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:
No
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: No
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.


Tag: Democratic governance

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.


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