Evaluation Consultancy: Benin and Mauritania - Equality Now

Evaluation Consultancy TOR: Benin and Mauritania

Consultancy to conduct the final evaluation of the project: Using the Law and Legal Mechanisms to Address Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) in Benin and Mauritania

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Introduction: Background of the intervention and of the project

Child marriage is widespread in Benin. According to a recent study by UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Affairs, 32% of girls are married before the age of 18. As a sign of commitment towards ending child marriage in Benin, the government recently launched a national action plan to end child marriage in line with the 2014 African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage. A national committee composed of all national actors working to end child marriage has since been established to operationalise this plan. Despite these developments, child marriage in Benin persists as it is largely a result of poverty and for some it is believed to be a religious requirement.

In Mauritania, FGM is still largely practised with a prevalence rate of 66.6%. Even though practising communities believe that FGM is a religious requirement, religious leaders have come out to denounce the practice and have issued a fatwa against the practice. The government has also issued a decree banning the practice. Currently, parliament is considering a gender bill with a provision on harmful practices, but the bill is yet to be passed.

Our partners, WiLDAF-Benin and AMDH-Mauritania have demonstrated strong results in their community-level awareness raising activities. In particular, they are working effectively to transform attitudes among women, men, local and religious leaders. Together with our partners, we have carried out national, regional and international advocacy activities calling on the governments of Benin and Mauritania to adopt and effectively implement laws banning FGM and child marriage. Equality Now works with partners in Benin and Mauritania with a legal expertise to identify the best cases with which to pursue strategic litigation through the courts or regional or international treaty bodies, as appropriate. These cases focus on one or linked harmful practices, such as FGM, or child marriage or forced feeding, and have the potential to set legal precedents and bring sustained change for the protection of girls and women. We anticipate that this good progress will continue and gain even more momentum as the year progresses, leading to a strong final year of the project. Moreover, our partners have improved capacity in monitoring and evaluation, budgeting, and developing work plans.