Final Review of Resilient Communities through Building Back Better in Districts most severely affected by 2015 Earthquake (EU I)

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Nepal
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
01/2018
Completion Date:
01/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
1,200

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Title Final Review of Resilient Communities through Building Back Better in Districts most severely affected by 2015 Earthquake (EU I)
Atlas Project Number: 00061320
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Nepal
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2018
Planned End Date: 01/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Resilience
  • 3. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 3.1.1 Core government functions and inclusive basic services4 restored post-crisis for stabilisation, durable solutions to displacement and return to sustainable development pathways within the framework of national policies and priorities
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
  • 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
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 1,200
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 1,200
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Hari P. Dhungana Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UNDP, EU, Local governments, CSOs
Countries: NEPAL
Lessons
Findings
1.

3 FINDINGS OF THE REVIEW

This section presents in brief the assessment of overall results and continues with the review of the project in relation to the five criteria and corresponding review questions posed in the TOR. 3.1 Overall review of results

This project had an outcome, “affected communities build back better through resilient housing reducing vulnerabilities to future disasters, maximizing the use of locally available resources.” It was further envisioned from the project that, “Village communities in 10 VDCs of most severely affected districts are equipped with a reconstruction action plan and necessary capacities through information, knowledge and skills to undertake reconstruction of disaster resistant housing in an inclusive manner.” 

3.1.1 Key achievements on the result areas

The project initially focused on three results or outputs but the result and outputs were revised in the course of no-cost extension (July/August 2017) and are presented in the second column of Table 3. Main achievements against each of these four result areas (outputs) are presented in the third column. The Reviewer’s observations on these results are presented in the next sub-section. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Challenges Effectiveness Efficiency Technology Vulnerable

2.

3.1.1 Key achievements on the result areas (continuation)

2. Technology Demonstration Houses (TDHs). It was noted that the CDRMP/ECHO project introduced the “GI Wire Containment Building Technology” which was adopted from reconstruction experience in India. With this technology, the project hoped to enable a more economical construction of earthquake resistant private houses (with estimated cost of NPR 450,000) for an average 2-room house (each room of size 12 feet by 12 feet) at approximately two-third the cost for other commonly used technologies. Project participants mentioned that the technology was better suited to remote conditions, as it can offset the need of significant amount of water, does not need motorable road as it involved little to be transported from outside, and could be constructed in significantly lower cost. The project targeted the most vulnerable households in the villages for constructing the TDH, which involved the use of GI wire as well as other low-cost technologies by using mostly locally-available materials. During the TDH construction, the project trained masons and carpenters on the resilient house construction skills. It was found that the trained masons became capable of working in GI wire technology, other low-cost technologies as well as more conventional technologies adopted by the house-owners. Accordingly, they got jobs easily, with a wage rate of NPR 1000/day—in fact, there was shortage of trained people in both the districts.  


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Effectiveness Impact Poverty Reduction Technology Capacity Building Vulnerable

3.

3.1.1 Key achievements on the result areas (continuation)

3. Technical Facilitation to House-owners for safer reconstruction. This involved the deployment of Mobile Van Technology Clinic (MTC) and the training for and mobilization of ten Aawas Nirmal Sathis (ANSs). The project mobilized two MTCs – one in each district- where an engineer travelled through all project VDCs inside the district to create awareness on safer construction and on meeting compliance needs, using audio-visual and learnihave visits from NRA engineers who were supposed to inspect constructions and forward recommendations for the disbursement of installment from NRA.ng materials. These campaign sessions, which were about an hourlong, were organized in coordination with RAP committees. In these sessions, the engineers interacted with the locals and provided their contact number for the locals to consult them when in need. Similarly, the project trained ten ANSs, one each for the erstwhile VDC, on technological menus for safer house construction and on NRA compliance requirements. They were then mobilized for door-to-door visits to motivate resilient house construction and to provide hands-on support while construction work was ongoing. It was noted that the service of ANS was very critical, as the local people struggled hard to  have visits from NRA engineers who were supposed to inspect constructions and forward recommendations for the disbursement of installment from NRA. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Effectiveness Poverty Reduction Technology Awareness raising Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening Technical Support Vulnerable

4.

3.1.1 Key achievements on the result areas (continuation)

4. Support Grants for safer construction and support to CLG for safer reconstruction clinic. This result area was added after project’s no-cost extension in August 2017, and involved the support grant to most vulnerable households and support for the establishment of community-based “safer reconstruction clinics.” The project identified most vulnerable households in the localities who needed support on top of NRA grants, as the latter in itself was not sufficient to cover the costs of a resilient building. The grant from UNDP/ECHO project was worth of NPR 50,000 in construction materials. The grantee households were identified through the deliberation in RAP Committees, keeping in mind about who needed the support most. Accordingly, it was found that the grant was targeted to households in the critical need to start the construction. 

Similarly, four safer construction clinics were supported after the extension of the project, by recruiting an additional NGO in each of the two districts. The NGOs facilitated the formation of four community livelihood groups (CLG) organizing a group of people in relatively accessible areas, provided them with enterprise development training, and provided materials support worth of NPR 800,000 to start the business of supplying hardware for the construction of low-cost, mainly GI-technology materials as well as other construction materials. It was, however, noted that while providing the support for the CLG-led clinic provided an opportunity for the communities to access low-cost construction materials at economical rates, the clinics themselves faced a number of challenges. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Efficiency Knowledge management Financial Inclusion Poverty Reduction Capacity Building Civil Societies and NGOs Vulnerable

5.

3.2 Relevance

The relevance of this project was reviewed in relation to it’s a) design and approach and b) different activities planned by the project. In terms of design, the project operated under CDRMP, which has a Project Executive Board (PEB) co-led by Ministry of Home Affairs and UNDP, that provided strategic directions and guidance in project implementation and approved the project’s annual plans and progress. With a reconstruction focus in this particular ECHO project, its key stakeholders included National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) and ECHO's country portfolio in Nepal. 

At the district level, the project activities were implemented with close coordination with District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) chaired by Chief District Officer (CDO), District Coordination Committee (DCC – earlier DDC), National Reconstruction Authority's district unit, DUDBC's district unit and other stakeholders supporting the overall reconstruction process in the districts. NGOs were recruited and engaged for specific functions in both the project districts. This project was managed by CDRMP, which employed some of its regular staff for project implementation. A separate team at center comprised Project Coordinator and Admin/Finance Assistant. In each of the two districts, the project teams comprised of District Project Officer, District Engineer and Senior Social Worker. The district teams were supported through a team of junior staff (Junior Engineer, Overseer/Sub-Engineer, Awas Nirman Saathi- trained masons, Community Mobilizers) for delivering the project outputs. These junior staff were managed by local NGOs hired by CDRMP: SUK-Nepal in Sindhupalchowk and DJSSS in Dolakha. During the extension period, these NGOs were also engaged in local level coordination and hand over meetings/workshops. An additional NGO was hired in each district during the extension period for conducting activities related to result 4. 

In terms of the activities, the project started with creating local institutional basis (the RAP committee) which established the basis of local level discussion and decision-making, such as on the adoption of resilient house construction and the identification of households to support TDH construction and grantee support. It then engaged in awareness raising awareness in resilient construction and moved on to promote low cost technologies in house construction, by recruiting ANSs and simultaneously providing training for masons and carpenters. The project created awareness on safer construction through MTC and created an institution – called community livelihood group (CLG) through which safer construction clinics were established and beginning their operation. These clinics were supported to work as community-managed hardware shops and points for disseminating low-cost house construction technologies. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Relevance Partnership Programme/Project Design Country Government Poverty Reduction Vulnerable

6.

3.3 Effectiveness

The effectiveness of this project was reviewed in relation to delivery of the project in terms of quality, quantity and timing; inclusion; lessons and feedback into subsequent planning. It was found in this Review that the project generally delivered its activities in time, but some delays were caused primarily due to the election of local governments in mid-2017 and parliamentary elections in Nov/Dec. In particular, the project’s promotion of low cost GI wire technology was not initially included in the NRA manual and officials in one of the two districts (Sindhupalchowk) were personally more hesitant to promote the GI wire technology, while those in another district were more forthcoming. The numerical targets were achieved within the project period. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Efficiency Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Technology

7.

3.4 Efficiency

The project was found to be working effectively. The project emphasized the use of locally available and low-cost materials in its promotion of safer house construction technology. It mobilized the mix of project personnel and consultants, with most of social mobilization component entrusted to locally hired NGOs in both districts. Some delay in the buy-in of GI wire technology by NRA and its personnel in the districts was apparent – and it could be addressed with more deepened engagement with officials at national and district levels and by providing necessary training early on in the project. Another delay was noted in the effective operation of safer construction clinic, which was caused by delays from the federal and provincial elections of Nov /Dec 2017. This activity was a new one approved from project extension and CLGs will need additional support and encouragement beyond the project period. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Efficiency Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction Technology Capacity Building Civil Societies and NGOs

8.

3.5 Sustainability

The sustainability aspects of the project include the institutional foundation (ie, the RAP committees and RAPs), knowledge and skills (trained ANSs, trained masons and carpenters, trained engineers), the buildings (TDH, and grantee houses) and CLG-led safer reconstruction clinic. It was noted that RAPs were handed over to respective local government representatives and the RAP committees will continue working on making important reconstruction decisions and supporting their members. It was found that NRA engineers have become increasingly receptive of the low-cost construction technologies and skilled persons have received employment with good wages. The TDH and grantee household support also enabled the most vulnerable households to afford to construct their houses and reduce debt-burden. It was further noted that safer construction clinics have just begun their outlets and key people trained on enterprise skills. It was further noted that, due to the local-level restructuring in the course of the project implementation, there will be a need to integrate RAPs into local government planning process. It is further advisable that the CLG-managed safer construction clinics receive further technical and financial support to enable them operate in profitable ways.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Sustainability Communication Knowledge management Technology Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening Vulnerable

9.

3.6 Impact

The expected impact of this project was the enhanced ability of vulnerable households to build back better with local resources. The project introduced low-cost technology, facilitated the availability of materials for that technology, trained local human resource, provided additional support to TDH or grantee households chosen from amongst the most vulnerable. There was appreciation from district agencies for this approach, yet adoption of this technology has been relatively slow compared to other, more expensive technologies. It is indicative of the need for further deepening social engagement for attitude change toward the choice of technologies and disseminating the clear message that NRA would make grants for the GI wire technology as well.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Impact Local Governance Technology Institutional Strengthening Vulnerable

Recommendations
1

5 RECOMMENDATIONS

The following are the main recommendations from the review—which are presented for NRA and broader reconstruction community and for CDRMP/ECHO project separately. Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R1. Enhance diligence to ensure that only “needy” households receive the grants

2

Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R2. Avoid debt trap: provide alternative access to financing, rather than high-interest loans

3

Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R3. Provide income generation and livelihood support activities beyond support for house construction in order to avoid debt trap amongst the vulnerable population.

4

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R4. Engage with the government and district level (NRA/DUDBC officials) to acknowledge and adopt low-cost, earthquake resistant technologies

5

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R5. Ensure compliance (comprehensive monitoring of construction) in construction, to ensure that grantee’s houses will receive 2nd & 3rd installment of NRA grant

6

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R6. Consider early field mobilization after project commencement, especially by recruiting and contracting partner NGOs/service providers

7

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R7. Integrate/harmonize Reconstruction Action Plans (RAP) into new local government structure

8

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project

R8. Ensure continued support and facilitation for CLG managed “safer construction clinics” in order for them to operate on break –even, financially sustainable manner. 

1. Recommendation:

5 RECOMMENDATIONS

The following are the main recommendations from the review—which are presented for NRA and broader reconstruction community and for CDRMP/ECHO project separately. Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R1. Enhance diligence to ensure that only “needy” households receive the grants

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

The second phase proposal will be developed considering this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The second phase of EU funded project will focus particularly to the most vulnerable households.
[Added: 2020/01/29]
CDRMP team 2019/03 Completed The second Phase of EU funded project particularly focused on the most vulnerable households, who would otherwise be left behind in the reconstruction process. UNDP is also in the working group of the partner organizations, focused on vulnerable households, that has been advocating to NRA to provide tailored support to the vulnerable households.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R2. Avoid debt trap: provide alternative access to financing, rather than high-interest loans

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

Recommendation is well noted and the issue will be addressed in second phase of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish Resilience Fund at community level to provide support for most vulnerable households
[Added: 2020/01/29]
DRR and Resilience Unit and Project team 2018/12 Completed Through the second phase of EU funded project, UNDP has piloted an innovative mechanism of supporting the vulnerable household to reconstruct by establishing Resilience Fund at the ward level. It provides interest free loan to the vulnerable households, who otherwise could not access for finance. These households return money after receive of the government tranche, which is further revolved to support another household. This has been adopted by GOI project as well.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendations for NRA/Broader Reconstruction Community

R3. Provide income generation and livelihood support activities beyond support for house construction in order to avoid debt trap amongst the vulnerable population.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

This recommendation will be considered during the formulation of second phase proposal

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Integration of Livelihood as a key component in the proposal developed for the second phase
[Added: 2020/01/29]
DRR and Resilience Unit 2018/03 Completed Livelihood support to the most vulnerable households is one of the four key result areas of the second phase of EU funded project.
4. Recommendation:

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R4. Engage with the government and district level (NRA/DUDBC officials) to acknowledge and adopt low-cost, earthquake resistant technologies

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

Recommendation will be addressed through second phase of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Facilitate the most poor and vulnerable HHs to adopt low cost technologies appropriate to the local context.
[Added: 2020/01/29]
CMDRM team 2018/03 Completed Both EU and Government of India project (GOI) projects have facilitated the most poor and vulnerable HHs to adopt low cost technologies appropriate to the local context. In supporting this approach, local masons and NRA engineers have been trained and the earthquake affected households were made aware on those low-cost technologies.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R5. Ensure compliance (comprehensive monitoring of construction) in construction, to ensure that grantee’s houses will receive 2nd & 3rd installment of NRA grant

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

Recommendation well noted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure all beneficiaries would receive 2nd & 3rd tranches.
[Added: 2020/01/29]
CDRMP team 2018/12 Completed In both phases of EU funded projects, all beneficiaries supported directly by the project have received 2nd & 3rd tranches. As the second phase is ongoing, some of the 150 reconstruction grantees are in the process of receiving 3rd Tranches from the government.
6. Recommendation:

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R6. Consider early field mobilization after project commencement, especially by recruiting and contracting partner NGOs/service providers

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

Recommendation is well noted and will act accordingly.

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Signing the contract with local service providers
[Added: 2020/01/29]
CDRMP team 2018/03 Completed Contract was signed with local service providers (local NGOs) as soon as the final approval letter was received from EU and staffs were mobilized upon receiving the NRA approval letter, which is mandatory.
7. Recommendation:

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project 

R7. Integrate/harmonize Reconstruction Action Plans (RAP) into new local government structure

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/29] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

RAP will be customized into Ward level Disaster Risk Management Plan in second phase

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Customize RAP into Ward level DRMP
[Added: 2020/01/29]
CDRMP team 2018/12 Completed In second phase of EU funded project, these RAPs were customized into Ward level Disaster Risk Management Plans as it was essential to support the local government to ascend from reconstruction to longer term resilience. The plans have been endorsed by the local government, ensuring that ward level disaster risk mitigation measures have been mainstreamed into their Annual Development Plan.
8. Recommendation:

Recommendations for CDRMP/ECHO project

R8. Ensure continued support and facilitation for CLG managed “safer construction clinics” in order for them to operate on break –even, financially sustainable manner. 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/07]

Key Actions:

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