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Evaluation report

2010 Romania: Research Report Evaluation of Programmes for MARA (Most-at-Risk Adolescents)

Author: Doru Buzducea, Florin Lazar

Executive summary

“With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding”, “Good”, “Almost Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report.”

The MARA Programme, carried through with the financial support of Irish Fund and the technical support of the UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva and coordinated by UNICEF Romania, had as a strategic goal to complement and strengthen the national impact of the programmes endorsed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Complementarity comes from area coverage (counties that have not been covered before), activity content (advocacy, research), and age group (10 – 18 years).

To evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of harm reduction services addressing MARA (most-at-risk adolescents), boys and girls, as part of UNICEF’s MARA Programme – services provided by eight nongovernmental organisations.

The research was conducted between July - September 2010 in Bucharest, Iași, Constanța, and Timișoara. The methodology includes:
• A documentary and legal analysis and
• A qualitative component, based on semi-structured, individual and group interviews applied to beneficiaries and project managers 45 individual interviews were conducted with beneficiaries of the services provided – 33 in Bucharest (20 with IDU, 3 with FSW, and 10 with MSM), and 12 with FSW in the other three locations: Iaşi, Timişoara, Constanţa.

Findings and Conclusions:
MARA-targeting projects are considered to be relevant to the specific needs of these groups (IDU, FSW, MSM) both by beneficiaries, and by those who have managed the projects on behalf of each of the 8 organisations. Relevance comes from the fact that harm reduction services are considered of public health concern contributing to HIV and other sexually or parenterally transmitted infection spread prevention among these vulnerable groups, as well as in the general population. The risks are even higher among teenagers as many of them live in the streets, which increases health risks. Services provided respond to real needs, mentioned by beneficiaries: their health is fostered through distribution of syringes, condoms and hygiene and sanitary items, they receive health care whenever needed, information about risks associated with the behaviours they engage in and school integration.

A. Approval, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
B. Support and extend financing sources (including from structural funds);
C. Introduce a transparent funding mechanism ensuring access to state budget funds for private service providers;
D. Integrate programmes addressing issues related to most-at-risk adolescents into public social care programmes carried out at local level;
E. Outsource prevention programmes to nongovernmental and community-based organisations;
F. Develop local MARA assistance strategies based on evidence and local situation analysis;
G. Continue capacity building for local authorities through cooperation with nongovernmental organisations and academic institutions;
H. Implement minimum quality standards for MARA services;
I. Run periodic activity assessments and use the related results to include these activities into National HIV/AIDS Strategy adjustments;
J. Involve beneficiaries in prevention and assistance programmes for MARA.

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