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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2017 Afghanistan: Evaluation of Street Working Children's Project



Author: Marion Guillaume

Executive summary

 With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’.

Background:

In Afghanistan, child labour is relatively common, and educational achievements, despite strong improvements in the past fifteen years, limited. Among those children who work, a particularly vulnerable group is those who work on the streets, where they face physical and psychological risks. Within Kabul, these street-working children are numerous, with estimates of at least 60,000 within the city – the  majority (between around eight or nine out of every ten children) of them boys. 
In support of this vulnerable group, the Afghan government collaborated with UNICEF and its implementing partners, War Child UK and WACEO, to pilot a project in support of street-working girls and boys, in alignment with the National Strategy for Street-working Children. This project addressed the perceived diverse drivers of child labour, including limited household income and lack of understanding of children’s rights, while simultaneously providing educational support for approximately 300 street-working boys and girls. Thus, the main activities of the programme were aligned along three key dimensions as follows:
• Education dimension
• Accelerated learning courses for street-working boys and girls
• Teacher training
• Tutorials
• Support for integration of participants into government schools
• Economic dimension
• Vocational training for family members
• Business development skills training for family members
• Referral mechanism/job placements for family members
• Conditional cash grants for family members
• Protection dimension
• Community-based children’s rights awareness sessions
• Referral pathways and directory of services for street working boys and girls
• Social worker visits/support and counselling for children
• Centre activities (recreation, nutrition support, etc.)

Purpose/Objective:

The overall purpose of this evaluation was to determine to what extent this project contributed to the improved well-being and opportunities of participating street-working children and youth by increasing their personal and familial resilience.

The primary objective of this project has been to conduct an evaluation of the project itself and provide recommendations for key stakeholders to support street-working children moving forward. In order to do so, it has also gathered information on the context of child labour and protection issues in Afghanistan as needed

Methodology:

The evaluation team has conducted this evaluation using both qualitative and quantitative tools and participatory, gender and human-rights based approaches in order to produce strong findings and ensure adequate representation of vulnerable sub-groups.  A quantitative survey, including participants and a comparison group of non-participants, has been undertaken to ascertain impact/outcome indicators and knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) related to children’s rights and education in particular. Qualitative tools have been incorporated to offer more detailed and in-depth perceptions on the programming. 

Findings and Conclusions:

Overall, the evaluation highlights that while participants showed clear gains in socio-economic resilience, educational achievement and reduced unsafe work for the girl and boy respondents participating in the survey, several additional findings caveat these gains. First of all, there are distinctly different results for the boy and girl respondents, with key areas of concern still remaining for both groups. Furthermore, while these results are positive, they are far from optimal. With a population group that face significant vulnerabilities, achieving some positive gains is not necessarily challenging; maximising these and ensuring that they go to the target population is, and that did not occur with this programme. While contextual considerations were responsible for some limitations to this programme, other issues could have been avoided and benefits maximised by closer oversight and management by UNICEF and War Child UK.

In summary, the findings related to the OECD-DAC criteria are as follows:
• RELEVANCE: The programme is relevant to the needs of the participant population and UNICEF priorities, but could be better formulated to match the implementation context and potentially should be considered for another UNICEF department
• EFFECTIVENESS: The programme had a number of changes to programme activities and did not have evident strong coordination amongst key actors
• EFFICIENCY: The programme has questionable beneficiary targeting and some mild issues related to efficiency of the timeline and budget, with a high cost per household.
• SUSTAINABILITY: The sustainability of educational gains is likely, but the vocational training programmes and exit strategy do not facilitate long-lasting benefits.
• IMPACT: There has been a likely positive but not optimal impact – with differing results for boys and girls, and a bias in participant selection that calls results into question.

Recommendations:

Programme management: in order to provide a solid foundational basis for the street-working supporting programmes, the interventions need a more rigorous approach to programme design and implementation in order to maximise relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Overarching in this category is the importance of UNICEF and War Child UK taking more responsibility and control of the programme. This section encompasses measures to improve monitoring, ensure proper selection, maximise coordination, and provide adequate oversight and more.
Programme elements: After a comprehensive foundation of supportive programme management is built, it is also necessary to design the programmatic elements to address the diverse and gendered drivers of child street work. Thus, these recommendations focus on the aspects of programming related to education, the household economic situation and awareness of children’s rights.

Lessons Learned:

o Differing drivers of street work for boys and girls must be taken into account. 
o Multifaceted approaches are required to address this diversity of drivers. 
o Without strong, transparent programme management and oversight both the success of the programme and the evidence it can provide are jeopardised.  
o The responsibility for addressing the above must be taken on by key stakeholders at each level. 
o It is crucial that a positive impact does not result in complacency or excuse poor operational procedures. 



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2017

Country:
Afghanistan

Region:
ROSA

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Child Protection

Partners:
Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled

Language:
English

Sequence:
2017/006

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