External evaluation 2017

“The Human Rights House concept maintains its relevance as a platform that promotes collaboration, drives innovation, and empowers civil society for the advancement of human rights and dignity for all.” Nino Khurtsidze, External Consultant.

In 2017, HRHF commissioned an external evaluation of the Human Rights House concept to assess its relevance and effectiveness, and to offer recommendations to update the concept to maximise its potential positive impact. The evaluation findings will inform our strategy for 2019–2023.

Some of the findings:

  • The Human Rights House concept remains highly relevant, both in terms of alignment with local human rights and development needs.
  • The Houses are flexible and responsive to the underlying needs of civil society organisations on the ground.
  • While the Houses are responsive to the changing local and global contexts, there is a need to be more relevant to the needs of local populations. There is readiness among the Houses to do more outreach to citizens.
  • Enhancing solidarity among member and non-member civil society organisations, the Houses improve human rights protection in their countries, including through collaborative advocacy at national and international levels.
  • Through their protection programme, the Houses and HRHF have a direct positive impact on the lives of human rights defenders under siege. This is helped by HRHF’s efforts to establish standards for States to create an enabling environment for human rights defenders.
  • Educational programmes increase human rights knowledge of beneficiaries and inspire them to undertake more human rights work.
  • HRHF’s international advocacy support enhances the effectiveness of Houses.
  • There is a clear systemic impact achieved through successful advocacy for the mandates of the UN Special Rapporteurs on Belarus, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Some of the recommendations:

  • The Houses and their member NGOs need to address the challenge of availability to citizens… and should take more active steps to communicate with external stakeholders and the public.
  • HRHF should continue the good practice in its advocacy work of defining the Foundation’s international advocacy priorities, as well as working with the Houses to develop country-specific advocacy strategies to engage national authorities to effect positive changes.
  • HRHF is advised to look carefully into opening up the network of Human Rights Houses by establishing Houses in other regions of the world.
  • For the external communication to be effective, HRHF and the Houses need to address the internal confusion about the concept, as well as to clarify the role or the roles of the Foundation, so that there is a clearer understanding.