Overview of the evaluation
Context of the Project
Sierra Leone had its third general elections on 7th March 2018, since the conclusion of the country’s decade long civil conflict of 2002. The general elections were held for the office of the President, the Parliament and the Municipal Councils. A Presidential run-off was held on 31st March. The 2018 elections were a litmus test for Sierra Leone’s democracy and peace. Despite political tensions, the 2018 elections in Sierra Leone resulted in a peaceful transfer of power from former President Ernest Bai Koroma to opposition leader, Julius Maada Bio, former military Head of State. The elections were an important sign of progress since the end of the civil war in January 2002, which devastated most of the country’s infrastructure, killed more than 50,000 people, and drove over two million refugees into neighboring countries. By consolidating peace Sierra Leone would move from fragility to development.
Evaluation objectives and intended audience
In November 2017 United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) 1, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) were awarded funding from the United Nations Peace Building Fund ( UN PBF) to implement in Sierra Leone a joint project “Improving Women’s Participation in Political Processes as Peace Building Ambassadors” Project under the Gender Promotion Initiative (GPI) till May 31st, 2019. Within the context of this project, UN PBF aimed to contribute to peaceful electoral process in the lead-up to 2018 elections through women’s inclusion in national policies and action plans for peace, broad participation of women as peace ambassadors at national and local levels, and engagement of traditional leaders and media to support peace and gender equality messages ahead of elections. It also aimed to promote peace by mobilizing community and social networks to support women’s participation, institutionalize women’s agency to actively contribute to a culture of dialogue and non-violence, and by strengthening the capacity of national and local - level political institutions to fully integrate women’s rights and gender equality principles for sustained conflict prevention in Sierra Leone over the electoral cycle. This joint project (hereafter the Project) was implemented in partnership with the Government (Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs (MSWGCA), Local Councils, Sierra Leone Female Parliamentary Caucus (SLEFPAC), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) (Women's Forum, 50/50 Group, All Political Parties Women's Association,
Global Network for Women Peacebuilders, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Mano River Union Women's Peace Network, Women in the Media. Inter-Religious Council (IRC) and BBC Media Action Sierra Leone.
The Project, implemented nationwide with a modest budget of 2.000.000 USD focused on national reconciliation, democratic governance, conflict prevention/management had three outcomes namely:
1) National action plans and accountability frameworks promote women’s full participation in conflict prevention, management and resolution.
2) Women are enabled and empowered to participate safely in the elections and contribute to decision-making in peacebuilding and conflict prevention processes.
3) Increased community awareness and public understanding about women’s positive contributions to decision-making and peacebuilding.
The main activities of the Project were divided in two main groups as follows: 1-Pre-elections/during elections activities:
Build capacities of women aspirants and candidates to run effective campaigns and mobilize resources;
Work with male and female traditional and elected leaders to promote participation of women in the electoral processes;
Capacity building for media houses in leadership and in responsible and gender sensitive reporting for conflict prevention, including during electoral cycle;
Increase awareness about the importance of women and girl’s participation in peacebuilding processes by governance institutions and women’s organizations;
Establish a network of women peace ambassadors and support the organization of community mobilization/women’s peace caravans to improve community awareness on women’s empowerment, including community dialogues, forums and alliances among community leaders, youth and women;
Support and train peace ambassadors to promote peacebuilding and conflict resolution at local levels;
Promote women in leadership and mitigate violence against women, especially around the elections.
Provide capacity building and technical support to key national and local stakeholders to develop, implement and monitor SILNAP II and gender responsive policies and institutional reforms;
Support new elected leaders to promote gender equality and social cohesion through gender sensitive legislation, budgeting and legislative processes.
Of the three Recipient United Nations Organizations (RUNOs), the UN Women was the lead agency in the implementation of the project and provided the Evaluation Manager for this final evaluation. From a total approved budget of US$2 000 000, UN Women received an allocation of US$873,604, while UNDP received US$624,558 and UNESCO received US$501,8382. The Project was delivered through the technical guidance and delivery of programme procurement and inputs by each RUNO. The three RUNOs, MSWGCA, relevant Civil Society and stakeholders were involved in monitoring activities to ensure cost-effectiveness and timeliness of project delivery. All these institutions were consulted and evaluated during this evaluation. The Project was designed and implemented at both the national and local levels in selected districts. The evaluators collected data at those geographic levels.
The primary users of the evaluation will be the UN Women, UNDP and UNESCO, including Peace Building Fund (PBF) and Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL). Furthermore, the multiplicity of civil society organizations partnering and interacting with UN Family on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS and WPP) agendas through the Project will make use of the evaluation results. UN Women, UNDP, UNESCO offices, responsible partners, donors and government partners of the Project will be specifically responsible for developing management responses and action plans to the evaluation findings and recommendations. The final evaluation report will be made publicly available on the UN Women Global Accountability and Tracking of Evaluation (GATE) System http://gate.unwomen.org/. It will also be disseminated during regional, national and district meetings.