Effect measurement:

Effect measurement Health Rights of Women Instrument

Summary of findings

 Introduction effect measurement

Rights4Change’s most used tool is HeRWAI, the Health Rights of Women Assessment Instrument (published in 2006). This has served as a model for the other tools. The aim of the tool is to strengthen a human rights based approach and help realize policy reforms to advance women’s health rights. The tool helps to conduct a human rights impact analysis on whether a policy and its implementation are in line with the relevant human rights obligations on women’s health rights. After this analysis organizations should be able to develop a rights-based advocacy strategy targeting governments to help them realizing their obligations. In order to assess whether the aim of the tool was achieved and what the effects of the use of the instrument were since its publication, an effect measurement among its users was undertaken in 2009 by Aim for human rights[1].

Main effects of the analysis process

Overall the first conclusion was that, being a new methodology, it was experienced as an eye-opener to learn on how to actually apply a human rights-based approach. Organizations almost unanimously agreed that the training process on the tool and use of the methodology had been of added value to their work. The effect measurement showed three main areas where organizations who had used the tool saw a direct impact on their work.

They see an increase:

I. in their own understanding and awareness and that of stakeholders

  • It clarified the linkages between international human rights standards and their own work. It increased awareness
    on how (governmental) policies and laws should adhere to human rights standards, but most of all how human rights connect to the daily lives of women with whom they work on a day-to-day basis
  • It gave them an opportunity to inform and work together with relevant stakeholders and also increase their awareness

II. in their capacity to work consistently from a rights-based perspective

  • It increased their capacity to integrate an overall rights-based approach in their own work
  • It increased their capacity to strengthen vulnerable groups and facilitate their participation

III. in their capacity to target their advocacy strategy

  • It increased their ability to carry out rights-based advocacy
  • It increased  their capacity to design strong advocacy strategies for policy changes

Even when direct policy change was not realised, they considered the process valuable. It helped structure their work and to create awareness among relevant stakeholders. More importantly, it provided a long-term view on what they wish to achieve in terms of change.

Hence, the analysis and policy change are not the only measure for success of the instrument. In addition, adaptation and local ownership of the tool through translations, local trainers, adaptation to different forms and flexible use of the instrument stimulates the realization of a rights-based approach and, in the end, the realization of women’s health rights.

Direct results of the use of tool

In the period 2006 – 2009, 127 organisations were trained and work plans for eighty-two analyses were developed, of which twenty analyses were finished in twelve different countries. Seven of these have directly led to actual changes on the policy level, including an initiative for a law or amendments to existing policies or laws. Six analyses resulted in actual change or a new initiative for a policy. These particular changes were achieved in Kenya, Bangladesh, The Netherlands, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Main challenge for the use of the tool

One of the conclusions of the effect measurement was that the main challenges for organisations to make effective use of the tool are the time frame and financial support for the analysis process. Often they are keen to do the analysis once they have undergone the training, but limitations in time and staff capacity and the lack of financial support for the research often made it impossible to conduct the process. A strategy that mitigated this risk was to plan the process as part of the organisational strategy and/or annual planning as a key activity.

Another key challenge was the lack of opportunities to take the results forward. This could be due to both the political climate and other socio-economic developments which make the outcomes of the analysis ‘less’ important. Key lesson here is that organisations should choose a timely topic. However, another strategy was to still do the analysis of their interest, but simply wait till the opportunity would present itself. This can delay any policy change results, but, on the other hand, makes the organisationimmediately ready when it does have the opportunity.


The full effect measurement report can be found here

[1] Aim for human rights was the original developer of the tool. After closure of the organisation Rights for Change continued to work with the tools of the Women’s Human Rights department.

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