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Fiji Women's Fund (FWF) mid term review and management response

Purpose of the FWF MTR

The Fund commissioned a Mid-Term Review (MTR) in November 2019. The MTR focused on four criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. An assessment of impact was not included in the MTR as the period of implementation was not considered long enough to address long term effects. The MTR was designed to assess progress towards key outcomes and to provide guidance and recommendations for delivery of the program to 2022. The review was both summative and formative in that it assessed both achievements and shortfalls to date and looked forward to how the program should best be shaped in the future.

The review was conducted during November 2019 with two weeks in Fiji including field visits to Suva, Nadi and Naitasiri.

Key results and findings

Key results and findings were then analysed and consolidated into an initial Aide Memoire and subsequent report. The following sections highlight the key findings, lessons and recommendations for moving forward to the end of the programming period.

  • The Fund scored well on relevance, maintaining its importance in the operating environment and building strong relationships with the global women’s movement and local women’s organisations.
  • The Fund scored well on effectiveness, having helped to empower women’s organisations through funding, capacity building, mentoring and network facilitation. The Fund also helped to counteract the Suva-centric bias of the women’s movement by having a major focus on supporting rural and marginalised women’s organisations. However, there were some issues with the system of categorising grants. A total of 70 per cent of all funding went to 37 per cent (nine) organisations and a total of 30 per cent of funding went to 63 per cent (15) organisations. This is understandable from a fiduciary and risk management perspective. However, some large organisations are lagging in disbursement and some grants for Type B and C organisations were too short. Type C grants worked well for one-off events and capital inputs for commercial enterprises but the scale of some of these was quite small.
  • The Fund has been efficiently managed overall but has faced some challenges. It is delivering value for money (VfM) and is tracking well with budget disbursement. It is being governed and managed well with two committees and clear grant assessment processes. However, operational costs are quite high, although the Fund team has made efforts to reduce them. Some late disbursements, particularly among some of the larger organisations, raises questions about the ratio of funds between established and smaller organisations.
  • The Fund has taken proactive steps towards sustainability and is making progress towards independence in18 months. However, there is a level of uncertainty regarding financing going forward. There is a need to develop a plan for a transitional period leading into full independence. In regard to the sustainability of grantees, the Fund should consider longer term core funding for some organisations and assist with resource mobilisation.

Management Response

Background of the FWF

The Fund is an initiative of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program (Pacific Women). Pacific Women is a 10-year commitment by the Australian Government focused on enabling women and men in the Pacific to improve the political, social and economic opportunities for women and girls. The Fund was established in 2017 with a funding commitment of AUD10.5 million from 2017–2022. The purpose of the Fund is to enhance progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in Fiji. The objective of the Fund is to reach women in rural and remote areas, and those who are marginalised, including women with disabilities and those facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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