Digital skills and opportunities for youth employment towards digital economy in the Kyrgyz Republic

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Kyrgyzstan
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
02/2022
Completion Date:
02/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
10,000

The project “Digital skills and opportunities for youth employment towards digital economy in the Kyrgyz Republic’ was implemented by UNDP between February 2019 to December 2021 with a total budget of $1,060,000.

The objective of this evaluation report is to share the findings, conclusions and recommendations based on the theory-of-change-based evaluation of the project. The evaluation was both summative, presenting how the theory of change had operated towards results through the reference period, and formative, demonstrating what dynamics prepare the results to ultimately contribute to long term impact, and how future follow-up activities could be framed. The report aims to unpack the lessons learned and recommendations to UNDP as well as local and national duty bearers, the private sector and relevant CSOs.

The evaluation was commissioned and supervised by UNDP and entrusted to Mr. Tommaso Balbo Di Vinadio, International Consultant, Team Leader

The evaluation process was composed of 3 phases:

  1. Inception: review of documentation, elaboration of the methodology, identification of stakeholders, consultation with the Reference Group, elaboration of the Inception Report.
  2. Data collection and field work: conducting remote data collection (as per standard COVID-19 prevention measures, with a series of interviews, an additional desk-review).
  3. Data analysis and reporting: conducting the analysis of interview and focus group notes, analysis of project documentation, report drafting, and finalization of the Evaluation Report.

The evaluation process started on 22 October 2021. It should end 31 of December 2021 as per timeline.

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Title Digital skills and opportunities for youth employment towards digital economy in the Kyrgyz Republic
Atlas Project Number: 00117731
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Kyrgyzstan
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2022
Planned End Date: 02/2022
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.2.1 Use of digital technologies and big data enabled for improved public services and other government functions
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG Target
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
Evaluation Budget(US $): 10,000
Source of Funding: RTF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 9,600
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Tommaso Balbo di Vinadio Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: KYRGYZSTAN
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

UNDP should continue supporting the government in its digitalization efforts with a focus on education

2

UNDP should support the government develop a stronger baseline on digital development skills and adapt the competency framework

3

UNDP role should be not just to provide technical assistance to the government around digitalization but also to act as a knowledge broker and connector

4

UNDP should make learning one of the priorities when developing/implementing projects by strengthening MEL systems

1. Recommendation:

UNDP should continue supporting the government in its digitalization efforts with a focus on education

Management Response: [Added: 2022/02/14]

The recommendation is accepted.

Indeed, UNDP supporting the Kyrgyz Government in its digital development journey starting from yearly 2000s - in terms of creating enabling environment that will drive and enhance digital transformation process in the country by promoting  digital agenda in the national policy documents (NDS, government programmes and implementation plans), drafting related legislation in the area of e-governance/e-government, e-health, e-fiscalization, e-municipality, etc. and implementing different sectoral digital projects that supports the digital transformation process in the country. The digital skills project was the first UNDP project that at the systemic level introduced the comprehensive digital skills development process among higher education system in the Kyrgyz Republic by drafting National Digital Skills Development Strategy, developing new educational standards for universities and piloting them, conducting series of capacity development activities in formal&informal educational sectors, supporting the digital entrepreneurship by establishing IT Hub in Osh city. UNDP co-chairing the DPCC Digitalization WGR among the development partners and one of the driving forces for digital development agenda in the country. Those initiatives are fully aligned with UN/UNDP digital agenda, and digital skills development is an important component in achieving the SDGs.

UNDP will continue investing into development of the digital skills and competencies of the young generation at the same time re-defining target age groups and expanding these processes to the whole education system, which would include younger children, adolescents and very young adults, thus covering secondary school, higher and professional vocational education system. The project introduced very promising practices towards development of digital competencies among young people using formal and non-formal channels. These efforts would further require longer-term education reform support with very serious (state) funding. At the same time UNDP should involve extensively the young people into the process of successor project development starting from design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning. UNDP should also consider the potential of developing regional project to support digital transformation reform in the country including the neighboring Central Asian countries and the Russian Federation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Coordinate all capacity building initiatives/activities within ongoing and new UNDP projects and apply “digital by default” principle, include digital skills development activities in each project to have better synergies and impact of the interventions, effectiveness and efficiency of the utilized resources and avoid duplication
[Added: 2022/02/14]
UNDP CO 2022/02 Completed The Youth Digital skills project is completed and all future activities will be implemented within the other initiatives on digitalization.
Continue to hold regular consultations with Digital Development and Education&Science ministries to assess issues related to digital skills development agenda and inform a new initiatives
[Added: 2022/02/14] [Last Updated: 2022/07/15]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Completed This is ongoing work to be supported by UNDP. History
2. Recommendation:

UNDP should support the government develop a stronger baseline on digital development skills and adapt the competency framework

Management Response: [Added: 2022/02/14]

Fully agree. Indeed, while the analyses conducted as part of the project are essential to have a better understanding of the digital skill development of the country, but those analyses also do not provide a rigorous assessment on the level of digital skills (‘literacy’) of youth in the country, which could have provided a stronger baseline for the further projects, and as was recommended in the evaluation report, there is a need to go further and assess the digital literacy and skills of the whole population of Kyrgyzstan..  A report reviewed by the evaluation   highlights, that Kyrgyzstan has not participated in international studies on the level of digital literacy.

At the same time, it is also essential to build on the digital competency assessment methodologies have been developed in the world (i.e. DigComp 2.1 of the European Union) yet to adapt these methodologies on the basis of the specificities of the country.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As a part of the implementation of the National Digital Skills development strategy, UNDP will support the Government with Digital transformation agenda at the country level. Increase the partnership and resource mobilization to support the digital transformation agenda.
[Added: 2022/02/14] [Last Updated: 2022/07/15]
UNDP CO 2024/12 Completed This is ongoing work to be supported by UNDP. History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP role should be not just to provide technical assistance to the government around digitalization but also to act as a knowledge broker and connector

Management Response: [Added: 2022/02/14]

The recommendation is accpepted. As mentioned above, UNDP will continue supporting the government in its digitalization agenda. However, as demonstrated by this project, UNDP has the potential and is well placed to act as a connector between academia, the government, private sector, and other international organization. Indeed, UNDP could facilitate a process of dialogue, learning and knowledge exchange among the stakeholders around digitalization initiatives. The objective would be not only to learn from each other but also to increase trust and further collaborate together.The

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Enhance networking and coordination mechanisms among key stakeholders involved in digital skills development agenda
[Added: 2022/02/14] [Last Updated: 2022/07/15]
UNDP CO 2024/12 Completed This is ongoing work to be supported by UNDP. History
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should make learning one of the priorities when developing/implementing projects by strengthening MEL systems

Management Response: [Added: 2022/02/14]

The recommendation is accepted. UNDP should strengthen Monitoring and Evaluation systems and integrate Learning (MEL) as one of its priorities. It is of utmost importance that learning becomes a central part of projects and the agencies incorporate that in project activities, especially in Kyrgyzstan where there are frequent and unexpected changes in the government and when dealing with complex issues such as digital transformation, it is key to learn quickly from the project activities and adapt as a result of that. M&E system should be viewed more broadly and it should include the development of an articulated TOC, with a solid logframe with a clear monitoring table, the definition of responsibilities of partners, a clarification of the information flow and an explanation of how learning would happen throughout the project and how it will inform programmatic decisions on changes.

More specifically regarding M&E frameworks, UNDP should:

  • Develop SMART indicators and develop data collection tools that can actually facilitate the attribution, to the extent possible, to the activities of the project.
  • Develop specific tools or mechanisms to be able to capture learning outcomes. In that sense, it is recommended to use qualitative methodologies such as the ‘outcome mapping’ approach that empowers beneficiaries to collect the data themselves also by showing the changes in the behavior they are observing.
  • Develop a unified database where the information gathered on the indicators rather than having separate ones.
  • Develop a M&E system and workplan that allow for some flexibility on how to revise the indicators, if need be.  This implies developing a solid RF/logframe and related workplan but also giving flexibility to the project to easily revise activities, indicators or budget items during implementation.

UNDP acknowledges that the M&E framework as designed at the inception of the project had some limitation and a number of indicators were not SMART as required. The occasional disconnect between narrative results reporting (predominantly at activity level) and achievements reported at the level of the Output Indicator under the SIDP logframe made it also difficult in a number of cases to determine the extent to which results have been achieved. In addition, the framework has not been referred to as a flexible tool during project’s implementation. In case of a new project, it will be important to maintain flexible approach toward the results framework and adapt as necessary over the course of implementation with Project Board endorsement (to be established), and under the strategic guidance of the Steering Committee. The M&E framework shall be designed in line with additional criteria, including feasibility/implementability of actions, considering the unpredictable and volatile national political context.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In case of a new initiative, to design results framework in a participatory manner and aligned with best practices in UNDP results-based management to develop objectively verifiable SMART indicators mapped to data sources
[Added: 2022/02/14]
UNDP CO 2022/02 Completed The recommendation will be taken into the account when developing new projects or initiatives.

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