Great changes begin with small steps CODEVPRO Final evaluation report

About the publication

  • Published: December 2011
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Associate Professor Elsa Doehlie and Mr. Mulbah S. Jackollie, BWI Principal
  • Commissioned by: Metodistkirkens Misjonsselskap
  • Country: Liberia
  • Theme:
  • Pages: --
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organization: Metodistkirkens Misjonsselskap
  • Local partner: Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Project number: GLO-07/107245
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.

Norwegian Missions in Development (BN) initiated in 2002 a project called “Partnership in Development”. This project was presented, to and discussed with, UMC Angola Western Annual conference with the result that the church started a careful planning process which later concluded with the creation of PRODESSA as a new programme in the church. BN later hosted a conference in Nairobi in May 2006 where the experiences from the work in Angola were presented to a number of churches and mission organisations. LAC/UMC expressed their interest in developing a similar programme and a joint planning effort was started by LAC/UMC and UMCN in September 2006 A final programme plan was made and approved in May 2007. The practical programme work started in January 2008 and is now in the fourth year of operations

• To make an assessment of the programme achievements in relation to the objectives stated in the corresponding programme plan and annual plans etc.
• To document lessons learned in the programme.
• To present recommendations for the future of the programme.
• To assess the methodology “Partnership in Development” and it’s relevance for similar community development programmes.

The evaluation team has worked with the following data:
• Reading proposals, reports, documentation and other relevant information
• Presentation of the programme and the context by staff at DCS
• 4 days field visits (see programme in annex) interviews, observations and project presentations by the communities and DCS staff visiting 11 projects
• Discussions with UMCN Secretary General and her Consultant
• Data compiling and analysis of findings
• Preliminary recommendations
By the end of the two weeks in Liberia the evaluation team presented the findings and preliminary recommendations in a half-day workshop where LAC UMC representatives on Central and District level where present in addition to representatives from the Methodist University

Key findings:
The findings are summarized in the following points:
• CODEVPRO is successful in practising Partnership in Development (PID) as presented in the proposal (2007 and the concept described in document 2005) for the programme. The CODEVPRO programme allows local communities to play a leading role in decisions and implementation of projects and let the planning and monitoring be with the local partner, in this case CODEVPRO/DCS
• CODEVPRO shows that it is possible to simplify the process of application and reporting at all levels of the chain, from local civil society through the local/national partner to the Norwegian partner, and finally to DIGNI and Norwegian authorities.
• CODEVPRO has been able to facilitate that communities have elected project committees locally and democratically. The parties have been able to plan, budget and implement timely and efficiently.
• CODEVPRO and LAC/UMC together with the local project committees have to our knowledge been correct and transparent about financial management on the four management levels in line with the financial management manual. Good book keeping standards are put in place and monitored regularly. Finances are well managed at the administrative level as indicated by documentations and records. However, monthly financial request not clear on specific months, instead dates are presumed to reflect the month. Also, balance from previous months not reflected on subsequent request to indicate a true picture of what is there to operate with during the month. Project is experiencing losses from transfer of funds relative to exchange rates and transfer fees.
• CODEVPRO is mindful of corruption risks; as an example, an incidence of theft (zinc) has led to some level of micro-management of community projects resources
• The local committees have been able to mobilise the local communities, and to participate and contribute with substantial inputs to the projects (manpower, building materials, land etc.). The land given by the local communities has to be secured to the project by legal measurements.
• CODEVPRO/DCS has been of great importance for supporting and training the communities in project proposals, financial management, democracy and civil society building. To keep the motivation, participation and aspirations among the communities several trainings and different mobilising strategies have been put in place (see tables). Community awareness and project leadership training appear to be effective in achieving project goals and objectives from the perspective of community ownership and contributions
• The district DS’s have been active and instrumental to support and take a partnership role within the communities and project committees and by this they have facilitated the implementation of the projects and strengthened the ownership of the projects within the communities. Guidance and support of the church is critical to sustaining and strengthening the institutional and managerial capacity of CODEVPRO.
• Lessons learned from the first years: partnerships between CODEVPRO and Government through responsible Ministries and District representatives have been strengthened on both national and district level. This relates mainly to Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. This partnership has been important to keep up the standards required and will secure sustainability of the projects.
• The PID concepts needs good systems, methodologies and monitoring as well as dedicated staff and close follow-up from UMCN (the donor) to assure effective and efficient outputs and outcomes. This system is to a large extent put in good order by the Norwegian Methodist Mission in Development including the Norwegian consultant and CODEVPRO/DCS staff.
• It takes time to capture what working with the community means and how this can be done. The communities need constant training, capacity building follow ups and monitoring. This goes just as much for the LAC/UMC as well as in the Norwegian mission organisation
• The PID concept has proved that it could be relevant also in similar community development programmes in other countries relevant for UMCN. Before introducing it in other contexts there is a need for better documentation of the PID methodologies.
• The PID projects in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe should continue to learn from each other. However, learning should not only be organised around interchange visits and seminars, but should more be organised around a regional centre for development and continued improvement of good systems.  Partnership with academic institutions and development of manuals, theoretical and practical exercises in this field should be developed.
• Whether the projects initiated in the communities with support from CODEVPRO has the chance of becoming sustainable, it is still too early to conclude. The fact that all the community projects are closely linked to the LAC/UMC system and the local congregation increases the likelihood of becoming sustainable.

1. CODEVPRO needs to put in cross-cutting issues such as the environment, gender, violence against women, ethnicity and HIV/AIDS in their planning and implementation of projects in the communities. The training workshops are excellent opportunities for educating the local communities in these issues. 
2. The CODEVPRO programme has to make sure of proper ownership of the lands given from the local communities as well as individuals to the projects. This will be of importance for the future.
3. The partnership between GOL through its relevant ministries and agencies, UMC/LAC local districts and CODEVPRO should be strengthened to ensure compliance and sustainability. Schools or health centre projects should be completed with all requested facilities in compliance with GOL standards.
4. Security procedures, insurance, allowances and routines for staff travelling and staff vehicles have to be put in place. Human resources are the most valuable asset in the programme.  This has to be taken seriously from LAC UMC and UMCN. One suggestion could be to have a committee lead by the Bishop to go through all security procedures and follow up on relevant issues.
5. There is a need to continuously ensure capacity building for management staff in CODEVPRO
6. CODEVPRO has to balance the capacity of the staff and the amount of projects planned and implemented to keep focus on building civil society and to ensure the quality of the good work.
7. The regional collaboration and learning processes in PID should be continued and be strengthened by creating a regional centre where Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe could work together. Experiences can be shared to improve the methodology of PID in different contexts and to strengthen the capacity of developmental work within the Methodist church context.
8. To strengthen the PID concept in different contexts there is a need to document the PID methodologies in a handbook or sort of a manual, reflecting lessons learned and best practices.  This can be done by joining partnership with an academic institution; as an example the Methodist University in Liberia. This partnership between theoretical and practical institutions and approaches in the field of PID can enrich the learning within academic disciplines and the Church structures. 

Comments from the organisation, if any:

Published 22.08.2012
Last updated 16.02.2015