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2013 BH: Final Evaluation of the Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund: Youth Employability and Retention Programme



Author: DIETMAR AIGNER

Executive summary

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Background:

The Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund (MDG-F) is an international cooperation mechanism whose aim is to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) worldwide.
Since January 2010 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the leading agency and administrative agent, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have been providing technical assistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) through the UN Joint Programme Youth Employability and Retention. The Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP) aims to address the problems of high youth unemployment and irregular youth migration in BiH. The programme anticipates close cooperation between government authorities, the private sector and civil society to improve the employability of BiH youth while providing new entry points to the labour market. Furthermore, within the scope of YERP, internal and external migration support is being developed to optimise the potential of migration as an individual employment-seeking strategy that can alleviate local labour market pressures. 

The YERP JP, financed by the Government of Spain through the MDG-F with a contribution of US$5.999 million, is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (the main partner) along with the Ministry of Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees. However, numerous partners at entity, cantonal and municipal levels are also deeply involved in the programme since the implementation of policies and legislation is mostly attributed to these governmental and administrative levels. The programme will end in June 2013.

Purpose/Objective:

The main purpose of the final evaluation is to provide an independent in-depth assessment of the achievements of programme results and outcomes against the planned results and the implementation modality of the MDG-F YERP JP.

Objectives of the final evaluation are:
• Assessment of the programme’s quality and internal coherence (needs and problems it aimed to solve) and its external coherence with the UNDAF, national development strategies and priorities, the MDGs at the local and country level, the level of contribution to the objectives of the MDG-F Democratic Economic Governance Thematic Window and to establish the degree of national ownership as defined by the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action;
• Assessment of how the JP operated and what is the efficiency of its management model in planning, coordinating, managing and executing resources allocated for its implementation.
• Assessment of design and relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the programme and the level of achievement of envisaged programme results and outcomes (thorough assessment of all programme components is required);
• Assessment of quality, results and impact of local programme interventions / grant projects financed through the programme, including the assessment of co-financing modality and implementation capacities on a local level;
• Assessment of the programme’s different internal and external M&E systems and tools developed.
• Identification of key recommendations and lessons learned through the evaluation process of the JP;
• Generate substantive evidence based knowledge, on one of more of the MDG-F thematic windows as well as the overall MDG fund objectives at local and national level (MDGs, Paris Declaration and Accra Principles and UN Reform) by identifying best practices and lessons learned that could be useful to other development interventions at national (scale up) and international level (replicability).

Methodology:

The methodology for preparing this evaluation report comprised initial data collection, document research and literature survey, and interviews (see Annex 5 and Annex 6). Following an initial desk analysis undertaken by the Evaluator, primary data has been gathered through structured and in-depth interviews with all the relevant stakeholders in BiH. The field visit to BiH enabled direct contact with implementing bodies, programme partners, stakeholders, beneficiaries and end-users and constitutes an important source of information.

Findings and Conclusions:

The key evaluation findings from the Youth Employability and Retention joint programme are:
• The programme design was based on a sound analysis of the problems; its relevance has increased as a result of the global economic crisis. The real joint programme implementation approach, with strong involvement of stakeholders and competent authorities, has been crucial to its success and has ensured the programme has remained flexible and relevant. However, links with employers and the business sector have been less well developed.
• The programme efficiency has been good; inputs have been carefully managed and outputs measured. The size/ composition of the Programme Management Committee has not been conducive to effective action at times.
• The programme has consistently delivered the planned results including building local capacities to absorb the programme outputs.
• The impact is visible at the local levels due to the large number of beneficiaries and the active communications strategy; the political and administrative impacts are slower to be realised, but are in the main expected after the close of the programme.
• Sustainability is likely to be achieved in the education and work area but it is dependent on political will. The indications are that the structures set up (for example the Centres) are welcome and are being incorporated into the public provision. Migration, legal and illegal, is now better understood in both statistical and human terms and the outputs are being embedded in national actions.

Recommendations:

A number of recommendations have been made:
• The sustainability strategy developed during the programme should be completed and adopted as a reference framework document for addressing sustainability issues.
• Joint programme outputs, and the capacities and structures of the Centres, should be used by all stakeholders when programming future actions.
• Future joint programmes should take account of the benefits of a fully integrated approach, for example, the European Social Fund’s active labour market measures, implemented, preferably, at the local level.
• In developing new programmes, sustainability should be considered at the design stage and sustainability preconditions incorporated in the programming documents.
• The composition and size of Programme Management Committees should be reviewed to ensure they are effective and performance oriented.

Lessons Learned:

A number of conclusions and lessons learned have been identified:
• The programme has increased its relevance over time and has been successful in its joint programme implementation approach. The intervention area is crucially important to young people.
• Complementarity in the work of the various agencies has been exceptional. The trust built and the excellent team spirit has inspired participants and beneficiaries.
• Cost effective solutions, particularly the creation of CISOs, have been sought and implemented, and the coverage, supported by the Communication and Advocacy Campaign, has been excellent. These now have to be supported by legislation.
• The outputs from the migration component are likely to have some impact on in-country employment and the image of BiH workers abroad.



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Report information

Year:
2013

Country:
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Region:
CEE/CIS

Theme:
Youth and Adolescents

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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