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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 India: Energising Panchayats for Better Child Governance in Tamil Nadu



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:

This is a summative evaluation of the UNICEF- supported Pilot Model to Energise Panchayati Raj Institutions for Better Child Governance in Tamil Nadu State. The evaluation period covers activities from 2007 to 2014 in Krishnagiri District and 2010 to 204 in Dharmapuri and Salem Districts. UNICEF supported the Integrated District Approach (IDA) project in Krishnagiri from 2007 to 2012 in order to strengthen participatory planning and monitoring around children’s issues. One of the key innovations was the Panchayat Level Convergence Committee (PLCC) which continued to engage the Panchayats even after the IDA project closed in 2012.  The PLCC platform was specifically created to resolve issues affecting children, women and people of the panchayat. Unresolved issues from this platform escalate to the block- and district level structures, to the Block Level Task Force (BLTF) and Districk Level Task Force (DLTF) respectively. This evaluation focuses specifically on relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and replicability of the PLCC pilot model.

Purpose/Objective:

The objective of the evaluation was to systemically assess the findings related to relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the PLCC-BLTF-DLTF model. Overall, the evaluation intended to focus on success and failure factors of the pilot model, with the help of outcome assessments and process examinations. As per the ToR the evaluation was also to derive lessons learned which could be applied externally with wider relevance.  Broadly, the evaluation assessed the relevance of the child-centric governance under the model, assessed the effectiveness of the model in realization of child-rights as well as allocative and technical efficiency. Sustainability issues were assessed in light of the GPDP and decentralization process.

Methodology:

The evaluation employed a mixed-method approach and both qualitative and quantitative tools were used for data collection and verification. The methodology linked various survey components together, interweaving the findings from surveys with the quantitative modules. The quantitative data collection consisted of a household survey (N=800 hhs) for establishing the value of the outcome indicators at the end of the project, comparable with the baseline data. Household listing tool was used for sampling framework. Qualitative tools included FGDs, in-depth and semi-structured interviews utilizing scale based questions as well as the H-form tool. The limitations of the methodology are listed, with respective mitigation measures, in the evaluation report but broadly were related to the time-lag between completion and evaluation (more than one year), missing and non-disaggregated baseline data for some indicators, and inability to adequately observe the PLCC meetings (as they are only convened once a month). The evaluation was conducted with IRB approval from Health Media Lab and followed UNICEF’s Guidelines for Ethical Research Involving Children.

Findings and Methodology:

The evaluation findings and conclusions highlight that the PLCC forms an effective platform for service delivery and establishes convergence for planning, which in turn has resulted in district administrations increasingly leveraging the PLCC platform for awareness campaigns as well as in improved realisation of child rights. It has also increased access to other social protection schemes, specifically, those for women and marginalized communities. The change agents - cadre of village volunteers and block coordinators, benefiting from training provided by UNICEF - played a lead role in conducting PLCC and BLTF meetings and also acted as a “pressure group” with line functionaries for ensuring delivery of services. The model fostered the formation of adolescent groups for child-friendly governance as well as awareness on overall child rights, specific issues such as the health benefits of adolescent girls using sanitary napkins, and mechanisms for addressing grievances. On the other hand, the programme could have benefitted from a stronger Knowledge Management strategy and concurrent monitoring for the unresolved cases, and the evaluation noted limited skills of frontline functionaries/members of child protection structures. In addition, the evaluation highlighted examples of the inability to fully service demand because of inadequate human resources. In many cases, inability to meet demand led to a change in the perception of PLCC members and communities on overall utility of the model.

Recommendations:

Key recommendations.

  • Government should support this people-centric model to encourage state-wide discourse on development – specifically, on child rights – by addressing gaps in awareness levels between line functionaries and community representatives.
  • Government should provide an enabling environment for establishing synergies between departments/schemes and PRIs under the model for better planning on of women and child development. Further, government can use the PLCC platform for preparation of GPDP across all panchayats in the state.
  • State and district administrations should ensure adequate of human resources across line departments. This issue is particularly relevant for DCPUs, given that a lack of availability of adequate staff constrains fulfilment of the mandate provided under the SAP. To reduce the pressure on BDOs and to ensure regularity in conducting of VLCPC and BLCC meetings, it is recommended that district administrations consider the re-appointment of the trained cadre of VVs and BCs as resource persons.
  • UNICEF can provide technical assistance to the Government of Tamil Nadu in streamlining implementation of the model through DCPUs.  It can further support the government, capacity building, mapping resources and undertaking financial analysis.
  • UNICEF can assist district administration in enhancing the skills of frontline functionaries/DCPU officials through periodic refresher courses or creation of a platform that enables regular cross-learning across districts.
  • The Adolescent Empowerment Programme, supported by UNICEF, can continue to play a vital role in strengthening adolescent groups and empowering them to actively participate in the governance process.
  • UNICEF can consider creating a knowledge base that not only informs development partners about the operational aspects of the model, but also consolidates evidence from the field.

Lessons Learned:

The learnings emanating from the evaluation can be summarized as below:

  1. Increased awareness generated by the model has led to an increase in demand for services. In parallel, the convergent approach adopted by departments under the model has helped in planning and fulfilling those demands.
  2. An overload of work constrains fulfilment of the planned targets. Additional support in the form of change agents at the community level, as demonstrated by the model, helped to realize both demand- and supply-side initiatives.
  3. Continuous training and skill up gradation of frontline functionaries is critical for effective service delivery. Lack of such trainings affected functionaries’ performance in this regard.
  4. Concurrent monitoring plays an important role in effective and efficient delivery of services. On closure of the project, the VVs and BCs were not formally engaged, leading to negligible monitoring of meetings. This resulted in meetings being conducted irregularly, further leading to an increase in unresolved issues.
  5. A crucial aspect of the model arises from the engagement of adolescents in development of the districts. Formation of adolescent groups, and increasing their awareness on their rights and entitlements, is not only a dividend in the present scenario, where the children are helping in stopping early marriages; it also augurs well in terms of creating responsible citizens for the future.


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Report information

Year:
2016

Country:
India

Region:
ROSA

Theme:
Social Policy (Cross-cutting)

Type:
Evaluation

Institution:
NRMC

Language:
English

Sequence #:
2016/003

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