Final evaluation report of Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP) Phase III
About the publication
- Published: July 2019
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Responsive to Integrated Development Services (RIDS)
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: Bangladesh
- Theme: Primary industry (agriculture fishing forestry), Health, Human rights
- Pages: 38
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Digni/Normisjon
- Local partner: Sancred Welfare Foundation (SWF)
- Project number: QZA-18/0159-470-473
2019 marked the final year in the third phase of the ICDP-project. The project has been initiated, and implemented by Sancred Welfare Foundation, since the beginning. The objective of the project is:
“to achieve secured livelihood, health, education for the poor and marginalized people of Sunamganj, ensure environmental sustainability of the area and a more equitable society”. To achieve this, the project has three main components: i) Community Capacity Enhancement; (ii) Environmental Sustainability and Medical services; and (iii) Gender Justice & Human Rights
Objective for the evaluation
Main objectives of the evaluation was to 1) assess the impact/level of success of the project in achieving planned goal and objectives; (b) assess the efficiency, relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of the project.
As the basis for the evaluation, the evaluation team has assessed project documents and reports, conducted interviews and discussions with various stakeholders, and fields visits and discussions to interact with direct beneficiaries.
The evaluation concludes that the program activities have been designed in a way that it is consistent with the role of SWF as a facilitating organization, and thus engaging the people of the area as the main agents of change. Most activities have been fulfilled, and the choice of outputs in highly relevant to the project problems.
The evaluation found that efficiency has been satisfactory. The project team have spent time and resources wisely, have the necessary monitoring and control systems, and that staff have the competence and capacity needed to well implement the project.
Activities have been implemented in line with the design document. Both qualitative and quantitative findings of this study confirmed that ICDP had identified the right target groups and areas. In general, the Program was effective in realizing almost all targets of the project outcomes
The overall progress of the Community capacity development initiatives related to the Peoples Organizations (PO), with which the project works, is found to be satisfactory. All 18 POs have obtained registration from the Cooperative department of Government.
The strengthening of these POs enables the target communities to plan, take actions, and solve own problems. It is noted that before withdrawing SWF’s interventions from this area, a long-term plan needs to be developed to ensure the transfer of responsibilities, and thus the continuation of the work by the POs.
Furthermore, the evaluation reports that farmers see improvement; they experience increased crops, and the interest and usage of new agricultural technologies is increasing.
ICDP’s contribution in building local knowledge and skills in different sectors and management will go a long way in meeting the needs of the people in handling their livelihood. The approach to building local capacity and local ownership is likely to have longer term effects.
Awareness on health and hygiene, immunization, child nutrition monitoring, health treatment supports, addressing environmental vulnerability and introduction of organic fertilizers, use of underutilized and unutilized land in cultivation are some example of better performance related to agriculture and health, which marks the second component of the project. Both the farm and the hospital, however, are shown to be dependent on support from SWF.
Concerning the third component on gender justice and human rights, progress has also been made. The evaluation teram note that the mobility of the women have increased, women and girls have been trained in, and have grown in leadership, and they are now more involved in decision -making both at a household level, and in society. Also the trend of early marriages has decreased.
POs are reported to be well functioning. There are, however, considerable differences between POs; Out of 18 POs, 10 are functioning with excellent management (Grade A). They are financially solvent, have assets and capable of to run activities on their own even after phasing out of ICDP activities. 7 are with Grade B, and 1 is with Grade C. For the eight non-grad A POs, it will take time to build sufficient capacity to run activities.
The evaluation also notes a number of areas where the POs have work yet to be done in terms of being sustainable- such as establishing linkages with authorities and other actors ICDP has been good to listen to and incorporate views of the beneficiaries. This has created a degree of local ownership. It is noted, however, that building this local ownership takes time, and that more work needs to be done on this area.
The loan-schemes, offered by the POs in expected to continue, thus providing good possibilities for increased income for PO members.
The ICDP- model shows that community-based empowerment has been a valuable approach to reach the objectives. The evaluation findings show that ICDP interventions have been generally successful on many accounts, even though some challenges remain.
The data suggests that changes have taken places in the lives of the people of the program area. These changes have come about through the consistent efforts of ICDP. The project has seen the rate for fully immunized children increase, the prevalence diarrhea decrease, household income increase, people have more sources of stable income, and capacity to reduce risks during and after disasters. These are examples of evidence of change that has happened. Also, the POs have been strengthened, and have been successful in helping poor people run small businesses through loans, and have been active in various campaigns.
Several local development leaders express their satisfaction of the efforts of the ICDP-project.
Responsibilities related to the project, need to be transferred to other actors, as per the phase-out plan. POs will have to take significant responsibility.
POs are largely considered to be SWFs organizations. They need to be further developed, and particularly need to develop their partnerships with local authorities and other actors.
Some POs are not strong enough in terms of funding, and need to generate more own funds. Non-members, do not see the importance of the POs. To assess the POs, it is recommended that a post-study be made, one year after project conclusion.
Advocacy initiatives have been on a local level, and should be raised to a regional, district or national level.
The integrated farm is too reliant on SWF-support, as is the Sancred Health service centre and hospital.
Comments from the organisation
Normisjon considers the project a success and acknowledges that the evaluation has been able to highlight many of the project achievements. Also, valuable recommendations have been given, which point to central steps that are needed in order to secure sustainability of results.
These recommendations provide learning for Normisjon and particularly for SWF. Still, however, we do consider the evaluation somewhat weak in that it 1) could have noted more critical remarks related to SWF, and
2) has a tendency to provide anecdotal basis for its conclusions, instead of quantitative data. This is in line with their own understanding of how to conduct the evaluation, as explained in the report, but we would still have expected some more quantitative data.
In sum, however, also having the final report from SWF, a broader picture is painted- both in terms of data and SWFs role in the project. Thus, the evaluation plays its part as an important part of the final reporting of the project, even though we would have expected a more specific and somewhat more critical external evaluation.
Even though not particularly critical in words, we note that the evaluation several times point to the continued importance of SWF related to project activities- particularly related to the POs, related to the farm, and related to the hospital. Considering that 2019 concluded the third phase of the project, we are somewhat critical of whether SWF have been to passive in transferring responsibilities.
Digni has used the evaluation report to analyse and document results of the project. Digni’s assessment of the project’s results are presented in Digni’s report to Norad in 2019.
Digni agrees with Normisjon’s view that it is noteworthy to observe that the evaluation is recommending further efforts in securing the sustainability of project efforts, i.e related to Peoples Organisations (POs), the farm and the hospital, given that this last three year project phase 2017-2019 was approved by Digni with the particular purpose of strengthening the project/partner to phase out and secure financial and organisational sustainability of project results.
The project funding from Digni/Norad to this project has ended. However, SWF and Normisjon have a long-standing partnership and the dialog between the organisations continues, provides follow up, support and accountability.