Building Resilient Communities for Sustainable Development and Peace: An Evaluation
About the publication
- Published: August 2016
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Mateja Zupancic
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: Afghanistan
- Theme: Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security
- Pages: 54
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: 978-82-7548-960-7
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Kirkens Nødhjelp
The programme was funded by Norad and implemented by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and its partners. It focused on three interwoven threads of: conflict mitigation, meeting development needs, and strengthening civil society. The programme aimed to increase the resilience of target communities by enabling them to respond to the challenges. The programme during its lifecycle from January 2013 to December 2015 covered 339 communities with 283,295 beneficiaries in 12 districts of Daikundi, Faryab and Uruzgan provinces.
The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the programme in how it has contributed towards securing sustainable development and peace by building communities’ resilience.
The evaluation followed DAC criteria in general and paid special attention to the aspects of an integrated approach to peacebuilding and development. The evaluation adopted only qualitative research methods as an end-line survey was already conducted. The target groups were communities, their institutions, implementing partners and district authorities.
Building Community Resilience in Handling Conflicts: The programme proved to be effective in mobilising traditional bodies to prevent and address conflicts. The members from the local peace institutions (local peace Shuras) are enabled to withstand armed groups and enjoy legitimacy among government and community members, which is a notable achievement. However, some challenges remain in working with the government and interference from armed opposition groups.
Trust Building and Inclusiveness: Community Level Councils (CDC) are viewed positively for their ability to resolve issues promptly. The programme has built trust between communities and government institutions, because of the increased trust and fairness in treating men and women equally. The programme mobilised women community level where their role was prominent in conflict resolution. This led to a change in attitudes and perception of women’s role in peacebuilding.
Promoting Livelihoods through Diversification of Income Sources: Variety of activities were successfully implemented to increase income of the target communities. As per end-line survey findings, well-being dropped while there was an improvement in living conditions. Based on end-line data, the income gap between men and women is noteworthy where 80% of women do not have an income, which represents a major limitation for achieving the outcome of the programme. Compared to national level, women’s earnings are much lower where men’s earnings are comparable to national levels.
Promoting Livelihood through Electricity and Access to Water: The impact of development programmes is notable in terms of disease reduction, lighted homes in the evenings, beneficiaries’ diversified diets, lessening of women’s burden for fetching water, increase in land productivity, animals’ disease reduction, and horticulture productivity increase. Access to renewable energy and water is the major success of the programme as 82% of communities are reported with access to electricity (national average 89%), 50% with access to clean water and 45% using sanitary latrines.
Transparency and Accountability: NCA’s partners are regarded as transparent and accountable civil society organizations working for social change by setting up a systematised way of responding to, handling and giving feedback to complaints, in compliance with Humanitarian Accountability (HAP) Standards.
Integration and Alignment: There was a high degree of alignment and integration among the various programme activities. In terms of development activities for peace-building, there is a noticeable reduction of conflicts over water. The impact of development activities on other conflicts or drivers of conflict could not be established. The programme is aligned with national and provincial development plans, including activities geared towards women empowerment.
Strengthen Networking for Active Interactions: Formalising linkages is critical to ensuring legitimacy and recognition of decisions at the local level, creating an enabling environment for local peacebuilding with the support of government authorities, and ensuring that referral mechanisms are in place for identifying the proper mechanism for resolution. However, cooperation with government officials must be undertaken with caution, as it can expose community-based bodies to corruption, and undermine their neutrality.
Strengthen Selection Criterion and Training Manuals: The local peace Shuras members should be thoroughly screened to ascertain whether the members would potentially migrate and would not be able to fulfil their duties. The district women peace Shuras (DWPS) need more support from the male members and the government, in order to make them more functional and not merely symbolic. Trainings should be adapted given the literacy background of all participants.
Identification of Financial and Capital Resources: To start income generation activities, women need to save and invest. There are several options available for women to access financial and capital resources. In-kind capital contributions have been found to be effective, as well as unconditional cash transfers coupled with training and follow-up technical support. However, a thorough analysis to increase income is needed to ensure resources are allocated in a strategy that is context specific and meets the needs of the participants.
Integrating Development and Peace: Despite the positive impact of the income generation activities on communities’ well-being, it had a limited impact on addressing key drivers of conflict, i.e. unemployment, and economic marginalisation. While this is beyond the scope of the programme, its limitations should be acknowledged and the outcome of the programme should be revised and made less ambitious.
Bias, Power and Interest: Selection of women members through community elders may result in nepotism where elders are likely to introduce women from their own families. Selection procedures should be transparent, and representative of all community members.
Measuring Programme Changes: Indicators measuring conflict sensitivity and resilience should be added to consistently measure the project conflict interaction and building resilience. Baseline and end-line surveys should be consistent and adopt the same measurements in order to facilitate an easier comparison. The latter should record exhaustive background information of respondents to improve analysis and establish trends based on background information such as area, age, gender, ethnicity, education, age group, disability levels, migration, and displacement