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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Tanzania: Formative Evaluation of the Children's Agenda

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 Children’s Agenda (CA) is a coalition of local, national and international non-governmental (NGO) and civil society (CSO) organisations, UNICEF, and the Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children (MCDGC), who are committed to advocating and improving child rights in Tanzania. The CA is currently chaired by the Children’s Development Department of the MCDGC with the deputy chair occupied by an elected member from civil society (currently Compassion International), with UNICEF serving as secretariat.


The purpose of this evaluation was to apply the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria and assess the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, interim outcomes and sustainability of the Children’s Agenda in its pursuit of advancing an advocacy agenda for child rights at national and sub national levels in Tanzania between the period of 2010 and 2013. The evaluation makes recommendations for addressing these challenges with the objective of ensuring that the Children’s Agenda i fit for purpose in delivering upon its mandate.


The formative evaluation employed participatory, non-experimental, mixed-methods techniques, seeking to engage members and constituents of the Children’s Agenda actively in the evaluation process. The approach was agreed to be non-experimental with a focus on relational aspects in which a range of variables could be considered to establish correlation rather than causation. The evaluation did not utilise a control group or comparison project and did not measure project impact. The approach used mixed methods drawing upon a variety of archival, quantitative, and qualitative methods to respond to the evaluation questions, since these allowed for the data to be contextualised and triangulated. However, as explained in the limitations (section 3.4) there were many setbacks to undertaking collecting of the more quantitative data. The evaluation data collection included semi-structured interviews with member and non-member stakeholders, parliamentarians and political party leaders, a CSO/NGO Survey, Focus Groups with children’s councils and Young Reporters Network members, document and archival review, and media tracking of print, social and some digital media.

Findings and Conclusions:

The main conclusions of this evaluation are as follows:

The CA was marginally successful in raising awareness of child rights issues with political candidates and the public at large in 2010. However, it was not successful in subsequently influencing party platforms and candidate policy commitments in such a way that lead to increased power and influence of children’s rights advocates in parliament or that lead to positive changes in government policies, services, and budgets that affected children.

The CA has, however, taken some efforts to establish partnerships with the media. Though it appears that these activities have not yet led to substantial media coverage of child rights issues or coalition events.

The CA has been instrumental in expanding the number of children’s councils, who seem to be focusing on advocating for abused, neglected, and trafficked children by reporting cases to local authorities.

The coalition model or group structure (rather than working through a series of individual organisations) should be considered a relative strength for this advocacy work, as is the substructure of the taskforce model.

The self-perception of CA members is that advocacy capacity among them is moderate to high, but the CA as a collective was not credited with this capacity. The CA as a coalition itself considers that it has not been provided with necessary capacity by the CA.

The effectiveness and efficiency of the CA as a coalition is mixed as it appears to have undertaken activities in many areas of advocacy but with varying results.


The key recommendations are:

1. Review the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan
2. Consider a new leadership structure
3. Re-configure the taskforces and subtasks
4. Consider reducing or re-focusing the Top Ten Investments
5. Develop networking or sharing of expertise to build capacity
6. Establish an M&E system
7. Track and celebrate political commitments
8. Improve visibility of the CA and child welfare issues in the media
9. Seek high profile persons of influence to champion CA issues
10. Consider and agree the role of children’s councils for the CA

Lessons Learned:

In summary the coalition structure and taskforce groups have proven to be a relatively effective approach to advocacy in Tanzania when evaluating interim outcomes. Overall the CA has completed and initiated some of their agreed activities and is making reasonable progress. UNICEF as a secretariat clearly lends legitimacy and confidence to the members. However, the capacity of the coalition as a unit is also limited due to weak leadership and coordination. Attendance at meetings and commitment from the members appears to be waning at present. While most CA members are deeply committed to child rights advocacy, this alone is not enough to maintain a strong and active membership. There must be a more clear value to their membership, including accessing the expertise and resources of other members and increased visibility or profile of the CA. The CA benefits greatly from having government partners like the MCDGC and should seek to include additional ministries on the advisory board. However, since 2010 there has been relatively little political traction and children or child issues cannot be considered powerful or influential at the political level or in the media. Whilst the CA has made a concerted effort to influence the media, evidence from the media tracking and the members themselves shows us there is very little traction taking place. Lastly, the children’s councils appear to have been relatively well supported and make good sense as a priority group since they are direct advocates. However, they are need of national and regional standards of operation and ongoing mechanisms in holding MPs and others to account for their commitments.

Find below:

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

Full report in PDF

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