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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Zambia: Evaluation of the United Nations Joint Project ‘Protecting Migrant Children from Trafficking and Exploitation’

Author: Cathy Chames, Nana Davies and Tracey Phillips

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’.


Zambia is a source, destination and point of transit for people trafficking and currently hosts roughly 52,200 refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, and unaccompanied and separated minors (UASC).  Most of the refugees come from the neighbouring countries, with some coming from the Horn of Africa.  UASC are among the most vulnerable constituents of mixed-migration movements to Zambia for a number of reasons, including lack of a legal framework that provides them with comprehensive protection; a failure to coordinate on migration issues across countries; a lack of formal structures to identify and record UASC; an absence of screening facilities/shelters for children and widespread negative attitudes among Zambians toward migrants.

In response to these challenges, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) implemented a three-year Joint Project called “Protecting Migrant Children from Trafficking and Exploitation”.


The main objective of the evaluation was to gain a clear understanding of how and to what extent the project has been able to achieve its overall objective and key results.  The objectives of the evaluation were: 1) To determine the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the project as an approach to protecting migrant children from trafficking and exploitation and providing an effective response to the mixed migration challenges; 2) Assess the extent to which the UNJP applied gender and human rights based approaches; 3) Determine to what extent the approach of the UNJP contributed to programme results, incorporating a cost analysis to determine cost efficiency, cost implications on sustainability and scalability of the project.


The evaluation used a participatory qualitative methodology, combining document review, workshops, focus groups and semi-structured interviews.  The evaluation process undertaken is outlined step-by-step below.

Document review
The evaluation team reviewed all project documents related to the UNJP.  The main objectives of this exercise were to: familiarise the Southern Hemisphere team with the project; help develop appropriate questions; and triangulate data during analysis.  The relevant documents were identified at the planning workshop and are listed in annexure 9 of this report.  

Planning workshop and review of programme results framework
As part of our participatory process, Southern Hemisphere conducted the preparatory planning and inception meeting on 26 July 2016 which was attended by UN partners and relevant stakeholders.  At this workshop the participants undertook a high level progress review of the project using the project logframe.

Key Informant Interviews
Three KIIs with the coordinators and Steering Committee members from UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM were undertaken as part of the planning phase of the evaluation.  The purpose was to orientate the evaluation team to the project so as to understand how the project was designed and conceptualised; and to gain high-level insight into the programme and its implementation. 

Findings and Conclusions:

This evaluation has found that the UNJP was built on relevant lessons learned and recommendations from a previous project and included a human rights and a gender based approach.  Whilst it was designed by the IOM, UNICEF and UNHCR with limited consultation by other stakeholders, nearly all respondents felt that the UNJP was relevant to the needs of migrant children and persons of concern.

An assessment report on migration flows was produced and disseminated; the NZIMS system was upgraded and officials were trained in the system; protection tools for vulnerable migrants were developed and shared at regional and cross border meetings; and eight interview spaces have been upgraded or constructed along the busy border areas.   

This evaluation has also found that the UNJP activities have contributed to improved capacity of district, provincial and national immigration and correctional services officials to collect and share data within and across departments; and improved assessment and referral procedures for vulnerable migrant children and persons of concern.  This has resulted in a steady increase in the number of vulnerable children and persons of concern being referred for individualised protection services. 

Overall, the interaction of these programme results have made a significant contribution towards mitigating the vulnerability and increased protection of children and other target populations at a high risk of trafficking and exploitation due to migration.   

The project successfully established national coordinating structures and TWGs; and at sub-national level the project supported the already established coordinating structures of the PJOCs and the DJOCs.  Overall, the project has contributed to less silo-working and better collaboration between relevant parties as a result of increased knowledge of referral mechanisms. 


Some Recommendations
R1: Conduct a review of the domestic legislation to assess whether laws and policies are aligned with international conventions, standards and commitments pertaining to migration and draft recommendations and advocated for them. It is crucial to ensure buy in from relevant government officials to the law reform from the beginning of the project.
R2: Assessment reports should be distributed not only to national officials but also to district level officials who are working with vulnerable migrants and persons of concern and it is important to include additional budget for the distribution of printed copies of such reports.
R3: The implementation of data collection systems such as the N-ZIMS system should be monitored and evaluated during roll out so that sufficient evidence can be used to request scaling up of the system to cover all border points and correctional services.
R4: The training on the protection tools should be integrated into the curriculum of frontline service providers and could also be integrated into other training activities undertaken by UN agencies.
R5: Cross-border dialogue meetings should include a training component and should be included in government budgets so that they can be held on a regular basis as they play a critical role in strengthening linkages and coordination across borders.
R6: The UN agencies and implementing partners should enhance advocacy for government to address gaps in services for vulnerable migrant children including access to social workers at the border and translation services. In order to address the gaps in shelter services for migrant children, the work undertaken by UNICEF to support the MCDSW in this regard should be continued.  

Lessons Learned:

  1. Key stakeholders at national and sub-national level should take part of the design of the project;
  2. Taking advantage of each UN agency’s respective subject expertise is a good model for the design;
  3. Ensuring access to shelters should form part of similar projects;
  4. A legal reform provides a solid foundation for a project on protection of migrant children;
  5. A collaborative approach ensures more buy-in from the stakeholders;
  6. The establishment of a representative TWG with skilled members and led by an experience ZLDC is a good model to apply with similar projects;
  7. Consultation in the provinces is a good model for upstream work as it brings more richness and new dimensions to the issues;
  8. Initial assessments such as the cross-border assessment should be undertaken prior to project roll out so that it can inform the design of the UNJP;
  9. The highly inclusive process of developing the protection tools (NRM and SOPs) ensures buy-in from all departments and increases the likelihood that tools will be relevant and user-friendly; and
  10. Piloting the protection tools at the busiest border point is a good practice to allow for insight into practical application and impact on operations. 


Full report in PDF

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Report information





Child Protection - Migration


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