2011 Zimbabwe: ZIMWASH Project End- Term Evaluation Report: ACP EU Water Facility Project - 2006-2011 - Addressing water and sanitation needs of the rural poor in the context of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe
Author: Bresmo Business Consultants
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At Independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had a well-developed urban water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector and a largely neglected rural sector. Effective strategies to address the gaps in the rural communal areas were put in place by the new Government. These resulted in a gradual extension of coverage to the rural areas, such that in the first 20 years of Zimbabwe’s independence, overall water coverage increased from 32% to 56% and overall sanitation access from 28% to 55%. Urban WASH services coverage was over 90% by the late 1990s (AMCOW 2011).
In the year 2000, as a consequence of a national political crisis in Zimbabwe, most donors withdrew their support to development programmes, the WASH sector included. The WASH sector had largely been supported from this quarter; hence the effects of the withdrawal of donor assistance were devastating.
Of the estimated 47,000 bush pumps on which rural water supply was dependent, approximately 65% of the water points were reported not functional at any given time . Open defecation came to characterize approximately a third of the rural population. In 2008 the most serious outbreak of cholera in Africa swept from the urban to many rural areas (Mason, 2009). The developmental thrust was further circumscribed by the generalized state of crisis in the target districts.
To address the above challenges, the ZIMWASH Project was funded under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) as part of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) Water Facility launched in 2004. The EU provided €5m, being 75% of the budget with UNICEF Zimbabwe providing 25%. Project implementation started in November 2006 and ended in July 2011 covering nine wards in each of the six project districts (Figure 1) of Bulilima, Chegutu, Chipinge, Hwange, Mangwe and Zaka. The project covered nine wards in each of the six districts as detailed in Table 3 below. In Bulilima and Mangwe districts the first prioritised 9 wards in the respective districts were later split resulting in twelve (12) and ten (10) project wards respectively.
The purpose of the ZIMWASH End-Term Evaluation was to assist the EU and consortium of partners to determine to what extent the project was successful in meeting the project objectives. The evaluation also sought to inform planning, implementation and management of future UNICEF and Government of Zimbabwe WASH programmes.
The end-term evaluation goal was to assess the achievement of the project objective and expected results. Specifically the evaluation assessed:
- The degree of improvement in the enabling environment (consisting of policies and training, research and information services) for civil society and local government to provide WASH services to the rural poor
- The extent to which sufficient skills have been enhanced amongst civil society organizations and local authorities in the 6 pilot districts to coordinate, plan, provide and support the community management of water services
- Improvements in planning mechanisms and project management practices among district level organisations for WASH services delivery.
- Improvements in access to and use of safe and sustainable sanitation services at households and schools
- Improvements in access to and use of safe and sustainable water supply services which are responsive to the livelihoods needs of rural men, women and children
- The extent to which skills and practices among community-based organizations and individuals (men and women) to manage water supply and sanitation services have been enhanced
- The extent to which hygiene practices among rural men, women and children, especially those infected and affected by HIV&AIDS have been improved and
- To document lessons learnt, best practices and make recommendations for improved implementation of future projects.
- The extent to which EU is visible in the project.
The final evaluation of the ZIMWASH project was undertaken over an intensive 6 week period between 23rd November and 23rd December 2011. The evaluation comprised the following steps:
2.1. Literature Review
A comprehensive and extensive literature review of ZIMWASH project documentation comprising baseline summary and districts specific reports, interim progress, monthly progress and activities reports, occasional publications, process documentation, project output summaries, and a mid-term evaluation report. Literature review helped to cast the end-term evaluation into context. Progress reports provided quantitative data on project achievements. Some of the reviewed documents are attached as Bibliography in annex 5.7.
2.2. Inception Report
An Inception Report, outlining the evaluation process including presentation of the data collection tools was submitted to UNICEF. This Inception Report was subjected to a critical discussion and stakeholder consultation process hosted by the Centre for Collaborative and Operational Research (CCORE) in Harare.
2.3. Sampling Procedures
The sampling procedures ensured that a representative sample of the different stakeholders and beneficiary groups were interviewed ensuring that;
• All the six districts were equally represented in terms of the number of wards and villages covered. This ensured that the entire project districts were represented in the sampling frame.
• Twelve (12) of the fifty four (54) project wards that constitute at least 20% of the project wards were covered. This is in conformity with the general rule concerning the determination of the minimal sample size in most research and evaluation activities, i.e. “a sample size of at least 10%” . Twenty-four villages, constituting at least 10% of the total project villages in the twelve sample wards were covered. At least 5% of the targeted beneficiary households in a village were interviewed. Since the evaluation was dealing with very homogeneous target informants (orphans, elderly, disabled and especially those infected and affected by HIV&AIDS) increasing the sample size may not therefore have more value addition. Furthermore, the project provided a generic package (household and institutional latrines, safe water provision, training of local artisans and health and hygiene education) to all the beneficiaries.
The evaluation was carried out between 23rd November and 23rd December 2011 in six project districts (Bulilima, Chipinge, Chegutu, Hwange, Mangwe and Zaka) across five Provinces of Zimbabwe. Twelve (12) of the possible fifty four (54) project wards were purposefully selected for the evaluation. A range of stakeholders including the Consortium Partners, District Administrators (DA), Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive Officers (CEO), District Water Supply and Sanitation Sub-Committee (DWSSC) members, key leaders and community beneficiaries were consulted.
Findings and Conclusions:
- A National Learning Platform made of the project consortium members was formed that facilitated the review of WASH sector policies and strategies resulting in the adoption of new sector coordination mechanisms that have since been approved by cabinet.
- Functional District Water Supply and Sanitation Sub-Committees (DWSSC/Learning Alliances) were resuscitated and these successfully managed project implementation processes in the six project districts. Capacity gaps of the civil society organisation were addressed through a number of trainings.
- Institutional capacity of district level organisations, mainly the DWSSCs, was created through training in Strategic Planning that resulted in the development of Five Year District WASH Strategic Plans. These subsequently informed WASH annual plans during the entire lifespan of the ZIMWASH project.
- Access to safe sanitation was improved through construction of 6920 household and 605 school sanitation facilities that benefitted 63526 and 41063 people respectively.
- Access to safe water was improved through rehabilitation of 696 boreholes, drilling of 62 new boreholes, upgrading of existing 353 family wells and construction of 53 rain water harvesters. A total of 173825 people are reported to have benefited.
- A total of 673 WPCs, 312 VPMs and 1229 latrine builders were trained. A total 4220 beneficiaries were reportedly reached.
- A total of 335299 households were reached by the trained Health Promoters while 7899 were reached through community level PHHE sessions. There is an increase in hygiene knowledge and improved adoption of positive hygiene behaviours and practices within the targeted communities.
In the context of the evaluation findings, the following conclusions are made:
The ZIMWASH project was to a large extent successful in achieving the project expected results which in turn positively contributed towards the overall objectives and project purpose as.
- The project influenced putting in motion WASH sector reforms (policy review and strategy formulation) that have to date resulted in the adoption of new WASH sector coordination mechanisms.
- Functional DWSSC (Learning Alliances) were resuscitated.
- Capacity was created at National, Provincial, District and community levels in managing WASH programmes.
- Access to safe water was improved through rehabilitation, drilling, upgrading of existing wells and construction of rain water harvester.
- Access to safe sanitation was improved through construction of household and school sanitation facilities.
- There is an increase in hygiene knowledge and improved adoption of positive hygiene behaviours and practices within the targeted communities.
In line with the evaluation criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability the following conclusion are made:
- Relevance: the project was to a larger extent relevant as it was in line with the national WASH sector priorities i.e. improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices among communities. It is also complimenting the national effort to address international WASH commitments such as the MDGs. The project was in line with EU policies on improving access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene practices among African countries.
- Effectiveness: the project managed to achieve most of the set targets within the project planned period.
- Efficiency: to an extent the project managed to achieve set outputs within the overall project budget framework. It also made savings that where reinvested into the project.
- Impact: proxy impact indicators such as the increasing number of project beneficiaries practicing positive hygiene behaviours and increased community involvement on management of water facilities show that to an extent the project has the potential to make high impacts.
- Sustainability: there is potential for sustainability of project benefits considering efforts made in strengthening district and community based WASH structures and training of local artisans. There is a paradigm shift as RDC are now making moves to allocate more financial resources to O&M of WASH facilities
In the context of the lessons learnt and best practices, the evaluation team makes the following recommendations focusing at national and district levels.
At national level it is recommended that the NAC in collaboration with UNICEF should:
- Adopt and promote the consortium approach as one of the strategies of implementing WASH programmes in Zimbabwe.
- Support WASH sector research and development through the establishment of a WASH Research Fund.
- Specifically, adopt, develop guidelines, promote and build sector capacity in process documentation.
- Adopt, consolidate guidelines, promote and build WASH sector capacity to implement the school block grant approach.
- Carry out research to document lessons, best practices and develop implementation guidelines on linking WASH and livelihoods projects.
- Future capacity development efforts should address all capacity development components (human, financial and institutional) at all levels.
- Should establish a WASH sector capacity development fund.
- The NAC should support the implementation of the sustainability strategies developed by the six project district with the view of documenting lessons learnt and best practices that will inform scaling up of the process.
At district levels it is recommended that:
- RDCs should prioritise funding of the operation and maintenance particularly the procurement of CBM tool kits and spares in line with the sustainability strategies developed by the respective districts.
- Districts should systematically capture statistics on self-initiated and funded WASH facilities so that they feed into national statistics.
- RDC with the support of the DWSSC should have updated project assets registers especially the CBM tool kits.
- RDC with support from the DWSSC should take stock of all incomplete structures and ensure that they are duly completed.
- RDCs should support the completion of Research Projects supported by the ZIMWASH project.
- Districts that completed the research should make effort to implement the research findings for future WASH programming.
Lessons Learned (Optional):
Some of the key lessons learnt from ZIMWASH project implementation are that:
- Empowering communities and other project stakeholders with the appropriate information creates the necessary demand and commitment making implementation of hardware activities easy. In the implementation of ZIMWASH project community demand for WASH services “rose astronomically after community members had gone through hygiene promotion sessions” .
- It is more effective to adopt a comprehensive organisational capacity strategy that covers all the capacity development components i.e. human, financial and institutional capacities. ZIMWASH project capacity development was largely focused on human resources at the expense of other issues such as the provision of vehicles and office information communication technology (ICT) to RDCs.
- If empowered with correct information on the associated benefits from development programmes, the vulnerable can make effective contribution in addressing their vulnerability status. In the ZIMWASH project, the vulnerable contributed all the local available materials including paying builders fees, contrary to the general perception that such people require always 100% subsidy.
- Given clear guidelines, local government and civil society organisations can effectively coordinate local development processes. With the appropriate information and guidelines local and community based civic society organisations that include the ward and village development committees linked to the ZIMWASH project managed to facilitate project implementation.
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