Management Response

: Policy Division
: 2016 - 2017 , Policy Division (HQ)
: Final Evaluation of the Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment Project (Empower Women)
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: Policy Division
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UN Women greatly appreciates the guidance provided by the external evaluation of UN Women’s “Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment” project ̶ or “Empower Women” (EW) project as it became known as in 2015 ̶ and agrees with the majority of its findings and recommendations. The evaluation provided useful insights on strengths and good practices, and highlighted gaps and areas to further enhance Empower Women. The evaluation applied six criteria: (1) Relevance; (2) Efficiency; (3) Effectiveness; (4) Human rights and gender equality; (5) Potential impact; and (6) Potential sustainability. Overall, Empower Women was shown to be highly relevant for UN Women, external stakeholders, partners and users to implement their strategic priorities on women's economic empowerment (WEE). In doing so, Empower Women successfully framed WEE from both a human rights – gender equality is the right thing to do – and a "smart economics" perspective. UN Women effectively positioned Empower Women as a knowledge hub and platform for WEE with positive outcomes and results for its users through its offerings of information, knowledge, capacity building, networks and other engagement opportunities. While the evaluation recognized that project results were likely to be sustainable, it also provided suggestions to strengthen the sustainability of EmpowerWomen.org. Lessons learned included: (1) Design thinking and a human-centered approach facilitate bottom up innovation and ensure the project’s relevance; (2) The willingness to take risks and test new approaches facilitates innovation; (3) Adopting a combination of complementary online and offline engagement channels through a partnership approach creates effective results; (4) Open and democratic online spaces like EW facilitate participation and ensure that every voice is heard; (5) Partnerships with the private sector can be an effective way to leverage technology and innovation; and (6) Weak monitoring of progress and results limits the capacity to take evidence-based decisions and to demonstrate and communicate results. The evaluation recommends the following: (1) Leverage EW for the recently created Flagship Programme Initiatives in the area of WEE; (2) Create a resource mobilization action plan for phase two that includes financing key project activities through UN Women core funds, while funding from public or private donors should be mobilized to maintain EW’s flexibility and innovative approach; (3) Develop a comprehensive partnership strategy for WEE to identify those organizations that have the potential to contribute to UN Women’s Economic Empowerment Section (EES) and to EW in particular with the highest added value and prioritize quality of collaborations over quantity; (4) Leverage the global Champions for Change initiative to continue reaching wider audiences, including vulnerable populations; (5) Improve internal communication and better leverage UN Women structures to implement the project more efficiently and improve results; (6) Improve the online platform to enhance clarity on EW’s objectives and target audiences, increase user friendliness and better meet users’ needs; (7) Integrate a Monitoring & Evaluation framework with a results-based management approach into activities to be able to regularly collect and analyze standardized data for informed decision making; (8) Assign a specific section on the platform exclusively to the private sector in order to engage the business community in a more proactive way and maintain the relevance of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs). In response to the evaluation, UN Women has made appropriate adjustments to leverage the Empower Women platform for its work on WEE at global, regional and country levels. A breakdown of Empower Women's planned actions in response to the evaluation recommendations is provided below.

: Approved
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 1: Leverage Empower Women for the recently created Flagship Programme Initiatives in the area of WEE.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation to better leverage Empower Women for the FPIs and other WEE programmes at the HQ, regional and country levels. It could contribute to enhanced knowledge management and communication which in turn can improve programme effectiveness and efficiency, and accelerate programme impact and results. UN Women has spent considerable time and efforts to design new WEE programmes, including the FPIs, that are now using the Empower Women platform and community. These include: 1. The FPI "Stimulating equal economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs," funded by and in partnership with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Google. 2. The "Promoting economic empowerment of women at work through responsible business conduct – G7 countries" (WE EMPOWER G7) programme, funded by and in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) 3. The "Win-Win: Gender equality means good business" programme, funded by and in partnership with the EU and ILO. 4. The “Promoting economic empowerment of women at work in Asia” (WE EMPOWER ASIA) programme, funded by and in partnership with the EU and ILO. 5. The "Promoting and Protecting Women Migrant Workers’ Labour and Human Rights," funded by the EU. 6. The "Expert Working Group for Addressing Women’s Human Rights in the Global Compact for Migration," funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation. 7. The "Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women" programme, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Government of Norway, jointly implemented with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). 8. The “Women’s land rights and tenure security in the context of the SDGs”, supported by the Government of Finland.
Description: Empower Women could function as a knowledge management platform for the Flagship Programme Initiatives (FPIs) on WEE where initiatives, knowledge, best practices and lessons learned related to the different thematic areas can be disseminated and shared. This integration can also help contribute to the implementation of Recommendation 5 on internal communication (see below). The alignment of Empower Women activities with the FPIs will also contribute to better integrate Empower Women in UN Women’s global, regional and national programming, help Empower Women to create a more coherent approach to content and to develop a clear editorial line with defined thematic areas.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Capacity development, Advocacy, Knowledge management, Innovation and technology
Organizational Priorities: Operational activities
UNEG Criteria: Effectiveness, Human Rights
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Building on EW experiences, lessons learned and recommendations, the above mentioned programmes and projects will leverage the EW platform and community for its: 1. Knowledge platform Leverage the existing EW.org infrastructure to: • Disseminate project information and knowledge about WEE to drive policy advocacy, networking, and knowledge sharing, including through storytelling. 2. Social media platforms EW’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will be used as primary channels for: • Disseminating information, e.g. key messages, resources, facts and figures, with the view to continue to drive traffic to the website. • Advocacy campaigns on WEE. 3. Database of 50,000 contacts • Newsletters and other outreach with information about upcoming events, e-discussions, webinars, training and learning opportunities and other major events and activities. Jan. 2018-Dec. 2020 Economic Empowerment Section (EES), Policy Division Ongoing Policy Division 2020/12 Ongoing
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 2: Create a resource mobilization action plan for phase 2 that includes financing key project activities through UN Women core funds, while project funds from external organizations – public or private – should be added to maintain Empower Women’s flexibility and innovative nature.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation. Even though core funds to secure Empower Women staff has not been forthcoming, UN Women has spent considerable time and effort to raise non-core funds for programmes that will sustain the Empower Women platform and community for the next few years.
Description: In order to ensure Empower Women’s financial sustainability for the second phase of the project, it is recommended to develop a resource mobilization plan based on two pillars: core funding and project funding. While the first can guarantee continuity of EW’s key activities, the latter will contribute to maintaining Empower Women’s flexible and innovative approach. Core funding should be allocated to Empower Women through an alignment with the FPIs for which Empower Women’s can fulfill an important knowledge management function. Core funding should be provided for Empower Women’s key staff and the implementation of activities related to project and knowledge management, community management and communications. This should also include M&E activities, as well as IT support that is vital for the project’s correct functioning. Non-core resources should be mobilized through resource mobilization activities with external organizations in coordination with the Economic Empowerment section. The mobilization of additional resources can also be guided by the partnership strategy for WEE. Non-core resources should be mobilized through resource mobilization activities with external organizations in coordination with the Economic Empowerment section.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Resource mobilization
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Sustainability
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Three programmes using the EW platform are contributing funds (approx. $800,000 over three years): • WE EMPOWER programme (2018-2020) funds one dedicated knowledge management (KM) staff member and some funds for KM activities (e.g. G7 country pages). • Win-Win programme (2018-2020) has allocated a small contribution to create a Portuguese version of the platform. • Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs programme (2018-2021) has allocated $50,000 to support the linkages between and networking of women entrepreneurs. • WE EMPOWER Asia programme (2019-2021) has allocated some funds for KM activities. Additional financial contributions were allocated to cover the costs of transferring the Women’s Empowerment Principles database of companies from the UN Global Compact’s website to EmpowerWomen.org. The EES is exploring how this company database can be leveraged to sustain EmpowerWomen.org and the Women’s Empowerment Principles beyond year 2020. A resource mobilization strategy is being prepared. Policy Division 2019/03 Ongoing
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 3: Develop a thorough partnership strategy for women’s economic empowerment to identify those organizations that have the potential to contribute to UN Women’s Economic Empowerment section and to Empower Women in particular with the highest added value and prioritize quality of collaborations over quantity.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation. Partnership and collaborations with external organizations were critical to the success of EW. The alignment with the FPIs and the migration of the WEPs community to EW.org will help to drive enhanced partnerships.
Description: Empower Women, in coordination with the Economic Empowerment Section, carefully selects a small number of key partners per sector with which it wants to engage long term to work on defined objectives and maximize results. Thus, it is suggested to create strong and strategic partnerships at the global, regional and local level to increase outreach and impact of the initiative. This implies defining common goals, framing joint activities and aiming to achieve expected results through a thorough monitoring system in order to make sure that collaborations lead to the expected outcomes.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Knowledge management
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Impact
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Since the closure of the EW project, strategic partnerships with common goals and joint activities have been established with the European Union, International Labour Organization, and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment. Collaboration and network building [with other stakeholders] are at the core of these partnerships. Policy Division 2019/01 Completed
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 4: Leverage the champions initiative in order to continue reaching wider audiences, including vulnerable populations
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation. The Champion for Change initiative was an effective strategy to engage Empower Women stakeholders. UN Women will apply the lessons learned for its WE EMPOWER G7 programming.
Description: It is recommended to enhance the champions initiative by providing alumni champions with the opportunity to engage in mentorship activities with new champions. Since many champions have expressed their will to continue their activities beyond the championship period, there is an interesting opportunity to leverage this asset. This approach would allow for decentralizing support to champions to the country level while at the same time reducing workload for the EW team.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Knowledge management, Advocacy, Capacity development, Promoting inclusiveness/Leaving no one behind, Innovation and technology
Organizational Priorities: Partnership, Youth engagement, Engaging men and boys
UNEG Criteria: Efficiency
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
UN Women will establish a WE EMPOWER Champions for Change initiative for stakeholders in G7 countries. The Champions will help raise visibility and awareness about the programme, its activities and campaigns and WEE more broadly. March 2019 - Dec 2020 EES, Policy Division Building on the lessons learned from the Champion for Change programme, a similar initiative will be developed for organizations to advocate for Women’s Empowerment Principles commitments, hosted on EmpowerWomen.org/weps. April 2019- -December 2020 EES, Policy Division Policy Division 2020/12 Not Initiated
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 5: Improve internal communication and better leverage UN Women structures to implement the project more efficiently and improve results.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation. Internal collaboration with strategic sections of UN Women is beneficial for all.
Description: It is recommended to create stronger and more fruitful relationships with some strategic sections of UN Women that are relevant for the project such as the Strategic Partnership Division, the Communication Division, Civil Society section, the Training Center and the Fund of Gender Equality. Additionally, there is a need to improve Empower Women’s integration with the regional and country offices, as offline presence at country level has proven to be effective for achieving online engagement. It is recommended that each country office should have a focal point for Empower Women and that regional coordinators invest more time in relationship management with the country offices to engage them in Empower Women activities beyond content sourcing. It is also recommended that country offices integrate knowledge management activities related to Empower Women into their work plans and report back to HQ on the implementation of these activities.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Internal coordination and communication
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Effectiveness
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
To enhance internal collaboration on WEE, focal points have been established in 43 country and regional offices. While the main focus is to promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles, it has allowed UN Women field staff to familiarize themselves with the EmpowerWomen.org website where the WEPs information pages and database are hosted. Policy Division 2018/08 Completed
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 6: Improve the online platform to enhance clarity on EW’s objectives and target audiences, increase user friendliness and better meet users’ needs
Management Response: UN Women agrees with this recommendation. Empower Women has been relaunched with a new user-friendly design and structure. However, UN Women recognizes that while adding more questions to the registration process (e.g. education level, profession, age and rural/urban area) to better identify registered members, it might also deter the potential users from registering.
Description: Small improvements are recommended to be able to identify target groups, increase the platform’s relevance and clarity as well as to improve the interactivity of the platform. These include: (1) Better identify target groups by adding information requests to the registration function; (2) Improve clarity on Empower Women’s objectives; (3) Include more mobile friendly content; (4) Include more specific content for certain target groups; (5) Adequately maintain and manage different language versions
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Knowledge management, Innovation and technology
Organizational Priorities: Operational activities
UNEG Criteria: Relevance
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Efforts will be made to:  Regularly assess key audiences and their motivations and learning needs and apply this information to develop targeted content.  Develop more structured and curated content on the thematic areas covered by the flagship programmes.  Offer more content in French and Spanish and expand to Portuguese in 2019.  Expand the learning and skills development offerings to the EW community by rolling out the learning management system, WeLearn. Policy Division 2020/12 Ongoing
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 7: Integrate a Monitoring and Evaluation framework with a results-based management approach into activities to be able to regularly collect and analyze standardized data for informed decision making.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with this recommendation as deeper collection of data for monitoring of progress and results will enable UN Women to better understand the impact of its activities, enhance the platform, and develop targeted content for the community. Evidence-based results will also attract new partners and donors.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Evidence, Data and statistics
Organizational Priorities: Culture of results/RBM
UNEG Criteria: Relevance
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
The WE EMPOWER programme will draw on lessons learned from the Empower Women project to collect data in a more efficient and effective way. The team will monitor progress on a monthly, quarterly and annually basis according to the Results Framework containing SMART indicators and targets. Policy Division 2020/12 Ongoing
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 8: Assign a specific section on the platform exclusively to private sector in order to engage them in a more proactive way and maintain the relevance of the WEPs
Management Response: UN Women agrees with the recommendation. The transfer of the WEPs Secretariat to UN Women is a great opportunity for engaging the private sector on EW by providing targeted resources, tools and knowledge exchange opportunities.
Description: Empower Women aims to be a platform for everyone interested in WEE, including government, the business community, entrepreneurs, international and national NGOs, grassroots organizations, as well as individuals in general, women and men, including marginalized groups. This leads to a dispersion of content, online activities and communication efforts with which Empower Women tries to reach out to all those different groups. However, certain groups like the private sector require more focused messages and private spaces in order to join the platform.
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Advocacy
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Relevance
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
The new WEPs webpage and database will be used to build networks, partnerships, and share targeted information for the private sector. Policy Division 2019/09 Ongoing