Management Response

: Bangladesh
: 2019 - 2019 , Bangladesh (CO)
: Country Portfolio Evaluation
:
: Bangladesh
:

The Country Portfolio Evaluation reviewed the contributions made by UN Women in Bangladesh to gender equality since 2014 to early 2019, and it has been timed to contribute to formulation of the next Country Strategy Note from 2021 to 2025. In the period reviewed, the country office grew significantly in terms of financial and human resources and complexity of its programmes. Bangladesh office welcomes the findings and recommendations of the evaluation and is in general agreement with the eight recommendations. The evaluation affirmed that UN Women has made verifiable contribution across programme, although to different degrees in different areas, and that it has made important contributions to gender equality coordination. It also confirmed increased visibility of UN Women's leadership in gender equality issues. The evaluation has confirmed a number of gaps that the Bangladesh office believes that it can be attributed to a certain extent to the rapid growth of Bangladesh Office programmes in the last few years. The evaluation recommendations include, among others, clarifying the vision and theory of change of our programmes and better communicating it externally, strengthening engagement with civil society organizations in a systematic matter, strengthening our analysis of marginalized groups of women to more effectively reach them in our programmes. The Bangladesh Office will implement the actions outlined below to strengthen effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of its programmatic and coordination work in the next Strategic Note cycle.

: Approved
Recommendation: In preparation of the new SN, include a team-wide initiative to evolve the current programme level theory of change, and impact-area theories of change that articulate with this. A statement of intent needs to express both a vision of what is expected to change, and the logic of the steps expected to be required to reach that vision. This evaluation process has offered a provisional programme level Theory of Change, developed from an external perspective to support the evaluation framework. Incorporating an internally-owned and developed version of this would be an important process towards ‘pinning down’ this vision and expressing what steps / causal pathways will be required to carry it out. Moving forwards, this expression of anticipated cause and effect could be used to periodically revisit strategy and fine-tune ongoing programme decision-making.
Management Response: This recommendation is accepted. BCO acknowledges the need for team-wide initiative to develop the programme level TOC for the new SN so that the vision of what is expected to change and the logic of steps to achieve the change/causal pathway is clear. The TOC will be used for periodic review programme strategies.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Not applicable
Operating Principles: Alignment with strategy
Organizational Priorities: Culture of results/RBM
UNEG Criteria: Relevance
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
In the SN 2021-2025 development process, programme teams will jointly develop programme level theories of change and an overall SN theory of change that articulates the vision of what is expected to change and the logic of steps to achieve the change/causal pathway. Management Team 2021/09 Not Initiated The current UNDAF is extended for one more year and will end in 2021. Accordingly current SN is also extended till 2021. Hence it is proposed to change the timeframe from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021
Review relevance and effectiveness of the TOC in annual SN implementation reviews starting in 2021 for the new SN cycle. Management Team 2022/09 Not Initiated The current UNDAF is extended for one more year and will end in 2021. Accordingly current SN is also extended till 2021. Hence it is proposed to change the timeframe from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022.
Recommendation: Following the development of the SN, consider combining this programme statement with the theory of change to produce an accessible communications brief for dissemination throughout the local UN system and among development partners.
Management Response: BCO will produce communications material on our overall vision, strategy and programmes including the theory of change and disseminate widely to external stakeholders including the UN system and development partners.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Not applicable
Operating Principles: Advocacy, Resource mobilization
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Not applicable
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Produce and disseminate easy to understand external communication material that explains Bangladesh office's overall vision and strategy and programmes with clear articulation of the theory of change. Programme teams with support of communication analyst 2022/09 Not Initiated This action is linked with new SN development. Since development of SN is postponed to 2021, it is proposed to change the timeline for this action from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022.
Recommendation: Take steps in the UNDAF formulation process to ensure a gender-responsive evaluation that would include a strong analysis of the UN Systems ability to coordinate on GEEW and promote a twin track approach for GEEW across the UN, which includes high-level programmatic coordination on gender. Explore the potential of the SP level Common Chapter for framing or guiding this process. Moving forward, seek out opportunities for consistent collaboration with key sister agencies, especially but not only through gender units and GFPs, but also with heads of agencies and through formally or informally arising technical support opportunities.
Management Response: This recommendation is accepted. However, it should be noted that whether an UNDAF evaluation will be conducted is out of UN Women’s control. It should also be noted that BCO has led implementation of the UNCT-SWAP Gender Equality Scorecard in 2019 which has reviewed UNCT performance on GEEW coordination, across seven dimensions, namely (1) planning, (2) programming and monitoring and evaluation (M&E), (3) partnerships, (4) leadership and organizational culture, (5) gender architecture and capacities, (6) resources, and (7) results. A follow-up action plan which will promote a twin-track approach to GEEW in the UNSDCF and stronger programmatic coordination on gender has been developed and the implementation of it will be coordinated by UN Women. Opportunities for institutional partnership with key sister agencies is already being explored. The ability to fully implement this recommendation will depend on BCO being allocated additional IB/core resources for senior level international staff that can lead on inter-agency Coordination work.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Not applicable
Operating Principles: Promoting inclusiveness/Leaving no one behind
Organizational Priorities: UN Coordination
UNEG Criteria: Impact
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Ensure approval of the UNCT-Gender Equality Score Card Follow-up Action Plan by UNCT and wide dissemination of the follow-up action plan across UNCT CR and Coordination Associate 2019/12 Completed UNCT-Gender Equality Scorecard Follow-up Action Plan was approved by UNCT on 27 November 2019
Facilitate systematic engagement of GETG members in UNSDCF formulation process in order to promote a twin track approach for GEEW in the new UNSDCF for 2021-2025. Coordination Associate 2021/05 Ongoing UN Women as GETG secretariat has coordinated development of CCA background paper on gender equality with GETG member inputs. GETG members have also peer reviewed some of the thematic papers. UNDAF is extended for one more year. New UNSDCF will start from 2022; and UNSDCF formulation process is on hold because of Covid 19 Pandemic. In this context the timeline is changed to Q2 2021.
Coordinate the development of a GEEW targeted joint programme with the Gender Equality Theme Group based on UNSDCF prioritization. Programme Management Specialist and Coordination Associate 2021/09 Not Initiated UNDAF is extended for one more year. New UNSDCF will start from 2022; and UNSDCF formulation process is on hold because of Covid 19 Pandemic. In this context the timeline is changed to Q3 2021.
Complete an MOU with UNFPA on programmatic coordination and collaboration, building on the Common Chapter and convergence of EVAW programmes of both agencies. CR and EVAW Specialist 2020/03 Ongoing The draft brief of partnership is developed by the GBV technical staff and ready for further discussion and approval from UNFPA management.
Consider increasing allocation of IB/Core resource to BCO to be able to place a senior level international staff that can lead on inter-agency Coordination work. RO and HQ 2020/12 Not Initiated
Recommendation: Facilitate the reinstatement of a strong civil society umbrella and advisory group to BCO, either drawing on the experience of the Civil Society Advisory Group or facilitating a similar locally-owned group. Seek ways to convene this and government on issues related to focus operational areas. Facilitate the establishment of mechanisms to institutionalize a sustained role for this group in policy consultation and monitoring, and in providing evidence for policy advancement. Seek to extend the consistency of relationships with CSOs, with an emphasis on women’s rights organizations, beyond the framework of required processes for normative frameworks, and including these in strengthening support to government to implement and push forward with CEDAW commitments.
Management Response: We accept the recommendation. We agree on the need for BCO to have a Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) that will regularly provide us strategic advice on the focus of our Strategic Note and its implementation. BCO will also support an institutionalized government-civil society dialogue on gender equality and women's human rights Issues. While the CSAG will advise BCO on how to best structure a CSO-GO dialogue, the dialogue itself must be with a broader group of CSOs beyond CSAG members. Re-establishment of a CSAG has been already in the pipeline in 2019, and a call for member nomination has recently been announced. The CSAG will be in place in 2020. BCO will also advocate with Government and support the development of a CSO-GO dialogue platform focused on discussing implementation of SDGs and CEDAW commitments on an annual basis.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Global norms and standards (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Advocacy
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Gender equality
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Complete selection of new CSAG members ensuring that they are representative of the diversity of women across ethnicity, age, sexual identity, geography and others and convene the new CSAG to advise on BCO's Strategic Note and its implementation. CR and EVAW Programme Specialist 2020/12 Ongoing A call for nominations was issued in Q4 2019 and a selection committee reviewed the shortlisted applications in January 2020. There are some gaps in terms of composition of members, and a limited call for additional nominations were planned to be launched in March 2020 but stalled due to the COVID outbreak and prioritization of COVID response activities. Membership will be finalized in Q4 2020 so that the new CSAG can be consulted for 2021 AWP formulation.
Explore creation of common CSO-GO dialogue platform on SDGs and CEDAW commitments with the Government. CR and Gender-Responsive Governance Analyst 2021/06 Not Initiated Due to Covid 19 situation, the AWP budget is reallocated. This will be followed up in 2021, government is not ready at this moment. The timeline is changed from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021.
Identify strategies, in collaboration with civil society, to strengthen our relationship with women's rights organizations in all three dimensions of our work (normative, coordination and operational) in the process of developing the Strategic Note for 2021-2025 and build in concrete outputs, activities and indicators in the SN results framework. CR and Programme Management Specialist 2021/06 Not Initiated Since the new SN will be developed in 2021. Hence it is proposed to change the timeframe to Q2 2021.
Recommendation: Seeking a defined role for WEE – the operational area in which UN Women’s role is currently least defined - should be pursued bearing in mind SN programme selection guidance stating that work areas should synergise the dimensions of a) a major national challenge; b) UN Women comparative advantage; c) alignment of key national actors to support UN Women action. Clearly, promoting gender equality in employment and business as the economy expands continues to be a major national challenge. Working to comparative advantage would mean a focus on policy level advocacy and synergies work across the mandate. Aligning with key national actors would mean liaising with UNDP and ILO in seeking a defined role in WEE which uses this comparative advantage and synergies with their work; and selecting issues in which women’s rights CSOs are or can be engaged. This might be in focusing on tackling gender segmentation in the labour market and through this opening up better quality work for women (as UN Women has contributed to supporting in the context of migration); or might be in advocating on the necessity of including an approach to women’s unpaid care work in initiatives targeting women’s economic empowerment
Management Response: BCO agreed with this recommendation on policy level focus and synergies with other actors as well as working with women's rights CSOs. It is mindful that UN Women's comparative advantage is not in directly offering and reaching numbers of women with trainings and services, but in changing policies and services that will have an impact on a large segment of women who are marginalized.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Women economic empowerment (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Advocacy, Promoting inclusiveness/Leaving no one behind
Organizational Priorities: Operational activities
UNEG Criteria: Gender equality
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Develop a WEE programme strategy and resource mobilization plan keeping in mind UN Women comparative advantage engaging at policy level and alignment with key national actors and UN agencies such as ILO and UNDP working in this area. WEE team 2020/12 Ongoing The drafting of WEE programme strategy and RM plan has been started; because of Covid 19, the focus has been given to the development of ISERF. The full strategy, aligned with COVID response priorities, will be developed along with RM plan by Q4 2020 and will contribute to the development of new SN.
Recommendation: Use the proposed functional review process to further explore precise areas in which staff confidence could be enhanced and understanding of operational procedure amplified. Meanwhile, ensure that strong induction and support processes are in place for incoming staff, so that they can be facilitated as quickly as possible into full confidence of their thematic expertise as it aligns with BCO’s programme of work, and into full understanding of how to manage and plan for operational procedures supporting their work. Where possible, specifically link the definition and allocation of responsibilities to identified internal bottleneck processes and have regular review sessions to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This should form a part of deepening efforts for longer term, sustained and targeted capacity building. Activity might include: - Continuing to strengthen strategies to engage colleagues in understanding any changes to operational policies; - Quarterly opportunities for knowledge exchange and critical progress review so that there is more programme thinking; - Mock role-playing exercises to ensure that everyone (not just the programme leads) is confident in representing the organization in meetings.
Management Response: We agree to review our staff induction system, including clarifying roles and responsibilities for staff induction. We agree that operational and programming bottlenecks can be resolved to a certain extent through strengthening understanding of operational procedures, enhancing knowledge exchange and programme thinking by staff, but we believe that the more serious issue is with the structure of the organization that has organically grown based on project funding that has been mobilized, and is missing human resources to undertake some critical cross-cutting functions. As referred to by evaluators in the report, we will be conducting a functional review of the office with the objective of optimizing the office structure. This will address the recommendation of the evaluation to "allocate responsibilities to identified internal bottleneck processes".
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Not applicable
Operating Principles: Not applicable
Organizational Priorities: Organizational efficiency
UNEG Criteria: Efficiency
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Undertake a Functional Review of the office to support the reorganization of the office structure to remove gaps and bottlenecks in operations and programmatic support and strengthen efficiency and effectiveness of the office. CR with the support of Regional Office 2021/06 Initiated TOR for the review has been prepared and shared with the Regional HR Business Partner. The review was planned to take place in the last week of February 2020. Due to Covid 19, this activity has been postponed to 2021. Funds allocated for this activity has been reallocated to COVID response.
Institutionalize monthly operations solutions clinics for programme and operations teams to share instances of operational challenges and jointly solve problems as well as identify policy issues to be discussed by the BCO Management team and RO/HQ. Operations Manager 2020/09 Ongoing The first action was agreed doing a functional assessment in the 1st quarter. It was expected that operational gaps and bottlenecks would be detected through this assessment. Due to Corona outbreak that assessment was kept on hold. The Regional OM did a management review in February 2020 recommended urgently hiring more staff in operations. The recruitment completed and new staff/personnel joined in July. The bottlenecks, identified during evaluation, is expected to be minimized once the new staff will take full responsibilities and start delivering work expected by last quarter of the year. In March, a small team reviewed procurement business process but the recommendations could not be finalised due to COVID19 and operations work pressure is further increased for providing remote supports to colleagues.
Establish a task force involving staff that joined the office in the past year and supervisors to review staff induction process and materials and develop an improved set of guidance and materials. HR Associate and Operations Manager 2020/06 Ongoing New staff induction/orientation was identified as a priority action area in our all-staff retreat in February 2020 and following actions were agreed. 1) HR to recirculate existing guidance on new staff orientation developed in 2018 (done) 2) Organize an orientation of supervisors on the existing orientation package, so that they are aware of what needs to be done and can support their supervisees. Inputs on improvements to be made will be collected in this process. (This orientation Is planned to be held in September) 3) Organize a feedback session on current orientation arrangements with staff that have joined in the past year. 2) Cox's Bazar sub-office to develop a specific induction programme adapted for their context.
Continue to organize monthly Programme Meetings where programme teams take turns to present their work and discuss synergies across programmes. Programme Management Specialist 2020/12 Ongoing This will resume once the team is back to normal work life from the current Covid 19 situation.
Recommendation: Consider addressing sustainability issues by 1) involving relevant actors more substantially not only in pre-programme consultation but also in the design of programmes and in on-going decision making during implementation and 2) by focusing on interventions which can contribute to sustaining capacity in institutionalized ways, such as, with government, establishing required gender orientation course modules focused on gender equality in a particular sector and, with other bodies, by establishing routine gender / sexual harassment orientation, for instance among university students and professors.
Management Response: BCO accepts this recommendation in terms of involvement of key stakeholders who will play a significant role in implementation of the programme in the design phase of the programme and during implementation and focusing on partnerships and institutionalization of processes for building and sustaining capacity.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Not applicable
Operating Principles: Capacity development
Organizational Priorities: Operational activities
UNEG Criteria: Sustainability
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Establish an annual consultation with Government and CSO partners about UNW SN/AWP, progress and plans to receive feedback. Programme Management Specialist 2020/12 Not Initiated This will be organsied if the situation permits this year; however, online consultation with key govt partners and CSO partners can be organized. In 2020, considering the current situation, it is proposed to organize this in Q4 2020.
Require programme units to 1) conduct a stakeholder analysis and prepare an engagement plan when developing new programmes, and 2) maintain records of consultations with planned national implementing partners while developing programmes, and submit the record with programme document for LPAC review and confirm stakeholder consultation in designing the programme. Programme Management Specialist 2020/12 Ongoing One guidance note and/or template will be developed to record consultations for PAC submission and record keeping in BCO files. Accordingly one IOM will be issued to have the evidences of systematic actions taken.
Require an institutionalization strategy and plan to be articulated in all projects. The strategy should explain who is expected to own the capacity building process and sustain it beyond the project and whether the institution has been consulted in the formulation process of the project and indicated interest to be supported. Programme Management Specialist 2020/12 Not Initiated One guidance note will be prepared for each project to use during the project formulation process.
Recommendation: As part of strategic programme development, sharpen analysis of intersecting forms of inequality among women and base programme targeting on specific groups identified by this analysis. In addition, enhance BCO’s evidence on how far it reaches marginalized groups through operational work by ensuring that partners implementing projects are enabled and accountable to monitoring target populations in ways that disaggregate beyond sex. In the longer term, continue to support government in the development of national monitoring and data collection processes (e.g. in BSO) that disaggregate beyond sex so that “layered” marginalization becomes clearly visible. Integrate objectives for monitoring on this basis into GNP processes, such that the effects of gender responsive budgeting can be reviewed, evaluated and policies modified on the basis of how far they address the needs of the most marginalized.
Management Response: BCO partially accepts this recommendation. We agree that we need a systematic analysis of intersecting and multi-layered forms of discrimination that different groups of women face in our programme development process to identify who are the furthest left behind and what are the root causes for why people are left behind. We also agree that we need to strengthen our monitoring system to capture the extent to which we are reaching the most marginalized women by disaggregating information on our project beneficiaries. We will also continue to support capacity strengthening of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to collect and analyze data disaggregated beyond sex.
Description:
Management Response Category: Accepted
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Promoting inclusiveness/Leaving no one behind, Evidence, Data and statistics
Organizational Priorities: Operational activities
UNEG Criteria: Gender equality
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Review the UNDG Leave No One Behind Guidance (LNOB) and prepare a LNOB country analysis as input for the SN 2021-2025 development process. Programme Management Specialist 2021/06 Not Initiated Since new SN formulation is postponed to 2021, the new time line for this action will be Q2 2021.
Ensure that at least 30% of the SN indicators related to beneficiaries require disaggregation beyond sex. Programme Management Specialist 2020/10 Overdue-Not Initiated Since new SN formulation is postponed to 2021, the new time line for this action will be Q3 2021.
Continue to support the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to collect and analyze data disaggregate beyond sex, and increase the number of gender indicators in the compendium of statistics that will be published in 2020 with disaggregation beyond sex. Gender Statistics Specialist 2020/12 Ongoing