Author: Dr. Astri Ferdiana and Dr. Darini Rajasingham
In the aftermath of the December 2004 Asia Tsunami disaster in the Maldives, a stated objective of the UNICEF Country Office and the Government of Maldives was “building back better”, the lives of women and children.1 UNICEF succeeded in raising significant funds from a range of donors for the Asia Tsunami recovery operation. Over $60 million was allocated for recovery programs and projects in the Maldives. Three years after the disaster ascertaining the extent to which ongoing programs have been and may be successful, sustainable, and impact the lives of women and children would be important, to ensure accountability to donors who contributed generously to UNICEF’s post tsunami recovery operations and beneficiaries for whom the funds were committed, as well as, to refine on-going programs and develop exit strategies that ensure sustainable program impacts and results.
An evaluation of the impacts of UNICEF’s recovery response and its transition to development of tsunami affected areas and communities in the Maldives would be conducted in 2008. Given the diversity of on-going programs, their scope, and timeframes, before initiating the impact evaluation, it seemed appropriate to determine the feasibility and readiness of UNICEF’s tsunami programs and Country Office for such an exercise.
This report consists of an Evaluability Assessment for an impact assessment of UNICEF Maldives programs, but it includes a limited Program Review of the 2005-2007 operations. This is due to the fact that the Program Review of the Maldives tsunami recovery operation scheduled for the first quarter of 2007 had not occurred due to the reorganization of the Evaluation Office in New York. Hence, a limited Program Review was subsequently added on to the current ToRs for the Evaluability Assessment that commenced in November 2007 (please see Annexure).
This Report draws from a literature review, participant observation and interviews by the Program Evaluation and Evaluablity Assessment team comprising Astri Ferdiana and Darini Rajasingham.2 Interviews were conducted with CO staff, as well as, key stakeholders among partners, local/ government officials, Line Ministries and beneficiaries in Male and at selected project locations.3 The visit to the Maldives was undertaken from October 25-November 17, 2007. A document review was undertaken prior to and during the current field visit.
The field visits included several site visits to UNICEF projects,4 meetings with beneficiaries and project implementers, as well as, local government authorities including the Atoll Chief, Island Chief, the Island Development Committees in Hitadhoo, Seenu Atoll and Ungurfaaru, Raa Atoll, as well as, the Women’s Development Committee in Ungufaru.5 Emphasis was placed on meeting the relevant program staff and their counterparts in government, civil society / NGOs, and among donors.6
Findings and Conclusions
Principle Findings- Limited Program Review
UNICEF’s program of cooperation in the Maldives has been broadly formulated as a response to the recovery and longer-term development needs in the country. They are in line with its mandate and in accordance with the five focus areas identified in the MTSP 2006-2009, and clearly reflect the current CO’s commitment to “build back better”.
TRCS, the drug awareness campaign, environmental education among other program components, bring added value to interventions the Maldives.
The extent to which the current program was able to access socio-cultural analysis and mainstream gender analysis into projects and programs to effectively target and addresses issues of gender equity, and the status and protection of the girl child and adolescents warrants review.
Principle Findings- Evalubility Assessment
Review of available materials indicates that there is adequate, if sometimes inconclusive, baseline data and project material to conduct an impact evaluation of the UNICEF Maldives post tsunami programs. Firstly, there is adequate country specific baseline data even if there may be some gaps and divergent standards, secondly, there is adequate UNICEF program and project documentation. There is a large amount of quantitative data, some of which is relevant to impact monitoring in a long term.
However, very little qualitative data for a baseline against which to evaluate the added value of UNICEF (particularly soft wear) projects exists. An impact evaluation that prioritizes beneficiary perspectives and voices, and is predominantly qualitative in nature is recommended to be conducted in the third quarter of 2008.
1 The 26 December 2004, triggered tsunamis that inundated coastal areas in countries all around the Indian Ocean rim. In Maldives tidal waves ranging from 4 to 14 feet were reported in all parts of the country. Eighty three people were reported dead and anther 25 missing and feared dead, more than 1300 people were injured, nearly 12000 people were displaced from their islands and 8500 people were displaced within the islands. The force of the waves caused widespread destruction to the nation’s infrastructure from houses, schools, water supply, electricity and communication links. The livelihoods for a good percentage of the population were undermined.
2 An extensive “Literature Review on Status of Affected Population before and After the Tsunami in the Republic of Maldives in Sectors of UNICEF work”, was conducted by Dr. Anthony Marcus mid-2007; Dr. Astri Firdana focused to a great extent on program logic and log frame analysis for the EA.
3 This report also builds on the Draft Program Evaluation, Evaluability and Impact Assessment, UNICEF Maldives, Inception Report.
4 The team visited two Tsunami IDP camps in Ungufaaru and Hulothuffaru and an island, Duvaffaru, that is currently under construction for population consolidation, a large percentage of which would be Tsunami IDPs, in Raa Atoll.
5 Site visits in Seenu Atoll were made to Education, Health and Child Protection program project sites and included consultation with beneficiaries. A second field visit was made to Raa Atoll to visit water and Sanitation projects and IDPs. The site visits and projects were identified on the basis of their time line and adequacy for impact assessment and reputation as successful and innovative UNICEF projects.
6 Cf. Annexes and detailed schedule for interviews conducted.
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