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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Nepal: Evaluation of UNICEF Nepal Country Programme Action Plan (2013-17)



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:

United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) since 1964 has been closely working with the Government of Nepal and humanitarian partners in the areas of health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, education, social protection and communication for development to fulfil the needs of women and children. On February 21, 1996 the Basic Cooperation Agreement (BCA) was concluded between the Government and UNICEF that provides the basis of the relationship between the Government and UNICEF. The BCA constitutes the legal basis for UNICEF operations in Nepal and facilitates the programme co-operation, procedures of programming and UNICEF’s right to observe all phases of the intervention. Correspondingly, it established the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) as the primary agreed document to guide programme co-operation for the period of 2013- 2017 and is interpreted and implemented in conformity with the BCA. The CPAP is a five year framework that provides the narrative of goals, results and strategies and was developed following UNICEF global refocus on equity in 2010. The overall goal of the 2013-2017 Country Programme is to directly address the three main sets of inequity factors (policy, system, societal) so that all children, adolescents and women have access to education, health care, nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, safe water, protection, information, and other services necessary to fulfil their rights to survival, development, protection and participation.

Purpose/Objective:

The purpose of the evaluation was fourfold: 1) Assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of existing UNICEF programmes in achieving results of the three programme component results (PCRs)  included in the CPA while also considering the synergy between the three original PCRs and the emergency PCR. 2)  Reconstruct and test the underlying Theory of Change of the 2013-2017 country programme. 3) Identify lessons learned and formulate recommendations on how to strengthen UNICEF’s role as a key national player for child rights in the upcoming Country Programme, particularly in light of recent developments in the national and international context. 4) Assess whether and how key strategies have contributed to better position UNICEF in the national development landscape of Nepal and whether and how these key strategies can accelerate and strengthen the achievement of higher level results beyond the sum of the sectoral results by the programme sanctions. The evaluation  focused  on  the  first  three  years  of  the  current   Country   Programme  cycle (2013-2016) and analysed the three PCRs that   were initially included in the CPAP. The Evaluation did not evaluate the impact neither in the OECD-DAC definition, nor in the sense of attributable change.  Nevertheless, where possible, the evaluation has sought to assess the effectiveness of in achieving planned results.

Evaluation Objectives
The overall objective of this country programme evaluation was to assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of CPAP 2013- 2017 (see Annex for the Evaluation Matrix). In addition, to identifying lessons learnt and providing recommendations on the progress achieved during the 2013-2017 CPAP. The findings from the evaluation are expected to be used to inform the 2018-2022 UNICEF Country Programme. 

Methodology:

The evaluation approach included several components, each of which were informed by applying a human rights and gender responsive evaluation approach with qualitative research methods.  The components of the evaluation considered:

  1. Approach/methodology; and
  2. Methods; and 
  3. Process. These include: desk review; development of data collection tools; key informant interviews; data analysis and report writing.

Findings and Conclusions:

Conclusions
The 2013-2017 CPAP for Nepal has been implemented in a complex environment. During the course of the programme, the country has faced a devastating earthquake in 2015, is currently undergoing a political transformation and shift in the nature of Government structure and faces some critical development challenges.

The evaluation of the CPAP has resulted in several observations such as UNICEF was able to leverage on its international credibility and technical expertise to form strong partnerships with the Government. The comparative advantage of UNICEF as the apex agency in the programming of interventions related to child rights was well-established. The decentralised approach followed by UNICEF in the design stages of the CPAP did not completely filter through to the implementation stage. The reduced involvement of the Zonal offices in devising the RWPs and the limited autonomy to manage partnerships with district-level partners led to a certain degree of hindrance to the operational effectiveness of the Zonal offices.
Furthermore, data constraints on the financial information available have led to a minimal evidence base with which to gauge the efficiency of the use of financial resources. However, despite the limited data, analysis shows that certain aspects of programme have been successfully mainstreamed into Government priorities. The Government has been particularly receptive to incorporating cross-sectoral programme components such as CFLG.

Recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: UNICEF CPAP should develop a Theory of Change to give direction to the programmes making them more relevant to the context.
  • Recommendation 2: Develop a Results Based Monitoring Framework for the CPAP to make tracking progress against each of the identified indicators achievable.
  • Recommendation 3: Make the reporting systems more robust: UNICEF has a well-defined reporting system, however, the current reporting formats for data collection are structured in a way that there is not clear demarcation for write up about specific key process indicators within the core summary sections.
  • Recommendation 4: Give special emphasis to Disaster preparedness in the CPAP: The geographical location of Nepal is such that it makes it prone to disasters such as earthquakes, floods and forest fires. The evaluation witnessed that in its design phase the current CPAP did not make a concentrated effort towards building an individual PCR for disaster preparedness. 
  • Recommendation 5: Follow a decentralised approach to prepare the annual roll on plans in order to make the plans more responsive to the changing requirements of the local populace.
  • Recommendation 6: Developing a knowledge management system to document processes: The knowledge management system of UNICEF currently only captures output oriented indicators.
  • Recommendation 7: Strengthen convergence within UNICEF: It was observed that the inter-sectoral convergence within UNICEF was fairly weak.  Therefore, the evaluation suggests that it is imperative to develop an overarching platform that encompasses all the sector and promotes convergence.

Lessons Learned:

There are several lessons that can be drawn out of the CPAP implementation period 2013 – 2017 such as the importance of adequately focusing building capacities for emergency preparedness given Nepal’s disaster vulnerability. In the context of strategic planning for performance monitoring, it is learnt that having a sound performance monitoring system with known data sources from the outset of the CPAP is an imperative. It not only helps in establishing realistic performance indicators and but also ensures clear identification of mechanisms and responsibilities for data collection. Similarly, it was realised that building local capacities through various programmes implemented during CPAP proved to be an effective model for sustainability of the programme. Furthermore, the evaluation notes the importance of building relevant partnerships and strengthening communication with NCO and Zonal offices for overall effectiveness of the programme objectives.



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Report information

Year:
2016

Country:
Nepal

Region:
ROSA

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Program Excellence (Cross-Cutting)

Institution:
ERNST & YOUNG LLP

Language:
English

Sequence #:
2016/009

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