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Last edited: December 21, 2011

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Monitoring of reform programmes generally should focus on whether advantageous aspects of the informal system are being improved while work is progressing on eliminating aspects of the system that harm women and/or do not comply with international human rights norms. Monitoring the progress of programmes in the informal sector builds on the baseline data collection. Monitoring focuses on gathering data to assess progress towards outcomes, factors contributing to or impeding achievement of outcomes, partnerships strategy, engagement of women and girl survivors, and lessons learned for wider sharing.

Some key indicators, depending on the programme and the informal justice mechanism, might include (Penal Reform International, 2000, pp.160-66):

  • increased safety, security and access to justice in the geographical area covered by the justice forum
    • women and girls report experiencing less violence
    • community perceives violence against women and girls to be decreasing
  • increased application of principles of women and girl’s fundamental human rights by the forum
  • voluntary nature of the forum
    • awareness that no person should be forced physically to appear or to abide by any decision of the informal forum with the understanding that perpetrators would be immediately referred to the formal justice sector if they did not appear as scheduled
    • trust that no person refusing to appear or to abide by any decision will be physically compelled to do so with the understanding that perpetrators who did not abide by decisions of the informal justice forum would be immediately referred to the formal justice sector
  • increased gender-equitable decision-making
    • a positive change in attitudes towards the rights of women, children and other minority-status groups

    • an awareness and acceptance of the principle of “equality before the law”;

    • a positive change in the way in which cases involving women and girls are dealt with under the informal forumthe absence of physical punishments by the forum

    • the adoption of a code of ethics which recognizes the equal rights of women and girls

    • greater participation of women and girls

    • greater availability of alternatives such as and legal assistance, paralegals, and advocates

    • the awareness of women and girls of these alternatives

    • increased use of these alternatives by women and girls

  • the absence of physical punishments by the forum
    • a positive change in attitude towards the non-use of physical punishment;

    • instances where the formal state system has intervened, for example,

    • charges being laid for the illicit use of such punishment.

  • improvement to any other weaknesses specific to the particular forum

  • a high degree of community participation in the decision-making process when appropriate

  • increased confidentiality for survivors of violence

  • increased survivor satisfaction with the informal process

  • increased capacity to manage cases efficiently and to implement improvements on the basis of self-assessment

  • an enhanced relationship between the formal and informal sectors;

  • a draft of a code of ethics and procedural guidelines

  • the keeping of records of cases registered, including names of parties, type of case, etc.

  • the keeping of records containing a brief statement of the facts of the case established during hearing, and any agreement reached

  • regularization of times and places where cases are heard, aimed at maximizing participation by all sections of the community when appropriate

  • regularization of procedure for selecting decision-makers/mediators/arbitrators

  • regular public meetings to review and discuss how the forum is progressing and any changes to be made or action to be taken in relation to safety, security and justice

Ethiopia – Monitoring Community Campaigns Against FGM

A campaign to abandon female genital mutilation was begun in the Afar region in the year 2000. The campaign was mainly spearheaded by religious leaders, who worked to inculcate an understanding among their more conservative counterparts, clan leaders, and the community at large that the practice is not supported by Islam. The campaign continued for six years, culminating in a conference in 2006 where consensus was reached to totally abandon FGM in the region. The conference involved senior officials of the regional government, zonal administrators, woreda (district) and kebele (sub-district) officials, and religious and clan leaders. A government regulation reaffirming the Penal Code of Ethiopia (ratified in 2005), which criminalizes the practice, was also passed.

With a strong national foundation for the eradication of FGM, UNFPA and UNICEF launched a joint programme to support implementation of the law.  The programme focused on gaining the support of an initial core group of community members, which decides to abandon the practice and then helps mobilize a sufficient number of people to facilitate a tipping point – enough of a consensus to create a rapid social shift on the norm.

Structures have also been put in place on the ground to monitor the implementation of the Joint Programme. Anti-FGM committees have been set up at the kebele level made up of the clan leader, a community elder, two former circumcisers, and the Kadi (local judge). There are also anti-FGM village committees composed of two former circumcisers, a village elder, clan leader, and the religious leader in the community. The members of the committees teach the community about the consequences of FGM and report cases when they see evidence of it.

Quarterly review meetings are held with the aim of giving refresher training to help committees address the challenges they encounter in the course of their work. The review meetings also serve as forums to evaluate progress. The review meetings are facilitated by members of the Afar Region Anti-Harmful Traditional Practices Committee. There have been cases where officials as high as the Vice-President of the region and the Vice-President of the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council have facilitated the review meetings, thus showing serious commitment in the region to end the practice. In the villages, uncircumcised and newborn girls are now being registered, a record which serves as a follow up mechanism to protect them. The registers are reported on a quarterly basis.

Monitoring work is being undertaken on a regular basis together with the woreda administrations. The monitoring work has been integrated in the routine works of the woredas. When the woreda and kebele administrations hold their periodic meetings, FGM is discussed as one development issue. Moreover, a regional network of governmental and civil society organizations working on the abandonment of harmful practices has been established to create a common understanding and approach in the quest to achieve total abandonment.

Source: UNFPA. 2010. Abandoning Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation in the Afar Region of Ethiopia.