Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Zimbabwe

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


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Download document ICPE Zimbabwe ToR.pdf tor English 304.12 KB Posted 38
Download document ICPE Zimbabwe Annexes.pdf related-document English 901.15 KB Posted 54
Download document ICPE_Zimbabwe_EvalBrief.pdf summary English 222.49 KB Posted 45
Download document ICPE_Zimbabwe_full report.pdf report English 5040.92 KB Posted 88
Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Zimbabwe
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
  • 2. Output 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 3. Output 1.3.1 National capacities and evidence-based assessment and planning tools enable gender-responsive and risk-informed development investments, including for response to and recovery from crisis
  • 4. Output 1.6.2 Measures in place and implemented across sectors to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
  • 5. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
  • 6. Output 3.2.1 National capacities strengthened for reintegration, reconciliation, peaceful management of conflict and prevention of violent extremism in response to national policies and priorities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 50,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Youri Bless Evaluation Specialist
Richard Jones Evaluation Advisor
Landry Fanou Research Consultant
Leonard Maveneka Evaluation Consultant
Stephen Chipika Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: ZIMBABWE

Finding 1. UNDP is working in a difficult terrain – the context in Zimbabwe continues to be economically, politically and socially complex. The UNDP country office has maneuvered the changing development challenges well and managed to have a working portfolio, despite significant changes in the country. Several factors have affected the areas of work that were planned in the Country Programme Document, which have tested UNDP’s adaptation capacity.

Tag: Relevance Global Fund Election Public administration reform Health Sector Partnership Country Government Private Sector Food Security Capacity Building Poverty Reduction SDG Integration


Finding 2. UNDP has managed to identify open spaces for collaboration with government. While bilateral agencies were reducing their direct partnerships with the government, UNDP has continued to keep an operational space and partnership, enabling a continuation of development opportunities and support that may otherwise have closed completely. UNDPs engagement with government has helped to ensure government commitment to key development processes, such as the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), the sustainable development goals and the universal periodic review, and has also ensured this commitment has been maintained. UNDP has supported the integration of the SDGs in national development plans, and the government is proud of its work on the voluntary national review and of aligning laws to the Constitution.

Tag: e-Governance Election Human rights Operational Efficiency Partnership Strategic Positioning Country Government Promotion of dialogue Social cohesion Policy Advisory Technical Support SDG Integration SDG monitoring and reporting Voluntary National Review


Finding 3. UNDP has undertaken a high level of collaboration with other UN agencies in some of its current programmatic work. Future projects such as Spotlight and the peace building work have a multi UN agency structure which is further welcome but will require increased management support due to their more complex nature. There is still room for increased collaboration across the UN system in implementation of some of the office’s larger projects, namely the ZRBF. 

Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender-Based Violence Women's Empowerment Election Partnership UN Agencies Food Security Resilience Jobs and Livelihoods


Finding 4. Significant financial resources are allocated to projects with gender equality as a central or leading objective, highlighting the CO commitment in mainstreaming gender in its programme. This contributed to UNDP’s support to women’s political empowerment and to improving the national institutional framework. The strategic collaboration between UNDP and UN-Women on a set of these interventions was critical for the design and implementation of these projects.

Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Election Parliament Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management UN Agencies Capacity Building Disabilities Education Youth Policy Advisory Technical Support


Finding 5: Interventions in the area of resilience, DRR and poverty reduction have a strong potential focus on women’s economic empowerment but have lacked clearly defined strategies, which constitutes a risk for successful implementation and sustainability. 

Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Emission Reduction Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Theory of Change Peace Building Resilience Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Micro-credit Poverty Reduction Data and Statistics


2.2 Poverty reduction and inclusive livelihoods

Outcome 1. Key institutions are better able to formulate and implement poverty reduction strategies and programmes for improved livelihoods and reduced poverty of communities. • Output 1. Strengthened capacity of key institutions at national and subnational levels to develop and implement pro-poor policies • Output 2. Productive base of target communities strengthened

Finding 6. UNDP has provided technical assistance and policy advice for the development of national strategies, such as the TSP and its reform agenda. The technical and financial support from UNDP and other development partners has also targeted research and analysis that underlined the government’s efforts to develop policies that can be more evidence-based and that target poverty and inequality issues more directly.  


Tag: Disaster Risk assessments Effectiveness Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Private Sector Food Security Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction Policy Advisory Technical Support Data and Statistics


Finding 7. While many of UNDP’s interventions are designed to combine upstream and downstream work to ensure mutual reinforcement and to realize CPD outcomes, this has not been fully realized in implementation. One of UNDP’s CPD objectives under this outcome targets the productive capacity of communities, but outside of the substantially macro-oriented TSP, this area has not sufficiently been supported by targeted and specific policies. 

Tag: Vulnerable Capacity Building Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction


Finding 8. UNDP’s support to the strengthening of livelihoods of targeted communities is a noteworthy contribution to their economic empowerment. However, outside of the ZRBF project, the support has lacked a sufficiently strong strategic focus, and has not taken advantage of opportunities to scale up outreach to large numbers of potential beneficiaries in the targeted rural areas. The strategy has also not been supported by a sufficiently strong results-based approach or monitoring systems to inform best practice. 

Tag: Agriculture Rural development Effectiveness Sustainability Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Micro-credit


2.3 Governance and Human Rights

Outcome 2. Increased citizen participation in democratic processes in line with the provisions of the Constitution and relevant international norms and standards. • Output 1. Capacity of justice and human rights institutions enabled and/or expanded to provide quality services and uphold the rule of law and redress. • Output 2. Functions and capacity of the national peace architecture strengthened • Output 3. Citizen participation in democratic processes strengthened

Finding 9. The key area of UNDP’s Parliamentary support was in the alignment of laws to the new constitution, and the project has made important strides given the complex nature of legal reform. UNDP support to parliamentary processes has increased accountability of the Executive and entrenched people-centered law making in Zimbabwe. The participation of citizens in legislative processes is one of the key outputs of the project, and the voices of citizens have been incorporated in legislative processes in a few documented instances. Efforts to reach remote parts of the population, which would constitute a more important contribution to citizens’ participation in democratic processes, have yet to be scaled up.

Tag: Sustainability Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Anti-corruption Civic Engagement Human rights Justice system Local Governance Parliament Public administration reform Capacity Building


Finding 10: UNDP’s support to Chapter 12 commissions such as Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC), the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been essential for the establishment, capacity development and initial operation of these key institutions. UNDP’s support to the four commissions constituted important progress towards the objectives of two of the governance outcome’s objective, related to enabling justice and human rights institutions and to strengthening the national peace architecture. This support also had a key contribution to the implementation of the 2018 elections. However, sustainability remains a question as the commissions remain under funded by the government and remain donor dependent for their operations.

Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Anti-corruption Civic Engagement Human rights Justice system Programme Synergy Peace Building Promotion of dialogue Capacity Building


Finding 11: UNDP has supported the setting up of an integrated peace project that brings together the government, civil society, the commissions, the churches, traditional leaders and communities working together towards a common goal. Through UNDP support, over the past three years there has been an opening up of space between civil society and the government that has enabled the two sides to come together to talk about conflict and the historical injustices. 

Tag: Rural development Vulnerable Effectiveness Sustainability Civic Engagement Human rights Justice system Ownership Strategic Positioning Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Peace Building Promotion of dialogue Social cohesion Coordination Technical Support


Finding 12: UNDP was a key supporter of the 2018 elections and its peaceful implementation. UNDP took a multi-agency approach and flexibly adjusted several projects to ensure the smooth implementation of the elections from a number of approaches, including support to the ZEC, work with the NPRC and key stakeholders in the peace ecosystem in promoting a peaceful electoral process strengthening the commissions capacity as well as their ability to manage electoral system, participatory consultations, voter registration that overall hugely improved voter turn-out and voting as well as the legitimacy of the electoral process in Zimbabwe at a critical time for the country.

Tag: Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Civic Engagement e-Governance Election Rule of law Communication Integration Programme Synergy UN Agencies Security Capacity Building Youth Coordination Technical Support


Finding 13: One of the achievements of UNDP’s work with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has been the creation of an electronic case management system, which has made complaints handling easier to track. The commission has also increased community outreach to inform communities of its work. However, though this has increased demand for its services it only has offices in Harare and Bulawayo, and resource limitations constrain its ability to respond to this demand. 

Tag: Efficiency Relevance Sustainability e-Governance Human rights Justice system Local Governance Communication Human and Financial resources Country Government


Finding 14: Under the Access to Justice Programme, UNDP supported the Justice Law and Order sector in the training of 50 magistrates, 80 prosecutors and 1500 police officers on how to respond to violations of the Electoral Act and to secure convictions for electoral crimes. Unlike in the past where there was selective prosecution of electoral crimes, in the 2018 elections, convictions were secured against perpetrators of electoral crimes in a non-partisan way. 

Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Gender-Based Violence Women's Empowerment Human rights Justice system Local Governance Rule of law Capacity Building Disabilities


Finding 15: The support provided by UNDP to the Universal Period Review (UPR) Process enabled Zimbabwe to resume reporting to treaty bodies after a long break and although the country still lags behind, it is now catching up. UNDP support to the UPR also played a critical role in building crosssectorial partnerships between government and other stakeholders, including CSOs, FBOs, Parliament, and Independent Commissions. It also opened up additional space for dialogue on sensitive human rights issues.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Civic Engagement Human rights Justice system Parliament Communication Knowledge management Partnership Capacity Building


Finding 16: UNDP exercised its policy influence in its support to the development of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). UNDP led the establishment of a Transition Policy Think Tank of academia, diaspora and the private sector to help the Government think through the most pressing development challenges and design policy options. UNDP was key in the UN/WB/AfDB Joint Needs Assessments which examined priority needs and costing for key policy reforms. With UNDP support, the Government put together the TSP to steer the economy until a fully-fledged development programme is formulated. However, the fast development of the document meant that there were limited consultations, meaning that there may be limited ownership of the programme outside of government.

Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Civic Engagement Ownership Partnership Project and Programme management Strategic Positioning Theory of Change International Financial Institutions UN Agencies Inclusive economic growth Coordination


Finding 17 – Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme remains a contentious issue and a stumbling block to the country’s re-engagement efforts with the international community. The issue remains sensitive after 20 years, largely due to the continuing issue of unresolved compensation payments to former commercial farmers. UNDP supported the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement (MLAWCRR), in developing inventories of improvements on acquired farms, which was necessary to determine values for the purpose of compensation. 

Tag: Agriculture Rural development Natural Resouce management Strategic Positioning Country Government UN Agencies Promotion of dialogue Social cohesion


Finding 18: While the Local government programme has a very comprehensive programme document whose activities well thought out, it has not taken off as was expected due to financing issues and implementing partner issues and changes. Rapid changes in government ministries affect ongoing legislative work as priorities change and ownership is affected. UNDP has the opportunity to address development at the local level through its other interventions, and has to some degree been able to leverage synergies for localized rural development strategies.

Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Challenges Efficiency Government Cost-sharing Local Governance Parliament Public administration reform Donor relations Ownership Country Government Capacity Building Technical Support


2.4 Resilience and climate change adaptation

Finding 19 - The Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) project has developed into a comprehensive and complex project to address resilience issues across 18 districts in Zimbabwe. The project has grown from an initial pilot into a large programme to address complex resilience and development challenges, within at-risk communities in 18 districts. This complex structure requires solid project management capacities which UNDP has proven to have. The project has taken a central place in UNDP’s programme in Zimbabwe, and constitutes a clear opportunity to further integrate issues of food security, livelihoods and vulnerability to climate risks in UNDP’s programme and in policy development. However, this success also brings several challenges in project management and UNDP’s technical support to resilience

Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Vulnerable Effectiveness Efficiency Multi Donor Trust Funds Local Governance Donor relations Integration Partnership Programme Synergy Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Theory of Change Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Food Security Resilience Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Technical Support


Finding 20 - While targeted individuals and communities have shown to benefit from support through the ZRBF, recent climate events have shown that the livelihoods of many Zimbabweans remain fragile, and their resilience to future shocks requires continuous support and engagement from UNDP and its partners, and effective use of the evidence built through the various data-collection mechanisms, beyond the project. The ZRBF project currently focuses heavily on collecting data from community- and macro-level indicators, which is a valuable contribution to the project activities, and informs on potential up-coming crises affecting communities. The capacity gap of some of the project’s key stakeholders has generally limited the use of valuable data for immediate response as well as for future planning. 

Tag: Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Natural Disaster Local Governance Knowledge management Partnership Peace Building Resilience Capacity Building Jobs and Livelihoods Micro-credit Data and Statistics


Recommendation 1. While UNDP has been able to address emerging challenges and navigate changes in context effectively, the implementation of the current programme has brought several issues to light that the country office will need to address in the next programme. UNDP must continue to be strategic in choosing the adequate partners in government and engage with civil society and citizens to develop frameworks that will support inclusive growth, particularly in the long run. UNDP can build on its exiting and unique position to further support on SDG integration and monitoring, on productive and sustainable use of land for the Land Reform Programme, and on continued citizen engagement and participation in future electoral processes.

As the situation in Zimbabwe remains complex both politically and economically, UNDP will need to build on the achievements of the current programme period and use its partnership with the government of Zimbabwe effectively. Recognizing the changes in institutional structures, UNDP needs to clarify its role with different government partners to continue working on SDG integration in national development policies, and to respond to demands for improved mechanisms to monitor progress on SDGs. UNDP is uniquely positioned for this work and can also build on the significant efforts it has invested in data collection and analysis, mainly through support to the PICES and through the ZRBF project, to strengthen the country’s capacity to develop pro-poor policies in the future.

While the successful development of the TSP is a recognized achievement, it did not benefit from a buyin from the whole of government, and it was developed with minimal public consultations, which raises legitimate concerns for full national ownership of the programme. The implementation of the TSP has also suffered from a strong economic downturn, rendering some of the programme’s targets impossible to reach. In the next programme, UNDP must ensure a wider engagement in the development of key development strategies.

Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme remains a contentious issue and an area where UNDP can use its neutral positioning and current momentum effectively to bring all partners together towards an agreeable solution. Furthermore, in the next programme period UNDP should make efforts to integrate successful approaches from projects in livelihoods and climate change adaptation, for the reform programme to effectively contribute to productive use of land. UNDP should also build on its proven ability for joint work to adequately involve the capacities from other UN agencies who have extensive experience in that area.

For its work on the 2018 elections, UNDP has engaged with a wide array of actors, and mobilized the contributions from several projects, leading to a successful, peaceful electoral process. UNDP must use this success to attract new financial partners and mobilize resources, and start early on the preparations for the next elections.


Recommendation 2. The next country programme will need to be built on strengthened partnerships with the GoZ and other development actors, for the full achievement of its programme outcomes. Identifying the right partners, as UNDP has successfully done in implementing its democratic governance projects, can bring more effective and sustainable results. The issues that emerged from some of its upstream work need to be addressed together with government partners. At the district level, partnerships with local authorities must be strengthened to ensure a full contribution from all stakeholders, particularly for resilience outcomes.

The implementation of the current programme has shown how successful projects significantly rely on effective partnerships, as UNDP has shown its ability to position itself at an opportune time for a new chapter in the development of Zimbabwe, identify the most appropriate partners to work with, or support building their capacity from the ground up, as was the case with the five Chapter 12 Independent Commissions. The close involvement with state and non-state actors on the electoral process has led to positive outcomes in the governance area. But the implementation of the programme has also highlighted that some key partnerships had not been sufficiently solidified, with a lack of clarity on the most adequate partner for support on the SDGs. UNDP needs to establish which unit within central government it should be partnering with for SDG integration in national development plans, as well as for effective monitoring of the country’s progress on SDGs. This must also be accompanied with the adequate support to the national capacity for planning and evidence-based policy development. UNDP must also start working early with government partners on the next elections, in order to build on the positive results they achieved together.

Similarly, UNDP has involved several partners on the ground for its work on climate change adaptation and resilience building. The evaluation found that local authorities are natural partners for the achievement of ZRBF’s results and are very keen to play a stronger role in improving the lives of the communities they work with daily. However, while UNDP has provided training to district-level partners on resilience, there are remaining capacity gaps that UNDP should recognize, and fill in the next programme. A stronger capacity for the use and dissemination of the data collected with rural communities would support stronger and more sustainable results on the ground. 

Finally, UNDP is well positioned through its work on development policies to engage in partnerships that derive from the cross-sectoral nature of the TSP. Successful partnerships with UN agencies for the elections (UN Women), for example, can inform strategies for future effective joint work. UNDP will need to ensure close collaboration with four other UN agencies in the Spotlight initiative to achieve the ambitious objectives of the programme. Other major projects for the future of UNDP, such as the Lands reform programme and the ZRBF, will clearly benefit from the collaboration of UNDP with UN agencies, for example WFP and FAO who have clear technical strengths that can complement UNDP’s role for the management of these projects.



Recommendation 3. UNDP should analyse the areas where it can address gender inequalities more strategically in its programme, to develop a response that go beyond targeting men and women. By focusing on structural barriers and root causes of gender inequalities in Zimbabwe, UNDP has the opportunity to move from inclusive interventions to truly transformative results. 

UNDP has established effective partnerships with development partners, with other UN agencies and within government that have led to important advances in the area of governance. UNDP must build on the success of the support to the elections to strengthen women’s empowerment, especially for their participation in elections as candidates and their participation in executive processes as parliamentarians. UNDP should improve the strategic approaches for more gender-transformative results in the livelihoods and the resilience areas. UNDP can build on the effective partnership it has developed with UN Women to find ways to go beyond gender-disaggregated data collection, particularly for the ZRBF project. This will require a clear strategy that covers the entire portfolio rather than for individual projects. 



Recommendation 4. UNDP’s support to vulnerable communities’ livelihoods and resilience to climate and economic shocks will depend largely on its capacity to approach the complex issues of resilience in Zimbabwe effectively. While the growth in the project’s scope is the result of successes in partnership and resource mobilization, it will need to build broader partnerships and more inclusion of local and central government to ensure sustainability of the approaches.

The ZRBF needs to ensure that it differentiates itself from traditional Livelihoods and climate change adaptation approaches, especially in the face of increasing (and not reducing) resilience challenges across Zimbabwe. While the traditional responses emanating from the implementation of the current programme have led to some targeted results, the future successes of the ZRBF will depend on UNDP’s capacity to bring its full technical capacity for resilience responses.

At the same time UNDP needs to both ensure clear additionality through the provision of technical support and guidance to project management responsibilities. Allocation of conditional additional to M&E should equally ensure efficiency and effectiveness of resources and ensure that data feeds into change at community and policy levels, beyond the crisis modifier and occasional papers.

If the project is to continue to grow in financial and geographic scope, or to expand into new resilience areas, then a clear review of its current management structure, technical capacity as well as the use and role of the RKH, need to be reviewed. Challenges due to growth and additional focus must be addressed strategically and not in an ad hoc manner. 

Equally, any expansion into urban resilience will strain existing technical and management resources as well as the focus of the project. While the foundation of the project in resilience may be sound this new direction will need new technical abilities and partnerships and should not be allowed to distract ZRBF implementation.

The role of the RKH needs to closely monitored to ensure it does not operate external to the ZRBF with its own mandate and goals, using ZRBF data to do so, but should be meeting the knowledge management and learning needs ZRBF itself, as well as the consortia members and partners and is influencing policy along with the ZRBF and not in parallel.

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