Project Factsheet
Tools for » From Rhetoric to Reality: Promoting Women’s Participation and Gender Responsive Budgeting
Project ID:00067164Description:MDGF-1725-B-NIC Gender
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 11 Sep 2007
MDGF Gender Equal & Empowermt
End Date*: 15 May 2012
Country: Nicaragua Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Joint Programme (JP) had a dual objective: assist the government in guarantying the equality between women and men to avoid discrimination, thus contributing to MDG 3, and to improve coordination, efficiency and effectiveness of the UN system in support of the national objectives and in particular the Human Development National Plan that defines gender equality as a key principle. To reach this goal the JP had to strengthen the institutionalization of gender practices within the country, linking the different levels of public management to the national and local budgets. Good practices from the JP were carried over into the government institutions, such as the Ministry of Health (MINSA), Ministry of Treasury and Public Credit (MHCP), and the Ministry of Labor (MITRAB), and gender practices were incorporated into public policies. At the direct beneficiary level, women were able to take advantage of increased knowledge on gender, improved economic status, reproductive and sexual health, food security and nutrition, citizen participation and prevention and attention to SGBV in order to contribute to women empowerment, one of the main achievements of the JP. The development of methodological instruments to incorporate gender in the municipal human development plans proved to be another key achievement, as it also contributed to including this new mechanism in the reform of the law on Municipalities. An important aspect was the development of gender based budgeting for the municipal levels.  At the national level the key ministries also significantly enhanced gender based practices, validating the methodology for gender based budgeting throughout the budgeting cycle, together with the institutional strengthening of the technical staff, and a commitment towards implementation from the MHCP. In the Autonomous Regions, containing a large and varied indigenous population, a common language on gender was found and work was undertaken with each ethnic group in order to unify the vision on women’s practical and strategic needs. The wide and encompassing approach from the national to the municipal and local levels (13 institutions plus 9 UN agencies working in the municipalities) achieved ownership and commitment despite the complexity and difficulties linked to the JP implementation.  The JP largely exceeded all of its quantitative target indicators by a substantial margin.


Outcome 1:

Women’s capacities strengthened in fifteen municipalities to raise empowerment and full participation in applying gender practices in the social, economic and political spheres.

Outcome achievements:

  • Through a range of activities, 12,848 women (3.5 times the initial target) increased their knowledge, improved their economic conditions, food security and nutrition, citizen’s participation and prevention and attention to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). This included 1,163 women obtaining support and micro credit, 250 women trained in TICs (computer processing), 528 women receiving agricultural production support, 14 Centers for Child Development (CDI) were rehabilitated in 13 municipalities, and 27 CDI in 19 municipalities were equipped, providing attention to 5,800 girls and boys, freeing time for women to develop income generating activities. This result led to the development of PPP (public-private partnerships) between the municipal government and the private sector in order to ensure the sustainability of the CDI activities. 8,781 women were trained in sexual and reproductive health, and support was given to 15 maternal houses comprising 2,600 pregnant women (award winning practice from CIFAL to the Nicaraguan Network of Maternal Houses based on their contribution to the MDG – in this case improving maternal health). Institutional development with 1,110 people, 666 women and 444 men of MINSA and beneficiary women organized in community networks of attention to SGBV. Furthermore, 113,814 women participated in the planning and consultation process for formulating gender policies, and incorporating gender projects in the municipal budgets, with an overall contribution from the municipalities of US$ 188,623.


Outcome 2:

Gender approach is included in the formulation and implementation of the municipal development plans and the results-based budgets in fifteen municipalities of the country.

Outcome achievements:

  • 12,359 women saw their living conditions improved as a result of 32 new projects co-financed by the municipal authorities of 15 city halls. Gender practices were incorporated into the different instruments of the municipal planning system (municipal investment plan, budgets and evaluation system of the municipal implementation), including a Manual on social aspects in 13 of the municipalities, for which 438 authorities and city hall technicians were trained. 15 municipal decrees institutionalized the planning methodology with gender practices and allocated financial resources to the Women’s Secretariat in participating municipalities. Gender indicators were also included in the Municipal Statistics of the 15 municipalities, training 86 civil servants (46 women). Finally 2,227 local actors of the 15 municipalities have been exposed to the tools and methodologies to include gender practices in the municipal budgets, thereby contributing to the ownership of the methodology by the institutions.


Outcome 3:

Gender practices incorporated in national politics and budgets, particularly in the Ministry of Health and Labor, in order to ensure the exercise of human rights in these fields and the reduction of SGBV (sex and gender based violence).

Outcome achievements:

  • This is one of the major achievements in regards to the institutionalization and sustainability of gender practices, since it has significantly advanced in the inclusion of said practices in the General Budget of the Republic and in the Medium-term Expenditure Framework. Manuals for incorporating gender practices in the budget cycle of the General Budget of the Republic have been designed, including reporting through the Integrated Financial Management and Audit System (SIGFA) within the MHCP. Development of both the technical capacity of the MHCP staff as well as the institutional commitment allowed them to implement gender practices. A registry of gender indicators was developed in the Physical Financial Monitoring System (SISEF) in order to provide information for the analysis of gender sensitive budgeting for the National Budget and gender equity based programming. A number of gender units were either created or reinforced among national counterpart institutions at the ministry level and also in the national assembly. Proposals were developed on how to incorporate gender practices in the Law 550 of Financial Administration and Budgeting. Also, support was brought to INIM (Nicaragua Women Institute) to develop its leadership role including technical support to develop policies and strengthen the gender units and commissions within the institutions and in local government. As a result of this leadership, resources from international aid agencies have been pledged to support this effort. Within the activities regarding the strengthening of the National Statistics System, it was not possible to perform all the proposed activities given the constant changes at the senior management level of the INIDE (National Institute for Development Information), therefore only a quarter of the planned expenditures were realized through capacity development in the form of training, but without yet achieving the capacity to undertake the analysis, use, monitoring and evaluation of the gender statistics in public policies.


Best practices:

  • The JP used various strategies and methodologies to validate and implement gender practices within institutions, municipal governments, communities and in the UN agencies that proved to be of high value in achieving the results.
  • The integration of the multiple actions allowed for empowerment processes of women through the development of knowledge, capacities and abilities in the political, social and economic spheres.
  • Respect for existing organizational structures and recognizing the diversity of each territory and people, particularly in regards to their culture, led to an implementation with reduced risks and increased appropriation of the JP’s activities by the beneficiaries.
  • The use of mobile teams to reach isolated communities had a positive impact in eliminating access barriers to the services.
  • The development of a network of gender promoters empowered, mobilized and ensured women’s participation through the INIM facilitated training, advocacy and oversight.
  • The flexibility shown by UN agencies in the application of their administrative procedures enhanced JP efficiency.
  • Facilitation work undertaken by the UN Volunteers constituted a fundamental contribution for the JP, particularly for social territorial cohesion and articulation of the process.
  • There should be a wider use of the materials, methodologies, and instruments developed by the JP.



Lessons learned:

  • Training of the actors at the national and local level supported by awareness raising and technical development is a highly effective strategy to strengthen the capacities in gender practices.
  • Training of institutional and municipal authorities and agents on the differences in power relations and gender equality gaps in their territory contributed to a higher ownership and commitment in the JP execution.
  • Involving men, particularly the husband’s of women beneficiaries, had positive effects at the household level (shared responsibility, diminishing violence and new values between the couple and families).
  • Alliances and partnerships to complement JP activities contributed to achieving the results more effectively and efficiently.
  • Inclusion and institutionalization of gender practices in public policies, plans, programs, and projects require constant advocacy, communication, and sensitization among decision makers.
  • The match between the JP results and the UNDAF that supports national priorities is a significant aspect of the successful implementation of the JP.
  • The level of knowledge of the actors about methodologies and approaches contributes to enrich knowledge, develops capacity and contributes to consensus building, and requires training and preparation.
  • The various existing systems of information and monitoring of the Central Government, of the sectors, and municipal governments, should be strengthened and used to monitor future joint programs.
  • Institutionalizing the gender practices through public policies, gender commissions and units, and the use of the technical and methodological tools generated by the JP, are very important in order to ensure the sustainability of the process.
  • The institutionalization of gender practices should be included in the regular services of the public administration, thereby ensuring its budgetary allocation.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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