Mid-Term Review - Township Democratic Local Governance (TDLG)

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Myanmar
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
09/2020
Completion Date:
09/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
65,000

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Download document TOR TDLG MTR Team Leader.pdf tor English 327.19 KB Posted 225
Download document TOR TDLG MTR - International Conflict sensitivity abd Gender expert.pdf tor English 291.86 KB Posted 232
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Download document TDLG MTR Report - Final.pdf report English 1119.03 KB Posted 317
Title Mid-Term Review - Township Democratic Local Governance (TDLG)
Atlas Project Number: 89167
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Myanmar
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2020
Planned End Date: 09/2020
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 65,000
Source of Funding: project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 71,860
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dr. Hamish Nixon Team Leader hamish@hamishnixon.com
Sweta Velpillay Conflict Sensitivity and Gender Expert svelpillay@gmail.com
Aung Tun National Expert aungtunn@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: MOPFI- Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry, MOUGO- Ministry of Union Government Office (GAD-General Administration Department); Bago and Mon Region Gov
Countries: MYANMAR
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

1.Prioritize adequate short-term resourcing and effective use by the Township Demographic Local Governance (TDLG) team of its components in terms of expertise and finances, with the emphasis on ensuring a strong Result Arae 4 (RA 4), strategy and attention to the current demand-driven needs assessments for Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs).

2

2. Continue the current effort with EAOs to identify demand driven capacity and governance needs as expressed at a strategic and HQ level, not only at local levels (Mon State and expansion areas including Rakhine and Kachin). 

3

3. Develop a more focused and detailed Result Area 4 (RA 4) Evidence to Policy strategy to consolidate this phase’s gains. This may include targeted policy briefs, multi-media, digital or traditional media focused on a small set of targeted messages to be developed with counterparts at Township and State and Region level

4

4. Address issues in project governance, management and organizational culture and capacity

5

5. Consider an approach to CSO engagement that is not counterpart based, but rather capability and process based. The “supply” and “demand” side of local governance have become artificially silo-ed by dividing project partners’ responsibilities according to their counterparts, rather than the knowledge or approach they should be bringing to those arenas where supply and demand meet.

6

6. Assess the relevance to core project objectives, and potential alternatives to the current Township level procurement approach, considering Myanmar’s emerging procurement legislation. The TDLG approach to bring procurement capabilities close to the decision-making process is valuable and will benefit officials even if procurement law does not change markedly as they circulate in the system. However, given the evidence of procurement mismatches at Township level, consideration should be given to a tiered approach that may revert to States and Regions in some cases. Consider closer alignment of TDLG procurement and emerging GoM procurement legislation and policies

7

7. Include more monitoring and evaluation information on the actual sub-project outcomes. The TDLG is often described as a “governance” or even “government” project, with the implication (sometimes explicitly) that the physical project outcomes are secondary to the main purpose. The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is limited to the procurement and project completion. It is important that the local sub-projects are clearly monitored themselves against implementation, impact and conflict and gender sensitivity criteria – the MTR found several competing claims over the quality or sensitivity of sub-projects, but little treatment or assessment of these in M & E reporting.

8

8. Consider more continuity and joint ownership of project evaluation and design work, possibly including an independent standing shared review function. TDLG has prompted a range of attempts to review its performance and learn, each coming from the perspective of individual stakeholders. Furthermore, general UNDP evaluation guidance suggests it can be important to consider how evaluation work can contribute to partner capacity to conduct such evaluations. As a project with good national ownership and an emphasis on country systems, TDLG provides a good opportunity to build national evaluation capacity. It may be valuable to consider how Myanmar’s domestic project evaluation capacity may be supported through joint evaluation, review or design activities. Joint evaluation with EAO or CSO participation may even be an activity that can be added to potential confidence-building measures under a revamped EAO engagement model, and could involve Oxfam, Covenant or other appropriate partners enjoying a high degree of EAO awareness and trust.

9

9. The MTR represents an opportunity for engaging respondents, beneficiaries and programme staff and a plan to utilize MTR findings may be useful. While the MTR will be used to inform the TDLG Project Board and presumably any other Government and Donor stakeholders, it is also good practice to engage the local stakeholders in the results and actions arising out of review and evaluation activities. This is also an area where gender focus can be enhanced through specific engagement on gender dimensions.

10

10. Critically examine the objectives and requirements for a future phase of TDLG to inform the future balance between a clear, focused approach to local governance support (as in TDLG) and a broader more multi-dimensional or flexible approach. There are pros and cons for both approaches, and TDLGs performance in RA 1 demonstrates that the simpler one may work. However, there appears to be a case for a more multi-dimensional or demand-driven approach if a future phase includes an evolved grant modality, more diverse capacity development support, and a reframed approach to EAOs.

11

11. Explore areas and means of broadening Township capacity development beyond the current focus on workshop facilitation and procurement. This preparation will help guide new phases of capacity support, or the introduction of a more demand-driven capacity development facility. This capacity development “menu” should consider, but not be limited to:

12

12. At the same time, identify options for further development of the grant modality in the next phase. The combination of the grant modality and the capacity development approach should continue to evolve hand in hand and require careful design. Options considered should include, but not be limited to

13

13. Develop a model or models for local governance support in areas where authority is contested by EAOs that retains core TDLG elements but also addresses the contradiction in the current project model for EAOs.   TDLGs approach to capacity building by doing, planning and prioritization with a clear budget constraint, and linking experience to policy, are worth retaining. They can be while other modifications may be able to alleviate the strategic tension between the statebuilding oriented aspects of the model and EAO concerns. Additional elements of the project that reflect key EAO concerns will be needed. One consideration will be whether there should be specific provision or direction for issue areas or sectors of focus to be agreed with EAOs and GoM. The MTR understands that there was discussion during design of potential sectoral support along the lines set out in the NCA, but this was not pursued at that time. It may be worth revisiting more targeted sectoral approaches with EAOs and seek agreement with GoM

1. Recommendation:

1.Prioritize adequate short-term resourcing and effective use by the Township Demographic Local Governance (TDLG) team of its components in terms of expertise and finances, with the emphasis on ensuring a strong Result Arae 4 (RA 4), strategy and attention to the current demand-driven needs assessments for Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

The 2020 workplan allocation for RA4 has been increased with a number of interventions planned: 

• In the course of the year it is planned to document key lessons of policy and practice arising from TDLG experience under Outputs 1, 2 and 3, and share these with other stakeholders for discussion (within the limits of Covid-19 restrictions).  

• One key activity planned under this output is the Governance Forum to reflect on lessons generated from TDLG and research/ policy papers: It will provide an opportunity to engage with a broader range of stakeholders to see how this can inform policy advocacy and change in policy and practice. A concept paper for the Forum has been circulated to government and donors for feedback and discussion. The Forum was previously scheduled to take place in June 2020 but had to be postponed to early 2021 on request of the Government due to the COVID-19 crisis. Even if the forum cannot take place in 2020, the materials and preparatory work, all analysis, presentations, technical meetings/ reviews, creation of a dedicated website, etc. will still be initiated and completed by TDLG by the end of 2020. 

 • Two lessons learnt workshops due to take place in Bago Region and Mon State were planned but had to be postponed. Depending on the required precautionary measures in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, UNDP hopes to facilitate these workshops towards the end of the year. The development of at least two local governance case studies will enable reflections during Technical Working Group meetings and the Local Governance Donor Coordination Group that will take place in person or remotely.

 • To support all the above, an international Strategic Governance Advisor is hired for a short term and an international Local Governance Advisor for a longer term who would provide technical advice and support to strengthen RA4. In addition, a National Local Governance Policy Advisor has been hired and is now based in Naypyidaw.

 • The next project phase will adopt several of the recommendations: (a) grant financing will feature as a distinct output to reflect importance of ‘fiscal policy’ issues, otherwise neglected in the TDLG results structure; and (b) place special emphasis on lesson-learning to feed into policy and practice and to building partnerships around this. The response regarding EAOs is covered under Recommendation # 2 below.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Discuss with the project team and incorporate the short term recommendations while preparing the work plan for 2020.
[Added: 2020/11/16]
Governance and Sustainable Peace (GSP) Unit 2020/03 Completed All short term recommendations are incorporated in 2020 Annual Work Plan endorsed by the project board on 6 March 2020
1.2 Reflect long term recommendation in Phase II design
[Added: 2020/11/16]
Township Demographic Local Governance (TDLG)Team 2020/11 Completed All long term recommendations are incorporated in the concept note for the development of Phase II. Consultations are taking part with donors, Government and other stakeholders on how recommendations can be further taken forward into the draft project document.
2. Recommendation:

2. Continue the current effort with EAOs to identify demand driven capacity and governance needs as expressed at a strategic and HQ level, not only at local levels (Mon State and expansion areas including Rakhine and Kachin). 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

 • Consultations to identify demand driven capacity and governance needs have already been held in February & March 2020 with both KNU and NMSP around capacity development needs. To respond to these needs and to strengthen RA3, Covenant Institute has been contracted by UNDP in June 2020 to support the TDLG team and partners on conflict sensitivity, engagement with EAOs and deliver capacity development activities. The work with Covenant Institute will also serve as pilot until December 2020 to see how this partnership can also strengthen this area of work in phase II.

• Project budget allocations for FY 2020 under Output 3 have been made to fund the work of Covenant Institute to kick-start capacity building of KNU and NMSP in Mon State. A comprehensive long term approach for UNDP’s local governance work in areas under mixed control and/ or affected by violent conflict is being developed for phase II.

• The design process for phase II (see further below) will also engage with EAOs, and will aim to address EAO engagement issues more comprehensively.  In this regard, several options for engaging with EAOs (incl. different funding arrangements for grants implemented in areas under control of EAOs) have been developed for consideration and feedback from stakeholders

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Identify partner organization to strengthen Result Area 3 (RA3)
[Added: 2020/11/16]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2020/07 Completed Included in the work plan 2020. Covenant Institute was contracted at the end of June.
2.2 Consultations with stakeholders (including EAOs) to identify and agree on appropriate models for engagement with EAOs and grant implementation in areas of mixed control
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: After the military took over on 1 Feb 2021, UNDP developed engagement principles which were adopted by UN country Team. The principles guide MMR programming such that the benefits of programming accrue primarily and directly to the people or local communities without discrimination; that programming supports the strengthening of the rule of law and the protection and promotion of human rights; that it contributes to preserving the democratic space and supports humanitarian action and COVID responses. There will be no engagement or consultation with the military junta. Based on this, the existing prorgrammes have to realigned according to the Engagement Principles. The recommendation is no longer valid for TDLG. The recommendation is relevant for EAO component of new programme however this programme falls outside the scope of TDLG MTR. ]
Options for engaging with EAOs have been developed. Consultations with DP have been held. Consultations with Union government and EAOs have been suspended due to political developments in Myanmar since February 2021, Military Coup History
3. Recommendation:

3. Develop a more focused and detailed Result Area 4 (RA 4) Evidence to Policy strategy to consolidate this phase’s gains. This may include targeted policy briefs, multi-media, digital or traditional media focused on a small set of targeted messages to be developed with counterparts at Township and State and Region level

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

Response to this issue is also covered under #1 above.    The original priority for 2020 was to make use of the Local Governance Forum as a platform for joint reflection on how the learning can be used to inform policy and practice – but this has had to be postponed, due to COVID-19.   However, policy briefs and case studies will be prepared to document key lessons of policy and practice arising from TDLG, on topics such as: the policy significance of the township grant mechanism, the structure & role of the Township Planning & Implementation Committees, etc. For this purposes, appropriate budgetary and human resource allocations have been made under Output 4 in the 2020 work plan. As such, an International Strategic Governance Advisor and Local Governance Advisor have been hired, and a National Local Governance Policy Adviser has been recruited to support the above. They will prepare the Policy briefs and case studies, for submission for discussion to the TDLG Technical Working Group (with policy stakeholders from State/Region and Union governments) and to the Local Governance Donor Coordination Group, and to other stakeholders, and will be posted online.  In parallel, work will continue to prepare for the rescheduled Local Governance Forum in early 2021.   The overall budget for RA4 has been increased to deliver the above activities.

In order to develop a more focused and detailed “Evidence to Policy Strategy” to consolidate gains, a supplementary work plan was developed with the Articulation of Territorial Networks for Sustainable Development (ART) section of UNDP and funded to address this recommendation. ART will also support TDLG with the Local Governance Forum; COVID responses; decentralization cooperation initiatives and the formulation of Phase II.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Allocate more financial resource to strengthen RA4.
[Added: 2020/11/16]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2020/02 Completed 3.1 The budget for RA4 increased and two international experts (for short and longer term) and one National Local Governance Advisor were hired.
4. Recommendation:

4. Address issues in project governance, management and organizational culture and capacity

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

UNDP will make sure to have technical and managerial capacity and staff in the project for the last year. The work plan 2020 includes key positions (Project Manager-1 for the overall management and technical experts-2 to cover local governance and RA3). An International Strategic Governance Advisor was hired to lead the development of phase II, integrating MTR recommendations. A job description for an international Local Governance Advisor was developed and a candidate recruited to take up the position in October 2020. At the end of August 2020, the designated Advisor had to reject the offer because of a family emergency that required him to be located in a duty station in proximity of his family. The position was subsequently re-advertised. UNDP is now proceeding with the selection process for the position. This Advisor will provide strategic guidance, technical support and policy advice to the project in the long run, for both phases I and II. 

In the meanwhile, an experienced consultant has been contracted to provide technical leadership to the project team, including regular training sessions on key topics of local governance to the TDLG team.  A National Local Governance Policy Advisor has already been recruited who will support this effort.  

To strengthen the engagement with EAOs and to ensure that the partnership with the Covenant Institute (please refer to UNDP’s response under recommendation 2) will be linked to project implementation across all 4 outputs of the project, UNDP will continue to have a dedicated part-time expert who is fully integrated with the team to lead the work on RA 3.  A national conflict advisor is also being hired to provide training to the TDLG team and government staff on conflict mitigation and resolution issues. 

 As comprehensive long term approach for UNDP’s local governance work in areas under mixed control and/ or affected by violent conflict is being developed for phase II, UNDP will also identify an appropriate modality for the provision of full time or part time support in terms of a UNDP expert who will be integrated in the project team.

The first board meeting early 2020 tested an approach that allowed to more closely engage with partners and counterparts to discuss and present progress in a more interactive way. Because of the COVID-19 crisis starting at the end of March 2020, the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) could not yet be strengthened because the project team was very busy with adapting programming and supporting COVID-19 response. It is envisaged to organize TWGs in Q4. 

UNDP also strengthened collaboration with other partners, for example

a) The Center for Good Governance (CGG) was engaged in the development of a rapid

stakeholder consultation to gauge the experiences participants have had with the TDLG project and identify opportunities to further support participatory local governance processes in villages. Focusing on VTAs and Household and community leaders, the initiative reflects recommendations that TDLG would benefit from a more intensive downstream investment in the participatory process. As such, the rapid review aims to provide insights into specific ways in which the next phase of TDLG could support deeper community participation in local development through improved service delivery at lower levels.

 b) The development of a partnership with The Asia Foundation to provide technical support to Kyaikhto township, with additional townships after phase one, is ongoing. Potential areas of collaboration include: Pilot adaptation of local Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools, which have been tested previously, to a) map health care, quarantine and water access by population cluster and thereby identify COVID response hotspots and b) include geospatial data into the Kyaikhto and Mon State FY 2019-2020 budget review and FY 2020-2021 budget preparation process. If successful, GIS technology will be scaled to include additional townships, strengthening TDLG adaptability capacities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Hire dedicated technical experts with relevant expertise
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Complete for International and National consultants. The recruitment of the Local Governance Advisor (Fixed Term Assignment) has been announced twice. The written test took place on 2nd February. The process is now frozen as the post is no longer relevant for the new programme of UNDP MMR CO History
4.2 For phase II, identify an appropriate modality for the provision of full time or part time support by a UNDP expert with specialized knowledge on Conflict Prevention/ sensitivity
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Due to political developments in Myanmar in February 2021, Strengthening Local Governance in Myanmar programme (SLGM) was frozen. Accordingly all discussions related to SLGM are now on hold. Nonetheless, new contract was issued to Conflict Prevention Advisor to continue supporting TDLG throughout 2021. ]
The recommendation is no longer applicable since Phase II has been frozen. History
5. Recommendation:

5. Consider an approach to CSO engagement that is not counterpart based, but rather capability and process based. The “supply” and “demand” side of local governance have become artificially silo-ed by dividing project partners’ responsibilities according to their counterparts, rather than the knowledge or approach they should be bringing to those arenas where supply and demand meet.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

The relationship between Oxfam and UNDP in Mon State specifically was improved with efforts made by both sides to more closely work together and coordinate on the ground, realizing that the supply and demand side of programming needs to be integrated. A proposal for repurposing of Oxfam activities was jointly discussed and agreed to ensure response to COVID-19. The teams met more regularly to discuss upcoming activities, agree on how best to engage civil society, how to work with government, and what new approaches can be piloted in particular locations and documented subsequently to take learnings forward.

Beyond improving cooperation between UNDP and Oxfam on the ground, and trying to pilot new approaches where possible, there are limitations during the current phase of TDLG to make significant changes to CSO engagement approaches and activities during the last year of TDLG, and with the COVID pandemic limiting normal activity. Much of these recommendations will therefore carry through into design of phase II. As the recommendation suggests, the next phase will look into ensuring that there is an overall understanding on part of all stakeholders of the roles and responsibilities of the duty bearers and claim holders in the context of local governance and how the capacity strengthening of each side that the TDLG project undertakes, fits into this overall governance framework. It would be important for all stakeholders to understand where their roles, responsibilities and accountabilities lie as it pertains to the local governance landscape in Myanmar. This will then also allow other implementing partners - Oxfam and other actors - to clearly understand what aspects of capacity strengthening of the demand side actors they are working on and to what end. 

 

In the immediate:

  • • UNDP is also engaging with EAOs to explore scope for shorter- and longer-term support.
  • • UNDP has developed a partnership with the Centre for Good Governance (CGG) to undertake a rapid consultation of stakeholder experiences of participation in the TDLG programme and its processes, to help identify opportunities to further support participatory local governance processes in village tracts and villages. Results will provide a useful input into the design of future interventions during phase II.
  • • UNDP will prioritize capacity development for CSOs and staff this year if the projects will have savings during the course of implementation or if the project receives additional funding.

     

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Pilot new approaches for CSO engagement and stakeholder consultations in some townships
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Pilots for COVID Diaries (led by Oxfam and CGG) and GIS mapping (led by TAF) ended in December 2020. Although preparatory work was carried out, the Letter of Agreement with Mon State Government (former) was not signed. The pilots in 3 townships of Mon State have been suspended due to political development in Myanmar since February 2021. Cash for work schemes were successfully piloted in Rakhine History
6. Recommendation:

6. Assess the relevance to core project objectives, and potential alternatives to the current Township level procurement approach, considering Myanmar’s emerging procurement legislation. The TDLG approach to bring procurement capabilities close to the decision-making process is valuable and will benefit officials even if procurement law does not change markedly as they circulate in the system. However, given the evidence of procurement mismatches at Township level, consideration should be given to a tiered approach that may revert to States and Regions in some cases. Consider closer alignment of TDLG procurement and emerging GoM procurement legislation and policies

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

In preparing for the next phase, TDLG procurement procedures will be reviewed in 2nd half of 2020  in light of the new national procurement directive and the procurement law itself, both in order to address some of the project implementation issues and delays encountered, and also to explore the scope for community contracting for small-scale projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Organize internal discussions on the ‘new’ procurement law
[Added: 2020/11/16]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2020/04 Completed Internal discussions on procurement were carried out during Quarter 1.
6.2 Incorporate aspects of expanding procurement awareness to demand side actors and Village Tract Administrators (VTAs) as part of phase II development
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The recommendation is no longer valid as Phase II has been frozen. ]
Strengthening Local Governance in Myanmar programme -SLGM (TDLG Phase II) ProDoc includes aspects of expanding procurement awareness to demand side. However, the focus for the remaining period of Township Democratic Local Governance project (TDLG) will be to support community-based procurement and implementation History
7. Recommendation:

7. Include more monitoring and evaluation information on the actual sub-project outcomes. The TDLG is often described as a “governance” or even “government” project, with the implication (sometimes explicitly) that the physical project outcomes are secondary to the main purpose. The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is limited to the procurement and project completion. It is important that the local sub-projects are clearly monitored themselves against implementation, impact and conflict and gender sensitivity criteria – the MTR found several competing claims over the quality or sensitivity of sub-projects, but little treatment or assessment of these in M & E reporting.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

In the 2nd half of 2020 UNDP will review and revise the TDLG planning, project appraisal, and monitoring and reporting guidelines to be adopted in the next phase.  The aim will be to introduce basic ‘do no harm’ social and environmental safeguards, tools to better assess the likely costs and benefits of proposals, and to institute arrangements for local monitoring and report back on implementation, and on the socio-economic impact of the investments. Sub-project level impact assessments will be carried out to illustrate the changes TDLG is making on the lives of beneficiaries. As the recommendation suggests, monitoring frameworks for local sub projects will be developed together with the community and the township officials and will be part of the activities related to these local projects. This will have the multi-pronged benefit of not only developing the various stakeholders’ capacities in developing monitoring mechanism/frameworks around local initiatives but also serve to strengthen respective stakeholder accountabilities as well vis a vis these initiatives. 

Importantly, it is also noted on the distinction that these monitoring frameworks will be part of the activities related to local/community-based projects and different from the overall TDLG Project M&E framework which will exist at the Result Area (RA) levels.    

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.2 Prepare short sub-project level impact assessments
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/01/05]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2020/12 Completed Thaton case study also uploaded History
7.1 Update Grant Manual
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The Grant Manual was to be updated and ready for use during Phase II (which was frozen).]
International Consultant has started to update the Grant Manual in line with the consultations held. However, Grant Manual was meant for the sub-national governments (civilian government). In view of the political developments since February 2021, and associated Engagement Principles having Grant Manual is no longer relevant. Guidelines for community-based planning and implementation are being developed instead but this goes beyond the scope of Township Democratic Local Governance- TDLG MTR. History
8. Recommendation:

8. Consider more continuity and joint ownership of project evaluation and design work, possibly including an independent standing shared review function. TDLG has prompted a range of attempts to review its performance and learn, each coming from the perspective of individual stakeholders. Furthermore, general UNDP evaluation guidance suggests it can be important to consider how evaluation work can contribute to partner capacity to conduct such evaluations. As a project with good national ownership and an emphasis on country systems, TDLG provides a good opportunity to build national evaluation capacity. It may be valuable to consider how Myanmar’s domestic project evaluation capacity may be supported through joint evaluation, review or design activities. Joint evaluation with EAO or CSO participation may even be an activity that can be added to potential confidence-building measures under a revamped EAO engagement model, and could involve Oxfam, Covenant or other appropriate partners enjoying a high degree of EAO awareness and trust.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

It is late to introduce such arrangements in the last year of TDLG, since they would require extensive discussions and agreements with State/Region and Union government partners, and with key donors.  This might include a standing advisory / review panel comprising representatives from Union and State/Region government and from national research / advisory bodies and NGOs; there may also be scope to engage a technical agency / resource person(s) to support such a panel. Such arrangements, and options have been explored in the design of the next phase as far as possible.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Ensure provisions are put in place for joint ownership and evaluation in the design of Phase II
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit TDLG Team 2021/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The recommendation refers to Phase II which is frozen and is thus no longer relevant]
Final Strengthening Local Governance in Myanmar programme - SLGM ProDoc submitted to the donors includes provisions for greater national ownership at Union and sub-national levels, wider sets of policy / research partnerships, arrangements to support networking across States/Regions and townships, and independent annual reviews History
9. Recommendation:

9. The MTR represents an opportunity for engaging respondents, beneficiaries and programme staff and a plan to utilize MTR findings may be useful. While the MTR will be used to inform the TDLG Project Board and presumably any other Government and Donor stakeholders, it is also good practice to engage the local stakeholders in the results and actions arising out of review and evaluation activities. This is also an area where gender focus can be enhanced through specific engagement on gender dimensions.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

UNDP has already shared MTR findings with the project board members during the project board meeting on 6th March; and has also briefed project staff, other donors and stakeholders in regard to MTR findings

Further discussions of MTR findings, and their implications for the design of the next phase, took place during various key government, donor and other stakeholders in the course of 2020, in the process of developing the concept paper and project document for the next phase

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 Engage PB members and discuss ways forward
[Added: 2020/11/16]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2020/03 Completed MTR Findings were shared at the Project Board meeting on 6 March 2020
9.2 Use the ongoing Phase II design consultations to share MTR results with broader range of stakeholders and discuss ways forward
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Final Strengthening Local Governance in Myanmar programme (SLGM) ProDoc has submitted to the donors History
10. Recommendation:

10. Critically examine the objectives and requirements for a future phase of TDLG to inform the future balance between a clear, focused approach to local governance support (as in TDLG) and a broader more multi-dimensional or flexible approach. There are pros and cons for both approaches, and TDLGs performance in RA 1 demonstrates that the simpler one may work. However, there appears to be a case for a more multi-dimensional or demand-driven approach if a future phase includes an evolved grant modality, more diverse capacity development support, and a reframed approach to EAOs.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

UNDP is engaging extensively with key government, donor and other stakeholders around the scope and ambition of the next phase.  A concept paper has been developed that aligns with government expectation and commitment, donor priorities and engagement with a range ofstakeholders.. The COVID pandemic has also shifted national priorities towards socio economic recovery and it would be important to note how TDLG project will support that through its work. Based on feedback and iterative fine-tuning, a project document will be finalized within the agreed strategic framework and the national priorities

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 Prepare a Concept Note outlining key options and principles for flexible programming
[Added: 2020/11/16]
GSP Unit and TDLG Project Manager 2020/07 Completed Integrated Thematic Task Team meeting was held to discuss the draft Concept Paper. The Concept Note was shared with Government and development partners, and comments were received to inform further consultations (including with EAOs).
10.2 Design a Project Document to spell out the components and activities within the agreed strategic framework
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Project Manager 2021/07 Completed ProDoc was finalized and submitted to donors in January 2021. History
11. Recommendation:

11. Explore areas and means of broadening Township capacity development beyond the current focus on workshop facilitation and procurement. This preparation will help guide new phases of capacity support, or the introduction of a more demand-driven capacity development facility. This capacity development “menu” should consider, but not be limited to:

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

In developing the concept paper for the next phase, a number of the areas proposed by the MTR have been examined - for example:

 Support to monitoring and guidance capacity by States/Regions in regard to the townships.

  • Support to States and Regions’ own source revenue generation.
  • More robust social and environmental safeguard and cost benefit analysis/project appraisal tools.
  • Holding some planning workshops outside township seats to broaden participation and possibly facilitate EAO engagement.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1 Explore options for capacity building and their feasibility for inclusion in Phase II ProDoc
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Completed as part of design of Phase II ProDoc, but recommendation is no longer relevant since Phase II was frozen. Where relevant, the recommendation was taken into account as part of design of EAO Module and EAO Engagement Strategy that is outside the scope of Township Democratic Local Governance - TDLG MTR History
12. Recommendation:

12. At the same time, identify options for further development of the grant modality in the next phase. The combination of the grant modality and the capacity development approach should continue to evolve hand in hand and require careful design. Options considered should include, but not be limited to

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

In developing the concept paper for the next phase, a number of the options proposed by the MTR have been examined, for example:

  • Engaging State and Region governments to finance the township grant mechanism from their own budgets, and providing project grants as incentive to this, while phasing out over time.   
  • Where State/Region governments do agree to township grant financing from own budgets, then explore scope to expand the scope of township capacity building to the additional townships which can be thereby supported. 
  • Consider more innovative mechanisms to ensure that funding and project benefits are seen to accrue to populations in areas under EAO control, where this is seen as important by EAO partners. A model for a second funding window has been developed that allows smaller grants to be identified for the implementation of intra-village tract projects that can be carried out by community groups and NGOs (possibly also those that are trusted by EAOs), increasing the level of ownership by communities, especially in areas controlled by EAOs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
12.1 Explore options for developing the grant modality for potential inclusion in Phase II ProDoc
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
GSP Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Complete as part of Phase II design, but no longer relevant for implementation since Phase II was frozen. History
13. Recommendation:

13. Develop a model or models for local governance support in areas where authority is contested by EAOs that retains core TDLG elements but also addresses the contradiction in the current project model for EAOs.   TDLGs approach to capacity building by doing, planning and prioritization with a clear budget constraint, and linking experience to policy, are worth retaining. They can be while other modifications may be able to alleviate the strategic tension between the statebuilding oriented aspects of the model and EAO concerns. Additional elements of the project that reflect key EAO concerns will be needed. One consideration will be whether there should be specific provision or direction for issue areas or sectors of focus to be agreed with EAOs and GoM. The MTR understands that there was discussion during design of potential sectoral support along the lines set out in the NCA, but this was not pursued at that time. It may be worth revisiting more targeted sectoral approaches with EAOs and seek agreement with GoM

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/16]

This recommendation is also linked to Recommendations 2, 4 and partly 5 and respective management responses. In addition, UNDP will explore ways to more proactively secure EAO engagement, especially in the new phase.  The first step (as already noted) has been to secure agreement on areas for short term capacity support; subsequently Covenant Institute was contracted to implement this.  At the same time, design of the new phase will look at the various options to ensure closer involvement of EAOs and affiliated CSOs in planning, implementation and oversight of project and service delivery in the areas under their control – and for example

  • Consider how to retain key governance elements of the design while considering temporary off-budget approaches managed jointly with EAOs to build confidence.
  • Consider mechanisms to enhance EAO contributions to the formal decision-making process – this might mean either supplementing TPICs with some agreed interim institution that includes EAOs in a decision role, or simply having a parallel EAO grant mechanism that supplements the TDLG mainstream approach.
  • Consider further ways to enhance delivery in ethnic languages.
  • Assess UNDP and/or other organization’s positioning over time as a trusted and neutral manager for the EAO model. It may be advisable to separate implementation of future elements of programming with EAOs, though not necessarily so.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
13.1 Explore options for more proactive engagement of EAOs in Phase II
[Added: 2020/11/16] [Last Updated: 2021/07/29]
Governance and Sustainable Peace (GSP) Unit and TDLG Team 2021/07 Completed Complete as part of Phase II design, but no longer relevant since Phase II was frozen. To the extent possible, these recommendations were used in design of EAO Engagement Strategy and Module for new Programme. However, this falls outside the scope of TDLG MTR. History

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