Evaluating Women Deliver: A Look Back and a Plan for the Future

By: Jill Sheffield and Katja Iversen, Women Deliver

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline rapidly approaching, the global community is taking stock of the tremendous progress we’ve made toward improving girls’ and women’s lives around the world and the challenges that remain. At Women Deliver, we too are taking advantage of this opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved and how we can do better to make a real and lasting impact for girls and women everywhere. 

Earlier this year, Women Deliver underwent an external, independent impact evaluation to 1) determine Women Deliver’s contributions to increasing visibility and awareness around girls’ and women’s health, and 2) inform a new strategic plan that will guide Women Deliver’s future programs. Our evaluators conducted a materials review, a media analysis, a survey of over 500 Women Deliver supporters, and interviews with almost 100 staff, board members and influential stakeholders in our field.

We are thankful to everyone who participated in this incredibly valuable project. We could not be more thrilled with the outcomes, and we are happy to share some of the findings.

The top 5 lessons from the evaluation are that Women Deliver:

  1. Convenes, Connects, & Inspires: The evaluation documents that the Women Deliver conferences and regional consultations have had a significant impact and helped fuel the movement for maternal health by bringing together diverse stakeholders, forming unique alliances and pushing for greater commitments to and progress toward improving girls’ and women’s health and rights.
  2. Creates and Amplifies Key Messages: Evaluators found that our messages and asks are clear, consistent and powerful and are often used by advocates to influence policymakers and influencers around the world, from London to Lagos. Women Deliver has been instrumental in creating and amplifying the global rallying cry: “Invest in girls and women – it pays.”
  3. Invests in Young Advocates: Through trainings, workshops and conferences, our Young Leaders Program has invested in young people from all around the world to become leading advocates for maternal, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Evaluators sited that interviewees found our work with youth "exciting, worthwhile and full of potential."
  4. Raises Awareness with Journalists & Media: We have built strong relationships with journalists around the world, and continue to increase their awareness and coverage of important girls’ and women’s health and rights issues. The journalists we work with want “more, more, more” information and capacity-building opportunities.
  5. Has Challenges to Improve On and Do Better: The evaluators also identified areas of our work we should focus on to improve and create greater impact:
  • We can more effectively share stories about and document the important work we do between conferences.
  • We can work to turn conference outcomes into actionable advocacy efforts and support more country-level and regional work.  We can create greater awareness about our work with private sector partners and continue identifying more creative opportunities to engage them.
  • We can bolster our collaboration with other organizations that have similar global missions to strengthen the base of support and to identify strategic opportunities to improve advocacy efforts.

We are very grateful to have had the evaluation process and are eager to apply the findings and lessons learned to our everyday work.

Following our evaluation, we have started an exciting strategic planning process, which includes staff, board members, partners and influencers. As part of that we are developing a roadmap that lays out our mission, focus, core strategies and identifies specific programs for development and scale-up in order to accelerate our efforts to improve the lives of girls and women around the world.

We are excited and optimistic for what the future holds for Women Deliver – so stay tuned for more updates.

A special thanks to NORAD for encouraging us to undertake and for supporting the evaluation. To learn more, you can read the executive summary of the evaluation here. Please contact if you’re interested in viewing the full report.

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