Midterm evaluation report - “Strategic Partnership” Phase 2

Published: 2012 by Norwegian People’s Aid
Commissioned by:Norwegian People’s Aid
Carried out by:Samuel Pinocas Castro
Tags:Angola, Civil society

Summary

Background:
Norwegian People’s Aid Angola has supported civil society organizations in the country through a direct partnership approach since 2000. From 2008 to 2010 the Strategic Partnership Program Phase I was implemented in partnership with four large and influential national NGOs. At the end of Phase I it was decided to continue the program in a second phase and the Strategic Partnership Program Phase II to be implemented between 2011 and 2013 was designed. Phase II Plans included a midterm evaluation.  

Purpose/objective:
i) Assess the degree to which each partner organization has progressed in achieving its planned outcomes during the first 18 months of the program and whether the program is likely to achieve its objectives with its present strategy.
ii) Assess the effect of the lessons learnt and the changes made from the first to the second phase of the Strategic Partnership in accordance with conclusions and recommendations from the Mid Term review of the first phase of the programme (December 2009).

Methodology:
Semi-structured interviews with key persons among the partners and NPA staff, review of NPA documents (various reports, applications, strategy documents, financial audit reports, etc.).

Key findings:
1. The programme recorded progress; some of which are potentially sustainable. The adopted implementation strategy is adequate for reaching the programme objectives and do not need adjustment.
2. The monitoring and capacity building processes implemented by NPA have been crucial to the performance of the partners.
3. The financial resources made available are “highly relevant”, especially considering the thematic (human rights) and the flexibility in accessing the funds..
4. The establishment of the common fund has been critical in strengthening synergies among partners and other CSOs..
5. The institutional conditions of some partners in the provinces are inadequate in order to achieve the expected results.\
6. The tool of PMR introduced in the management of the programme is not yet being used with full domain by all partners, thus limiting its function.

Recommendations:

Recommendation to NPA
In order to make the monitoring process effective NPA has three options:
i) Reducing its geographical presence and prioritizing areas of intervention where it is likely to achieve greater results;
ii) Increasing the size of the team, although the NPA´s restructuring process indicate that staff reduction is under way;
iii) Strengthening assistance to partners based in Luanda to increase their efficiency in internal monitoring: supporting their elaboration of monitoring plans and reports, in programming the visits and in analyzing the results of the visits.

The review found that the PMR tool introduced recently is not adequately applied by all staff members, which in some cases compromises the utility. On the other hand, capacity building activities to partners (PMR and other issues) are limited to the Luanda based teams. It will be necessary to conduct complementary training/capacity building sessions so that all staff takes ownership of the tool. Training should consider the possibility of including the provincial teams.

Recommendations to partners

Internal Project Monitoring
The evaluation revealed that partner’s systems of monitoring their projects and teams are weak. Considering that there are difficulties with the administration/functioning of teams in some provincial offices, the establishment of plans to strengthen internal monitoring is recommended. The role of NPA is crucial in this process. 

Synergies among the partner organizations 
It is recommended to carry out an analysis of the viability in promoting synergies among partners at provincial level. The common fund would be an added value in funding such activities. NPA’s role is crucial in this case.

Institutional conditions in partners’ areas of intervention
The evaluation found that some partners who are represented in various regions of the country have insufficient institutional conditions for effective project implementation (limited human resource, lack of offices, transport, various equipment, etc.), thus reducing the impact of their performance. A possible solution would be to limit the partnership activities in the provinces that have operational conditions. NPA has a critical role to play in the analysis of this possibility.

Financial sustainability of partners
The partners are concerned with their financial sustainability and they have started to identify alternative/sustainable sources of funding (including government funding). Mãos Livres is in a critical situation with NPA as its only donor. It is recommended that structured actions geared towards identification of sources of funding are put in place. The option of applying for eligibility for public funds should also be considered within the framework of the programme.

Comments from the organisation, if any:

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