Seth Davis, Communications Officer, Community Systems Foundation
Since 2008, the UN Global Joint Programme (JP) on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has supported “more than 3.2 million girls and women in 17 countries”  The JP, a partnership between The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF has assisted with provision of appropriate and quality services, increased community-led engagement, legal and policy frameworks, government ownership and increased access to accurate and timely data. At the same time, the JP seeks to measure the progress, quality and success of FGM programming. This is done by focusing on planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation.
Through DFA Monitoring, CSF supports the UNFPA-UNICEF JP on accelerating the abandonment of FGM. It does so by leveraging standards and technology to monitor programme activities and measure progress against targets and indicators at the national, regional and global levels. DFA tools help identify areas were the JP is exceeding expectations in its goals and where accelerated progress is required to meet targeted commitments. At the same time, CSF believes that applying DFA tools can strengthen planning processes along with the statistical systems that provide evidence and insights to monitor progress.
To advocate at the community level, the FGM JP assesses many indicators. One of which is the Number of individuals involved in public declarations of abandonment of FGM.  This is an important indicator as public declarations can create a sense of collective change, which can help empower families to abandon FGM and encourage others to follow. When public declarations are made, this suggests that a sufficient number of individuals have declared to abandon FGM, which can further promote broad-scale abandonment. Through quarterly data entry into DFA Monitoring, counterparts monitoring the JP were able to see the second phase of this target exceed its goal, globally. By utilizing the DFA toolkit to monitor this indicator, UNFPA and UNICEF were also able to identify successes and challenges of the JP and change activities to continuously improve.
Recently, CSF supported UNFPA and UNICEF Regional and Country offices in the Arab States region through a training on the Use of Data for Analysis and Evidence-based Planning and Advocacy on FGM. This provided opportunity for country offices to reflect on programme performance and to better utilize data for advocacy and planning purposes with partners and stakeholders.
Through the DFA toolkit, UNFPA and UNICEF facilitate the critical element of collaboration in the implementation of the joint programme. At the same time, the organizations remain accountable and transparent at all levels to the donors who support this important initiative.
CSF understands that its partners are accountable to the people they work with and the communities whose lives they aim to transform. In this regard, CSF values the role it plays in support of the JP - applying technology and strengthening processes to collect and use data to make a difference.
 UNFPA-UNICEF. "Performance Analysis for Phase II. UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change." August 2018. Page 33. Accessed at: https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/UNFPA-UNICEF-Phase2Performance_2018_web_0.pdf