The Final Evaluation Report For the Sustainable Livelihood Project in Longchuan County
About the publication
- Published: December 2016
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Peter Liu and Yueping Xiang
- Commissioned by: Mission Alliance
- Country: China
- Theme: Primary industry (agriculture fishing forestry), Women and gender equality, Climate and environment
- Pages: 30
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Mission Alliance
- Local partner: Buer Consult AS
- Project number: QZA-12/0763-121/216-217/222-223
In 2007, NMA (Norwegian Mission Alliance; hereinafter referred to as Buer) funded a 5-year project aiming at poverty reduction in Longchuan county (2007-2011). In 2011, Buer completed the final evaluation and a new 5-year project was proposed on the base of this evaluation.
The focus of the new project (2012-2016) shifted to sustainable livelihood, as it was found out that the project communities mainly depends on sugarcane planting for their livelihood.
The monoculture of sugarcane on the one hand were causing increasing deterioration of the soil and environment, due to application of increasing quantity of chemical fertilizers and pesticide; on the other hand, were limiting fodder sources to develop animal husbandry which is the source of green fertilizer. At the same time, the mono-income structure is putting the villagers in a very vulnerable position, as the sugarcane price is not stable.
Another issue faced by the community was marginalization of women, especially the Myanmar wives, in the social life. Due to various reasons like language, citizenship, and traditions, women, especially the Myanmar wives, were excluded in major social life, and did not have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential to gain respect in their families and in the communities.
The main purpose of the final evaluation is to have an overall review of the performance and lessons of the project within the five-year project period and to bring out valuable information/recommendations for local partner to continue the project when project is finished.
The team studied all important project documents ranging from the base line study report (actually it is a need assessment report), project document/proposal, project annual plans and reports, and analyzed the logic relation between the need of and major issue faced by the villagers in their livelihood, the project strategy and approach, and the project objective and outputs as well as their measuring indicators.
The purpose of this study is to collect understanding and information of the project design, implementation, and achievement so that we can have cross check during the field interview.
Following the requirement of evaluation TOR, and considering the time availability, we adopted the methodology of participatory focal group discussion in the field interview. Questions were asked in line with the interview guideline, and the focal groups discussed and agreed on their responses.
These methodology, though require experiences and skills from the evaluators, and is kind of time consuming, has the advantage of covering more participants, and promoting mutual sharing and learning, and cross checking among the participants to achieve a more objective and representative result.
By the time of this evaluation, some of the expected outcomes have been realized, some have not though they are moving positively towards the destination.
For those unrealized outcome targets such as changing of the production and income structures, the evaluation team think that though it has something to do with project activity design (some activities not directly or effectively contribute to the outcome), they are too ambitious for a 4 year project of this scale, especially under the context that the sugarcane planting is the leading industry in the communities.
At the same time, the project also has the practice of developing annual plan and targets. From this angle, most of the expected outputs for these annual plans and targets have been achieved.
- The Expected outcomes for sustainability awareness raising, cross planting, skill training, and green fertilizer utilization have been achieved.
- The Expected outcomes for improving the fertilizer structure, establishing diversified income structure, women’s development and income generation etc. have not been achieved, thought they are moving positively towards the targets.
- Project activities were not specified in the project designing document, though annual targets were set in the “strategic plan” part after the logic framework. At the same time, baseline data were not collected and established against the indicators set to measure the outcomes and outputs. These two gaps led to the result that the activities decided at a later stage in the annual plan are sometimes not effectively in line with the set outputs and outcomes. At the same time, without a base line data, the M&E may easily become blind and inconsistent.
- The operation and management model of the seed fund need improvement. We suggest consulting the “village mutual help fund model” initiated by the poverty alleviation office under the state council.
- The self-management and development capacity of the women’s group need to be consolidated.
- The experiences gained in sustainability awareness raising, cross planting, green fertilizer utilization etc. deserve to be promoted to other areas.
- To maximize project sustainability and impact, some components of the project, such as the seed fund and women’s group, need to be consolidated before handing over to the local community. And it is reasonable to leave about one year for this purpose.
The project which aims to change to the mono-livelihood model by building a diversified production and income structure is very meaningful and important. Success of the project will have very important and positive impact to the county as well as its neighboring counties.
Though it is unrealistic for a project of this scale to have meaningful change within just 4 years, and it is too early to make rational judgement on the impact soon after the project completion, the evaluation team can conclude that the project effect is very positive towards its goals.
The project has built solid understanding and recognition of both the villagers and other stakeholders such as schools and relevant government agencies on a diversified and sustainable production and income structure, and they are trying what they can to change the current mono-model by environment education, green fertilizer application, cross planting, rational application of fertilizers, fruit tree planting, developing animal husbandry etc.
Though the effect from animal husbandry and fruit tree planting is not obvious at current stage, it leaves room for change in the future. We hope that income from the animal husbandry and fruit tree will increase to a meaningful level in a few years to help the villagers to move from depending on the monoculture of sugarcane. And the increasing green fertilizer brought about by the increasing animal husbandry will reduce the dependency of the villagers on chemical fertilizer. If this happens, a virtuous circle will begin to form.
At the same time, the project has laid the good base for community women’s group and financial cooperative. After some consolidation, these two organizations can play a big role in social and economic development in the community in the future.
The evaluation team made recommendations to project planning and design, the seed fund that is at risk, experience promotion at policy making level, on the women’s group and the process of handover.