Final evaluation of Electoral Support Project

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Evaluation Plan:
2021-2025, Ethiopia
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
02/2022
Completion Date:
02/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
75,000

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Title Final evaluation of Electoral Support Project
Atlas Project Number: 00117580
Evaluation Plan: 2021-2025, Ethiopia
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2022
Planned End Date: 02/2022
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Governance
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
SDG Goal
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
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 $): 75,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Margie Cook International Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: NEBE – National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, Netherlands, Norway, Swedish, New Zealand, Department for international Dev’t, Irish AID, UNDP
Countries: ETHIOPIA
Lessons
1.

The project design did not adequately acknowledge the impact of the lived experience of NEBE.  An outcome was a less than optimal nuanced starting point with regards to external engagement, and a lack of appreciation of the inappropriateness of NEBE to gather, hold and respond to security-related issues.  Greater awareness of this context may have led to a revised approach to some aspects of Outputs 2 and 3


2.

The Project Design was quite detailed and prescriptive, prima facie limiting elasticity of approach.  The reality of delivery was in fact very nimble but neither the Theory of Change nor the Project Document itself were revisited even when significant changes in approach were required.  It would be helpful to add a component to the Risk Matrix that requires any risk evaluation and major re-focus or orientation to also be reflected in ProDoc amendments.


3.

Expectations for a transformational election were implausibly high.  Across the continent, donor expectations are driven by weakness in understanding political realities and the pace of embedding and institutionalizing change.  Change in attitudes and behavior is long-term and unrealistic hopes should have been moderated.


4.

Coordination and partnerships suffered at several levels.  At the outset, lack of clarity on the role of UNDP as an agency leading on electoral support impacted perceptions within the UN family of estrangement from the program, reducing the viability of a joint-agency approach.  Lack of clear guidance vis-a-vis expectations of other agency efforts to be generously funded by the program led to a degree of resentment.  At the broader IP level, the creation of a NEBE, joint or UN-led information-sharing platform that brought all IPs around the table to share information on inputs mitigated a comprehensive picture of support.  Such a platform can support harmonization, mitigate against duplication of effort, leverage complementary effort, agree on key messaging, and reduce the burden of engagement with individual IPs on the EMB.  As the UNDP’s primary donor and one with vast experience on the continent and embedded within the UK Mission itself, consideration might usefully have been given to inviting the UK into the higher-level donor coordination processes.


5.

Caution should be applied to donor-funding of key institutional posts in the absence of agreed sustainability or exit strategy.

The EMB Board was not engaged by key IPs in a way that maximized its potential to encourage the devolution of responsibility for decisions within NEBE and increase capacity.

The delay incurred by COVID-19 was a lost opportunity in terms of planning, especially capacity development.

The level of engagement and coordination between NEBE HQ and regional areas was patchy and weak in many areas.


6.

Inclusion of vulnerable and other cohorts is a long-term objective.  Incentivization by NEBE of political parties to raise the level of participation by women did not result in significant change.  Barriers to women’s participation are deeply embedded and work with political parties and on women’s advocacy needs to be long-term.  Consideration should be given to introducing mandatory quotas for women candidates and elected representatives within parties.


7.

It was recognized that the EMB is not the appropriate platform for the outcomes envisaged by Output 3 and the EVER activities.  Despite the lack of take-up locally, lessons learned are being absorbed by the JTF in terms of reviewing prospective partnership options and the experience is being applied to the tools, training, and methodologies continually evolving in the area of election-related violence, prevention, and response. 


Findings
Recommendations
1

Evaluation recommendation 1.  The continuation of support be enabled through a no-cost extension or other means to be determined to ensure the anticipated capacity strengthening intent of the project is not lost and to ensure knowledge capture, knowledge management and professionalisation is embedded within the NEBE.

2

Evaluation recommendation 2. A future program needs to identify areas of prioritization and restrain from offering an all-in-one approach where deliverables are overly ambitious

3

Evaluation recommendation 3. Urgent consideration is given to the issue of staff retention and knowledge capture within NEBE.  Future programming (from all IPs) should carefully consider the risks and implications of funding key institutional posts in the absence of an agreed exit or sustainability strategy

4

Evaluation recommendation 4. A strategic planning exercise be conducted by NEBE with appropriate expert and experienced facilitation to lay out a plan for the next five years.  The planning exercise should include:

5

Evaluation recommendation 5.  The Strategic planning exercise would be usefully accompanied by a review of the electoral framework for relevance, applicability, gaps, and recommendations

6

Evaluation recommendation 6. Efforts should be made to consolidate experience and learning from the project’s evaluative processes to articulate core baselines as a starting point for any consequent interventions.  These would be helpful, particularly around the issues of the barriers to and experience of women’s participation and that of other vulnerable minorities including people with disabilities and IDPs; and disaggregated data on voter and candidate registration, turnout, and elected representatives

7

Evaluation recommendation 10. Positive uptake in women’s participation and broader social inclusion in electoral processes will evolve from long-term advocacy, not short-term interventions.  Engagement in women’s participation as candidates and voters must be maintained, using the forthcoming local elections as an early opportunity to reach out to regions and local communities as well as political parties.  A continued relationship with UN Women and the maintenance of close ties and the enabling of CSOs such as EWLA to support these initiatives is recommended

1. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 1.  The continuation of support be enabled through a no-cost extension or other means to be determined to ensure the anticipated capacity strengthening intent of the project is not lost and to ensure knowledge capture, knowledge management and professionalisation is embedded within the NEBE.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/03]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Request a no-cost extension of the project till August 2022
[Added: 2022/04/03] [Last Updated: 2022/04/04]
Governance and Capacity building unit 2022/03 Completed Agreed in Project Board meeting History
2. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 2. A future program needs to identify areas of prioritization and restrain from offering an all-in-one approach where deliverables are overly ambitious

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/03]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Request for new technical assistance after NEBE's lessons learned exercise
[Added: 2022/04/03] [Last Updated: 2022/04/04]
GDP Unit and NEBE 2022/07 Initiated History
3. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 3. Urgent consideration is given to the issue of staff retention and knowledge capture within NEBE.  Future programming (from all IPs) should carefully consider the risks and implications of funding key institutional posts in the absence of an agreed exit or sustainability strategy

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/03]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Develop NEBE's HR Plan to address this issue
[Added: 2022/04/03] [Last Updated: 2022/04/04]
NEBE 2022/07 Initiated History
4. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 4. A strategic planning exercise be conducted by NEBE with appropriate expert and experienced facilitation to lay out a plan for the next five years.  The planning exercise should include:

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/03]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Hire a consultant for assisting NEBE with the development of the strategic plan
[Added: 2022/04/03] [Last Updated: 2022/04/04]
GDP unit 2022/08 Initiated History
5. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 5.  The Strategic planning exercise would be usefully accompanied by a review of the electoral framework for relevance, applicability, gaps, and recommendations

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/03]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Hire a consultant to support NEBE in the legal review exercise
[Added: 2022/04/04]
GDP Unit 2022/07 Initiated The consultant engaged and working on the legal review process
6. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 6. Efforts should be made to consolidate experience and learning from the project’s evaluative processes to articulate core baselines as a starting point for any consequent interventions.  These would be helpful, particularly around the issues of the barriers to and experience of women’s participation and that of other vulnerable minorities including people with disabilities and IDPs; and disaggregated data on voter and candidate registration, turnout, and elected representatives

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

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Conduct a comprehensive lesson learned exercise as per the agreement with NEBE.
[Added: 2022/04/04]
GDP and NEBE 2022/07 Initiated History
7. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 10. Positive uptake in women’s participation and broader social inclusion in electoral processes will evolve from long-term advocacy, not short-term interventions.  Engagement in women’s participation as candidates and voters must be maintained, using the forthcoming local elections as an early opportunity to reach out to regions and local communities as well as political parties.  A continued relationship with UN Women and the maintenance of close ties and the enabling of CSOs such as EWLA to support these initiatives is recommended

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

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Extend UN Women Partnership and include new areas
[Added: 2022/04/04]
GDP 2022/03 Completed UN Women Partnership has been extended and new areas included History

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