2004 ZIM: Report on the Zimbabwe Country Programme End of Cycle Review 2000-2004
Author: Chikandi, S.; Kamchedzera, G.; Tinarwo, A.
This End of Cycle Evaluation documents UNICEF Zimbabwe's experiences under the 2000-2004 Government of Zimbabwe and UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation. The Evaluation builds on the Mid Term Review (2002), Joint UNDAF Mid Term Review and UNICEF Programme Audits.
The 2000-2004 Country Programme was novel in at least four respects. First, it was amongst the very first throughout the world to be developed and implemented, explicitly using the most recent UNICEF-developed, human rights-based approach to development programming. That approach is fast gaining prominence in development work. Second, within the East and Southern African Region, this country programme was the first developed using this analysis. Third, the Country Programme was amongst the very first, within the human rights-based approach to programming, to adopt community capacity development as an overarching strategy. Fourth, it is the first human rights-based and community-centred capacity development approach to be challenged by a complex political, economic and humanitarian situation.
The purpose of the review, itself human rights-based, was to provide a reflective opportunity to learn from the experience of the Programme, to improve future programming. The ultimate aim was to advance child well-being in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. The specific objectives are:
- To determine the extent to which the strategies outlined in the Master Plan of Operations document (MPO) have contributed towards achievement of programme objectives.
- To analyse the impact of the economic, political and social factors on the implementation of the Country Programme, and determine the relevance of the strategies outlined in the Master Plan of Operations document (MPO) within this context.
- To propose both short- and medium-term recommendations that will guide the development of a new results-oriented Programme of Cooperation, including areas that require critical operational and seminal research.
- To distil and document key lessons emanating out of the operationalisation of the core strategy, whose lessons will contribute towards UNICEF's knowledge and improve the organization's adaptation of the strategy in supporting the progressive achievement of the MTSPs and Zimbabwe-specific MDGs.
The review adopted Appreciative Inquiry as its overarching methodology. Under the overall oversight of the PDMC, the review carried out its tasks with the advice and direction of two reference groups, one composed of key stakeholders and the other consisting of young people and children. The review's tasks included community interactions, focussed group discussions, interviews, a youth forum, on-the-site observations, desk review, and preliminary presentations. The methodology involved:
- Interviews with programme staff within UNICEF
- Interviews with key Government stakeholders at the Central Government level
- Interviews with representatives of all the UN agencies based in Zimbabwe
- Interviews with key NGO partners involved in the implementation of the programme
- Interviews with key donors resident in Zimbabwe
- Community interactions
- Discussions with District Teams and other key implementers at the district level
- Separate discussions with children within communities
Findings and Conclusions:
The Design and Evolution of the Programme
The Programme was nascent and bold in design, explicitly aiming to contribute to the attainment of child rights goals, with a focus on the main threat to child rights enjoyment, HIV and AIDS. The Programme, further, was novel in the East and Southern African Region to adopt community capacity development (CCD) as its overarching strategy. In this, the Programme was poignant to focus on duties correlative to child rights and duty bearers within the Zimbabwean context. The Programme was to facilitate participatory processes through which communities would make assessments, analyses, and take actions (Triple As) to produce and implement community action plans and advance child rights enjoyment. However, the lack of specific benchmarks and targets made the Programme not very results-based. To address unanticipated, exacerbated vulnerability, the Mid Term Review recommended dedicated Programme components on HIV and AIDS and child protection, and required the entire Programme to integrate humanitarian situation programming across all programme components.
The Implementation of the Programme
Using UNICEF's proven well-being causality framework and the Triple A as conceptual tools, the Programme quickly popularised CCD, initially focussing on 9 districts, chosen according to human rights principles. The community action plans, produced through the Triple A processes, usefully became demand tools for communities, mitigating the Programme's lack of activities to catalyse demand in the enjoyment of child rights. Iterative Triple A processes further facilitated accountability among community members, increased project ownership, and created community capacities to cope and deal with the effects of the humanitarian situation. On the supply side of human rights enjoyment, RDCs became strengthened duty bearers, working as multi-sectoral teams to respond to the community action plans.
Triple A processes created so huge a demand that the geographical focus of the programmes spread to 7 more districts, with plans to spread to all the country's 57 districts. As demand increased, the option to have CCD as precursor for general development or empowerment dominated implementation, tilting focus from the child rights-based goals in the Programme's objectives. That spread occurred amidst conflations about the difference between the HRBAP, CCD, and Triple A processes. Throughout implementation, many perceived CCD and HRBAP as time-consuming. Such perception was due to the Programme's novelty, lack of implementing methodologies, and over-dependence on the RPA component.
The Programme enhanced capacities predominantly through training at the national, provincial, district, and community levels. The training established intellectual leadership for the Programme among the UN Team and other stakeholders, particularly in the human rights-based approach to programming. However, the escalating humanitarian situation eroded capacities at all societal levels, largely through death, economic migration, and shortage of economic resources. The Programme, to protect child rights, assumed duties, as it did in immunisation, which should have otherwise been performed by the Government.
Effectiveness and Contribution to Child Well-being
Despite the humanitarian situation, there were noticeable contributions to child survival, development, participation and protection, the stated broad objectives of the Programme. Supplementary and therapeutic feeding, IMCI, and PPTCT mitigated loss of life, prevented morbidity, and alleviated malnutrition. PPTCT, in particular, was a sterling example of human rights-based programming, holistically focussing on a thematic area, respecting human rights principles, and able to demonstrate well-being-related outcomes. PPTCT, as implemented in the City of Bulawayo, addressed prevention, treatment, and care aspects related to HIV and AIDS. The Programme's popularisation of community-based counselling reflected human rights principles and increased coping capacities. In child development, the Programme took reactive measures to reconstruct schools destroyed by cyclones and provided learning materials for makeshift schools in resettlement areas. Regarding child participation, it was difficult to gauge contribution to child well-being, except where youth and children's initiatives were part of iterative Triple A processes. In such cases, child participation was positively transformational. In contrast, the Programme's dominant form of child participation, support to the Junior Parliament and Junior Councils could not directly be linked to child well-being, except among the youths involved. In child protection, a 'Zero Tolerance on Child Abuse Campaign' started to contribute to reduced vulnerability, but only when such efforts were linked to iterative Triple As.
In addition to the holistic programming on PPTCT, another towering contribution to child well-being was a direct result of CCD in itself. Lives were transformed where Triple A processes were iterative and generated plans that received necessary support in implementation. Masendu, one of the poorest communities before the inception of the Programme, has become vibrant and increasingly self-reliant as its members live in dignity despite the humanitarian situation.
The 2000-2004 Programme has established sufficient foundation for further human rights-based programmes. The demand created by the overarching strategy, CCD, is unparalleled in Zimbabwe. However, although there is a demand for Triple A processes among development workers, the next Programme would need to spread cautiously, maintaining focus on child rights and striving holistically to deepen experiences so that communities and others may animate each other and spread the processes. As the Programme has already been to 16 districts, it would be prudent to deepen positive experiences in those districts before spreading to new ones. Country-wide strategies should be limited to those strategies that use the mass media and mass campaigns, such as child rights advocacy and EPI.
Examples from the PPTCT project and iterative Triple A processes are two examples that are ripe for geographic extension. Others, such as IMCI, need to be deepened and consolidated first before geographical expansion. The Programme’s majority results were instrumental, such as the National Plan on Orphans, and require follow-up for meaningful contribution to child well-being. As future programming deepens and widens, good programming skills, child participation, and monitoring and evaluation are areas that require refinements through sharpened programming skills and focus on child well-being-related results. To demonstrate well-being results, the next Programme will need greater linkage of CCD to particular thematic areas. A priority area is orphanhood which, with its adverse effects, is currently in demand of heightened prevention, rehabilitation and care of those victimised, and preparation of future generations to prevent, and be in control of, the incidents associated with orphanhood.
The experiences of the 2000-2004 Programme have at least three invaluable lessons on which to consolidate future programming, to yield sustainable results. The first is that iterative, participatory Triple A processes within the framework of community capacity development result in sustainable socio-economic transformation, if programmatic support focuses on identified gaps and strengths. The second is that child rights-centred integrated and multi-sectoral programmatic work results in greater child well-being. The third lesson is that although the urgency of complex emergencies may threaten the human rights-based approach to programming, community capacity development is an efficient strategy for community-generated emergency preparedness, response, and amenability to programmatic support.
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