TUR 2000/800: Rapid Assessment of Turkey Country Programme (1997-2000)
Author: Tiambeng, A.
The Country Programme (1997-2000) was designed to support the goals and objectives of the CRC/CEDAW and the National Programme of Action (NPA) of Turkey. The following programme areas were defined to address the goals and objectives: a) Civil Society Mobilization (Support for Community and NGO Participation); b) Support for Regional and Intra-Urban Disparity Reduction c) Social Research and Monitoring; and d) Policy, Planning and Development.
Purpose / Objective
The assessment attempted to review the Country Programme by putting each of the programme areas through the logical framework method, which evaluates performance against planned target activities, outputs, objectives and goals. This method has the strength of providing a quantitative assessment of the implementation process as well as the outcomes (effects and impact) through objectively verifiable indicators.
Logframe, however, could not be performed. One main reason is that the formulation of the programme areas does not permit an in-depth analysis on the causal linkages between the individual programme areas and the higher level objectives and goals. Outcomes in relation to objectives (effects) and goals (impact) cannot be measured. Another reason is the inadequacy of reports that would show planned targets and actual accomplishments. The programme's system of progress reporting does not provide information for such quantitative analysis.
This assessment is based on the annual reports, the Mid-Term Review, research studies undertaken from 1997 to 2000, statistical reports on Turkey, and situation reports on the programme.
Key Findings and Conclusions
Relevance and Adequacy of the Country Programme: There is relevance in the goals and objectives since these were adopted from the NPA and the CRC, which have the force of law. But, while the goals, objectives, problems and strategies have been adequately identified, the formulation of the four programme areas to address the problems poses difficulties in establishing a direct causal linkage between these areas and the objectives. It is a conceptual framework that is not amenable for testing via the logical framework evaluation method to whether the programme area is effective or not. Advocacy: The program engaged in an intensive promotional campaign of awareness raising on the CRC and of developing strategic partnership with both government and civil society in complementary roles. Local and international NGOs were mobilized in support of its three program concerns: health and nutrition, education and the status of women, and child protection. Of the three concerns, child protection provided most activities, a reflection of this new concern in the country and the demand for knowledge on its issues. Most of the activities were for the purpose of mobilizing partners at both national and sub-national levels to collaborate on program implementation.
The cumulative advocacy efforts of UNICEF, the media and civil society through the years resulted, during the period, in a demonstration of government political will, with the adoption of child-related policies and the enactment of important legislation:
- the compulsory iodization of all table salt produced in Turkey by July 1999
- the 8-year compulsory education law of 1998
- incorporation of the Comprehensive Basic Education Analysis to the Basic Education Reform
- the Law on the Protection of the Family was passed.
Empowerment of Families and Communities:
The Country Programme adapted to the situation of diminishing government expenditures in the social sector by adopting measures that would allow the community to assume a greater role such as:
- giving more emphasis to village level intervention, primary health care and referral system, which better attends to the people's needs in a more cost-effective way
- adopting more intersectoral collaborations and partnerships with community volunteers in the delivery of social services
- reviving participatory practices inherent in the people's culture e.g., imece, or voluntary labor contribution by community
The programme infused participatory approaches largely centered on the implementing function, with the combined participation of both village leaders and immediate end-users of the intervention. This begins the long work ahead towards empowerment where the people can take more control over the project and are not only a delegated cooperator or partner.
Support to the Decentralization Process:
The Country Programme's support to decentralization has so far been limited. The programme tried to provide practical examples of area-based pilot projects in the provinces of Van and Yozgat that demonstrated local management and implementation of intersectoral programmes. The programme showed how decentralized planning and management are done by the Provincial Child Committee, composed of relevant directorates of the sectors of health, education, agriculture, and village works. It is chaired by the Provincial Governor (or the Deputy) who is the integrating factor of the whole intersectoral effort.
The area-based programme provided important lessons for the discussion about decentralization. First is that the provincial and district levels are natural places for integrating and facilitating intersectoral interventions. Second, local governments readily accept social indicators on the quality of life (QOL) as a development agenda, after undergoing a situation analysis backed up by research. Third, the people's culture and social support systems could be a rich source of methods for mobilizing community involvement, project cost sharing and co-ownership, and for ensuring sustainability of project investments. Support to decentralization in Turkey will have to be made more relevant by including inputs to the discussion of financing issues, especially as they pertain to resource poor areas where QOL indicators are worst.
Impact of the Mid-term Review:
The MTR suggested strategic activities related to mass media relations, development of national experts to document programme innovations and experiences, developing monitoring and evaluation mechanism and using operational researches to develop and identify best practices. These outstanding issues need immediately a (strategic/unified) plan and effective implementation.
Programme Adjustments Made:
There were no significant adjustments made on the regular programmes of the MPO. There was, however, a major addition to the work programme as a result of two powerful earthquakes that hit Turkey in August and November of 1999. UNICEF responded with two timely interventions. First was the emergency operation made within 72 hours after the earthquake. It brought relief supplies essential for survival: water and sanitation facilities, water purification tablets, disinfectants, health kits, vaccines, vehicles, generators, tents, educational materials and toys.
Second was the Recovery Plan for Turkish Children (RPTC), which was a caring operation to reclaim the future. UNICEF mobilized international fund support from 11 donor countries and 17 UNICEF National Committees totalling $US 15.2 Million. These funds were used for the remaining relief operations and for the effort to bring the children and their families and schools quickly back to normalcy.
The RPTC had 5 sectors with 9 projects, with an implementation period of 9 months. The main purpose of the programme was to ensure that all children and mothers had access to a package of services essential for growth and development of children in the transition phase. The implementation of the RPTC provided UNICEF in Turkey a wealth of experience in implementing a major emergency programme. The experience brought new programme innovations like psychosocial intervention and child friendly spaces, new collaborations, new technologies, and new programme resources.
The regular programme demonstrated examples of interventions and strategies that have been proven effective in Turkey as in other societies. Among these that the regular programme successfully applied were:
- Advocacy and social mobilization as an initial phase of the programme
- Information infrastructure to compete for public attention
- Capacity building for implementation partners
- Intersectoral approach to delivery of services
- Participatory approaches and empowerment to improve demand for services, ensure sustainability, and attain cost effectiveness
- Area-based management of social projects for greater implementation effectiveness and efficiency resulting from greater (local) accountability and supervision
The focus in the future will be on the pursuit of appropriate social development strategies in a middle-income country like Turkey, which is in the process of radical economic and social transformation, namely:
- intersectoral approaches such as IMCI, primary health care and the referral system, integrated ECCD - Mothers' training, crèche and youth centers etc., which are more cost-effective
- empowerment and participation that enable community volunteers and the households in the communities to take responsibility for the pursuit of their welfare, including the adoption of new patterns of behavior and initiating demands for services. Towards this end, culturally relevant social support systems will be tapped to enhance the participation process.
- area-based (provincial and district levels) entry and management of programmes that would allow optimum coverage/utilization of interventions per spatial concentration of the at-risk population
The UNICEF as a catalyst must take measures to:
- ensure the relevance of its programmes to the people's needs and culture
- select priority target groups and areas for potential high impact on the improvement of social indicators at both the provincial and national levels
- consolidate the partnerships and alliances formed in the past programmes by activating or bringing the partners to joint activities with adaptive learning processes and capacity building measures like training and studies
- plan advocacy and mobilization efforts from a long-term strategic perspective. The agenda for change will have to be prioritized and assigned for pro-active monitoring and follow-up through the activated CIB sub-groups. Accordingly, the research and communications should be aligned to this agenda.
- facilitate voluntary replications especially by local administrations, using own funds leveraged with those of international financing institutions (IFIs). Along this effort, collaborations within the UN system would be pursued with greater vigor as with recent experiences with ILO-IPEC, UNAIDS, FAO and WHO.
UNICEF in Turkey should continue its state of ready response to emergencies. Its Earthquake Programme experience should be "packaged" for ready adoption by the country as part of disaster preparedness.
Finally, there is a strong call for justice for youths in the adult detention centers whose cases are delayed due to inadequacies in the juvenile justice system and whose rights need protection. Just as in the Earthquake Programme, the future of these youths and the child victims in the streets should be reclaimed.
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