End of project evaluation for Lesotho National Dialogue and Stabilization Project

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Lesotho
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
11/2020
Completion Date:
12/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
67,000

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Title End of project evaluation for Lesotho National Dialogue and Stabilization Project
Atlas Project Number: 00112082
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Lesotho
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2020
Planned End Date: 11/2020
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
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
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
SDG Target
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
Evaluation Budget(US $): 67,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 13,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Hindowa Momoh Dr hindowam@yahoo.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: LESOTHO
Lessons
1.

UNDP and its partners pitched the project at both strategic and process levels, accounting for the political issues and processes that could have undermined project implementation. Recognizing the potential impacts politics could have had on project implementation avoided delays and tensions and facilitated broad stakeholder engagement. This indicates that political sensitivities and related interests cannot be ignored in the delivery of complex national dialogue and reform processes.


2.

Broad stakeholder engagement is critical for projects in which the intended long-term outcome is reliant upon the understandings and actions of local, national, and international stakeholders. It is, however, important to note that there is no linear pathway to engaging a diverse set of stakeholders for national dialogue and reform processes, as the project conducted series of meetings, some cancelled, delayed and sabotaged.


3.

Implementing projects of this nature through partner institutions that have the necessary competences and on-the-ground experience, and with each responsible for activities at the appropriate scale, is a useful cost-effective approach to implementation and sustaining results.


4.

The role of the UN no doubt made the difference. The UN became the only partner without a political stake and its neutrality attracted all parties to agree on the common goal;


5.

It was not realistic to expect that all the goals set by the project will be achieved in 18 months and with USD2 million. Although major achievements were recorded, there is a long way to go in delivering reform processes. Project design for such a complex project needs to be realistic in terms of time and resources, especially with the many factors underlying it.


6.

It is critical to involve local communities in the design and implementation of such projects, which emerged as a major strength of the project (as seen with in-district consultations that provided an opportunity for Basotho to engage and voice their views on the real reforms they want to put Lesotho on a progressive path of sustainable peace and stability). As it is these communities who will sustain the outcomes achieved, the project approach to involve a wide diversity of local players makes it it likelier for results to be accepted and for outcomes to be sustained.  


7.

Lesotho could benefit from the South African experience in handling and managing internal conflicts. Establishing durable peace in a highly volatile political atmosphere requires political will and concerted efforts of all citizens to design approaches (local and national) that could simmer down volatility, and the South African experience in the post-Apartheid era where a rainbow nation was created and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established cannot be more apt


8.

Significant efforts were made to mainstream gender and human rights issues into strategies developed and activities implemented. However, any follow up project should ensure that HRDDP assessments are carried out prior to the finalization of any work plan and sequencing of activities, to avoid the challenges faced in the implementation of the project.


Findings
1.

The overall rating for this project is Highly Satisfactory. The project satisfactorily and successfully achieved its intended outcomes despite the limited budget and short time frame as well as the delays caused by various factors. The project was a complex one, with a diverse network of partners and various activities geared towards the attainment of different goals. This, ultimately, shaped the focus and overall success of the project with respect to its short time frame, limited budget, and complexity. It is evident from the nature of activities implemented and the achievements realized that enhancing consensus building through national dialogues and reform processes requires a much longer timescale than allowed under the project.

The overall Project Rating is Highly Satisfactory

 


2.

Relevance: The overall, project design was relevant and addressed key national and international commitments. It was in sync with the Lesotho National Strategic Development Plan (2013-2018), especially goal 6 that focuses on promoting peace and democratic governance, and building effective institutions; 2016 recommendations of the SADC Double Troika Summit of Heads of States and Government for developing a comprehensive roadmap for political reforms; UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions that acknowledge women’s right to be involved in all aspects of conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and democratic governance;


3.

Effectiveness: The project had three outcome areas. Outcome 1 achieved the following: the project brought the Basotho to dialogue and engage in dialogue for national cohesion, reconciliation and stability; the activities were planned and implemented with a focus on ensuring gender equality and empowerment of vulnerable groups resulting in increased women’s participation in the dialogue process; the project supported capacity building of Basotho women to participate effectively in the dialogue and reform process; the MSND Plenary I was successfully held in 2018 with A Joint Communique summarizing the outcome and became a multi-stakeholder compact of commitment to national reforms; the project resulted in increased collaboration and synergy among groups, including women, elders, youths, PWDs and increased interaction between critical stakeholders at the national and community/local levels. However, lack of budgetary support for the NDPC and threats of boycott from the opposition derailed and slowed down the process. Outcome 2 achieved the following: the support provided to 1,200 security members and their families resulted in the reduction of trauma cases by 50% among the target members as reported by Inter Agency Task Force; Coordination among the security sector was enhanced resulting in joint patrols and planning; capacity development of the security sector was promoted by the project; the project collaborated with UN OHCHR and SADC to facilitate the professionalization of the security sector through training 500 Trainers from the security sector on human rights and UN Conventions, leadership, crisis management, standard operating process for joint operations, inter-agency coordination, among others. Notwithstanding the above, there was time constraint during the project implementation for the comprehensive training of the security sector.

Outcome 3: What has been achieved? The communication strategy was developed resulting in the establishment of the Government Communications Technical Team on Reforms; the development of the Concept Note for Training on Communication thereby strengthening the institutional capacity. The strategy also succeeded in creating the digital media platforms, brochures and public information on reforms; showing visibility of the NDPC and LCN members on media platforms at least once per week. The project also published and widely disseminated the Roadmap as a means of publicizing the dialogue process as well ensuring that ordinary Basotho are engaged directly or indirectly. The impact of this was the large turn out during the in-district and community level consultations that attracted women, men, youths and children. However, the communication component encountered some challenge albeit not enough to undo the effectiveness component of the project. There was delay in dissemination because of lack of consensus among stakeholders on some products. There was little congruence on technical input from experts on the communication component, which became a challenge for the beneficiaries to accept the products from the experts.


4.

Efficiency: The LNDSP implementation was cost-effective, owing to a number of factors, including strategic partnerships, efficient management of resources, selection of partners and communities, and local participation in all phases of design and delivery. The project experienced some delays in the implementation of some activities (e.g., development of Gender Mainstreaming Strategy which was postponed to 2020), which had a knock-on effect on the trainings planned, and other cross-sector engagement activities that depended on the finalization of the strategy. Taking these issues and a range of other risks into consideration during project design and indeed during implementation increased the overall efficiency of the project. The requirement to strictly follow UNDP procedures for financial planning and management also resulted in greater efficiency for project.

A good balance was found in the measures taken to promote cost-efficiency including harnessing the comparative advantage of the partners and establishing strategic partnerships with key local and international organizations. The cross-country intervention also allowed for broad civil society engagement and the involvement of local communities in the design and implementation of activities. Building on past and ongoing initiatives was also a cost-efficient measure in terms of utilizing available information and strengthening capacity at functional and institutional levels.

Accordingly, long-term impacts will more likely result from the outcomes delivered by the project. The success of dialogue sessions held in various communities in the country demonstrates the project’s concrete on-the-ground accomplishments, which will, in the long-term, promote further stakeholder support and legitimacy and increase country ownership. The prospect for sustainability is, therefore, moderate to high with respect to the different factors and conditions that underlie the project’s success. While financing may pose a significant constraint to scaling-up the project, efforts to mobilize international and local buy-in (such as regular meetings between UNDP, international partners, church leaders, civil society leaders, etc.) present exciting opportunities for sustaining project outcomes joint action and long-range planning. Additionally, engagements with political parties and security agencies, as well as benefits accrued to youth and women’s groups, make the country conducive to sustaining project outcomes


Recommendations
1

Undertake follow-on activities for upscaling some project outcomes as well as for integration into policy and institutional frameworks. Given the sensitivity of the issues addressed, it is recommended that UNDP, in collaboration with all implementing partners, seek support from donors for a second phase of the project as soon as possible;

2

While planning for phase 2 of the project, follow the same model for consulting widely and broadly, including by obtaining approvals from all relevant sectors and players;

3

Ensure the allocation of adequate time and resources to the result areas of the next project by matching any upscaling efforts with financial, human and technical resources mobilized for project implementation.

4

Increase efforts to transfer the huge volume of knowledge generated by the project to local structures such as the LCN and LLCN, as a way of sustaining the outcomes delivered. Local partners should be supported to widely disseminate the reports and knowledge products through their respective networks and other means, to accord them high visibility at appropriate forums and increase their chances of mobilizing resources for similar interventions. The learning materials should be translated into local languages and made easily available to local communities and development partners. The technical reports should be simplified to facilitate their use by decision-makers and for effective mainstreaming into national development planning;

5

Work closely with the government to improve monitoring and data collection so as to fill current data gaps. Appropriate mechanisms should be developed for data sharing, as this is critical for building a consensus for shared action and supporting the successful implementation of any follow-up intervention;

6

Ensure that a new HRDDP is developed while taking into consideration that the previous assessments are carried out prior to the finalisation of any work plan and sequencing of activities, as part of efforts to implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Due Diligence Assessment carried out in January 2019

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