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Bente Consulting – 10 years anniversary 2010 – 2020

Bente Consulting – 10 years anniversary 2010 – 2020

Time flies and today marks 10 years since I registered my company after vivid discussions in the family on company names and with no idea of what it would take to run a private company, including tax regulations and VAT payments, being employer and employee, CEO, accountant and senior consultant – all at the same time. I thought it was a temporary solution – but it is so far the longest employment period of my career. And thanks to excellent leadership in the company, I think I will stay for a couple of more years! 

It has taken me far – geographically and topic-wise. The solid network in Mozambique helped to kick-start the business and over the years assignments in Mozambique have represented a considerable part of the portfolio. In total, I have undertaken 70+ assignments of which almost a third in Mozambique, but also West Africa, MENA and Asia are on the map. I have worked with civil society, democracy and governance, human rights and gender, and also with rural and market system development, social and financial inclusion, women, youth and disability, environment, health and sexual and reproductive health.

The jobs have included the full circle of project identification, formulation, appraisal, reviews and evaluations. I have facilitated strategy processes and learning studies, and designed baselines, monitoring and evaluation systems – and written thousands of pages of reports. I have worked in English, Portuguese, French, Swedish and Danish – or in languages, I don’t understand, depending on a local interpreter, often summarizing long sequences of talk into only short statements.

I have sat on a mat or low wooden chair under the mango trees, balanced on narrow paths on steep slopes in Myanmar, worked in dusty villages in Zambia, travelled the wide plains in Mongolia and enjoyed the beautiful seaside views in Mozambique. I have been freezing cold in high level government offices, where the aircon brings the temperature to 15 degrees, sat on uncomfortable low sofas in meeting rooms and enjoyed maize porridge and canapés during work hours, depending on the setting. I have travelled what corresponds to earth's circumference a couple of times – and paid my CO2 compensation! And I have stayed in innumerous hotel rooms – all different, but similar, and yet a few exceptions like the wooden house in Myanmar on poles and with no privacy from neighbors due to thin walls or the fancy resort in Zambia with zebras grazing on the lawn next to the restaurant.

And I have met many, many inspiring, hardworking and dedicated people that I cannot count – in farmers’ and civil society organizations, fighting for their rights and the future of their children. And there have been outstanding colleagues all along – some of which I have enjoyed working with on several occasions. I cannot thank everybody – and I cannot invite you all to a reception. Let’s blame it on the COVID-19 restrictions……though I would have love to see you all here at Agersø with a glass of champagne raised and good music playing. Thank you all of you who made this journey possible!

24.11.2020

Evaluation of Agency for Gender Equality AGE) in Kosovo.

New assignment through FCG’s framework agreement with Sida for the evaluation of the Swedish support to AGE in Kosovo in the period from June 2015 to end of 2020.   The evaluation will assess project achievements against agreed objectives, while also providing input to AGE for the future, especially in terms of how to best secure that project results are sufficiently anchored to guarantee sustainability (lasting impact) of the project results. The evaluation will have a keen focus on learning by identifying key factors for success and constraints.  The evaluation will include document review, stakeholder mapping and context analysis, interviews and e-questionnaires, and analysis through identification of most significant changes and triangulation of data. The evaluation is participatory and utilization focused and will engage stakeholders in reflections and co-creation of recommendations. The evaluation will run from November 2020 to January 2021. Bente consulting is contracted by FCG Sweden.

HRBA evaluation coming to an end

The evaluation of application and effects of a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in Swedish development cooperation from 2010-2019 has finally come to an end after 1½ year's hard work. The objective of the evaluation was to evaluate the HRBA applied by Sida and its cooperation partners and to what extent the approach has contributed to increased respect and improved protection of an fulfilment of human rights, including gender equality. The evaluation addressed the application of HRBA in practice, the alignment with national policy frameworks, the impact of a HRBA, cooperation partners' perception of HRBA and collection and application of lessons learnt. Recommendations addressing the following issues were presented: the need for investing in prioritization of HRBA and the underlying principles; the need for adapting approaches to partnerships and contribution management; the importance of documenting experiences and lessons learnt; and the need to develop capacity for application of HRBA. Case country studies were undertaken in Albania, Cambodia, Colombia and Kenya. Bente Consulting was responsible for the case study in Albania and member of the core evaluation team. The Sida Evaluation Brief is attached. The full report will soon be published at the Sida Evaluation website.

Gender Peer Review for Financial Sector Deepening

Great news received yesterday: Bente Consulting won the tender for facilitating the Financial Sector Deepening's Gender Peer Review during. The review will include mapping of experience with gender mainstreaming in all FSDs in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access and FSD Africa), compilation of lessons learned and facilitation of a virtual peer reflection workshop. The gender peer review process will feed into the formulation of a new FSD Gender Strategy. The assignment will be virtual and take place from September to end of November 2020 with an overall input of 30 wds.

On corona standby

Days before the COVID-19 pandemic was fully declared, Bente Consulting signed two contracts with Swedish Development Advisers to undertake organizational reviews of two Norad-funded environmental and rights-based CSO programs in Brazil and Ecuador: 

1. Organizational Review of Ecociencia/Amazonia Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG). The review will aim at establishing Ecociencia / RAISG’s financial management, cost efficiency and results management, and evaluate achievement of reported results. The review shall describe, analyse and assess the following aspects of the organisation under review: 1) Organisational structure; 2) Governance; 3) Cost efficiency; 4) Financial management; 5) Results management; 6) Civil society strengthening. The review will include field visit and interviews with Ecociencia's head office and  Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA) in Quito Ecuador, and in Brazil with Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) in São Paulo and Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB) in Manaus.  

2. Organizational review of Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM) and Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia (Imazon). The review should focus on benefits and challenges related to efficiency and cost effectiveness at central level and  the current organizational structure with field offices. The study shall give an in-depth view of how IPAM and Imazon is working on all levels. The field office to be visited for in depth study shall be decided in agreement with Norad. The review shall describe, analyse and assess the following aspects of the organisation under review: 1) Organisational structure; 2) Governance; 3) Cost efficiency; 4) Financial management; 5) Results management; 6) Civil society strengthening. The review will include field visits in Brasil, visiting the organizations based in Brasilia, Porto Alegre and Belem.

Bente Consulting will provide the team leader, but the reviews are by August 2020 still on standby untill field visits can be undertaken.

GESTERRA evaluation report published

The final evaluation of the Swedish-Dutch financed Land Management and Administration Capacity Building Programme – GESTERRA – in Mozambique was commissioned by the Embassy of Sweden in Maputo (Sida). The programme was implemented from 2013 to 2019 in a changing institutional environment. It contributed to important land policy processes, including planning for an autonomous land management institution and decision to revise the legislative framework. It has established gender inclusive methodologies for land registration, supported the establishment of digitized land registration and strengthened the capacity at provincial level. Recommendations focus i.a. on further roll-out and decentralisation as well as securing an inclusive process in the coming revision of the legislative framework. Download and read the final evaluation report from Sida's website.

Financial inclusion of women and youth in Zambia

As a spin-off of the midterm evaluation of the Swedish financed Women in Financial Inclusion and Capabilities project implemented by Financial Sector Deepening Zambia undertaken in April - June 2019, Bente Consulting was hired as a "thought leader", i.e. process consultant to facilitate the drafting of a Concept Paper for a second phase of the WIN-project. This included participation in a pre-design workshop with partners from private and financial sector, government and civil society, as well as drafting of the paper. The second phase of the WIN-program is designed to contribute to systemic and lasting market systems change in the area of inclusive finance, with particular benefit to poor and vulnerable women through a market systems development approach. The Concept Paper was presented to the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka for further appraisal in January 2020.

Evaluation of Swedish HRBA in Albania

Bente Consulting participates in a 15 months evaluation study of the application and effects of a Human Rights Based Approach in Swedish development cooperation. The study assesses the HRBA process and performance in terms of reduced poverty and improved human rights situation. The evaluation study includes 4 case country studies - Albania, Cambodia, Colombia and Kenya. Bente Consulting leads the case study in Albania which will take place from 19-31 January 2020. The case study will explore in detail the application of HRBA in three strategic sectors supported by Sida: Economic development, Human rights and democracy, and Environment. The evaluation will explore how HRBA is applied in different activities and by different actors; how staff and cooperation partners understand and perceive HRBA; and what works well, less well and why? After the field work, a case country report will be presented, and later a synthesis report comprising findings from all four case country studies will be presented and published by Sida.

Evaluation report published - WIN-project Zambia

The mid-term evaluation of the Sida-financed Women in Financial Inclusion and Capabilities project implemented by Financial Sector Deepening Zambia was commissioned by Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka. The project is dynamic, agile and complex. It addresses pertinent problems of access to financial education and services for women and youth. Interest from private sector market operators, banks, financial institutions and mobile networks proves the relevance to the M4P-approach. The project demonstrates promising evidence of networking and dynamic exchange among involved actors at different levels and provides digital solutions to women’s and youth’s financial inclusion. Download and read the Win project evaluation report here

  

Bente Consulting ApS 
Egholmvej 32A, Agersoe
DK - 4244 Agersø
Denmark

+45 2257 2207 (Denmark)
+258 82 7679 357 (Mozambique)

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Skype: bentetopsoejensen

CVR-number: 3335 2956

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