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Evaluation report

2009 OPT: Palestinian Adolescents: agents of positive change- Towards an environment promoting peace and reconciliation



Executive summary

 

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The overall target group for the programme is Palestinian adolescents aged 10 to 18 years who are living in oPt and in refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The programme‟s two overall objectives are reflected in its title: making Palestinian adolescents „agents of positive change‟; and promoting an environment which fosters peace and reconciliation. This evaluation focuses only on Phases I and II of the programme which took place between November 2004 to November 2007.

Programme objectives

The specific objectives for Phase I, which ran for a year, were to: provide safe spaces promoting skills development; provide appropriate life skills training for adolescents; undertake action research to support adolescent-led initiatives; and develop leaders who can mobilise other adolescents for community action. Phase II over two years emphasised not merely providing safe spaces but also enabling adolescents to participate in managing the safe spaces. Also emphasised in Phase II were undertaking action research to support adolescent-led initiatives and undertaking initiatives to improve communities. Also added were the objectives of enhancing capacity adolescent capacity to realise their potential; support for networking among adolescents; and the need to coordinate with other organisations working with adolescents. The expenditure on the programme for these first two phases was just over US$ 1 million. This evaluation is based on data collected in June and July 2009. This information relates to programme impact, relevance of the activities, assessments of its efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and relations with other stakeholders such as UN agencies, NGOs and governments. The evaluation also identifies the factors that could make the programme sustainable.

Evaluation methodology

The main data sources for the evaluation are the first-hand assessments provided through face- to-face interviews with those involved in the programme. A survey based on a random sample of 100 programme participants in each of the five countries/regions was the main instrument used to assess nature and extent of programme impact. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with programme operators, partner agencies, parents and other community members provided information about programme strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for improvement. Separate focus group discussions with programme participants and parents addressed the issue of whether the programme‟s activities are relevant to their perceived needs. The evaluation is a retrospective one, based on recollections of activities that took place in the past. However, as the programme is still operational, with many of the stakeholders readily available, this was not a major constraint.

Impact

In general, the evaluation results show that programme impact has been large and extensive. The results of the data collection provide evidence of self-reported behavioural change on the part of the programme‟s adolescent participants, their parents, and of wider beneficial effects on the community and programme partners. Tables ES1 and ES2 report the evaluator‟s assessment of the programme‟s performance in relation to its overall objectives and specific programme objectives. The rating is based on a five-point scale, with 5 the maximum score. The evaluation results show that the programme has been successful in not only providing safe safes and recreational opportunities for adolescents. More importantly, the programme has changed how community-based organisations such as women‟s centres and sports clubs, governments and UN agencies view young people. They are no longer merely „seen but not heard‟ or, even in some cases, viewed as a threat. Palestinian adolescents are now more likely to be seen by the community, governments and UN agencies as agents in their own right who can be engaged with as partners. The main vehicle the programme used to achieve this new image has been through a series of adolescent-led actions which sought to improve the lives of adolescents and in their wider communities. However, the evaluation also has found, in terms of the programme‟s overall objective of promoting peace and reconciliation, that more needs to be done. Survey results suggest that only half of the programme participants are more focused on the need for peace and reconciliation, and more tellingly, only three-in-ten participants have engaged in peace intiatives in their community. The programme‟s role in imparting skills in conflict resolution and promoting opportunities to apply these skills has varied between countries. In Lebanon, particular emphasis has been given to imparting these skills as part of life skills training.



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