Final evaluation of the Access to justice and Rule of Law project

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2021, South Sudan
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
01/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Final evaluation of the Access to justice and Rule of Law project
Atlas Project Number: 00077970
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2021, South Sudan
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2020
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Governance
  • 2. Not Applicable
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.6.2 Measures in place and implemented across sectors to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
SDG Goal
  • 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
SDG Target
  • 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: Netherlands, Japan, UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 32,737
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Richard Chiwara Dr. mahachi.rc@gmail.com
Geoffrey Batali Mr. bataligk@gmail.com
Richard Chiwara Dr. mahachi.rc@gmail.com
Geoffrey Batali Mr. bataligk@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UNDP, government of South Sudan, Donors - Japana, Netherlands, Sweden, and Civil Society
Countries: SOUTH SUDAN
Lessons
1.

Effective ‘rule of law’ cannot operate in isolation. For ‘rule of law’ to flourish, necessary enabling conditions must prevail, including

(a) a functional, independent and impartial judiciary,

(b) free legal aid for those who cannot afford to pay for it,

(c) availability of social and economic facilities for citizens to enjoy and protect

(d) awareness and knowledge by citizens of their rights under the law.


2.

 Project effectiveness may be compromised if interventions are not informed by the realities on the ground. If field officers are not involved in activity planning, they are deprived the opportunity to provide real time information about what is possible and not possible.

Inappropriate selection of beneficiaries may cause more harm than good. When there is a flow of benefits from the project to beneficiaries, it is critical that the selection criteria is transparent and developed to send the correct signals.


3.

Implementing partners (IPs) may not be able to achieve impact if funding is for short term. Changing mindsets and behavior requires long-term efforts, and IPs may not be expected to achieve desired impact with short term funding for six months.

When starting from a low base, there workshop may not effectively develop individual capacities. When the aim is to induce behavior change, it is unlikely that workshops can achieve this in three days or less, particularly given the low base in terms of literacy and educational achievement that the participants may be coming from.

Project success ultimately depends on government’s commitment to sustain, upscale and replicate. As the project’s coverage is small due to resource constraints, success largely depends on government’s capacity and willingness to upscale and replicate.


Findings
1.

The project addresses the critical need for justice for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. While the project could not address the underlying causes for the lack of rule of law and weak justice delivery system in the country, it provided critical needs for transitional justice, as well as psycho-social support, legal aid and access to justice for the most disadvantaged, especially women and girls who were victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

The project is aligned to SDGs, in particular Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. The project design included six components, which were aligned to SDG 16 ‘Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’.

The project is aligned with national priorities, in particular the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCRSS). The project was aligned with the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011), of which the Bill of Rights gives all basic rights to citizens, including the right to legal aid. The project was also aligned to the R-ARCRSS, which inter alia, provided for the establishment of transitional justice institutions.


2.

Overall, the project achieved its intended results and contributed towards planned country programme outcomes. Most of the project’s planned targets were achieved, particularly with regards to upstream work for development of policies and legislation; although some of the outputs were not followed through due to weak government capacity or political will to implement them - for example, the Legal Aid Bill has not been enacted into law.

Field level collaboration and synergy between projects was weak.

UNDP was implementing the Peace and Community Cohesion (PACC) project in the same states where the A2J project was being implemented and some interventions cut across both projects. Some interventions such as the community policing component funded by Embassy of Japan funds operated under one budget line. However, there was no formal mechanism for field-based project officers to share information and enhance collaboration.

The project experienced staffing challenges, especially in field offices. At the time of this evaluation, there was no Project Manager, with the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) doubling up for that function; while at the field level, except for Yambio, the other states did not have the full complement of two project officers, including the Law Enforcement Officer (with police background) and a Rule of Law Officer (with legal background).


3.

Field offices were not adequately involved in the planning of activities. Lack of involvement of field officers in activity planning sometimes resulted in inappropriate activities that were not align to the realities on the ground, including for example providing computers to institutions that could not use them due to lack of electricity.

The project had high delivery of available resources, although financial reporting changed every year reflecting the disjointed nature of interventions. The project had average delivery rate of 70% of available resources, although there was inconsistent financial reporting from year to year.

The project had well defined sustainability plan and exit strategy, but national capacity for upscaling is weak. Some of the project’s critical assumptions did not materialise and increased the risk that project may not be sustainable, including for example, implementation of the R-ARCRSS.

Gender equality and human rights were integral to the design and adequately integrated in implementation. Gender equality and human rights were integrated in the project design, in particular the interventions about the Special Protection Unit (SPU) within the South Sudan national Police Service (SSNPS) were specifically designed to address issues of SGBV and human rights violations.


Recommendations
1

UNDP to continue the project and develop the successor phase 3 when the current phase ends in March 2020. The project is addressing a critical gap, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, who otherwise would have no hope of enjoying their basic rights under the ‘rule of law’.

2

UNDP should review its capacity-building approach to make it more responsive to the conditions in the country. South Sudan has very low human capital. Some reports noted that at the time of its independence in 2011, less than 2 percent of the population had any high school education. In such an environment, there is need to do an initial capacity needs assessment, followed by capacity evaluation to determine whether, and to what extend the capacity development is achieving intended results.

3

UNDP must change its business model and adopt more of integrated programming. The rule of law cannot exit in isolation and can only flourish when certain enabling conditions are available. For ‘rule of law’ to flourish, there are necessary conditions that must prevail as enabling factors, including a functional, independent and impartial judiciary; free legal aid for those who cannot afford; and availability of social and economic facilities for citizens to enjoy and protect. UNDP should ensure that its programming addresses these essential conditions through integrated programming across relevant thematic areas and projects.

4

Project management must involve field officers in planning of activities. Field officers should be involved in planning of activities as they have better grasp and understanding of the conditions on the ground, including interventions that are likely to attract government and counterpart commitment.

5

UNDP should invest more resources in infrastructure development. In most institutions that were visited, the one common request was for infrastructure, and given the lack of infrastructure in the states, UNDP should priorities this

1. Recommendation:

UNDP to continue the project and develop the successor phase 3 when the current phase ends in March 2020. The project is addressing a critical gap, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, who otherwise would have no hope of enjoying their basic rights under the ‘rule of law’.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/02]

UNDP appreciates the recommendation and plans to develop and implement a successor phase.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Mobile resources from donors and other funding opportunities
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated History
Implement new program in close partnership with UN entities, international and regional organisations
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated History
Conduct a rapid infrastructure needs assessment in consultation with national partners and field staff
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/03 Completed UNDP consulted with the justice actors, donors and UN actors on the next program. History
Develop and get endorsement of the successor program from the LPAC and Project Board
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/06 Completed The successor program (Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights Strengthening program (2020-2023) was endorsed by the LPAC on 29 May 2020 and the Project Board on 2 June 2020. History
2. Recommendation:

UNDP should review its capacity-building approach to make it more responsive to the conditions in the country. South Sudan has very low human capital. Some reports noted that at the time of its independence in 2011, less than 2 percent of the population had any high school education. In such an environment, there is need to do an initial capacity needs assessment, followed by capacity evaluation to determine whether, and to what extend the capacity development is achieving intended results.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/06/24]

UNDP appreciates the recommendation. The project will carry out a justice gap and institutional assessment to tailor its capacity building approach in line with the local conditions and people’s needs. The project will also conduct a midterm and end of program evaluation as part of the new program’s M&E framework

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct the justice gap assessment in consultation with national rule of law institutions and partners
[Added: 2020/06/24] [Last Updated: 2021/08/07]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2021/04 Overdue-Initiated The justice gap assessment is underway. A reference group co-chaired by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MOJCA) and UNDP and made up of a group of experts was established to provide relevant technical advice to the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (consultancy firm) and provide a broad range of perspectives to ensure that the objectives of the assessment are achieved., The first meeting of the reference group was introduced to the assessment and consensus was built on the TORs developed to guide its work. Tools for data collection were developed and reviewed by the reference group before the survey begun. The assessment outcome will be used to inform the judicial reforms ensuring that issues identified are addressed in line with both individual and institutional needs. History
Review the projects capacity-building approach to respond to the conditions identified in the assessment
[Added: 2020/06/24] [Last Updated: 2021/08/07]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2021/06 Overdue-Initiated The Justice Gaps assessment is underway. Once concluded, the assessment outcome will be used to inform the judicial reforms ensuring that issues identified are addressed in line with both individual and institutional needs. History
Source a vendor to carry out a countrywide justice gap assessment
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2021/08/07]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/11 Completed The program contracted a consultancy firm " The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law," to carry out the justice gap assessment. History
Carry out a midterm evaluation of the new program and take corrective measures to align program to local needs
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2022/06 Not Initiated History
Conduct an end of program evaluation to assess the impact of capacity development against intended results
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/06 Not Initiated History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP must change its business model and adopt more of integrated programming. The rule of law cannot exit in isolation and can only flourish when certain enabling conditions are available. For ‘rule of law’ to flourish, there are necessary conditions that must prevail as enabling factors, including a functional, independent and impartial judiciary; free legal aid for those who cannot afford; and availability of social and economic facilities for citizens to enjoy and protect. UNDP should ensure that its programming addresses these essential conditions through integrated programming across relevant thematic areas and projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/02]

UNDP notes the recommendation of the evaluation team and will work with justice and security sectors and other complementary projects to provide more integrated programming.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Follow-up and implement complementary or joint initiatives between A2J, livelihoods, local governance and social cohesion in the same communities and states
[Added: 2020/06/24]
chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated History
Consult with UNDP project manager on peace-building, social cohesion and livelihoods to identify synergies
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/07 Completed Completed: The respective project managers were consulted during the formulation of the new programme. The program document outlines the areas for linkages in areas including: the Constitution Making; Response to Sexual and Gender Violence; Community Security; DDR including Small Arms and Light Weapons management and support to the COVID19 response in joint mask production for the security and rule of law institutions. History
Outline clearly the linkages and synergies for likely joint or integrated programming in the new programme
[Added: 2020/06/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/07 Completed Completed: The Program Manager held meetings and discussed three integrated proposals to KOICA, Japan, RSRTF have been developed jointly by the A2J, Social Cohesion and Livelihoods Project Managers. The linkages and synergies between peacebuilding, social cohesion and livelihoods were identified clearly. History
4. Recommendation:

Project management must involve field officers in planning of activities. Field officers should be involved in planning of activities as they have better grasp and understanding of the conditions on the ground, including interventions that are likely to attract government and counterpart commitment.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/02]

UNDP notes the recommendation of the evaluation team and will consult the Field officers on their proposed area of project interventions in their specific locations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop proposal and area-based projects in consultation with relevant field staff
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated History
Carry out regular program meetings involving field staff to understand and include local conditions in core activities
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated History
Ensure field colleagues prepare state annual and quarterly workplans for consolidation into one program plan
[Added: 2020/06/24]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2023/03 Initiated
Conduct consultations with the field staff in the design of the next phase of the program
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/ Project Manager 2020/03 Completed Completed: The Program Manager consulted the field staff in the framing the new program and later they reviewed the draft program document to ensure it is tailored to and responsive to the field contexts. The peculiar issues to each field location are adequately addressed. The field staff were equally involved in developing the annual and quarterly workplans. So far, 7 meetings involving Juba and field staff have ensured that local conditions are infused into project discussions. History
5. Recommendation:

UNDP should invest more resources in infrastructure development. In most institutions that were visited, the one common request was for infrastructure, and given the lack of infrastructure in the states, UNDP should priorities this

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/06/24]

UNDP has taken note of this recommendation. The project will prioritize infrastructure development and implement priorities depending on available funding.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct a rapid infrastructure needs assessment in consultation with national partners and field staff
[Added: 2020/06/02] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/03 Completed Completed: The Project Engineer consulted with the project field colleagues to determine the courts, police and prisons buildings that are dilapidated and need renovation and construction. The assessment was carried out in Aweil, Bor, Torit, Wau, Yambio and Juba. History
Integrate infrastructure development priorities in the new program informed by the rapid assessment
[Added: 2020/06/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/05 Completed Completed: In view of the gaps identified, some of the infrastructure needs were included in the new program for support in a prioritised and rationalised way. History
Allocate a minimum of 7.5% of annual resources for infrastructure development
[Added: 2020/06/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/02]
Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager 2020/05 Completed Completed: US$565,120.47 was allocated for infrastructure development in the annual budget amounting to US$ 6,762,664 as at May 31. This accounts for 8.3% of the annual budget. History

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