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Evaluation report

2012 Ecuador: Child Labor in Ecuador: an evaluation



Author: Pedro Montalvo, Juan Monsalve, Sebastián Burgos, Fernanda Roja, Paulina Miranda

Executive summary

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Background:

Since 1998 Ministry for Economic and Social Inclusion - National Child and Family Institute (MIES-INFA) carried out a national program to eradicate child labour but had never been evaluated.  With UNICEF´s support the evaluation of this long-term, nationwide program was undertaken and finalised in 2012; preliminary results during the process of the evaluation were used by the programme management and other decision-makers.

Purpose/Objective:

The purpose of the evaluation was to allow the institutions responsible to eradicate child labour to have a clear picture and to measure the progress, performance and results of the initiative, in order to adjust, adopt corrective measure to improve and achieve positive results for children affected by labour exploitation. 

This within the framework of the goal set by Ecuador to eradicate child labour by 2015, the mandate of UNICEF in Middle Income Countries to support policies that guarantee children´s rights, and the policy to support national capacities on evaluation. 

Methodology:

It was regretful that the program did not include evaluation in its original design, so that no impact evaluation was able to be carried out to truly find the effectiveness of the program indeed.  However, given the need to evaluate the program to obtain sound information to inspire and orient corrective actions, the sources of information of the evaluation were: programmatic and financial information from MIES-INFA, interviews with key stakeholders (including programme management from previous years), field trips to the programme decentralized units, interviews with beneficiaries, among others.  The process of this information allows MIES-INFA to have a broad picture and to measure the results of the programme in terms of efficacy, efficiency, sustainability, impact and coverage.

Further details on the methodology can be found in the evaluation report.

Findings and Conclusions:

Among the main results and conclusions mentioned in the report, the following are noteworthy:

The goals are not clearly set for the program in different territories.

There are no relevant indicators for the program and its operators regarding the number of children and adolescents in child labour, but mostly concentrated on financial issues.

There is no monitoring and evaluation of the program.

Information and central level (headquarters) and the field is not consistent.

There is no clear mechanism to assign resources to different field units.

Infrastructure and human talent need to be strengthened.

No baselines to monitor progress of the program.

Recommendations:

For each of the findings mentioned in the report there is at least one recommendation to be monitored and followed by the institution.  Given that the evaluation was performed following UNICEF evaluations guidelines, MIES-INFA was involved from the very beginning and the sense of ownership of the process was strong so that partial results of the evaluations were considered for decision-making processes.   

The recommendations included territorial situation analysis in terms of child labour, developing a monitoring and evaluation system for the program, improve the management system, to obtain the cost of each intervention in each territory, and strengthen human talent in partnership with academic institutions in the field, among other.  

Further details of the findings and recommendations can be found in the report.

From the set of recommendations given to the program by the evaluation, there are some that have been taken by UNICEF to include them in the workplans.  These can be found in the management response for the evaluation.  Some these actions have already been performed while other will be undertaken in the near future.

Lessons Learned:

Although the evaluation was of a nationwide program to fight child labour carried out by the government since 1998 and not of a UNICEF program, there are still lessons learned that UNICEF Ecuador can be drawn up from this experience.  One of them is the inclusion of an evaluation plan from the very beginning of a program design and planning first steps; this can be achieved through effective advocacy.  Another lesson learned for all stake holders is the need to closely monitor the program and its implementation in the field on all its programme cycle phases.



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