third cycle was tentatively planned to start in 2020 but was postponed to 2021 given resource constraints in the Agency’s protection function, and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. The primary objective of the evaluation was to assess the extent to which the PA mechanism meets its objectives and has contributed towards enhancing the Agency’s ability to implement a common approach to mainstreaming protection standards. This has involved analysis of the relevance and coherence of the PA methodology, and the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability of PA implementation. The evaluation was mindful of the current uncertainty about the future of the Protection Division, and the concurrent review that will propose a new strategic framework and organizational structure for the protection function in the Agency.

  5. The evaluation was managed by the Evaluation Division of DIOS and conducted by an evaluation team comprising an external evaluation consultant and an UNRWA Oversight Officer. Evaluation findings were identified using a variety of tools including document reviews, remote interviews with staff from across the Agency and its fields of operation, and two online surveys to Agency staff involved in the PA mechanism.