Youth-accompanied evaluation in Kosovo
Bringing youth voices to evidence-based learning
“Believing in youth means also giving them the chance to grow themselves by ensuring opportunities for development, beyond words and promises” – young students from University of Pristina.
On 7 September 2020, UNICEF Kosovo Office completed its youth-accompanied evaluation of the Kosovo Programme 2016-2020.
In response to the unprecedented situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the evaluation methodology for the Kosovo Programme Evaluation was rapidly adjusted in March, shifting to a fully remote approach, and utilizing alternative means for data collection, such as Skype®, Viber®, Zoom®, Microsoft Teams®, SurveyMonkey® and phone calls. The high degree of internet penetration among targeted stakeholders and the nature of the evaluation questions enabled the success of this fully virtual approach.
Despite being virtual, the Evaluation of the Kosovo Programme 2016-2020 maintained its first full youth participation as planned. In line with the firm commitment of the UNICEF Kosovo Country Office to amplify the voices, participation and empowerment of youth, five university students from the University of Prishtina were engaged as volunteers to support the implementation of the Kosovo Programme 2016-2020 Evaluation. The students were mentored by a university professor who ensured continuous follow-up and sharing of their experiences with other students. In addition, the students’ contribution to this work was acknowledged with internship credits.
The youth were engaged in every step of the evaluation process, benefiting from shadowing the evaluation team during the data collection. They specifically contributed with notetaking, data analysis, sharing their observations and insights on the evaluation findings, and writing their youth-led and youth-focused brief evaluation report, included as an Annex in the Kosovo Programme Evaluation Report.
The students highlighted that their participation in the evaluation served as a capacity-building exercise, during which they acquired skills and knowledge needed in their fields of study and professional development. As described by one of the students involved in the evaluation during the validation meeting with Evaluation Reference Group:
This experience contributed to harmonizing theory and practice, being exposed to a professional setting and learning new skills through hands on experience.
The Kosovo Programme 2016-2020 Evaluation assessed the totality of the Kosovo Programme, focusing on the relevance of UNICEF’s programme portfolio, its positioning, and approaches chosen in response to emerging needs and Kosovo institutional priorities. A specific focus of the evaluation was placed on youth programming. The evaluation team interviewed 121 stakeholders, conducted 32 focus group discussions, and collected information from 486 young people for the tracer study questionnaire focusing on adolescent programming. The findings and recommendations of this evaluation will strategically inform the implementation of the 2021–2025 Kosovo Programme.
The key findings Kosovo Programme 2016-2020 Evaluation indicate that the UNICEF Kosovo Country Office is fit-for-purpose, and its programmes and projects considered successful and achieving the desired outputs, in addition to being responsive and timely. The evaluation highlights that UNICEF Kosovo has a strong reputation as the evidence agency, and on its work around youth participation and empowerment. Further, UNICEF Kosovo is seen as having timely responded to unexpected emergent themes; during the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF was the fastest responder to mobilize support to affected populations.
Read the full UNICEF Kosovo Programme Evaluation Report here. The evaluation was commissioned and managed by the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO).
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