In 2011, PRI began a four-year advocacy project to revise the 1957 UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. A revised set of Rules – the Nelson Mandela Rules – were adopted by the UN at the end of 2015, and contain significant substantive changes which provide a modern and more human rights oriented benchmark for the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions.
The evaluator lists the folllowing as exceptional:
- the far-reaching – indeed global – impact of the document under review (the SMR – the main authoritative source on prison standards)
- the flexibility of the funder (the UK Department of International Development)
- the complexity of stakeholder involvement (potentially 193 UN member states)
- the pivotal role played by a small NGO (PRI)
- the skill with which PRI supported the process, and helped maintain momentu and focus
- the detailed responses of those approached to contribute to the evaluation.
This evaluation may be of interest as an example of evaluating advocacy, which has proven to be a difficult task. It may provide inspiration on how to conduct contribution analysis, even though there were a number of factors specific to this project. While it is not a cost-analysis, the evaluator suggests that ‘the project is likely to represent exceptionally high value for money in international development’.
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