NPA Civil Society Program Evaluation
About the publication
- Published: December 2018
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Edward Thomas
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: South Sudan
- Theme: Civil society
- Pages: 67
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Norsk Folkehjelp
- Local partner: SSANSA, AMDISS, CRN, UJSS, UNYDA, Anataban, Okay Africa, SSLS, GBLA, WTUPM, Hope restoration, USN, GELA, Steward, Voice for change, Crown, RYSA.
- Project number: GLO-0613 QZA-15/0443
The evaluation looks at the design, performance, impact, relevance and sustainability of three major projects that form part of NPA's Civil Society Programme from 2016-2018: a four-year Cooperative Agreement with Norad, Partnership for a Dynamic Civil Society in South Sudan, and a four grants lasting for one or two years from Norad Regional Funds, themed around gender, youth, peace. These projects are managed through the Civil Society Programme's four thematic components: Land and Natural Resources, Women's Rights, Youth and Media.
The evaluation seeks to answer to 9 questions trying to clarify the program efficacy, cost-efficiency, long term impact, relevance of approaches, if the applied conflict sensitivity and gender sensitivity measures are appropriate, how well the country program is following the global partnership approach and which are the country-specific challenges and if the program has strengthened the capacity of the partners. In addition, the evaluation should provide recommendations on how to improve the MEL system, and map the complementarity between civil society and other programs.
The evaluation is based on 48 interviews and group interviews with 88 people, 29 of whom are women. Interviews were conducted with NPA staff, partners and beneficiaries and key informants with knowledge of the Civil Society Programme. Most interviews were conducted in Juba, and there was a high representation of staff of NPA and its partner NGOs. Representatives of 16 out of 30 NPA partners were interviewed. Beneficiaries of NPA's Civil Society Programme were interviewed in four group interviews attended by 26 interviewees, eight of whom are women. These interviews took place in Malakal and Nimule, but not in Juba.
The evaluation is also based on an extensive review of programme budgets, proposals, policies, research outputs and reports from partners. In total, 127 texts were reviewed, of which 75 were generated by partners.
NPA's partners have many results to show, despite working in an environment where social and political relations are being violently reconfigured around ethnicity, and basic freedoms are restricted. NPA's work on Land and Natural Resources is a good example. NPA's partners have done some excellent work on land-grabbing, and are mediating local land disputes and mobilizing communities to manage and protect their rights in land and natural resources.
However, the notion of 'community' is being redefined around hard ethnic borders, and sometimes community rights in land can be used to exclude displaced people, or to polarize host and displaced communities.
NPA’s partners also combat gender-based violence through different projects aimed at awareness- raising, economic empowerment, and also by engaging with police and courts to address wide-spread impunity for perpetrators. They have helped to end impunity in some resonantly symbolic cases, by intervening directly in the administration of justice. This intervention by an NGO in a domain which is usually reserved to the state has raised uncomfortable and complicated procedural and legal questions.
It is also emphasized that partners appreciate NPAs contribution to capacity building, and that the reporting burden was less onerous than that of other NGOs.
- Developing a strategy for the civil society program approach in South Sudan. The evaluation is suggesting choosing between 3 possible approaches.
- Monitoring and reporting systems. The evaluation states the objectives and indicators are cur-rently too many, and recommends them to be reduced to allow
- Partnership quantity and quality. The evaluation recommendations finds, on one hand, the va-riety of different partners a positive feature of the program, but on the other hand finds the number of partners high.
- Research strategy. The evaluation recommends linking the program to research institutions like universities for better quality of information concerning the impact of the project.
- Democratic practice by partner organisations. Supporting democratic practices of the partner organizations has been a core commitment and strength of the civil society program. However, lack of criticism concerning related costs has led to situation that financial support to some partners include unreasonable costs of routines as board meetings. The evaluation recommen-dations suggest solutions like using ICT solutions for meetings and virtual platforms for vot-ing.
- Decentralized democratic energy infrastructure. The evaluation recommends investment in so-lar energy as decentralized, sustainable energy solution, capable enhancing democracy by providing this facility to a variety of CS actors, using as a starting point partners’ field offices
The Civil Society Program team in South Sudan finds five (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) out of the six recom-mendations relevant, although most of them have some limitations concerning the practicality of their implementation. The recommendation number 6 was considered not doable in the current operational and finding context. Recommendations that were considered realistic to implement will be considered when designing the new 5-year project cycle for 2020-2024.
Comments from the organisation
The evaluation is critical and honest in a constructive way, and has managed to grasp the unique modality of the program, emphasising the processes to support partner agendas and mobilisation of the grass roots. One identified gap is lack of concrete recommendations for how to better link the civil society program to other programmatic areas. However, the program team has already started working with the rural development team to bring the two programs closer to each other.