Innovation for Social Impact Partnership Mid-term Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Philippines
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
08/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Innovation for Social Impact Partnership Mid-term Evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00094778
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Philippines
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 1.2.2 Enabling environment strengthened to expand public and private financing for the achievement of the SDGs
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
SDG Target
  • 1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
  • 4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 9.3 Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project funds
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 23,022
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Johnson Mercader kyjp1951@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: DFAT Australia
Countries: PHILIPPINES
Lessons
1.

Education, both formal and informal, on infusing social concerns in business, whether to students, startups, matured businesses, teachers and the general public is a powerful tool that could make significant contribution to the attainment of the SDG. For students, incubates, and even matured or accelerating businesses, it led to the realization that business with social impact is an option for employment and take pride that they are or will be contributing to solving development issues. Teachers/trainers trained on social impact developed a sense of purpose for contributing to the attainment of development goals.


2.

For the selected SEs, the learnings from the project led them to give special considerations in their operation on women, the marginalized groups and the poor. Examples of these are Virtualahan expanding their operation to Cebu; Coffee for Peace covering in its expansion plan IPs and families displaced by conflicts and the poor farmers; Bambuhay expanding in areas of IPs, among SEs visited.


3.

Engaging the beneficiaries (HEIs and SEs) in the M&E loop could lead to more timely response to operational issues.


4.

In project governance it is important to define the responsibilities of partners including those in the M&E system.


5.

Project indicators should be clear to avoid misinterpretation of data required.


6.

Strengthening the HEIs industry/enterprise extension service could lead to more SEs assisted.


Findings
1.

The Project Design is flawed and seem oblivious of the Theory of Change given its failure in functionally integrating the components; its lack of comprehensiveness to cover the elements of the Theory of Change; Governance and implementation arrangements; flawed activities in Policy Agenda component and possibly inaccurate cost parameters. These flaws led to deficient M&E framework; under-spending due to excessive cost allocation; and the nebulous results in policy component, among others.


2.

The Entrepreneurship component interventions were appreciated and deemed relevant by the SEs; however, many taught practices remain to be adopted by the SEs. This could be attributed to lack of SE resources as these practices require financial investment. The SE loan fund did not materialize and only three SEs (Taxumo, Virtualahan and Solar Solutions) were able to garner substantial contracts and investments. Further, the targeted SEs are too few to make significant contribution to SDG attainment as envisaged in the Theory of Change.


3.

The Education component has made significant progress based on the project design and the M&E framework. As of 2019 however, it has not conducted key interventions particularly on integrating SE support in HEI incubators plan and operation and in enhancing incubators management capacity. These are key interventions that would actualize the Theory of Change approach in enhancing the pipeline of SEs.


4.

The performance of the Policy component is a consequence of poor project design and M&E system with indicators that minimally contribute to the attainment of SE-supportive ecosystem policies envisaged in the Theory of Change. The activities in the component depart from the logical sequence of sector/ecosystem review/scanning; policy agenda formulation; specific policy formulation and advocacy.


5.

The project has low level of expenditure with 37.6% of funds spent over a two-year period (2018 to 2019) on the project management component. This leaves 62.4% or PhP67,231,497 to be spent in 2020. With the COVID- 19 pandemic which resulted in national lockdown and the uncertainty of the quarantine period, it is unlikely that the project fund would be fully expended by end 2020.


6.

The M&E system has deficiencies such that the APR does not even reflect important outcome indicators such as employment generated by SEs, financing accessed by SEs, HEIs’ incubation and cohort activities. The indicators and reporting system are also flawed.


7.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and the marginalized groups is a strong point of the project. The selected SEs are 66% women led. Activity-wise, women were consciously given equal opportunity in participation. Women and marginalized groups, in particular, the IPs, PWDs, Conflict Affected Persons and the poor are focused beneficiaries of majority of selected SEs. Beneficiaries (of SEs) interviewed noted significant and various benefits from SEs’ operations in terms of employment and income, health and safety, time saving, health insurance, higher price of produce and others.


8.

The Governance and Implementation Arrangements of the project are generally adequate even without the organization of the envisaged Advisory Board. The criteria for selection of Project Manager are sound. However, the Policy Agenda component should have been lodged with UNDP which has established and strategic relationship with numerous government institutions which policies are relevant to social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship, in general.


9.

Regarding risk management, the 2019 APR noted that there are no changes in the risks. However, it noted that risk was increasing in terms of Government Support as this has caused delay due to bureaucratic backlog in partner agencies. This refers largely to policy agenda component. While this risk had been identified from the start of implementation, actions taken had not been adequate as the risk is increasing after two years.


Recommendations
1

Substantial savings are expected given the low level of expenditure over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of lockdowns are also expected to negatively impact on project operations. On the other hand, there are developments in the venture impact acceleration that may further enhance the gains from the project. In view of these, the general recommendation is to pursue the planned activities of the three components up to December 2020 with specific recommendations for each of the components.

2

Entrepreneurship Component

(a) As noted in the findings, the current 15 SEs still have numerous needs which need to be addressed. The Steering Committee should consider not adding to the 15 SEs and instead focus on addressing their needs in terms of financing access, business systems and others as cited in the APR. The Social Impact Acceleration process takes six months and more time is needed for nurturing them after the process. This may just add to the frustration of new SEs as even the needs of the current 15 SEs have not been fully addressed.

(b) With regard to SE financing, the project should explore existing loan and grant programs of DA, DAR and DENR and link SEs to these facilities. It would also help to conduct an inventory of loan windows (and their specific requirements) of LBP, DBP and other development banks and disseminate this information to SEs to help them identify appropriate loan windows.

(c) Finally, the project will benefit by linking with UNDP impact venture acceleration (IVA) programs and facilitie to enhance project operations. A new development is the abbreviated acceleration process that takes just two t three months.

3

Education Component

Apart from its remaining planned activities and if time and resources allow, it is recommended that the component consider the following:

a.Conduct trainer’s training on teaching Technopreneurship 101 to widen the reach of trained professors to HEIs’ cohorts;

b.Encourage CHED and assist HEIs in formulating syllabus for Technopreneurship 102;

c.Encourage HEIs to forge partnership with their respective LGUs for financial, technical and other support

for SE development;

d.Encourage and support HEIs/ techhubs and their cohorts to:

• Engage grade school and high school students in SDG-oriented pitch competition and other activities promoting social impact; and

• Include in PTA meetings/seminars (grade school and high school) messages on social entrepreneurship.

e. Encourage HEIs to organize local Volunteer Corps for SEs in there and cohorts’ areas. 

f. Encourage HEIs to have fulltime officers in their techhubs; and
g. Conduct orientation to HEI presidents and deans on social enterprise development.

4

Policy Agenda Component

(a)  Upon completion of the four knowledge papers, they should be vetted by multi-disciplinary specialists and circulated to concerned agencies/institutions prior to publication.

(b)  With regards to the conduct of sector/ecosystem policy review by UNDP, a multi-disciplinary team of policy specialists need to be constituted. The minimum team composition consists of economist/financial analyst, institutional development specialist and business development specialist, preferably with working knowledge on impact venture acceleration. The team is expected to build on the outputs of the Policy Agenda Component. The key product of this assignment is a policy agenda covering various aspects of the sector and draft policy instruments. In conducting this review which may take at least four months, the specialists should work closely with government agencies which have the mandates for specific policies.

5

Financial and Operational Planning

Given the inclusion of two major activities (project formulation and sector/ecosystem policy review) and the expected substantial savings, there is a need for the Steering Committee to review the project plan and budget up to December 2020 to determine the accrued and potential savings; and reallocate financial resources with the concurrence of the Australian Embassy. This should be done once the lockdown is relaxed or lifted. With the financial reallocation, it may be necessary to revise the agreement between UNDP and PhilDev for Australian Embassy approval/concurrence.

6

Monitoring and Evaluation

For the remaining period of the project, as there is limited time to revise the M&E reporting system, the project should include important indicators in its quarterly reports and ultimately in the Final Project Report. The indicators in the M&E framework will be scrutinized during the terminal evaluation of ISIP.

7

Gender and Marginalized Groups

For the remaining period of the project, it should continue its commendable work related to gender equality and the special concerns of the marginalized groups including the youth. It could further encourage SEs and HEIs to engage them in project activities.

8

New Project Formulation

In formulating the new project, the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the project team should build on the gains and experiences under ISIP; integrate appropriate approaches under UNDP’s Impact Venture Acceleration (IVA) which is more comprehensive and inclusive of all enterprises; link the project with the five support institutions such as the UNDP Private Sector Learning Hub in Denmark; IVA Network Support Facilities; Business Call to Action (BCTA); Center for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development (CTISD); SGS Summit Geneva; Accelerator 2030 and other UN funding institutions. Further, given the uncertainty of the pandemic, it should consider the provisions under the UNDP COVID 19 Response Venture Acceleration. The theory of change of ISIP may still be largely valid but need to be expanded to cover non-SE enterprises. The new project should have a robust M&E plan with clear indicators and participatory reporting system. Further, depending on the eventual scope and nature of the project, an appropriate governance and implementation arrangement should be formulated. As policy reform is expected to be one of the components, it should engage concerned government agencies during implementation. And new trends in policy reform such as incentivizing enterprises that have SDG consideration should be reviewed and considered in the design.

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