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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Kazakhstan: Evaluation of Norway-supported Project ”Strengthening the Ombudsman’s Child Protection System in Kazakhstan”

Author: Camelia Gheorghe and Assel Mussagaliyeva

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, Best practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report.


The Development Goal of the Project is ”a sustained and operational CP mechanism that prevents and responds to child abuse, exploitation and family separation in line with international standards”.
The Project planned to achieve 2 main outcomes:
- Child rights violations monitoring and complaints from regions are effectively addressed by the HR Ombudsman’s Office;
- Developed practical models of integrated CP mechanism at local level are ready for national replication.
Project activities included revision of the Ombudsman Office’s child rights referral and complains mechanism; capacity building for Ombudsman’s office staff; a study on violence against children in schools; identification of gaps in legislation; modelling of integrated CP services in 2 Oblasts; design, testing and evaluation of a model of prevention of institutionalization of children aged 0-3 in 2 pilot communities; testing out an identification, referral and response system on abuse and maltreatment of children; capacity building programs/social work curriculum; study tours; national conferences on progress and future directions; a national public awareness campaign to prevent institutionalisation of children; establishment of peer support groups through youth NGOs and inclusive Youth Health Centres; M&E and documenting best practices.

The target groups of the Project are composed of the National Ombudsman office, ministries of health, education, labour and social protection, internal affairs; inter-agency working groups at city and oblast akimats level; 700 professionals working on CP in central and local agencies; school/institution management and staff; 10 local NGOs and 6 peer support groups; media. The final beneficiaries included children and parents.

The Project has a budget of USD 880,442, of which the Norwegian MoFA provided USD 659,103, while UNICEF contributed complementary funds USD 221,339. The implementation of the project is 36 months, from June 2011 to June 2014.


The purpose of this summative evaluation is multi-fold: to inform the Ombudsman and the Government of Kazakhstan, UNICEF and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the key directions for more efficient monitoring of child rights violations and for the continuation of reforms in the area child protection to address child abuse, exploitation and family separation; to inform Government’s decisions on the scaling up of models piloted by the Project for child abandonment prevention and violence prevention; to provide a critical view and recommendations on the possible transformed engagement of UNICEF in part of exercising its Core Roles related to Project areas in the future, given that the Kazakhstan is expected to reach the high income country status by 2020.

The specific objectives of the evaluation were to assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the Project, the extent of applying a Human Rights Based Approach, equity and gender equality principles, the barriers and bottlenecks faced during implementation with a view to extract good practices and lessons learned as well as to providing recommendations for strengthening the reforms in the area of prevention and addressing child abuse, exploitation and family separation, informing programme directions and defining further funding needs.

The evaluation covers the implementation period June 2011 – March 2014 (33 out of 36 months) and all three targeted regions: Astana, Karaganda and East Kazakhstan, following the way the Project has been conceptualized in the Description of Action (DoA), various preparatory documents developed prior to the start of the project and later in the Theory of Change (ToC). The evaluation has been carried out during by a team of experts from Promeso Consulting (Romania), selected following competitive tender.


The evaluation has been carried out in 3 consecutive phases: Inception/Desk Phase, Field Phase and Synthesis Phase.
In the Inception/Desk Phase, the team reviewed the project documentation and national policy papers, legislation, strategies and action plans in education, health, social welfare and child protection. The desk phase also included extensive review of independent studies and researches as well as reporting to international bodies and against HR conventions ratified by Kazakhstan. Several data collection and evaluation tools have been developed. The methodology has been also adjusted to accommodate the main elements of the reconstructed ToC and its DA.

The Field Phase has been devoted to the collection of data from key stakeholders at national, regional and local levels. The semi-structured interviews with UNICEF country office, donor and representatives of national project partners took place in Astana in the period 3-7 March 2014. Site visits to the pilot regions, cities and to a representative sample of schools and residential care institutions piloting the violence prevention model were carried out during the following 2 weeks. Apart from in-depth semi-structured interviews with akimat representatives, schools principals, academia and beneficiary mothers, focus groups and discussion groups with professionals, members of inter-agency commissions, teachers, children, parents NGOs and media were also organised to capture the perspective of as many stakeholders as possible in their quality of duty-bearers or rights-holders. In total, over 150 people were consulted.  

In the Synthesis phase, the team has applied the standard evaluation criteria analysis (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability) in combination with HRBA and RBM to assess the achievement of planned results, draw informed conclusions, identify good practices and lessons learnt as well as to provide meaningful and practical recommendations.

Findings and Conclusions:

The Project is highly relevant for Kazakhstan’s CP reforms and national policies for improving the well-being of children and realisation of children’s rights as it addressed the top priorities of reform. The Project addressed the most pressing needs of children at risk of family separation, abuse and neglect and their families, identified in domestic and international reports and planning documents. The Project was effective in achieving most of its planned results and objectives as outlined in the Goals Hierarchy and the ToC.  UNICEF has used all its Core Roles to the best possible to attain the expected results of the Project, however with various degrees of efficiency. The Project was very ambitious for the available resources and particular context of the country. Considering its rather limited resources, the Project had a good impact level in the pilot regions. It contributed to the overall decrease of the number of children left without of parental care and to t reduction of the placement rate in state residential institutions. Most effects and outcomes of the Project are likely sustainable especially in terms of modernized policy and legislative framework. The Project had an important contribution to the promotion and realisation of children’s rights by embedding them in revised legal framework and policy documents, improving the mechanism of identification, referral and redress of child rights violations. It has also opened access of families at risk, in their double capacity of duty-bearers and rights-holders, to child abandonment prevention services and violence free educational environments. The project contributed to women empowerment to avoid child abandonment. The Project managed to ensure an equity focus by orienting the funds and domestic investment towards the regions with significant social problems as well as by focusing its intervention on the most vulnerable women and children through equity-focused methodologies and programming approaches.


The Report includes Strategic (S) and Operational (O) recommendations:

Recommendation for the Ombudsman’s office, with the assistance of UNICEF and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
S1 Further strengthen the capacity of the Ombudsman’s office in the area of child rights monitoring and direct interaction with children.

Recommendations for the Government, with the assistance of UNICEF:
S2 Ensure a more coherent strategic and policy direction in the child protection area in line with the needs of children and their families, and Kazakhstan’s international commitments.

S3 Further invest in the development and diversification of country-wide family support and community-based social services to contribute to the social inclusion of the most vulnerable children and prevent unnecessary family separation.

S4 Ensure support for ‘active inclusion’ of vulnerable women as the best means to promote sustainable solutions for child abandonment prevention, poverty alleviation and social inclusion.

S5 Develop a strong cadre of social workers and a culture of lifelong learning at various operational levels to ensure that they keep pace with reforms and are empowered to address the needs of beneficiaries at high professional standards.

Recommendations for UNICEF country office:
S6 Adapt core roles of UNICEF in the area of child protection and welfare to the specific needs and development stage of Kazakhstan on short and medium term.

O1 Prepare the models of child abandonment prevention and violence prevention in schools piloted in the regions for scaling-up.

O2 Improve the design and evaluability of future projects.

Find below:

"Report" - Full Report
"Part 2" - Annexes
"Part 3" - GEROS

Full report in PDF

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