International: AI Review of the Stop Violence Against Women campaign

Amnesty International

The Stop Violence against Women Campaign was Amnesty International's first long-term global thematic campaign. It lasted six years (from 2004 to 2010), was very ambitious in its scope, and required major shifts in Amnesty International's ways of working. We commissioned an external review of the campaign in order to identify key areas of learning and recommendations that can be used to strengthen our future work. Two independent consultants were commissioned to carry out this review, and to provide us with an objective, honest assessment of the campaign.

The evaluation aimed to look for indications of Amnesty International's contribution to changes in the external world, assess how the organization worked in partnership with women's movements and networks, and to identify successes and areas for improvement at the operational level of the campaign.

Because of the scale of the campaign, and the huge range of actions carried out by Amnesty International around the world over six years, a case study approach was agreed. Case studies were carried out in the UK, Kenya, Uganda and Venezuela. The consultants sought feedback from Amnesty International sections and structures through a general survey. Whenever possible, an effort was made to include the views of right holders in the enquiry process at project level. This was combined with feedback from staff and partners, as well as reference to earlier evaluations of the campaign.

In their report, the consultants highlight a number of key lessons learned and provide recommendations for improving our delivery of global campaigns as well as the way we assess our impact. The report also showcases some of the successes and achievements of the campaign. 

The review's findings are a mixture of what worked well and what could have worked better, as is to be expected in a review of a major, complex and global campaign that spanned six years and involved a huge range of actions taking place in different cultural contexts.

For example, our partnership work was a major element of the campaign, and the review points out that many interviewees said the best thing about the campaign was our sustained engagement with women's organizations. Yet it also notes that as partnering was new for many of those involved, there were inevitably lessons to be learnt from both sides.

The review recommends that Amnesty International should continue to listen to and learn from partners, ensuring clear agreements and shared understanding of roles and responsibilities. Exit strategies need to be discussed with partners to ensure clarity on why, how and when partnerships will come to an end.

The report also stresses the need for more joint planning between different functions within Amnesty International and the importance of good coordination within the International Secretariat, and between the International Secretariat and sections and structures. We will consider carefully all recommendations in the report, including the need to strengthen planning processes and strategies, training for Amnesty International staff and supporters and monitoring and evaluation systems.

Read the report, A synthesis of the learning from the Stop Violence Against Women campaign 2004-2010, here.

We are committed to learning from the review. At its recent meeting in May the International Executive Committee (IEC) welcomed the review and stressed how important it is for the movement to learn from the findings and recommendations.

The IEC also encouraged leaders in the organization to ensure that the key points from the review are widely circulated amongst relevant staff and activists, and that their section/structure considers carefully how to respond to them.

We have already started the process of gathering feedback and generating discussion on the findings and recommendations. It is important that we listen to the views of staff, supporters and partners, and – just as we should celebrate successes – to be prepared to assess where things have worked less well and to ensure improvements for the future.

We are committed to building relevant lessons into our ways of working. A special project team has been created to help with the dissemination of the report and to coordinate an official management response. The evaluation report has been widely circulated within the Amnesty International movement.

Key stakeholders groups will be engaged in the process and a series of specific workshops are being delivered, focusing generally on:

  • Information about process, methodology and findings;
  • Discussion of the findings so that people have the opportunity to reflect and react to them;
  • Looking forward in terms of what needs to happen to improve areas of concern and build on areas of success.

The approach is participatory and privileges engagement with key stakeholders. Embedding lessons learnt and improving future actions would however entail a deeper process of changing systems, procedures, and behaviour within the organization.

The campaign partners and all those interviewed during the evaluation will be notified of the outcome of the evaluation and encouraged to provide feedback to Amnesty International.