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Evaluation report

2016 Ethiopia: Evaluation of UNICEF’s C4D Capacity and Action: Ethiopia



Author: UNICEF Evaluation Office

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 recognition of the importance of C4D, UNICEF has made substantial investment in developing both its internal capacity and the capacity of national partners in designing and implementing C4D strategies. It has also taken significant steps towards better integrating C4D as a cross-cutting programme strategy into systems, policies, plans and practices at all levels of the organization.

Given UNICEF’s investment in C4D to date, the recent decision to fund further capacity development through the ‘C4D Strengthening Initiative’, and the ongoing evolution of C4D internally, a global evaluation was commissioned to look back over the past five years of capacity building efforts, and identify what has worked, areas for improvement and lessons learnt. The findings of the evaluation will guide future work in implementing C4D in UNICEF and strengthen its contribution to country programme results. This is the country case study report for Ethiopia.

Purpose/Objective:

  1. Assessing the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the CO’s efforts to (a) develop the individual knowledge and competences of staff in C4D and (b) enhancing the CO’s overall capacity.
  2. Assessing the extent to which, and how appropriately, C4D has been integrated into the CO structures and programmes;
  3. Assessing how relevant C4D related planning and implementation has been (including through use of the global C4D benchmarks) to the contextual needs of the country programme; and identify factors driving or constraining the relevance of C4D-related planning and programming.
  4. Reviewing C4D related performance monitoring and, knowledge management and assessing the evaluability of results (outcomes and impact) achieved through programmes using C4D interventions.

Methodology:

  1. Desk reviews
  2. Combination of semi-structured interviews and group discussions were held. These were undertaken with both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders including implementation partners, government counterparts, and C4D capacity development providers. All interviews and group discussions were structured using pre-prepared question guides. All interview or group discussion questions linked back to the overarching evaluation questions. Detailed written summaries were taken of all interviews / group discussions. All interviewees were asked for their Informed consent.

Findings and Conclusions:

Capacity development: While efforts to build the capacity of C4D specialists have been largely successful, understanding of C4D among programme staff more widely is still limited. This presents a barrier to further mainstreaming and undermine sustainability of capacity gains. While UNICEF Ethiopia’s decision to send a large staff contingent to the Ohio course was an effective way of building C4D capacity it was relatively high cost  and did allow a large number of staff to be trained in C4D. Therefore, reliance on Ohio course as the primary means is not a sustainable approach for the ECO to either maintain or grow its C4D capacity.
Integration: There is no clear C4D strategy and/or plan for how internal (or external) C4D capacity should be built. While C4D had a clear profile in the 2012-15 country programme and results framework, this has become less clear following the restructuring and the embedding of C4D in Sections. Coordinating C4D across Sections remains to be a challenge. The current level of financial allocations to C4D initiatives is low and largely insufficient to meet the needs of the country programme.
Implementation: The limits of partner capacity are considered a major barrier to effective implementation of C4D initiatives. A range of strategies have been used to address this, including: training, technical assistance and system development. The current balance between these strategies however is not appropriate for building long term sustainable capacity among partners with a preponderance to training. Similarly, efforts to build partner capacity are not sufficiently joined-up across ECO Sections which leads to overlaps and inefficiencies. Partner capacity development needs to be more joined up and coordinated.

  • The evaluability of C4D’s contribution to UNICEF Ethiopia’s country programme results is low.
  • The evaluability of the two sampled C4D programmes is more positive. Both were judged to be evaluable in principle and in practice.

Recommendations:

1. Develop a clear strategy and plan for building C4D capacity in the country office.

2. Assess the demand for C4D support in each Section and region and develop realistic staffing arrangements, which ensures adequate support both within UNICEF and to partners.

3. Ensure better resource allocation for C4D. Current funding for C4D is insufficient to meet programmatic needs.
a. Put in place processes that ensure C4D Specialists have the opportunity to input into all funding proposals, starting from the inception and all the way through, that have a significant C4D component.
b. Ensure that the current guidance on financial allocations to C4D is followed.

4. Senior management (Representative and Deputy Representative) and Section Chiefs need to support the PMU C4D Specialist in funding and coordinating cross-cutting C4D initiatives.

5. Redouble efforts to ensure C4D initiatives are grounded in evidence.

6. Continue to document best practices, innovations and learning on C4D, but ensure these are communicated externally, both in country among partners and with UNICEF at different levels.

7. Map out all of the capacity development activities that are currently being delivered across the country programme and identify opportunities for joint working and synergies.

8. Consider establishing a long term partnerships to support C4D capacity development.

9. Ensure that C4D results are presented clearly in the results framework for the new CPD.

10. To build up the evidence base on what works in C4D, conduct a portfolio evaluation that looks across a samples of specific C4D programmes in Ethiopia.



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2016

Country:
Ethiopia

Region:
ESAR

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Participation (Cross-cutting)

Language:
English

Sequence #:
2016/042

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