UN WOMEN – What Can We Learn from Evaluations of Projects Funded by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women?

by Dr Monica Biradavolu, Radhika Viswanathan, Lisa Bochey

UN Women, August 2020

This meta-analysis aimed to extract evidence from a subset of 79 evaluation reports determined to be of high quality projects of what works and what does not work in ending violence against women and girls, implemented between 2015 and 2019. It is a step towards developing an evidence and learning hub with quality-assured material and credible data from existing projects that can inform people and organizations working on this issue.

The reduction of violence is determined by a complex mix of factors, including the voice and agency of survivors, the extent of participation and dialogue within communities, the level of understanding of how behaviours change and norms shift, and knowledge around how to design services to work better for the communities they serve. A deeper understanding of what works as well as what doesn’t will be useful for future project design. The intended audience for this report are donors such as the UN Trust Fund, civil society organizations (CSOs) and practitioners that implement programmes to end violence against women and girls as well as researchers interested in furthering the field.

The first objective of the meta-analysis was to ask: What are we learning from evaluation findings on ending violence against women? How are projects designed to be effective at reducing violence? What can we learn from the different strategies designed to make the projects effective, and at what levels is change being affected? To this end, the meta-analysis used an ecological framework to assess strategies for reducing violence at three critical levels: the individual, community and structural levels. Secondly, what are we learning about the characteristics that determine the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of UN Trust Fund projects? The meta-analysis interrogated promising strategies, challenges faced and mitigating actions that contribute to achieving impact, effectiveness and sustainability in ending violence against women and girls.

The United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) is the only global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to eradicating all forms of violence against women and girls. In the 24 years of its existence, it has supported 572 organizations, investing in innovative and evidence-based civil society-led solutions and life-changing initiatives. The projects it has funded focus on preventing violence, implementing laws and policies to address and eliminate violence against women and girls, and improving access to essential services for survivors.