Real Time Evaluation (RTE) of Gender Integration in UNICEF COVID-19 Response: South Asia

Kaggwa, E.
Publication language
Date published
01 Sep 2021
Real-time evaluation
COVID-19, Evaluation-related, Gender
South Asia

This is a final report summarizing the findings from the operational review, gender integration and gender effectiveness reports.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly devastating for countries in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with high poverty rates, inadequate health systems and low levels of preparedness. The humanitarian situation remained dire in South Asia with the continued surges of COVID-19 cases in the region in 2021.

From the start of the pandemic, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) and country offices in the region adapted global actions to the South Asia context and developed a framework for response namely, ‘taking into account the specific needs of women, girls, men and boys makes humanitarian response more effective and accountable to all affected population’.

 Gender equality efforts by UNICEF in South Asia are underpinned by the GAP 2018-2021, which is aligned with the Strategic Plan 2018-2021, UNICEF's Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Girls and Women (2021) and Sustainable Development Goal 5 (‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’). Based on evidence gathered from previous global health emergencies and from the incoming COVID19 monitoring data, ROSA determined early on, that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would not be gender neutral.

It was therefore imperative that the policy and programmatic responses to the pandemic were designed at a minimum to be gender sensitive and ideally to be gender transformative. ROSA and COs explicitly aim for gender transformative (also known as feminist) programming in the region. This refers to tackling the root causes of gender inequality and moving beyond selfimprovement among girls and women to address power dynamics and structures that reinforce gender inequalities.