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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Nepal: The Nepal National Plan of Action for Children, 2004-15, Final Evaluation



Author: Manolo Cabran; Dilli Joshi

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 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as 'Part 3'.

Background:

In 2004, the Cabinet of the Government of Nepal (GoN) endorsed the ten years National Plan of Action for Children (NPA/C). The plan was developed as a national response to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Children held in New York in 2002 which called for the development of plans of actions for children to boost their rights to education, to health, to protection, and to contribute to the control of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The NPA/C was built around a vision according to which “Children enjoy their rights in a society fit for children, and realize their full potential.” The mission of the NPA/C was to “Ensure the right of each child to improve the quality of life by promoting child-friendly environments and eliminating all forms of exploitation, abuse and discrimination against children.”

The total cost of the NPA/C is 125 billion NPR, was equivalent to the 4% of what the GoN spent in the 10
years covered by the NPA/C. The NPA/C does not present any logic model and/or the expected results chain. There is not a theory of change, nor a description of the change pathway, nor a logical framework that show the relations between inputs, outputs and outcomes of the object. The M&E plan was never developed.
Geographical coverage is national; however prioritisation of certain regions, districts or other zones are missing. Target group is to serve all children in Nepal. It takes into consideration a number of cross-cutting issues, such as equity, gender parity, social inclusion, early childhood education and development, child participation and children living with disabilities.
33 organisations and MDAs are cited in the plan as responsible agencies in implementing its provisions. The MoWCSW is cited as one of the leading agencies in 2 out of 3 activities, leading by far upon the other ministries in 4 components of the plan out of the 6.

Purpose/Objective:

The purpose of the evaluation is to support policy makers and government and non-government sector representatives responsible for children’s rights to analyse the barriers that obstructed progress in implementation of the NPA/C as the Plan has come to an end in July 2015. The evaluation aims to provide practical recommendations to the MoWCSW and all other MDAs involved in fulfilling child rights for enhancing the enabling environment, coordination, monitoring mechanisms and partnerships to ensure rights of children related to survival, development, protection and participation that will inform development and support improved implementation of the next National Plan of Action for Children. 
The evaluation focused on the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and impact. An equity component has also been added. The evaluation questions were answered through the lenses of the governance analysis, in line with the findings emerged from the inception mission.

Methodology:

Due to the absence of a theory of change, the team developed one specifically to guide the evaluation: “The results for children will be achieved through a combination of technical interventions, aiming at strengthening the provision of services, and of governance interventions, aiming at improving the effectiveness of the systems for children.”
The evaluation team made use of mixed-methods methodology. Qualitative information were gathered through key informants interviews and desk review. A total of 249 documents were reviewed, including other plans, policies and strategies, studies and reports related to children. Quantitative analysis was conducted by statistical elaboration to assess the budget information and the design of the NPA/C in terms of distribution of leading responsibilities across the major activities.
Consultation with right holders were initially planned but were finally not held in consideration of one of the main findings of the evaluation: the fact that at the national level the NPA/C was not known and used, and the consideration of the top-down approach to planning in the NPA/C made the consultations with regional and district level unnecessary, given the unlikelihood of the Action Plan being known and implemented at the sub-national levels. It is worth mentioning that similar considerations appeared in the MTR where the report says that “There is a lack of orientation and induction of NPA among Women Development Officers and Child Rights Officers and their roles for coordination and monitoring are not clarified. Coordination at the district level seems to be limited to observing Child Rights Days and addressing specific cases of child protection.”

Findings and Conclusions:

The main finding from the evaluation of the NPA/C is that the plan was not implemented as a plan; this fact explains the absence of any monitoring data. Few stakeholders argued that it should be  understood as a national framework for children, but the evidence shows that the plan was not widely known and used outside the MoWCSW. Given its non-implementation, it is not possible to ascribe any results for children to the NPA/C, even in consideration of the actual progresses in some indicators for children occurred in the last ten years, especially in the health and education sectors. There is no evidence that the plan was able to influence the policy and planning landscape for children in the country: not even 1 out of ten documents explicitly mention the NPA/C, and such mentions are often incidental in annexes, bullet points or bibliography.
With regards to its multi-sectoral nature, the evaluation showed that: i) the multi-sectoral National Steering Committee was never established; ii) focal points in the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were not appointed; and iii) when implementing their programmes, MDAs other than the MoWCSW followed their own plans and strategies.
Almost all the activities in the NPA/C are duplicated in other plans. Provision for children are replicated in the domains of: health, nutrition and child feeding, iodine deficiency, sanitation and hygiene, breast-feeding, safe motherhood, reproductive health, immunisation, education, school reform, early childhood development (ECD), technical and vocational education and training (TVET), trafficking, child labour, discrimination, violence, social protection, children in armed conflict, HIV/AIDS, disability, adolescents, and internally displaced people (IDPs), gender equality and human rights. This, combined with the absence of any M&E data, makes it impossible not only to attribute any result for children to the plan, but even attribute the activities themselves.

Recommendations:

Recommendations for the next phase NPA for children:

  1. The next NPA should be a higher level document that can ensure the multi-sectoral approach that is needed to fulfil child rights.
  2. Attention should be given to the governance of the next NPA.
  3. Plans should be developed taking into account available budget, available capacities and reasonably expectable results through Performance Based Budgeting (PBB).

Recommendations for results framework, M&E plans:

  1. The development of an M&E plan should be integral part of the design process.
  2. M&E mechanism should be much leaning towards learning and adaptation rather than simple reporting.
  3. The plan should be designed in terms of SMART goals to be achieved for children.

Recommendations for UNICEF NCO:

  1. support the government by providing technical assistance in developing and implementing the next plan for children not just on technical aspects
  2. UNICEF should support the multi-sectoral plans by better coordinating internally its interventions
  3. Find a way to track directly its contributions to national development plans and priorities, or parts of them, in its internal management system.

Lessons Learned:

The main lesson learnt from the evaluation of the NPA/C is that While long-term national plans of action for children were justified based on the knowledge and understanding of the time they have been proposed, i.e. in the early 2000, they are probably not the best planning instruments that are currently needed. This, for the following reasons:

  1. National plans of action should tackle problems and not a population, or a population group. Having a common and specific goal increases the chances of cooperation and coordination, and being problem-driven, they are more likely to be addressed in an effective way. Children are not problems.
  2. A duration of ten years is nowadays incompatible with the planning processes of governments, usually around three or five years.
  3. Targeting a whole population, or one of its sub-sets, with all their different needs, usually makes plans of actions very expensive, increasing the likelihood of budget gaps.
  4. National plans of actions are developed according to children’s needs but rarely, if not never, take into account the available capacities to answer to such needs.


Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2016

Country:
Nepal

Region:
ROSA

Theme:
Child Protection - Child Labor

Type:
Evaluation

Institution:
Government of Nepal, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, UNICEF Nepal Country Office

Language:
English

Sequence #:
2016/002

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