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Evaluation report

2010 Zimbabwe: Mid-term evaluation of the EU water facility funded project



Author: UNICEF Partners: ZIMWASH

Executive summary

 

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Background:

Goal of the project
“To strengthen the capacity of civil society and local government in Zimbabwe to provide sustainable integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services that address the needs of the rural poor, especially those of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS”.
Objectives
1. To directly improve the health and livelihoods of 1 000 000 disadvantaged people, particularly people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC), through sustainable infrastructure provision for improved multiple use water services, sanitation facilities and hygiene education.
2. To generate and share information on appropriate technologies and methodologies, including guidelines and tools, that will allow sector agencies, especially civil society and local government, to better develop and support the management of sustainable multiple use water services, sanitation and hygiene in the context of HIVAIDS.
3. To develop the capacity of civil society, local government institutions, community based organizations and households in the planning, implementation, management of and support to rural multiple use of water, sanitation and hygiene services
Project implementation
This project follows a phased approach. In first instance a establishment of national level learning alliance to get buy-in of all national stakeholders. Then, in all the districts, local level learning alliances established between the NGOs in districts and the Rural District Councils and communities using existing development structures. action research also takes place, which feeds into the learning alliance at both levels.
Target group for the Project
The project targets 6 priority districts selected on the basis of Basic Social Services (BSS) classification and child and adolescent population according to the Poverty Assessment Study Survey (PASS) of 1995 and projected district populations based on the 1992 National Census. These districts are part of the 18 UNICEF convergence districts for impact selected on the basis of indicators such as access to water and sanitation, health, nutrition, and literacy and access to education.
Specific target groups
● Poor women, men and children in communities in the 6 districts.
● Civil society organizations
● Rural District Councils (RDCs

Purpose/Objective:

The Mid-Term Evaluation objective was to evaluate specific activities under ZIMWASH and consider the objectives, results and indicators as outlined in the log frame of the project. It is a follow up to the 2007 KABP Baseline findings, capacity assessments of the project implementation partners, progress in achieving hardware and software activities of the ZIMWASH project. In a way the objective was to examine the standard and quality of goods and services generated by the project in the opinion of the beneficiaries and other key stakeholders. Some broader areas of focus were:
• To determine whether the objectives, outcomes as stated in the logical framework and periodic plans e.g. quarterly plans were achieved.
• To document project success, gaps, and identify lessons learnt
• To provide recommendations for future operations so as to show how to sustain the efforts towards increased water supply, sanitation and hygiene in Zimbabwe
• Assess the ZimWASH consortium’s role and performance as implementing partners taking into account coordination, effectiveness and efficiency.
• To measure and state progress in attaining the goals of the project.
Specifically the evaluation focused on examinations of the following project aspects:
• Changes in project context and implementing environment.
• Qualitative and quantitative outputs achieved in relation to the inputs.
• Measurement of the extent to which an activity achieved its purpose
• Investigate the level of involvement of and accountability to beneficiaries
• Coverage
• Sustainability:
• Lessons learned and extent to which past lessons or recommendations have been fulfilled.

Methodology:

The Evaluation process covered a random sample of two wards per district. Two sampled wards in Zaka and Hwange had just started implementing the project. Four villages in each of the two wards were selected using the systematic random sampling technique. Availability or convenience sampling was employed to select participating households. Enumerators started from the centre of the village moving outwards in 5 directions, selecting one out of every three homesteads. Enumerators were drawn from the respective DWSSC members and Extension Workers with supervision from provincial and national level officers. In each village a team of 5 enumerators were assigned to administer the six (6) respective data collection tools i.e.
• Household Interview Guide
• National Project Management Team Members Key Informant Interview Guide.
• RDC Chief Executive Officer Key Informant Interview Guide
• Community Focus Group Guide.
• DWSSC Focus Group Guide.
DWSSC Members Self Administered Questionnaire.
Data analysis was done using the SPSS.

Findings and Conclusions:

Although project implementation encountered challenges such as the political and economic challenges and the 2008 cholera outbreak, in terms of project achievements of set targets, the project is on course. This is irrespective of the fact that there are some activities that are lagging behind. Critical first line activities such as community sensitisation and mobilisation have been completed. It is expected that this will provide a strong base for accelerated project implementation.
Project achievement of planned Results is also on course with the following having been achieved to date.
 In areas where project sensitization and leadership meetings have been conducted there is increased awareness on the project. Communities have developed plans for the implementation of the project at ward level and are following the plans in project implementation. This has enhanced community participation in WASH programming.
 The project has created demand for WASH services at community level in the 6 project districts with a number of households constructing latrines through self help. Significant improvements in access to safe sanitation have been realized in the project wards.
 Orphans and other vulnerable children and those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS are benefiting from the project through improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at households and institutions such as schools and health centres. In other Districts livelihoods projects that include nutrition gardens are being promote. Benefits from such interventions are slowly being felt as the nutrition conditions improve at least in those areas where they are available.
 In the three districts of Chegutu, Chipinge and Zaka which were affected by the cholera outbreak, the project contributed to the control of the epidemic thereby averting morbidity and mortality amongst communities.
 Districts continue to improve their capacity to plan for water and sanitation development, and independently analyze their own situation and develop annual operational plans.
 Major strides have been made in policy advocacy that has seen a major milestone in harmonizing sector leadership, coordination and roles and responsibilities amongst the key sector Ministries. The project continues to contribute to the improvement of an enabling environment through training and the development/review of national guidelines and strategy documents, and ensuring their availability and use at district level.

Recommendations:

The project should prioritize livelihoods focused project in the context that one of the major challenges in all project districts is food insecurity and children, including OVCs, cannot go to school as they or their guardians cannot raise enough fees.
 In order to improve district support to project implementation, monitoring, supervision and evaluation, the Project Management Team need to explore possibilities of capacitating DWSSC through provision of vehicles, office equipment and continued capacity building through training and education. Efforts can also be made to repair the old vehicles that are available.
 The Project Management Team need to avail all the relevant project guidelines and documents at district level. Some of these documents could be made available on IWSD website so that they are readily and freely available.
 In the context of the challenges at district level, the project must consider capacitating community based structures such as health clubs and traditional leadership in monitoring community projects. Training and resources can be made available for that purpose.
 The concept and modalities of the school grant being equalled to support for one pupil per squat hole need to be reviewed with the idea of ensuring that more pupils benefit.
 Implementation of project activities needs to be synchronised so that activities that have a linear cause-effect relationship are carried out logically and consistently. Delayed in PHHE at community level may be too late for a smooth take off of other activities.
 It is recommended that the following activities be prioritised:
 Livelihoods based projects.
 Community PHHE sessions.
 Village Pump Mechanic Training.
 Household latrine construction.
 Rope pumps fitting.
 Release of funds to carry out field work on district Research areas/topics.
 Inter-district Learning Alliances for exchange and sharing of information and experiences.
 The project needs to explore strategies for private sector participation especially in provision of spares at local levels.
 Research into technical options for providing stronger building materials in areas where soils are poor in brick moulding.

Lessons Learned (Optional):

While water and sanitation disease related outbreaks such as the 2008/09 cholera outbreaks are emergencies which in most cases derail project implementation strategies and plans, with proper coordination, experience documentation and sharing, their severity can create important lessons, opportunities and increased interagency coordination. Opportunities for creating sustainable demand for WASH services at all levels can be derived from such emergencies. In Zimbabwe the cholera outbreak has given a rude awaken call to political leadership resulting in WASH being one of the top priorities of central Government. The challenges is for the WASH sector stakeholders to take quick advantage of this political will and ensure sustained prioritization of WASH issues at all levels, including resource mobilisation.
 Although it is traditionally agreed that the software component of the project is equally important in triggering demand at community level and therefore should be prioritized, the emerging lesson is that mobilisation and community education need to adopt approaches that created community based demand for WASH services. Demand driven as opposed to supply driven approach has a higher potential to generate community initiatives and sustainability of sanitation services delivery. Where demand has been created there is evidence of self help initiatives in provision of sanitation at household level. The increased proportion of households that have provided “some form of own sanitation facilities” (Chart 12) though not meeting national standard is a demonstration of the strengths of a demand driven approach.
 Although project rules, regulations, protocols and agreements are important for safeguarding project assets, goods and services, they should not be viewed as “cast in stone”. They must be flexible and responsive to the dictates of the project operating environment. Project flexibility in procurement procedures that allowed offshore purchase of project inputs, assisted in ensuring project implementation during times when most development focused programmes and projects were folding.  Where there is will there is a way. Improved coordination between government and NGOs has worked and enabled project implementation under circumstances that could otherwise be viewed as impossible. At District level, coordination between poorly resourced Government Departments, communities and better resourced NGOs through the Learning Alliances have managed to register remarkable project outputs under difficulty socio-economic conditions. This is more so when there is strong and frequent technical and moral support from national level. This provides an opportunity for sharing national experiences for improved project implementation. Regular external monitoring and support especially from EU motivated both the national and district teams to improve project management and implementation through sharing of expertise and international experiences. Programmes can therefore gain from employing multi-disciplinary team approaches where various organizations with different comparative advantages pool their expertise and experiences for enhanced programming and implementation.
 Stakeholder sensitisation and mobilisation is an important lead activity in most programming. However, the process and strategy of carrying out the mobilisation for its sustained impacts is equally important. The hierarchical approach that involved ward leadership who in turn mobilised their own communities appears to have effectively worked for the ZIMWASH project.
 Behaviour change can be induced through sustained health and hygiene education as evidenced by the proportions of people adopting proper hand washing methods and the increase in the proportion of households with hygiene enabling facilities.
 With proper awareness and mobilisation, WASH can go beyond the mere provision of WATSAN services but can impact on social relationships. With increased knowledge, communities have begun sharing WATSAN services. The project has raised community awareness and social responsibility for
vulnerable members of community. This implies community preparedness to cope with the needs of the vulnerable groups. There is increased community concern and joint programming of action to solve problems related to the vulnerable through identification of beneficiaries and providing labour for construction of facilities at OVC homes.



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