On Friday 22 November, at the meeting of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) presented Towards a Perspective of Upcoming Interventions, which reports on the findings and recommendations of the first external evaluation of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV)'s programmes in northern Uganda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The ICRW was engaged by the TFV to carry out the independent evaluation, which involved a thorough field based assessment as well as interviews with key stakeholders in The Hague.
The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the impact and establish the significance of the TFV programmes under its assistance mandate, to identify areas that needed strengthening and improvements and to provide recommendations designed to inform the TFV’s institutional strategy as well its country programme strategies.
ICRW stated in the report ‘This evaluation report provides evidence of the great strides made by the TFV supported projects in the name of assistance to victims under the jurisdiction of the ICC. This report also provides concrete recommendations for enhancing and strengthening the programming and coordination that bring TFV funds to the community level, including the achievement areas noted here. As the TFV moves toward putting its new strategic plan into action, it will be important to prioritize the documentation of the impact of these projects, assessing and replicating effective models, and scaling up to reach even more of the many thousands of victims who are still in need of assistance.’
TFV Executive Director Pieter de Baan welcomed the findings of the evaluation, saying that “the report confirms that the Trust Fund is making the right choices when pioneering its unprecedented mandate to assist victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC. We aim to be a learning organisation and the report’s recommendations will certainly be very helpful for the development of the Trust Fund’s upcoming Strategic Plan.”
According to the report, key elements of TFV success include the scale of outreach to over 110,000 beneficiaries and the TFV’s ability to translate theory into a relevant practice by way of an integrated approach of providing services in response to the harm suffered by victims. The TFV is also deemed to be successful in working with community resources and in promoting local ownership of programmes and their achievements, as well as in efforts to build the capacity of locally based implementing partners.
In regard of three major support areas of the TFV’s assistance mandate - physical and psychological rehabilitation, and material support - the evaluation report concludes that the TFV’s interventions contribute to the reduction of social exclusion and shame, demonstrate sensitivity to local social traditions and contribute to self-sufficiency and skills development of victims. The report highlights as risks the high cost and expertise requirements related to the provision of physical rehabilitation, the risk of on-going traumatisation related to psychological rehabilitation and the scope and sustainability of material support initiatives.
The evaluators find that the TFV has successfully promoted peaceful cohabitation, strengthened the institutional capacity of partners for gender mainstreaming and contributed to the lifting of “shame and blame” of victims of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
The ICRW report’s recommendations include a call to prioritise a participatory approach, involving beneficiaries and communities more closely in the design and implementation of interventions, and to better link the monitoring of project outcomes to the TFV’s global programme management performance framework. The evaluators furthermore advise the TFV to explore the possibility of adopting a multi-annual programme funding approach and to intensify efforts, in consultation with the Court, towards effective outreach to local communities.
The report is available here.