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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Uzbekistan: Evaluation of the Country Program of Cooperation between the Government of Uzbekistan and UNICEF 2010-2015



Author: Julia Betts and Gircharan Virdee

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.

Background:

The 2010-2015 CP is the fourth Country Programme cycle that involves the cooperation of Uzbekistan and UNICEF. Since the beginning of the current Country Programme there has been significant changes in the country’s social, economic and institutional environment, as well as in UNICEF’s own strategies for addressing developmental challenges globally. In 2010, Uzbekistan was re-classified by the World Bank as lower-middle income country, with outstanding rates of reported economic growth coupled with growing disparities. In 2011, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Independence. While these are symbolic milestones, they also reflect a gradual change in the country’s economic, social and – to some extent – institutional context, especially in terms of availability of resources and technical and human capacities. This coincided with UNICEF’s renewed global commitment to equity in response to the growing disparities that tend to leave the most disadvantaged children behind. All this had to be taken into account when defining and adjusting program approaches and strategies.

Purpose/Objective:

The current Country Programme of Cooperation (CP) between the Government of Uzbekistan and UNICEF is entering the final stage of implementation, which covers the period 2010-2015. In this context, while reaching the end of the programme cycle and starting the planning phase for the new one, this Evaluation offers the opportunity to critically assess the strategies applied so far and identify lessons learnt in order to accelerate the achievement of equitable and sustained outcomes for the most vulnerable children in the new CP 2016-2020. The knowledge generated by the evaluation will be used by the Government of Uzbekistan and UNICEF to inform the planning and strategy definition for the new Country Programme 2016-2020. The findings will be used as a basis for discussions and planning exercises between UNICEF and national actors.

Methodology:

The evaluation applied the international criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and coherence. Synergies were also analyzed. Impact was assessed though analysis of plausible contribution to results. The evaluation applied a mixed-method approach to maximise validity and reliability, applying a range of methods against an Evaluation Matrix. These included:
• Stakeholder mapping
• Systematic documentary review, applying structured tools
• Mapping of available contextual analyses
• Timeline construction, including of key decision points
• Technical analysis and testing of theories of change / strategies
• Semi-structured interviews
A nine-day field mission to Uzbekistan took place in September 2014. Visits were made to Ferghana and Samarkhand, selected as the two regions with the greatest density of PoC activities, to ensure the inclusion of regional-level perspectives. A steering group for the evaluation comprised UNICEF and Government of Uzbekistan (Cabinet of Ministers) participants, to ensure the inclusion of both major stakeholders‟ perspectives. Validation sessions were held with the steering group and with UNICEF representatives at the end of the main field mission. Combined, these methods are considered to have allowed for a credible approach, notwithstanding the identified challenges to evaluability.

Findings and Conclusions:

Relevance: is shaped by the available operating space in Uzbekistan. The PoC and its programming choices are substantively relevant to national needs of citizens. However, at the operational level, relevance been compromised by lack of clear intervention logics and coherent rationales for geographical targeting. Nonetheless, there is a growing emphasis on developing a sound evidence base, and UNICEF as an international actor has demonstrated some success in providing an ‘independent voice’ for children and adolescents, modelling/piloting and facilitating national dialogue on child rights issues.

Effectiveness: Results in Uzbekistan are varied across different components of the PoC. Most tangible results have been delivered under PCR1, which also presents a more conducive operating environment. Operating space has also been opened up in some challenging areas, such as child labour. Risk identification, management and mitigation across the PoC has been weak. Constraints to effectiveness have mostly arisen from insufficient anticipation of the likely limitations of the operating space, and planning accordingly.
Efficiency: The evidence base on efficiency is limited. However, the PoC has in aggregate demonstrated low levels of efficiency, with challenges mostly arising from the same operating context factors which prove constraints to effectiveness, above. A lack of common ground/shared vision between the Government and UNICEF, particularly in areas such as Childcare reform, J4C and CRM, meant that either good intentions were stymied, or that PoC activities were overtaken by national decisions.

Sustainability has been given little attention within the PoC’s design. A few interventions have a comparatively high or mixed potential for sustainability, but the majority lack clear sustainability strategies. There are some examples of initiatives proving unsustainable even within the duration of the PoC.
HRBA/Gender and Synergies were also analyzed.

Recommendations:

Strategic recommendations
1. ‘The best interests of the child’ remains the key principle and reference point to support operating decisions in any context. It should be retained for any successor PoC.
2. However, to ensure that „the best interests of the child‟ in a particular socio-political and governance context like Uzbekistan, seven strategic recommendations are made:
a. Recognition that Uzbekistan is a context in which the standard operating modalities do not apply. A much more politically-astute approach is needed, and recognition that some intended results are explicitly medium to longer-term
b. The concept of Monitoring and Accountability for Child Rights should lie at the heart of any new PoC
c. In some areas, the building of common ground(between UNICEF and the Government of Uzbekistan) needs to take priority. This implies a more explicit policy advocacy role for UNICEF, and less a perception of all child rights issues as inevitably lending themselves to solutions of „development assistance‟.
d. Greater focus and clarity including on context and operating space, is needed: and on what investments are intended to „buy‟ over time. This implies trading breadth for depth.
e. The next PoC needs to shift to a proactive approach. This means closer insight into, and connections with, the political workings of Uzbekistan.
f. The successor PoC should be underscored by a comprehensive Do No Harm analysis, whose application should help identify key entry points and gaps;
g. Equity and gender issues need to come to the fore within the next PoC.

Find below:

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



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2014

Country:
Uzbekistan

Region:
CEE/CIS

Theme:
Programme Excellence

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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