Mid-term evaluation of the Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) for Women and Youth in The Gambia programme

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, UNCDF
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2020
Completion Date:
09/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
106,240

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Title Mid-term evaluation of the Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) for Women and Youth in The Gambia programme
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, UNCDF
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2020
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 106,240
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 106,240
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
William Smith Team Leader
Charles Abugre GHANA
Pa Modou Baldeh
Divya Nambiar INDIA
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GAMBIA
Lessons
1.
  • Employing global models for programme interventions, such as LoCAL or Youthstart, in multiple settings has advantages in terms of efficiency. If the model is adapted based on experience from earlier projects in other contexts, lessons can be systematically learnt and applied in new programmes. Formats, manuals and procedures do not have to be re- invented from scratch for each new project. UNCDF can develop expertise through a cadre of experienced staff that have worked on similar projects elsewhere. This is clearly the case in the JSF programme, which has benefited from a wealth of experience from the wider LoCAL programme in how to decentralise government spending to local authorities.

  • However, application of global intervention models in specific local contexts can also carry risks. When a solution is conveniently to hand, it may influence analysis of the initial problem which the programme aimed to address. The initial aim of JSF was to create jobs but it is not obviously clear that decentralisation of government expenditure was the most effective way to stimulate job creation. Similarly, when examining issues of public finance in a very small, aid dependent country such as The Gambia, the availability of the LoCAL mechanism may have influenced the extent to which decentralisation of government spending was prioritised over, for example, the need to increase domestic resource mobilisation and reduce aid dependency. A lesson for the future may be to ensure project design is centred on a tailored approach to the priority issues of the country in question, taking into account the particularities of the context.

  • JSF has also raised questions of wider relevance on how to combine different project elements together for maximum impact. JSF was designed on the assumption that single intervention projects on their own are likely to be less effective in achieving wider goals, with job creation, for example, dependent on a wide variety of factors, including skills and access to finance. However, the practicalities of combining project components together to create an impact larger than the sum of each part is complex. JSF focused particularly on Cash for Work project beneficiaries as the target group for all three components although this choice may have had a detrimental effect on the impact of each individual intervention. Criteria for selecting project wards and cash for work beneficiaries do not appear to have been optimal criteria for the targeting of the skills development or financial inclusion interventions. A lesson for the future may be to give careful consideration of practical options on how and where to combine project components and, where relevant, when to implement project components separately.

  • The JSF programme has also demonstrated the difficulties of stimulating job creation through skills development and financial inclusion initiatives in difficult economic contexts such as The Gambia. The economy of The Gambia is fragile due to the long term dependence of the agricultural economy on groundnut production and the reliance on the international tourism market, particularly in the context of major COVID-19 related travel restrictions. A lesson for job creation programmes in the future may also be to adopt an approach which identifies sectors with high potential to create productive jobs, but diversified to spread the risk of volatility in specific sectors.

  • Decentralisation of decision-making and management to the government level nearest to the end beneficiaries of government spending is a positive objective and JSF has shown that, with intensive support provided to Ward Development Committees, effective decentralisation can be achieved. However, JSF also shows that in the context of weak local institutional structures and limited human resources at the lowest administrative level, attention needs also to be paid to the strengthening the ‘weak middle’ – in this case the Area Councils – to ensure efficient monitoring and accountability, particularly in anticipation of when the intervention is expanded from a small and relatively intensive pilot to a wider, nation-wide initiative.

  • The JSF programme has also helped to illustrate the importance for private sector led initiatives of being able to demonstrate a solid business case for interventions proposed. A programme such as JSF aims to promote innovation and test new technologies and business models, such as private sector provision of skills training, mobile money transfers and a variety of fintech or other digital solutions for financial education, crowdfunding etc. For these innovations to succeed and be replicated, however, it is important to fund pilots with a strong chance of demonstrating commercial viability. This is difficult in a market as poor and as small as The Gambia. A lesson for the future may also be to focus private sector led pilots on companies, localities and sectors where the potential for viability is strongest. In the case of The Gambia, this might be newer agricultural commodities such as cashews and mangoes, as well as international remittances, an important source of foreign exchange revenue.

 

 

 

 


Findings
1.

RELEVANCE

Relevance to National Government priorities

The JSF programme is highly relevant to the priorities of the government of the Gambia. Policies on decentralisation, climate change resilience, skills development and financial inclusion, as well as a focus on women and youth, are prominent within the National Development Plan (2018-21). JSF programme activities support implementation of the Local Government Act and are seen to contribute to the National Climate Policy. The National TVET Roadmap has helped to align skills development programmes of development partners such as ITC with government policy on skills development.

Relevance to partner institutions

The JSF programme is considered by local government institutions and TVET institutions as highly relevant to their needs. The LoCAL mechanism has revitalised the role of Ward and Village Development Committees. The programme has been less relevant for middle level government agencies at regional level. JSF support on financial inclusion has been highly relevant to some of the start-up and smaller partners but less relevant for more established financial service providers.

Relevance to cross-cutting issues

The JSF programme is formulated as a programme to support jobs for women and youth and the LoCAL mechanism is clearly focused on climate change adaption and resilience. Both the local government finance and skills components have targets for participation of women and youth. The financial inclusion component included gender analysis in initial diagnostics and interventions are gender aware. However, JSF project objectives are not framed as human rights objectives and JSF does not engage with structural drivers of gender inequality. In terms of design, the programme’s objectives do align with Sustainable Development Goals 1, 5, 8 and 13.

 

 

 

 

 


2.

COHERENCE

Complementarity with related programmes

The JSF programme builds on earlier EU and World Bank programmes promoting decentralisation and ongoing ITC implemented programmes on skills development. Interventions are complementary though issues have arisen from differential rates paid by different programmes in Cash for Work programmes. Collaboration with the World Bank on support to the Central Bank for developing a National Financial Inclusion Strategy started strongly but has since floundered.

Complementarity with UN work in the Gambia

There has been successful communication and collaboration between the JSF programme and the wider UN system relating to JSF components 1 and 2, including both UNCDF and ITC. Other UN agencies are not involved in areas covered by JSF component 3 on financial inclusion.


3.

EFFICIENCY

Resources and partnerships

Despite staffing gaps and other delays, JSF achieved 85% budget implementation during the first two years of operations. Expenditure figures since May have not been updated but are likely to have been significantly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. The partnership between UNCDF and ITC has been strong. Relationships with government counterparts have also been strong on a sectoral level, particularly with the Ministry of Local Government, Lands and Regional Government, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.

Monitoring and Evaluation system

In general, the JSF results framework is not effective in tracking programme results and has not been a helpful tool in assisting the mid-term evaluation. This is mainly a result of inappropriate indicators and lack of updated figures for components 1 and 3.

Governance

With the recruitment of a strong local programme management team, management of the programme has stabilised and relations with the EU Delegation and government partners are strong. Establishment of a National Steering Committee should help to strengthen higher level government buy-in and collaboration with the programme. Strengthening in-country JSF management decision-making authority and visibility could contribute to addressing issues of segmented management and to improving efficiency.

Resource allocation to cross-cutting issues

The project gender adviser has contributed to ensuring gender balance in policies and practices within the project and in participation in project activities. This position, however, currently remains vacant.

Adaptability to COVID-19 restrictions

The COVID-19 restrictions halted the planned scaling up of LoCAL to 12 additional Wards in 2020 and delayed disbursements of PBCRGs. It also led to the suspension of training activities for WDCs. This in turn impacted on many related components of the financial inclusion programme, including establishment of payments systems and delivery of financial education. Restrictions also adversely affected the skills component of the project as training activities had to be postponed.

 
 
 
 

4.

EFFECTIVENESS

Outcomes of Local Government Finance component

The ER1 activities have been highly effective to date in building local government capacities to integrate climate resilience into local planning; to manage discretionary financial resources provided through PBCRGs and to manage and monitor project performance. JSF under ER1 has strengthened the capacity of WDCs and the local government system to access and absorb larger funds provided through government fiscal transfers or international climate funds. The gap that remains to be addressed is to strengthen the capacities of mid-level Local Governmental Authorities, the Area Councils.

Outcomes of Financial Inclusion component

In the early stages of the programme, JSF engaged with the Central Bank on policy and regulatory matters and established a forum for consultation between financial service providers, the Central Bank and development partners. But due to weak co-ordination with other development partners, lack of follow up and limited absorptive capacity on the government side, there have been few results in terms of policy and regulatory initiatives. JSF has been able to establish cash for work payment mechanisms through a non- bank financial institution and a mobile money provider. The pilot revealed a variety of practical and business challenges in this process and, due to the small number of beneficiaries and transactions, the pilot has not demonstrated a strong business case for providers to continue or extend these services.

Outcomes on cross-cutting issues

Quotas set for participation of women in training under components 1 and 3 have been largely met. As outlined in section 4.3, the programme did not set wider objectives relating to human rights or addressing the underlying drivers of gender inequality.


5.

IMPACT

Impact of Local Government Finance component on employment

After the first two years, 825 equivalent temporary jobs were created through CfW of which women benefited marginally more than men.

Impact of Skills Development component on skills

The results to end December 2020 do provide evidence that JSF activities are contributing to improved and more accessible TVET skills development and apprenticeship opportunities.

Impact of Financial Inclusion component on financial market system

The JSF programme has had limited impact In terms of policy and regulation of the financial system in the Gambia to date. The focus on supporting payment systems for Cash for Work beneficiaries has prevented JSF from proving the business case for establishing mobile money and bank agent networks in rural areas. Other technical assistance and grants have had limited wider impact on the financial market system.

 
 
 
 

6.

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability of performance-based climate resilience grants 

The LoCAL mechanism has strong levels of government support and national ownership. JSF has helped to build capacity of WDCs to manage public funds. Long term sustainability will depend on government securing longer term sources of funds for investment in climate resilience projects through the mechanisms established.

Sustainability of financial inclusion system changes

In terms of policy and regulation, impacts of JSF interventions on the wider financial market system have to date been limited. However, JSF has laid some foundations on which sustainability of impact could be built in the longer term. Concerns remain about the sustainability of some JSF interventions in support of financial and technical service providers.


Recommendations
1

UNCDF welcomes the evaluation. The report provides a number of insightful and solid recommendations that can guide UNCDF and partners to strengthen and deepen the JSF until the end of the programme. While the job creation dimension of the programme have largely been discussed in respect to result 1, it is important to highlight reduction in unemployment is considered at the impact level of the programme, specific objective 1 focuses on employability and result 1 focuses on temporary job creation as a mean to employability, among a number of other target indicators.

2

Recommendation 1
Develop a separate SME job creation component based on an expansion of existing LFI activities.

JSF currently focuses particularly on supply side aspects of job creation through skills development and financial inclusion interventions, with more limited focus on private sector job creation in productive sectors. It is recommended that JSF select a range of promising sectors with strong potential to create more productive jobs and income generating opportunities, potentially including tourism, agro-processing and renewable energy. The component should focus on larger SMEs with growth potential, offering technical assistance, grant funding and facilitating access to finance. UNCDF experience of working with large scale agricultural processors in Northern Uganda could be applied in this context. This component should also be linked to the skills development component, training women and youth for productive jobs in these selected sectors based on the needs of target companies. The LoCAL result could also be linked by focusing on wards where companies are located and supporting small infrastructure projects (local road upgrading, water supply, electricity distribution) that would contribute to job creation by businesses in these sectors. 
The component could adopt a sector wide, value chain approach, bringing multiple interventions to bear that will fill gaps and create opportunities in productive, job creating sectors. This reorientation could most easily be introduced in a new phase of JSF but diagnostic work to identify sectors and potential companies could be introduced as part of the current JSF phase. It is recommended that UNCDF consider loan and guarantee instruments to support SMEs within this component. UNCDF should follow up on EU’s ‘pillar assessment’ of the institution which, if successful, would lift the restrictions on use of project funds to grant instruments only and enable JSF to use EU funds for lending and guarantees. 
 

3

Recommendation 2

Advocating for decentralisation. Demonstrating the effectiveness of the LoCAL model should be combined with more targeted communication and advocacy work with the Government on applying the lessons of LoCAL to government finances. An ambitious lobbying and advocacy strategy could work to unlock fiscal transfers from the central to local governments and to foster all-of-government adoption of LoCAL as a framework for line Ministries’ work. JSF should also assess local government role in resource mobilisation and the apparent trend towards recentralising some local revenue sources. The research and communications budget lines may need to be reviewed upwards.

 
 
 
 
4

Recommendation 3

Strengthening the weak middle by widening LoCAL support to regional level government. Strengthening the planning budgeting, auditing, financial management and coordination capacities of the Area Councils is crucial to the continued effectiveness and sustainability of LoCAL in The Gambia. In the first instance, UNCDF might amend the budget modestly to cater for the training of CEOs, Committee Chairpersons and technical staff of the council. UNCDF might also approach the EU and the World Bank for a supplementary grant focused specifically on Area Councils including their revenue raising capacities and regional infrastructure. In the medium term, the capacity building of the Area Councils should be explicitly built into the GCF proposal.

 
 
 
 
5

   Recommendation 4

Building on the Sector Skills Council work to date, ITC should strengthen the demand side aspects of the skills development components by introducing: ?
        -  Mentorship and career guidance as a key activity within the skills development component, aimed at enhancing career progression of trainees. This could be important to focus on in the final phase of programme rollout. ?
        -  Ensure systematic monitoring and documentation of beneficiaries’ employment post- graduation through post-placement tracking, such as the independent GBOS monitoring, to assess how the training has impacted project beneficiaries. This will help measure programme impact but also consolidate a focus on employment outcomes and provide evidence of promising career progression pathways that open-up for project beneficiaries. ?
        -  A focus on more generic, cross-cutting training in transferable skills, such as financial management, negotiation, communication etc., This could further enhance employability of trainees in a changing job market as well help drive self- employment. ?
        -  Further innovative funding models for private sector TVET providers. The use of outcome- based funding programmes for skills development, such as Development Impact Bonds, or enhancing public-private partnerships in this area could play a role in overcoming current funding challenges faced by private TVET providers. ?

6

Recommendation 5

Build a stronger business case for development of mobile money and agent banking networks by widening out support to providers from the current focus on systems to pay Cash for Work recipients. Linking support for developing payment systems to CfW recipients in LoCAL projects has challenged the viability of agent network expansion due to low numbers, delays, short term and small scale payment schedules. JFS should expand work with Reliance Financial Services and QMoney to assess potential for developing agent networks through:

                  -  Digitising agricultural value chains, potentially involving a linkage with recommended SME job creation component. Viable opportunities may exist to work with lead firms trading and processing ground nuts, cashew nuts, mango and other crops. ?

                  -  Linkage with inward international remittance flows. The Gambian diaspora is a very important source of funds for the country which could be attracted into the financial system through digital linkages between international remittance providers and domestic mobile money, bank and non-bank networks. ?

7

Recommendation 6

In conjunction with the Central Bank and the World Bank, discuss and agree a realigned approach to the National Financial Inclusion strategy and wider support for improving the regulatory framework for financial services. Communication and co-ordination between the Central Bank, WBG and UNCDF, its main sources of technical assistance, appears to have faltered, partly as a result of staffing gaps at UNCDF but also due to COVID-19 related restrictions effecting government priorities and international travel. JFS should continue to work with other parties to clarify the status of work on the NFIS, Central Bank requirements for support and an optimal division of responsibilities. To avoid over-reach in terms of workload and competencies, JFS could seek to focus on establishing processes for consultation and engagement on the strategy with stakeholders in the industry.

8

Recommendation 7

Decentralise JSF management structures to empower and raise the profile of UNCDF country office and JSF programme management. In any new phase or continuation of JSF, devolve greater decision-making authority in the project from regional or global programmes structures (YouthStart, LoCAL, LFI) to the programme management team in The Gambia. Review approval level for MoUs and Letters of agreement. Consider establishing service standards or timelines for approvals. Consider upgrading status of office to Country Representative Office. Consolidate finance and accounting function for JFS in the country office. ?

9

Recommendation 8
Redraft the logframe.
For any new phase of JSF, reconsider the project Theory of Change, introducing greater emphasis on demand side aspects of job creation, centred around a potential SME job creation component. Rebuild the logframe based on the revised Theory of Change and any other changes to the programme resulting from evaluation recommendations, addressing some earlier and current recommendations including: 
        −  Adding intermediate milestone targets before the end of the programme. ?
        −  Adding indicators at outcome level which reflect integration between programme components. ?
        −  Result  1 logframe indicators should be linked with the indicators used in the wards' Annual Performance Assessments; ?
        −  Some result 3 output indicators should be re-categorised as outcome indicators. ?
 

1. Recommendation:

UNCDF welcomes the evaluation. The report provides a number of insightful and solid recommendations that can guide UNCDF and partners to strengthen and deepen the JSF until the end of the programme. While the job creation dimension of the programme have largely been discussed in respect to result 1, it is important to highlight reduction in unemployment is considered at the impact level of the programme, specific objective 1 focuses on employability and result 1 focuses on temporary job creation as a mean to employability, among a number of other target indicators.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1
Develop a separate SME job creation component based on an expansion of existing LFI activities.

JSF currently focuses particularly on supply side aspects of job creation through skills development and financial inclusion interventions, with more limited focus on private sector job creation in productive sectors. It is recommended that JSF select a range of promising sectors with strong potential to create more productive jobs and income generating opportunities, potentially including tourism, agro-processing and renewable energy. The component should focus on larger SMEs with growth potential, offering technical assistance, grant funding and facilitating access to finance. UNCDF experience of working with large scale agricultural processors in Northern Uganda could be applied in this context. This component should also be linked to the skills development component, training women and youth for productive jobs in these selected sectors based on the needs of target companies. The LoCAL result could also be linked by focusing on wards where companies are located and supporting small infrastructure projects (local road upgrading, water supply, electricity distribution) that would contribute to job creation by businesses in these sectors. 
The component could adopt a sector wide, value chain approach, bringing multiple interventions to bear that will fill gaps and create opportunities in productive, job creating sectors. This reorientation could most easily be introduced in a new phase of JSF but diagnostic work to identify sectors and potential companies could be introduced as part of the current JSF phase. It is recommended that UNCDF consider loan and guarantee instruments to support SMEs within this component. UNCDF should follow up on EU’s ‘pillar assessment’ of the institution which, if successful, would lift the restrictions on use of project funds to grant instruments only and enable JSF to use EU funds for lending and guarantees. 
 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Partially accepted
Reduction in unemployment is considered at the impact level of the programme, specific objective 1 of component 1 focuses on employability and result 1 aims to create temporary jobs as a mean to employability, among a number of other target indicators. 
Result 2, was budgeted and designed to support investments with small seed capital in the form of grants to help derisk and unlock additional finance from local banks. The budget and duration of JSF will not allow for the development of a new component that can target of large SMEs. UNCDF takes however good note of the recommendation and  UNCDF and ITC will continue activating linkages with SMEs , with a view of increasing job opportunities for beneficiaries supported in their employability particularly unskilled laborers, complementing other efforts in the country in the area. 

As far as adjusting the “focus on wards based on presence of companies” or changing the menu of investments to focus on “different types of projects (local road upgrading, water supply, electricity distribution) that would contribute to job creation by businesses in these sectors”, a mapping of SMEs in the current wards will be considered but a geographical shift can not be undertaken at this point of the programme where all 32 wards are already selected, nor allow for the PBCRG system to operate with the annual performance assessments. A review of the menu can be considered although keeping in consideration the types of investments within the mandates of the wards and within the size of the grants. In further deploying the menu and/or a revised menu, due consideration will be given to the fact investments are selected at the ward level together with communities to foster ownership and sustainability and cannot be decided externally to focus exclusively on investments that might meet mainly the needs of SMEs. The size of the grants within the current programme might also pose constraints in terms of the type of investments recommended by the mid-term evaluation (local road upgrading, water supply, electricity distribution).

“Diagnostic work to identify sectors and potential companies” will be considered within the remaining duration of the programme.  

UNCDF is following the pillar assessment with EU closely. The remaining duration of the programme is however unlikely to allow for a change and use of loans and guarantees. 
 

 
 
 
 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. UNCDF and ITC will continue activating linkages with SMEs, with a view of increasing job opportunities for beneficiaries supported in their employability particularly unskilled laborers, complementing other efforts in the country in the areaThis includes existing SME clients like Aspuna or Tropingo. And under ITC, apprentenship with GHE, TAF, Radville Farms etc.
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF (LoCAL and LFI) & ITC under its TVET roadmap program 2023/03 Initiated Moreover, the new country program, LoCAL Plus will focus on supporting the government of the Gambia in three key areas - decentralization, SME Finance and Skills Development (to increase job opportunities). We will continue working with ITC and relevant UNCDF practices in the design of the LoCAL Plus program. History
1.2. ITC and UNCDF will develop a joint thought paper / roadmap to promote MSME investment opportunities in key sectors – Agriculture, Transport, Tourism and Digital (“Diagnostic work to identify sectors and potential companies”)
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF (all) ITC/DCP/OA, ITC/DEI 2023/03 Initiated Intial meeting was held in January/ February this year. Consultations on going to materialize in the design of LoCAL Plus program History
1.3. UNCDF will undertake a mapping of SMEs present in the 32 target wards and review the menu based on the MTE recommendations
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF LoCAL 2022/12 Not Initiated Review of the LoCAL Design is scheduled in September History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2

Advocating for decentralisation. Demonstrating the effectiveness of the LoCAL model should be combined with more targeted communication and advocacy work with the Government on applying the lessons of LoCAL to government finances. An ambitious lobbying and advocacy strategy could work to unlock fiscal transfers from the central to local governments and to foster all-of-government adoption of LoCAL as a framework for line Ministries’ work. JSF should also assess local government role in resource mobilisation and the apparent trend towards recentralising some local revenue sources. The research and communications budget lines may need to be reviewed upwards.

 
 
 
 
Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 UNCDF through JSF will continue to raise awareness and advocate for the creation budget codes and allocation of funds to support WDCs and councils to for local and climate investments that address climate risks, improve their resilience, and enhance their livelihoods. This will be done through dialogue and the technical steering committee (TSC) and national steering committee (NSC) set up by the programme.
[Added: 2022/01/04]
UNCDF LoCAL ; LoCAL TSC & NSC 2022/12 Initiated
2.2 A study on the role of local government in resource mobilization will be developed.
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF LoCAL 2022/12 Not Initiated To be done during the review of the LoCAL design done pre JSF. History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3

Strengthening the weak middle by widening LoCAL support to regional level government. Strengthening the planning budgeting, auditing, financial management and coordination capacities of the Area Councils is crucial to the continued effectiveness and sustainability of LoCAL in The Gambia. In the first instance, UNCDF might amend the budget modestly to cater for the training of CEOs, Committee Chairpersons and technical staff of the council. UNCDF might also approach the EU and the World Bank for a supplementary grant focused specifically on Area Councils including their revenue raising capacities and regional infrastructure. In the medium term, the capacity building of the Area Councils should be explicitly built into the GCF proposal.

 
 
 
 
Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 UNCDF will continue and step up efforts to involve council staff in capacity building activities
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF LoCAL; LoCAL TSC 2023/03 Initiated A consultant has been hired to provide PFM train the trainers. Local council staff will benefit from the training. They will also be consulted in the review of the LoCAL design. As well as inclusion in the design of the LoCAL Plus. History
3.2 UNCDF will continue to provide support to councils to enhance their documentation and knowledge management skills.
[Added: 2022/01/04]
UNCDF LoCAL; LoCAL TSC 2022/09 Initiated
3.3 UNCDF will consult with development partners to explore options to provide additional support to councils including for their revenue raising capacities and regional infrastructure.
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF LoCAL; LoCAL TSC 2023/03 Not Initiated To be considered in the LoCAL PLus design. History
5. Recommendation:

   Recommendation 4

Building on the Sector Skills Council work to date, ITC should strengthen the demand side aspects of the skills development components by introducing: ?
        -  Mentorship and career guidance as a key activity within the skills development component, aimed at enhancing career progression of trainees. This could be important to focus on in the final phase of programme rollout. ?
        -  Ensure systematic monitoring and documentation of beneficiaries’ employment post- graduation through post-placement tracking, such as the independent GBOS monitoring, to assess how the training has impacted project beneficiaries. This will help measure programme impact but also consolidate a focus on employment outcomes and provide evidence of promising career progression pathways that open-up for project beneficiaries. ?
        -  A focus on more generic, cross-cutting training in transferable skills, such as financial management, negotiation, communication etc., This could further enhance employability of trainees in a changing job market as well help drive self- employment. ?
        -  Further innovative funding models for private sector TVET providers. The use of outcome- based funding programmes for skills development, such as Development Impact Bonds, or enhancing public-private partnerships in this area could play a role in overcoming current funding challenges faced by private TVET providers. ?

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.2 Baseline end-of-activity data collection will continue through the collaboration with implementing partners and independent enumerators with increased focus on employment tracking in 2022 to consolidate project results and inform government strategies for replicability and scale.
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
ITC/DCP/OA 2022/09 Initiated History
4.3 It also part of the workplan and JSF activities in 2022 include continuous entrepreneurship support and complementary soft-skills through initiatives like Kick4Trade that focused on key behavioral aspects for improved employability
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
ITC/DCP/OA 2022/09 Initiated History
4.4 ITC has championed outcome-based skills training through the Skills for Youth Employment Funds, the SSCs and the apprenticeship framework involving private sector. The push to further innovative funding models will continue through the National TVET Committee that are organized quarterly and work with private sector association (NAVSTI). The PPP will continue in construction through the apprenticeship framework (e.g. partnerships with GHE or TAF, NAQAA, Sector Associations). A new PPP will be rolled out in the poultry sector involving, NAQAA, the Young Poultry Farmers Association (YPFA), Empas and a number of model farms for a new practical on the job training
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
ITC/DCP/OA 2022/09 Initiated Construction Ongoing. Poultry started in March History
4.1 This is part of the 2022 workplan and activities have already been planned and service providers contracted (e.g. COIF) to implement a series of orientations, trainings and coaching programs for TVET graduates.
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
ITC/DCP/OA 2022/06 Completed COIF have been implemented. Orientations, trainings and coaching programs completed History
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5

Build a stronger business case for development of mobile money and agent banking networks by widening out support to providers from the current focus on systems to pay Cash for Work recipients. Linking support for developing payment systems to CfW recipients in LoCAL projects has challenged the viability of agent network expansion due to low numbers, delays, short term and small scale payment schedules. JFS should expand work with Reliance Financial Services and QMoney to assess potential for developing agent networks through:

                  -  Digitising agricultural value chains, potentially involving a linkage with recommended SME job creation component. Viable opportunities may exist to work with lead firms trading and processing ground nuts, cashew nuts, mango and other crops. ?

                  -  Linkage with inward international remittance flows. The Gambian diaspora is a very important source of funds for the country which could be attracted into the financial system through digital linkages between international remittance providers and domestic mobile money, bank and non-bank networks. ?

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 UNCDF will work on digitizing agricultural value chains, potentially involving a linkage with recommended SME job creation component
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF IDE 2023/03 Initiated To be considered in the LoCAL PLus design History
5.2 UNCDF will assess potential on linkages with inward international remittance flows
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF IDE 2022/09 Not Initiated History
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6

In conjunction with the Central Bank and the World Bank, discuss and agree a realigned approach to the National Financial Inclusion strategy and wider support for improving the regulatory framework for financial services. Communication and co-ordination between the Central Bank, WBG and UNCDF, its main sources of technical assistance, appears to have faltered, partly as a result of staffing gaps at UNCDF but also due to COVID-19 related restrictions effecting government priorities and international travel. JFS should continue to work with other parties to clarify the status of work on the NFIS, Central Bank requirements for support and an optimal division of responsibilities. To avoid over-reach in terms of workload and competencies, JFS could seek to focus on establishing processes for consultation and engagement on the strategy with stakeholders in the industry.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 UNCDF will lead the finalization and launch of NFIS
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/03/10]
UNCDF IDE 2022/03 Completed Successfully launched on the 26th of January through leadership support of UNCDF. We will continue to lead in the NFIS Implementation. History
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7

Decentralise JSF management structures to empower and raise the profile of UNCDF country office and JSF programme management. In any new phase or continuation of JSF, devolve greater decision-making authority in the project from regional or global programmes structures (YouthStart, LoCAL, LFI) to the programme management team in The Gambia. Review approval level for MoUs and Letters of agreement. Consider establishing service standards or timelines for approvals. Consider upgrading status of office to Country Representative Office. Consolidate finance and accounting function for JFS in the country office. ?

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Review approval level for MoUs and Letters of agreement
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF HQ 2022/09 Initiated Ongoing. Discussions have started through the National Steering Committee co - chair Minister of Finance to operate a revolving full fledge four year country plan program with the government of The Gambia, aligned with the NDP. Bilateral meeting between Minister of Finance and Preeti is being arranged to discuss this between the 11th - 15th July 2022. History
7.2 Consider establishing service standards or timelines for approvals
[Added: 2022/01/04]
UNCDF HQ 2022/12 Initiated
7.3 Strenghten in country capacities for finance and accounting function
[Added: 2022/01/04]
UNCDF (all unit) 2022/09 Not Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8
Redraft the logframe.
For any new phase of JSF, reconsider the project Theory of Change, introducing greater emphasis on demand side aspects of job creation, centred around a potential SME job creation component. Rebuild the logframe based on the revised Theory of Change and any other changes to the programme resulting from evaluation recommendations, addressing some earlier and current recommendations including: 
        −  Adding intermediate milestone targets before the end of the programme. ?
        −  Adding indicators at outcome level which reflect integration between programme components. ?
        −  Result  1 logframe indicators should be linked with the indicators used in the wards' Annual Performance Assessments; ?
        −  Some result 3 output indicators should be re-categorised as outcome indicators. ?
 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/01/04]

Accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Secure the services of key resource persons to provide support to improve the logframe within the timeframe of the programme (linking Result 1 logframe indicators with APA and re-catgeorising result 3 indicators)
[Added: 2022/01/04] [Last Updated: 2022/06/22]
UNCDF 2022/06 Completed Completed with support of EU Consultant. History

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