Thursday, 21 January 2016

Happy New Year, good new reading

Happy new year! For me, 2016 starts with an exciting evaluation assignment spanning some 30 organisations in 7 countries. Which makes that I have a whole collection of topics I would like to write about here, but no time to do so at this point.

So I would like to recommend good new reading: DFID has just published the guidance note Shifting Social Norms to Tackle Violence against Women and Girls that draws on the growing body of literature on the topic. In my view, the best part of it are chapters 3-6 on Social Norms Theory and how to integrate it into programme design, all explained in relatively clear, straightforward terms.

The case studies discussed in Chapter 7 are not wildly new - e.g. Sasa! in Uganda (since 2008), Program H in Brazil (since 2002) and Soul City in South Africa (since 1994), but maybe that is an advantage, because after all those years, it should be possible to see some impact (or not). Yet, the authors conclude that the evidence base is still too thin to determine whether the "promising practices" identified have contributed to reducing violence against women and girls. To generate a fuller understanding of "what works", programmes on social norms should be based on social norms theory, and come with robust monitoring and evaluations (which also means robust money and highly skilled teams for evaluations).