Self assessment tool encourages organisations to improve practice

Image: iStock

The International Center for Research on Women has published a tool which aims to support organisations in assessing their effectiveness in addressing violence against women.

The Violence Against Women Self-Assessment Tool facilitates reflection and identifies programme strengths, opportunities for improvement and priorities for capacity building.

The tool is intended for organisations of all different sizes, capacity and experience who are seeking to prevent and respond to violence against women. Depending on the capability of the organisation the tool can:

  • Help identify ways to build on existing organisational strengths and continual advancement, or
  • Envision a path to greater effectiveness by identifying concrete steps to improve practice, or
  • Clarify best practices and ethical standards required before expanding practices.

For any strategy chosen, the tool suggests key capacities and safeguards for organisations to prioritise. It also summarises the outcomes of the assessment under six key principles on ethical, effective approaches to ending violence against women:

1. Respect and promote the autonomy of women
2. Address root causes of violence
3. Be inclusive
4. Do no harm
5. Learn from your program
6. Learn from the field

The tool is structured by three core programmatic strategies and four cross-cutting strategies for addressing violence against women. The core strategies include:

  • Community Mobilization
  • Health & Social Support Services
  • Legal Aid

along with the subsections of:

  • Programme Design
  • Policy & Procedures
  • Content & Messaging
  • Implementation
  • Monitoring & Evaluation.

The cross-cutting strategies include:

  • Advocacy
  • Media & Communications
  • Capacity Building
  • Partnership

Organisations are encouraged to appoint a facilitator to lead the self assessment alongside a team to encourage a variety of perspectives and opportunities to be heard. The team are asked to rate how well the organisation has addressed each of the strategy assessment items from A to D (minimal achievement to strong achievement), with detailed information to guide responses. This method allows organisations to examine the current status of their work as well as the changes required to reach the next level of achievement. 

Answers can be submitted in an online version of the tool which provides an immediate report and calculates assessment scores. It is recommended two full working days are required to complete the assessment process.

This assessment tool is intended for organisations of many sizes and capacity levels involved in the global effort to prevent and respond to violence against women. This includes, by design, organisations whose core work has not traditionally addressed violence against women but who are seeking to add or mainstream this work into their repertoire.  

The authors say, "The authors and collaborators involved in preparing this tool believe that reflection, thoughtfulness and occasional self-criticism are marks of strength. Through the course of this assessment, participants are encouraged to accept feedback, critique themselves and their projects and listen to others’ opinions. Practicing these skills will bring about an organizational culture that promotes the learning and growth needed to address the challenge of ending violence against women."