UNDP Review of NORAD Funding and NPA Technical Assistance to UXO LAO 1997-2003

Published: 2005 by Norwegian People's Aid
Commissioned by:Norwegian People's Aid
Carried out by:Peter Buckley
Tags:Laos, Asia and Oceania

Summary

Background

The purpose of this review was to assess the results of the total NORAD contribution made between 1997 and 2003 to the UNDP UXO LAO Trust fund, including the in-kind contribution provided through Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) technical advisory programme in Sekong and Attapeu. The review focused on the two provinces of Sekong and Attapeu, and the ability of UXO LAO to run the programme there independent of permanent external (international) advisors, as well as the overall efficiency of the activities carried out in these two provinces.

The scope of the assessment covered all NPA technical assistance and capacity building support to UXO LAO for the period extending from 1997 to 2003 funded under the NORAD Grant, and also included contributions from NORAD in 1995 to UXO LAO and prior to NPA involvement in the sector.

Purpose/objective

- Estimate the extent to which NPA has contributed in the capacity building of national managerial and technical competencies.
- Capitalize past experience to reflect on the evolution and needs of the technical assistance provided.
- Assess opportunities and constraints.
- Make recommendation for future punctual assistance if needed.
- Identify the expectations of the UXO Lao HQ and provincial operations in terms of future technical assistance
- Make recommendations to NPA & UXO Lao in regard to monitoring methods of Technical Advisors

Methodology

Document analysis and interviews of stake holders.

Key findings

1. NPA made a significant contribution to capacity building within UXOLAO as a whole, and not just through on-the-job training within the 2 provinces where advisers were based.

2. NPA always responded positively to the technical assistance needs expressed by UXOLAO.

3. The following are the lessons learned:
When planning such a project, every effort should be made from the start to maximize the time spent by TAs productively in the field.

There could have been better direct transfer of knowledge from other projects - NPA's institutional knowledge - which could have benefited the TAs.

In addition to the technical knowledge and skills, the important qualities for a TA are the ability to cope with a culture very different from their own and still get the job done; the willingness to transfer skills and not just do it all themselves; and the willingness in the early stages to act as a project manager and problem-solver of aspects beyond their immediate technical concerns.

A project could be divided into 2 distinct phases: start-up and implementation, with a different set of advisers and skills for each. Implementation would not begin until the targets set for start-up had been more or less achieved.

Capacity building can only operate within the culture of the organization, and can only be expected to progress at the same speed, and will be hampered by the same obstacles as other activities within the organisation.

Recommendations

There is a continued need for the Field STA until the 2 pilot projects have been implemented and evaluated and SEODs express confidence in their own abilities.

There is a continued need for a STA Finance/Admin because of the diverse and complex demands of managing and reporting on the Trust Fund, and donor confidence.

The TA post responsible for QM should be retained until all Support function procedures are in place and working reasonably smoothly.

Technical assistance to revisit the role and effectiveness of the Community Assistance Teams could be considered after creation of the National Mine/UXO Accident Database.

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