The project aims to support the implementation of the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Policing by adopting an integrated approach to the training of Individual Police Officers and Formed Police Units prior to the deployment to MINUSMA, MONUSCO and MINUSCA peace missions. Specifically, the project aims to contribute to improving the operational performance of UN peace operations in complex and high-risk environments, to strengthen the role of female officers and to improve policing functions at the national level.
The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, likelihood of impact and likelihood of sustainability of the 2020-2021 phase and supported accountability, learning and quality improvement purposes.
The evaluation employed a mixed-methods approach that was gender and human rights sensitive. It incorporated a desk review of project documentation, three online surveys (administered in English and French), 43 key informant interviews, two focus group discussions, and one field visit to Mali.
Some limitations encountered during the evaluation include the timing of the evaluation, as some activities were ongoing during data collection; travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the security situation in Mali; and challenges in accessing internal and external sources of information and documents.
Key Evaluation Findings and Conclusions
The evaluation found the project relevant to i) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to promote peace and build stronger institutions; ii) the recommendations of the Report on Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers (the Cruz Report), and iii) United Nations Security Council resolution 2242 to achieve uniformed gender parity by 2028.
The project’s three-fold approach was relevant to the needs and challenges met by female officers and national police striving to identify candidates. However, the evaluation did not find references to the Department of Peace Operations 2018 review of main external obstacles to women’s representation.
The project was coherent with former phases of the project, other UNITAR projects on national policing functions and the UN Department for Peace Operations Integrated Training Service programme in use in peacekeeping missions. However, the evaluation was unable to fully assess the extent to which the coherence of the 2020-2021 phase’s design feature of capitalizing on trained trainers in subsequent ToT and FPU training was operationalized.
On effectiveness, the evaluation found that limitations in the formulation of the results framework hindered visibility over achievements and did not reflect the numerous engagements made by the project. Despite inherent challenges with the results framework, the evaluation found that overall, the project achieved good results in i) supporting PCC readiness to deploy FPUs, ii) supporting gender sensitive training and enhanced female participation, and iii) contributing to improved national policing.
The project proved to efficient in delivering timely results and that implementing partners were important in delivery. The evaluation found however that engagement with partners required strengthened planning and oversight from project management.
The project’s likelihood of impact is expected at two key levels: national and individual. This is evidenced in changes in professional attitudes, skills and behaviours from female and male officers who took part in training; contributions of the training to a better understanding of women’s role in peacekeeping operations; and changes in national practices, e.g., Benin, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and Senegal.
Conditions for sustainable results are identified by the project but require strengthening. Follow-up after training is occurring but is mostly informal. Some training participants return from training with no guarantee or a framework to use the newly acquired skills, especially for FPUs. The project foresaw the development of action plans, but it is not known the extent to which these plans capitalised on the training undertaken, knowledge acquired or consolidated skills of the trained trainers.
Based on the above findings, the evaluation issued six recommendations:
R1: Strengthen planning with and oversight of implementing partners. Strengthen monitoring capacities of implementing partners where such capacities are deficient including through feedback mechanisms.
R2: Plan for and engage in realistic and articulated management of results. Independently from donor requirements, ensure future programmes define strong intervention logic: objectives and indicators within UNITAR’s mandate, capacity to monitor and measure and time bound indicators. Ensure contribution between activities and objectives are clear and direct.
R3: Institutionalize communities of practice and provide knowledge reinforcement tools at management and project levels. At the project management level: define topics to monitor (requests, needs, support from other donors, comments on performance, etc.); at the implementation level: support and structure multiple countries with communities of practices in French and English and online access to training materials. Encourage PCC mentoring on issues such as gender mainstreaming or national training for FPUs.
R4: Continue to support UNSCR 2242 by expanding pool of female FPU trainers, with more balanced representation among training participants. Track positions to which women are deployed with PCC support, and role models through Communities of Practice (CoP) and after training surveys to build incentives. Use existing research on social and cultural barriers as a baseline to project indicators to further support women who are willing to or did not apply and those who are not (yet) interested through communication, awareness and advocacy to PCCs. Continue addressing gender gaps in women training and public speech techniques in male-dominated environments. Further build trainers understanding of gender mainstreaming.
R5: Compile best practices for training participants’ and trainers’ candidates recruitment with the long-term objective to contribute to national standards for professional trainers and training centres and a clear exit strategy for UNITAR support.
R6: Continue to include field realities through scenario-based sessions and with the support of local trainers. Develop communication with UNPOL in Missions to align with field priorities and concur to ongoing coordination efforts requested by the Secretary-General including the review of DPO FPU training package scheduled in 2022.
The evaluation identified seven lessons learned:
L1: Engagement with implementing partners can lead to important resource efficiencies, but time and dedicated resources are required for monitoring and reporting of implementing partners’ work.
L2: Sustaining national capacities in the long term requires a well-defined exit strategy. Affiliation of trained trainers with institutions is key.
L3: In the area of peacekeeping where many different actors have diverse mandates, close collaboration between them is required for an effective and coherent action. In the long run, coherence with actors and their respective initiatives can also lead to resource efficiencies and contribute to stronger impacts.
L4: Increasing deployment of female personnel for peacekeeping missions depends on various factors, including family-related factors that are beyond the control of UNITAR or its partners.
L5: COVID-19 restricts the implementation of large awareness-raising campaigns but does not prevent face-to-face events from being organized while respecting applicable sanitary measures.
L6: Feedback mechanisms are an important tool to monitor project relevance and effectiveness but are often limited to the administration of end of training questionnaires which bear limitations. It is important to phrase questions in a way that trigger and welcome reflection and constructive criticism.
L7: The evaluation demonstrates that participants are interested in sharing their views and experience in after training surveys. This best practice should be used before new project formulation.