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In September 2006 a [[#145]]Capacity Building Program on Engendering National Statistical Systems for Knowledge-based Policy Formulation in CIS and SEE Countries[[#146]] was launched by the UNECE Statistical Division and the World Bank Institute. The purpose was to support the national statistical offices (NSOs) of the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) and South East Europe (SEE) to improve gender statistics for knowledge based decision making.
Since then the project team along with international and national experts has organized a lot of workshops and trained hundreds of users and producers of gender statistics. As a result of these activities, some countries have formed steering groups on gender statistics in order to join efforts to gender sensitize their statistics in order to enable analysis of gender equality.
What do beneficiaries think of the project?
Among the beneficiary countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, had the possibility to host two training workshops in Banja Luka and Sarajevo. As Ms. Aleksandra Zec from the NSO outlines, as a result of the training the production of gender statistics has been significantly improved in the country.
More specifically, booklets on gender statistics now include new indicators from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) such as population activity by age and sex, persons by employment status and sex etc. New data will become available on reconciliation of work and family life, for example from a pilot Time-Use Survey, and from a new survey module of the LFS on this specific topic.
The training has also improved communication of gender issues. During the training statisticians learnt about the expectations of the media, and on the other hand, identified the need for more explanations for interpreting statistics. As a result, press releases are now written in more user-friendly way in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ms. Aleksandra Zec, Republica Srpska Institute of Statistics, Bosnia and Herzegovina
[[#147]]Thorough planning of the workshops led to a very interactive workshop environment. Representatives of statistical offices, gender mechanisms, ministries and media of Bosnia and Herzegovina had a real opportunity to proactively participate and contribute, and what is most important, build partnership for future national and regional cooperation.[[#148]]
For Ms. Assiya Kassenova from the NSO of Kazakhstan, training workshops created a welcoming atmosphere for professional dialogue to share experiences. For example, if before the workshops participants were unaware of the magnitude of violence against women, afterwards they started to understand that the NSOs bear the responsibility for raising consciousness of the problem by providing the actual figures.
Ms. Kassenova considers sharing of experiences among countries very useful and is very grateful for working methods of the project to promote exchange of knowledge between the countries. As she noted, the extended network of experts from all over the world allowed her to find answers to a number of methodological questions much more easily than without peer consultation.
Ms. Assiya Kassenova, the Agency of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan
[[#147]]I see the tangible results of the project activities in Kazakhstan. Beneficiaries of the project have started to actively apply their knowledge and skills received at the training workshops in their daily work. I would also like to highlight the fact that the project activities have triggered a number of state level follow-up actions resulting in promotion and inclusion of gender aspect in the work plans of the statistical agencies[[#148]].
What makes a success?
In general, success stories are mainly about numbers, i.e. how many workshops are conducted or how many people are trained. Besides the sheer number of activities, which is indeed impressive, there are also important qualitative achievements.
Training of trainers (ToTs)
The main goal of any project is to create sustainable capacity in the countries. Since national trainers are key assets in keeping up the work initiated by the external experts, two regional workshops on gender statistics in Kazakhstan and Italy trained participants on how to train other on the topic. As a result, national trainers have organized workshops and acted as co-facilitators with international experts during the project[[#146]]s training workshops.
The project engaged participants in group work and learning by doing to build confidence for training others. Adaptive learning modules customized to individual country realities and needs were developed, and the participants worked in teams to review case studies, pre-tabulated data or analysis, questionnaires and other material. According to the participants[[#146]] feedback, this participatory approach was one of the most valued aspects of the project.
Although the main purpose was to train statisticians to work with gender data, it is crucially important to identify the main users of gender statistics to take their needs into account. Therefore both producers and users of statistics were invited to all the workshops, i.e. representatives of the ministries, international agencies, media and special state agencies working on gender issues. As outlined in participants[[#146]] feedback the approach proved to be successful and promoted better understand of both challenges of statistics production and the needs of users.
Further steps taken at national level
To conclude, it can be said that one of the main achievements of the project was the sustainable capacity and the follow-up objectives and activities of the countries in advancing gender statistics. The statistical offices have started producing new statistics for gender sensitive policy making including designing new and improved surveys, developing action plans, and targeting decision-makers about their data needs.