Author: Braddock, M.; Raffo, E.
The project has two country programmes in Peru and Ecuador administered by UNICEF-Peru and UNICEF-Ecuador respectively, and a Binational sub-programme administered by UNICEF-Peru. In practice the two country programmes have been run as separate projects. The Peruvian project is larger in scale and has almost three times the budget of the Ecuadorean project. The Binational component is small. Both projects include the same 4 components of health, education, rights and capacity building, but the approach is different with more community-level work in Peru. In Ecuador the project has focused on working at policy level.
The first phase of the project started in 2002 and will finish in July 2004. As the project meets the objectives and priorities of the Binational Plan, the governments of Peru and Ecuador as well as the two UNICEF country offices have requested Finland to finance a second phase. The purpose of the Mission was to conduct a final evaluation of the Peru and Ecuador border area project, and provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the
governments of Peru and Ecuador, and UNICEF with an independent review and analysis of the project for decision-making purposes. The work was to focus on assessing the progress made towards achieving the overall goals, and the relevance of the project to the objectives of the Binational Plan, together with recommendations for an eventual extension of the project.
After an initial review of project documentation, the evaluation team drew up a matrix containing the key questions to be answered, and identifying the information sources to be consulted for each point. Additional documentation was collated and reviewed. The team conducted individual and group interviews with stakeholders at central level in Peru (UNICEF, government representatives, Finnish Embassy, Binational Plan, representatives of indigenous federations, etc.) prior to travelling to the project zone. In the project zone interviews and discussions were held with the UNICEF project team, representatives of public sector and civil society organisations at regional, local and community level, and with individual community members. Interviews were held with representatives of groups and organisations who have participated in the project, and with community members from the beneficiary groups. The evaluation team also visited a water and sanitation project in a Shuar community close to Santiago River and interviewed teachers, pupils and health workers in the community who have participated in initial project activities. The methodology was highly participative, with a total of over 180 people involved in discussions and interviews. At the end of the in-country mission the consultants presented preliminary results of the evaluation in a workshop attended by representatives of the governments of Finland, Peru and Ecuador together with representatives of UNICEF.
Findings and Conclusions:
This project has achieved a good level of insertion into the indigenous communities of the River Santiago in both Peru and Ecuador. Despite the practical and political problems encountered in this remote zone, the teams have made some progress in all the major project components during a 2½ year period. The project is relevant to the Binational Plan, to the transitional strategy of Finnish cooperation with Peru, and to the priority needs of the beneficiaries, although it does not tackle the principal need of the beneficiaries, which is income generation.
Component-specific progress towards the results has been positive in all 4 components in Peru, although the evaluation team have some reservations about the progress in the education component. Women’s rights have not been tackled in the Rights component. The efficiency of the project in Peru is positive despite the high % of spending on technical assistance and project support. In Ecuador the % of spending on technical assistance and project support is also high, but there has been some progress towards the expected results, particularly in birth registrations and capacity building.
The Peru project focussed on the community level as well as working at policy level with regional and local governments. The Peru project shows more concrete results at community level and has had more impact on the primary beneficiaries. The Ecuador project has focussed on the public policy framework and has not as yet carried out many activities at community level. It has not therefore achieved a significant impact on the primary beneficiaries in this first phase.
The evaluation team considers that more concrete results could have been achieved in Ecuador through more coherent intervention strategies in health and education, together with a more flexible approach to applying elements of the UNICEF national programme (such as SIL and participative budgeting) to take into account specific community needs and capabilities.
In both countries, a logical framework and better indicators would have enabled a more rigorous analysis of the project’s achievements. Qualitative evidence collected during the evaluation suggests that advances have been made in the major components of health, education, rights and capacity building in both countries.
Project management has been good in both countries, despite the problems of recruitment and personnel management in distant locations. UNICEF has contributed resources such as staff time, financial systems and organisational back-up to project management, although these contributions do not appear in the financial reports. The Binational component had a modest budget and its activities have been correspondingly modest. The potential advantages of the Binational Plan framework have not been realised. This component requires strengthening.
Programme monitoring mechanisms only report on activities and finance, with no reference to progress towards results or objectives.
Programme reporting could be improved through better structuring, to make the reports more useful to the project and to the Finnish government. More work is needed to develop appropriate and relevant indicators, both quantitative and qualitative.
Areas where more work is required in both countries include nutrition, incorporation of women into public sector social security benefit schemes, attention to women’s rights and education in sexual and reproductive health. Improvements in the quality of education and affirmative action on gender issues are also essential. The project appears to have been reasonably efficient and cost-effective, although the indirect costs of technical assistance, transport and project support are high at 50% of the total spending. This is partly due to the isolation of the zone and difficulties of
The Binational component of the project has had limited impact and requires strengthening in order to realise its potential contribution to integration of the two countries.
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland