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What is the outcome of an appraisal?

Last edited: December 20, 2011

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The outcome of an appraisal might be a community map, a detailed narrative report on themes from interviews, charts with survey results, or ideally a combination of all of these. The outcome of an appraisal should reflect a human rights-based analysis of the information.

A situational appraisal should keep in mind the following objectives and associated sample questions (UNDP, 2005). The following questions and tips can help guide the analysis of appraisal data.

  • Situate the problem in a human rights context:
    • Which human rights are at stake? The international framework of treaties and standards protecting women’s rights can be found on the UN Women website.
    • What types of remedies do women and girls need?
    • How does the current situation compare to the international human rights framework?
    • Is a legal framework in place and is it in line with international human rights norms?
    • How do customary, indigenous, or other informal norms and practices promote or hinder women’s rights in the context of this problem?
  • Think in terms of issues, not institutions – the justice sector is comprised of multiple mechanisms through which women attempt to claim their rights from those who have a duty to uphold them.
  • Think in terms of rights and responsibilities – where a woman has a right, someone else has a responsibility or a duty, and both the woman and the person responsible for granting a remedy must have the appropriate knowledge and capacities.
  • Use data, but avoid analysis deadlock – gathering available or newly collected qualitative and quantitative data is a critical piece of appraisal, but it is easy to become overwhelmed with information. Keep the analysis simple and focused on the initial issue that led you to make an appraisal. Don’t try to solve all the problems in the justice sector at once.

The outcome of an appraisal should serve as a basis for guiding programme development and should help move what started as strong desire for reform toward a list of detailed, achievable goals and objectives.


Vietnam – Ministry Conducts Legal Needs Assessment

As part of the transition from an underdeveloped, soviet-style legal system to a modern rule of law based legal order, the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice carried out a comprehensive legal needs assessment. Due to a serious shortage of trained legal professionals in the country, the Ministry of Justice approached the United Nations Development Programme with a request for technical assistance and donor co-ordination.

National ownership of the assessment produced outcomes more likely to be ultimately employed by the government, and demonstrated that the recommendations were not donor-driven. Additionally, by taking the time to clearly plan out the scope of the assessment and design procedures for the necessary inter-ministerial collaboration, the assessment both stayed focused on its purpose, and relevant to Vietnamese policy making bodies.

In addition to creating a comprehensive needs assessment for the Vietnamese legal system, the process helped increase the legal capacity and awareness of Vietnamese policy/lawmakers. Due to this indirect influence on lawmakers, many of the assessment suggestions have been incorporated into recently promulgated Vietnamese laws—an unintended benefit. Having a comprehensive picture of the legal resources available generally can inform programming specifically related to violence against women by highlighting priority needs.

Source: World Bank – Vietnam. 2003. Delivering on its promise.