Accompaniment and growth

Representatives from grantee organizations, UN Women focal points and the FGE team gathered in New York in 2016 for a global training and exchange. Photo: UN Women / Ryan Brown
Representatives from grantee organizations, UN Women focal points and the FGE team gathered in New York in 2016 for a global training and exchange. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

Stronger together. A central pillar of the Fund for Gender Equality (FGE) model entails accompanying grantee partners in realizing their full potential as agents of change. In addition to the grants, the FGE team provides multiple other forms of support, drawing on UN Women global, regional, and national expertise. The aim is to maximize the quality of the project design and implementation, but also to strengthen the organizational capabilities for impact and sustainability.

The process features individualized technical assistance and coaching and opens possibilities for grantee partners to come together and learn from each other as well as to pursue South-South and triangular cooperation. To date, 131 organizations in 80 countries have benefited from such opportunities.

Grantee partners:

  • Engage in two-way learning with UN Women;
  • Design and implement projects in strategic, effective ways;
  • Build on each other’s strengths to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment;
  • Tap each other’s networks to raise visibility around mutual concerns; and
  • Strengthen capabilities on diverse topics, such as results-based management, communications, social innovation, financial management, and project upscaling.

FGE’s 2018 global independent evaluation found that this “accompaniment approach” was one of the “most powerful” features of the Fund, setting it apart from similar funds that take more instrumental approaches—only confirming the multiple positive testimonies received by grantees and other partners. FGE embraces an empowerment philosophy rooted in its feminist core values that it applies to both its grant-making model and the practices of its team.

The evaluation noted: “The dynamics of this team mirror many of the principles that FGE established for its grant-making, and it thus ‘led-by example’. This manifested itself in the ‘accompaniment’ approach of the FGE team, and FGE focal persons, towards grantees: an empowering style that contributed to the extremely high satisfaction ratings of 96% of grantees being ‘highly satisfied’.”

The accompaniment model operates at three levels:

  • Country level: Grantee partners located in a country with a UN Women presence have a dedicated UN Women focal point who meets with them regularly, undertakes field monitoring, participates in activities, creates potential links and partnerships, and provides ongoing support tailored to their needs.
  • Regional level: FGE monitoring and reporting specialists located in UN Women regional offices work with the focal points to provide each grantee with contextualized technical assistance for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a project throughout its life cycle—both online and in person. They also organize regional gatherings for training and exchange opportunities around specific themes according to the needs, as well as South-South exchange visits for grantees working in similar areas.
  • Global level: Located at UN Women’s headquarters in New York, the Fund’s secretariat coordinates grant making, global reporting, global events, communications, and knowledge management in collaboration with grantee partners, FGE regional specialists, and country office focal points. The secretariat also coordinates global trainings and webinars on relevant issues, including results-based project management and reporting, communications, or social innovation.