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Project Overview and Role
Australia Awards - Africa provides a mix of short and long term Awards that directly contribute to the achievement of economic development in Africa while promoting Australia as an active partner in African development. The program builds the technical capacity of Africans so that they can more effectively contribute to development in their home country. As outlined in the Australia Awards Global Strategy: Australia Awards are a whole of Australian government initiative bringing together scholarships, fellowships and short courses administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); the Department of Education and Training (Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships); and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). DFAT’s Australia Awards have, over the past decade, expanded beyond traditional long-term scholarships to include a more sophisticated suite of education, training and professional development opportunities.
Using these modalities the Australia Awards – Africa objectives are:
Alumni are using awards skills, knowledge and networks to contribute to sustainable development Alumni have positive on-going links with Australia that contribute to positive business and development outcomes and broader cooperation between Australia and partner governments Targeted countries in Africa view Australia as a valued partner
Background The Australia Awards program has an on ongoing commitment to promote gender equality and disability inclusion. In 2012, the Australia Awards – Africa program carried out a study to identify the barriers to equal participation by women and provide evidence-based analysis to inform the design and implementation of gender strategies for Australia Awards – Africa, with a view to improving the representation of women in awards. Following which a gender strategy was developed with a number of activities being implemented to promote gender equality and inclusiveness throughout the Award Cycle and post Award. The new phase of Australia Awards – Africa commenced in April 2016. The program has a target of 50 per cent participation by women, both at the applications stage and within the total cohort of awardees per year (i.e. balance across all countries and award types combined, rather than balance in each case). The program also has an aspirational target of 3-5% for people with disability and people studying disability related courses.
The 2012 Gender study found that:
Promotional activities needed to be revisited as many women were excluded by the existing promotional channels that were being used; Family-related, socio-cultural, and economic obstacles faced by women were not a deterrent to their decision to take up the scholarships; There are professional barriers to women attaining promotion to middle level management and above, which challenge women’s access to both short and long term Awards; and Among the important enablers for women’s equal participation in the program was the proactive affirmative action used throughout the Award process. Annually, the Australia Awards – Africa program conducts an outcomes assessment with Alumni that are at 12 and 24 months following completion. Nearly three quarters (74%) of the 2015 Outcomes Study respondents showed that they were using award acquired skills and knowledge to promote gender equality on return to their home countries with more than half of these (59%) being men. The study also noted that female and males did not identify gender discrimination as a challenge in the workplace, implying that there is perception of gender equality present at majority of Alumni workplaces. Since the roll out of the Gender Strategy in 2013, there have been different activities undertaken to promote gender equality. The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Review will assess the extent to which gender and social inclusion issues for Awardees and Alumni have evolved since the implementation of the strategy, identifying areas of improvement and the implications the activities have had on the program’s ability to address GESI issues.
The program takes two approaches in implementing GESI by:
Ensuring the reasonable support and adjustment for women, persons with disability and persons with HIV across the awards cycle; and Promoting and advancing social inclusion as a development issue where all stakeholders (and especially awardees and alumni) are encouraged to embed social inclusion through policy, practice or changing culture within their workplace and communities.
A number of supporting mechanisms have been put in place to respond to GESI issues faced by program participants these include;
provision of a discretionary funding mechanism to respond to specific gender issues through the access and equity fund; a Women in Leadership Network that facilitates mentoring relationships between women Alumni and Awardees and promotes GESI sharing and learning.
Study Purpose/ Objectives The purpose of the review is to assess how GESI have been incorporated into the program and review any GESI related obstacles that Alumni or Awardees face at any point of the Awards cycle, i.e. application and selection phase, on award, reintegration and as Alumni and how these can be addressed. Further, the review will target female applicants that requested for an application form but ended up not applying for the scholarship to get an understanding to the reasons for not submitting the application. The Scope of Requirements for the new program outlines the need for the GESI strategy to ‘ analyse and address factors that restrict women’s access to the awards, their effective reintegration into the workplace and the utilisation and transfer of their skills’. The study purposes to address these issues.
The objectives of the study review are;
To complete an assessment of contextual factors in participating African countries that influence marginalised groups’ (marginalised groups including women, people based in rural areas and people with disability) participation in the program. Assess the implication of flexible learning on the program’s ability to reach its GESI targets. Obtain an understanding of the GESI issues and their implications at each stage of the Awards cycle – targeting communication, application, selection, pre departure, on award, reintegration and Alumni engagement activities Analyse the implications and outcomes of GESI strategies that have been implemented by Australia Awards - Africa since 2013 and identify any instances and possible consequences where GESI related barriers may have been overlooked with no specific strategies implemented to address such by the program Draw on relevant experience on addressing GESI from other international scholarships programs particularly those implemented in the Africa region. Provide recommendations of how to more successfully integrate GESI in the Australia Awards program at all stages of the program (based on evidence of key issues within the program) including key objectives. The review should also make recommendations of what should be included in the GESI Strategy (including key milestones and objectives based on current issues and trends) addressing how to monitor program results including Alumni understanding of GESI and involvement in GESI issues and marginalised people’s empowerment after they have returned from scholarship. Test the assumption that the program eligibility criteria excludes marginalised groups’ participation.
Some of the research questions to be investigated in this study are listed below, these will change and slightly adjusted after the documentation review and the study methodology is finalised.
To what extent have GESI issues been incorporated in the program cycle? What are the key challenges and enablers faced by men, women and people with disability participating in the program-along the program cycle? Identify (any) specific issues faced by each group at each award phase. To what extent have the award activities implemented addressed GESI issues faced by Awardees, potential applicants and Alumni? To what extent are the program participants aware of the importance of GESI and of individually embedding GESI in their work and community activities? Are the existing GESI activities and objectives best fit for the program? What are the main GESI related challenges faced by program participants at the various stages of the program? How can the program be more inclusive of the marginalised groups and of those working in these fields? To what extent has the program supported participants to be more aware of GESI and to embed it in their work? What have been the lessons learnt by program participants in embedding/ implementing GESI principles and activities at work/ community level? To what extent have Alumni understood and embedded GESI aspects and activities in their workplaces or communities? What are the factors that restrict the effective reintegration into workforce, utilisation and transfer of skills for women Alumni? What support measures may mitigate these impacts?
The study will target Awardees, recently returning Alumni that were exposed to the program’s new GESI strategies implemented since 2013 and female applicants that requested for an application but did not submit their application. Other Australia Awards stakeholders to be targeted include Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gender Focal persons at the institutions, Australia Awards – Africa Palladium Staff and other international scholarships programs.
Key documents to be reviewed include, the Australia Awards – Africa GESI Strategy, 2016 - 2020, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Strategy: February 2016, 2014 and 2015 Outcomes Study Report, 2012 Australia Awards – Africa Gender Study, ODE evaluation report ( Building women’s leadership: Evaluation of the contribution of Australia Awards Scholarships), Australia Awards – Africa story bank and outcomes data bank, national policies and legislative frameworks for the targeted 22 countries, development reports global and regional reports on gender equality and social inclusion and development); research and studies into gender and higher education, professional employment, leadership and participation in current priority sectors and areas for the program The documentation review will also assess the proportion of men and women in the program target sectors. Explore the experiences of successful GESI in other international scholarships program, particularly in the Africa region including how other Australia Awards programs have implemented GESI in their programs. The documentation review will assist in identifying areas that warrant more in-depth enquiry and analysis. The review will also inform the development of the data collection tools.
Countries to be targeted for field work will be informed by the desk review; it is anticipated that three countries will be visited. The final countries will be agreed upon with Palladium and the DFAT Africa Desk in Canberra. The consultant will conduct telephone interviews with other participants. Field work will be in April 2017, for three weeks.
Data Analysis The consultant will prepare a data analysis plan to be agreed with Palladium before commencing on the data analysis. Primary qualitative data collected through the various consultation methods will be recorded in the interview forms. This information will be systematically synthesised, categorised and analysed by the consultant, resulting in reports with preliminary findings per country and Award type i.e. Short Course Awards and Scholarships. The consultant will complete the draft study report by 3 June 2017 and the final study report two weeks after receiving Palladium and DFAT’s feedback on the draft study report.