Commissioning Unit: Lao
Evaluation Plan: 2007-2011, Lao
Evaluation Title: NHDR
Evaluation Type: Project
Unit Responsible for Providing Management Response: Lao

Recommendations

1.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1: Dissemination. Project formulation phase: - Use the formulation of the next project phase as an opportunity to redesign the report production process as sets of inter-related activities at each step, rather than as separate linear processes. - Re-conceptualize Dissemination as Outreach and create a direct relationship with Capacity Building. Use capacity building activities to disseminate report content, use dissemination events to build capacity through structured discussion materials. - Begin outreach with discussions of potential NHDR topics and continue at regular intervals throughout the report writing process to eliminate the gap between production and dissemination.
Management Response: The formulation of the next project phase needs to coincide with the formulation of the programmes of support to the 7th NSEDP and the support to the national statistical systems. UNDP and MPI are exploring the possibility of providing one programme of support to MPI instead of implementing support through separate projects. The NHDR project would cut across all three concerned departments in MPI (DoP, DoS and NERI). For this reason special attention will be provided during the formulation of the DoS programme and the 7th NSEDP programme to examine how best to position the support to the production of the NHDRs.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Project to be formulated as part of either the project in support of the National Statistical System (DoS) or the project of support to 7th NSEDP (DoP/MPI) UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
Conduct dissemination workshops for NHDR 3 & 4 as part of current project UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
2.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 2: Dissemination. NHDR production phase: - Use NHDR Writing Team members to lead and participate in workshops and seminars for other researchers and University staff to discuss report issues and research as they are developed. Support collaboration between NHDR Writing Team and University teaching staff in the development of teaching materials based on NHDR contents. - Use NHDR Writing Team members to provide briefings to policy-makers and legislators after report is drafted. - Use NAB members of bring together Ministry staff for discussions with Writing Team members of relevant report topics and or analytical methods. - Present a core chapter or issue or summary findings for discussion at a Donor Roundtable meeting.
Management Response: As a bridging activity a workshop to discuss topics for the future NHDRs will be considered, the timing of this activity will depend on the availability of funds and may be implemented towards the end of the year. This activity may be implemented as part of the support programme to DoS. As input to the 7th NSEDP, the NSEDP project has included an activity to discuss the key findings of NHDR 4.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Conduct workshops for NHDR 4 as input to NSEDP 7 (as part of NSEDP project) UNDP/MPI 2011/12 Overdue
Conduct brain-storming exercise for future NHDR themes UNDP/MPI 2011/12 Overdue
3.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 3: Dissemination. Post-production Outreach activities: - Broaden outreach by expanding the usual Launch and Media activities beyond the policy level to engage actively with the regional and district levels; use NDHR content in capacity-building activities at the regional and local levels. - Create outreach strategies and tailored versions and formats of NHDR contents to fit the needs and levels of each target group. Materials should be in the Lao language or minority language relevant to the target group).
Management Response: - The project will provide policy-makers with one page executive summaries and individual briefings on key findings of NHDR 4. - DoS has conducted a data-user/producer training for planners in Savannakhet in November 2009. For future trainings of this kind the project management team will explore improved ways to use NHDR statistics and analysis.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Data user/producer training for planners (within the Initiation plan for DoS) DoS 2011/12 Overdue
Workshop/seminar on NHDR 4 findings as input to 7th NSEDP MPI/UNDP 2011/12 Overdue
4.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 4: Capacity Building. All training materials should be in the Lao language and available in advance of meetings. Workshops should be led in Lao (or translated) to support better comprehension and promote broader participation in discussions. In minority ethnic groups or areas, translation into the relevant language should be provided.
Management Response: This principle is largely adhered to during the implementation of the project. At times however, the information and training materials were not available beforehand in Lao. Staff capacity and local availability of good translators can be a bottleneck for this. Additional time should be factored into the planning of the project activities in the Quarterly work plans.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
In the communication plan for the National statistical development strategy (NSDS) (see activity in the Initiation Plan for the programme of support to DoS), UNDP will advocate for the issue of language constraints and translation to be factored into the NSDS communication, dissemination and outreach plan. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
Additional time in the planning of project activities would be given into the work planning of the future programme of support in order for materials to be translated into Lao language. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
5.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 5: Capacity Building. NHDR-related technical capacity building should give priority to persons and units that are instrumental to the implementation of the recommendations in the report, while HD/HDI related capacity building is more appropriate for teachers, students, and members of mass organizations. A training course for data-users based on DevInfo and designed to be taught using the nationally adapted MDG database is available online. These materials are designed to promote evidence-based policy-making with the course title: Indicators for Policy Management.
Management Response: Within the framework of the overall support programme to NSS/DoS, UNDP will initiate discussions with DoS on the user/producer trainings and general capacity development of planners to use available data appropriately.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Promote links to LaoInfo are in the programme of support to DoS and that these also feature in the user-producer meetings supported under the IP for DoS. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
6.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 6: Capacity Building. As an example of dual outreach/capacity building: HD/HDI Training for University staff and students should continue to involve practical application (such as conducting a village survey and calculating HDI from it), but be expanded to include reporting results back to the villagers surveyed for use in village planning discussions, students presenting results to other students and faculty at a University event, and sending a student delegation to report results to the District or Provincial administrators. As a further step, support can be provided to local HD/HDI demonstration projects: Students and teachers interviewed were very interested in expanding their training to include technical tools such as data processing and mapping display software. The existing University HD/HDI training partnerships could be taken a step further to create several local HDRs. Web-based materials are available, but require translation into Lao language.
Management Response: Within the framework of the overall support programme to DoS, UNDP will discuss with DoS on support to the university curricula development to include modules on HD/HDI and also the possibilities of introducing the dual outreach/capacity building approach into the curricula.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
In the programme formulation of the overall support programme to DoS, UNDP will discuss with DoS on the possibilities of designing a module on HD/HDI and outreach oriented teaching methodologies for the statistics track at the national university. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
7.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 7: Capacity Building. As suggested in the preceding section, UNDP should give serious consideration to taking the lead in promoting donor support to a basket fund to support the Statistics Master Plan and a consolidated program of support to the statistics and planning system.
Management Response: Within the framework of the overall support programme to DoS, UNDP is exploring the options available to establish a coordination mechanism for the support to the NSS Master Plan . UNDP is also exploring the possibility to implement a joint UN programme which can be implemented using parallel funding initially with a gradual phasing into pool funding.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Convene a meeting of the UN Statistical Group to discuss the coordination mechanism RCO/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
8.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 8: Project Management arrangements and National partners. The DOS NHDR team should develop a systematic communication and coordination strategy to improve cooperation and information exchange with other units within MPI, in particular with NERI, with the Line Ministries, with Universities and researchers, and with Provincial- and District-level officials. Implementation of the strategy should begin by establishing partnerships with NERI and the Line Ministry (or Ministries) most directly involved in the thematic area of the next NHDR. Once these partnerships are working smoothly, they can form the foundation of a gradually expanding network. Such systematic exchanges should be coordinated with capacity-building and dissemination/outreach activities to gradually build the depth and breadth of the pool of statistically literate human development-aware researchers, planners and policy-makers.
Management Response: UNDP is exploring together with MPI the possibilities of having one programem of support that would cover all support programme to three departments in MPI (DoP, NERI and DoS). Such a programme would enable improved communication and exchange.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
Continue discussions with MPI to complete the programme formulation for NSEDP support 2011-2015 UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
9.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 9: Project Management. The UNDP side should consider moving the NHDR project into the portfolio of the Senior Economist, the Head of the Poverty or the Governance practice. Selection of the NHDR topic, discussion of the central issues in the report, capacity-building activities associated with the report should be presented for discussion at regular staff meetings or one or more special workshop sessions or short seminars to seek and promote coordination and synergies with other programme activities and projects. In addition to helping to integrate the NHDR into the UNDP practice structure, placing the NHDR project in a larger portfolio would help to improve coordination with the activities and focus of the broader UNCT. Further advantages of placing the NHDR project under the guidance of a senior manager would be ensuring its integration into a broader array of institutional contacts than can be established in a one or two year posting, and preserving institutional memory.
Management Response: UNDP is considering placing the NHDR project in the larger portfolio of the overall support programme to MPI
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
In the discussions with MPI to complete the programme formulation for NSEDP support 2011-2015 ensure that the positioning of the NHDR is discussed and agreed. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
10.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 10:Timing and Continuity. As a result of the extension of the project, the completion of data collection and policy research for the 4th NHDR has coincided with the 7th 5 year plan formulation process. In the next project phase, an effort should be made to coordinate the timing of the NHDR production process with the National Plan formulation and/or annual Budget processes. Given that the 2015 MDG Progress Report coincides with the NSEDP planning cycle, consideration should be given to lengthening the period covered by the next NHDR project to run from 2010-2015, to avoid a gap in continuity or bridging problem in the next project phase.
Management Response: As UNDP is considering placing the NHDR project in the larger portfolio of the overall support programme to MPI, this programme will span the duration of the 7th NSEDP and will include activities to help the government formulate the 8th NSEDP. The NHDR could be a good source of data and analysis for the 8th NSEDP.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
10.1 extend project duration until March 30, 2010 UNDP/DoS 2011/12 Overdue
10.2 ensure MPI programme formulation includes placement of NHDR UNDP 2011/12 Overdue
11.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 11: Timing and Continuity. On the UNDP side, four different project officers (3 JPOs and 1 UNV) were responsible for management of the NHDR project over a 5 year project period. As noted above, Handover notes could not be found among project files and there do not appear to have been periods of overlap between the JPOs to allow for the direct handover of project responsibilities. Frequent changes in program staff responsible for project oversight significantly reduces efficiency, as each new PO has to learn UNDP administrative procedures and requirements, settle into a new work and living environment, and establish the professional and personal contacts required to function effectively. A high level of junior staff turnover in the DOS project team was noted by UNDP as having reduced the effectiveness of capacity building efforts, as junior staff moved on to further education or other employment and replacements had to be retrained in UNDP administrative and accounting procedures. A number of UNDP country offices have addressed this problem by creating a National staff post of NHDR coordination officer, or assigning NHDR coordination to the portfolio of a National staff member. This arrangement can improve the codification of institutional memory and help provide continuity of support to the Implementing Agency and other partners. In addition, while NHDR project National staff members serve on one-year renewable contracts, an effort can and should be made to retain trained skilled staff by explicitly assuring them of regular renewal through the length of the project (usually after a probationary period of six months).
Management Response: Increased efforts will be made to ensure continuity through handover notes between staff at UNDP. The project will also ensure that the pool of NHDR researchers and project staff are included in future consultations and activities for the next NHDRs. The CVs and contact details of these individuals will be kept on file.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
To the extent possible all NHDR authors and researchers are invited to dissemination workshops and brainstorming sessions in 2010. UNDP/DoS 2011/12 Overdue
Ensure continuity through handover notes between staff at UNDP. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
The project will also ensure that the CVs and contact details of NHDR researchers and project staff are kept on file. UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
12.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 12: Timing and Continuity. Ensure continuity from one project cycle to the next by providing bridge funding for core project staff with specialized UNDP-specific training or ongoing responsibilities (e.g. Project Accountant and Project Communications Specialist) for the interim period until the next project has been signed and funded. This would ensure knowledge transfer and reduce start-up delays. While project cycle bridging is not necessary in countries where a large pool of skilled workers is available, the efficiency gains of retaining trained personnel more than justify the expenditure in light of the very significant delays experienced in recruiting qualified national staff in Lao PDR.
Management Response: Bridging activities can be provided for through the overall support programme to DoS.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
12.1 draft programme initiation plan for programme of support to NSS/DoS UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
13.
 
Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 13: Project Monitoring. The next project cycle presents an opportunity to move to a system of outcome monitoring, which would provide timely feedback on the effectiveness of project activities. Creating a project outcome monitoring system would both support capacity building by demonstrating how implementation monitoring can be used to refine and improve interventions within the project cycle as well as demonstrating the use of monitoring evidence in decision-making. The 2004-2009 NHDR project document specified output indicators, which measure products and activities completed by the project. Below are examples of possible outcome indicators, which could be monitored to provide direct and indirect evidence of successful dissemination and capacity building. These preliminary suggestions will require further refinement and discussion to determine the power of each of the indicators and the cost of monitoring it. (For example, it would be inexpensive to monitor hits on or downloads from the NHDR website, but would require additional software to identify user affiliation. Limited connectivity in the country means that the results of this indicator would be heavily weighted to international users and staff of national institutions at the center).
Management Response: For the forthcoming support programme the suggested outcome indicators provided in the assessment will be discussed and if relevant included in the project/programme document.
Key Actions:
Responsible DueDate Status Comments
In the MPI programme forumulation consider these outcome indicators UNDP/PRU 2011/12 Overdue
Hide Menu