Women and youth should actively and meaningfully participate in and influence the decisions that affect their lives. CARE Nederland’s Every Voice Counts (EVC) knows that this can be achieved through women and youth, alongside civil society organisations (CSOs), working together with public authorities and powerholders to influence social norms, laws and policies.
The EVC programme is an inclusive governance programme aimed at raising the voice of women and youth in fragile and (post) conflict-affected settings. Using Outcome Harvesting methodology, we reflect on some of our achievements and lessons learnt on promoting inclusive governance (IG) in our six programme countries (Afghanistan, Burundi, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan) during the fourth year of EVC (2019).
What have we accomplished?
- In all countries, indications of shifts in harmful social norms emerged in more than half (60%) of outcomes achieved. Social norms shifting resulted in women’s improved access to household and public decision-making processes (all EVC countries), loans/microfinance (Sudan), and reduced child marriages (Pakistan). For instance, religious leaders in Sudan are expressing support for women and girls’ rights by making reference to examples from the Qur’an in their Friday prayers/sermons.
- Local authorities became more responsive. 30% of all outcomes showcased local authorities’ growing responsiveness such as action plan commitments made by local authorities in Burundi and Rwanda, for example, demonstrated local authorities’ efforts to identify and then meet the needs or wants of their communities in annual planning processes (i.e., Imihigo, PCDC). There is also growing evidence of local authorities providing information about their decisions in consultation or dialogue meetings.
- National authorities made development planning processes more inclusive, as evidenced in nearly 20% of outcomes in two EVC countries. In Burundi, for example, the Senate/parliament published a communiqué stating their support to enact the 30% women quota at the local level and the Ministry of Local Government included gender-sensitive performance indicators to be used in assessing local community development plans.
- Implementation of inclusive policies were initiated or improved, representing 8% of the total outcomes in 2019. Amongst these was the establishment of District Monitoring Committees for the Sindh Child Marriage Act in Pakistan, mobilisation of government funding for the implementation of the youth policy in Somalia, and the adoption of the Community Score Card tool by district authorities in all five districts in the Southern Province of Rwanda.
- 205 local CSOs and 875 Community Advocacy Groups (CAGs) took actions and influenced decisions, attitudes and behaviors of powerholders in their communities through 484 advocacy initiatives. For example, in Sudan, more women were granted loans by microfinance institutions (MFI) after women sought support from the Ministry of Social Welfare to link them with banks and MFIs.
How did we do it?
- Proven lobby and advocacy and inclusive governance approaches were introduced and mainstreamed: EVC works on mainstreaming inclusive governance through use of proven models such as Community Score Cards, action planning, and budget tracking. Further, CSOs adopted evidence-based lobby and advocacy approaches such as the development of position papers, use of research and policy analysis, advocacy conferences, and lobby meetings.
- Diverse trainings strengthened both local CSOs and local institutions’ capacities: 183 local CSOs and 70 government institutions (53,430 people) were involved in capacity strengthening on topics such as online campaigning/storytelling, advocacy, gender, Training of Trainers on inclusive governance, Social Norms Analysis Plot framework, and refresher trainings on CSC, Village Saving and Loan Associations, and Outcome Harvesting.
- Localised lobby and advocacy increased representativeness: EVC partnered with 12 local CSOs and engaged with 193 more to lead lobby and advocacy locally including alliances, youth-led organisations, umbrella organisations, forums, minority organisations, networks of men (e.g., Abatangmuco), peace clubs, and district engagement groups. As a result, women and youth reported feeling that EVC has been effective in representing their needs.
- Persuasive storytelling campaigns shifted social norms: In Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan, CARE and local partners implemented online and offline media campaigns (social media, radio, television, community events, theatre) to tackle negative social norms that were barriers for women’s public and political participation.
- Maintained, expanded, and created spaces for dialogue: Spaces that were created by EVC or by CARE in general for CSOs and community women to voice their needs were Community Score Card interface meetings (programme-wide); community dialogues (Burundi and Sudan), dialogue processes and conferences at community/district, provincial and national levels (Rwanda).
Want to learn more? See our work on the CARExpertise page or contact Lori Cajegas, EVC Programme Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).