Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo

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Evaluation Plan:
2021-2025, Kosovo
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
11/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

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Title Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo
Atlas Project Number: 00116874
Evaluation Plan: 2021-2025, Kosovo
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Governance
  • 2. Resilience
  • 3. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 2. Output 2.3.1 Data and risk-informed development policies, plans, systems and financing incorporate integrated and gender-responsive solutions to reduce disaster risks, enable climate change adaptation and mitigation, and prevent risk of conflict
SDG Goal
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG Target
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 21,464
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with UNWOMEN, UNV, UNICEF,
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Tommaso Balbo di Vinadio International Consultant
Donjeta Morina Local Consultant KOSOVO
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare
Countries: KOSOVO
Lessons
1.

In conclusion, this project can also be classified as a pilot/model that tested and experimented several approaches on youth empowerment and peacebuilding, and that achieved concrete results despite the difficult context and the complexity of the chosen topic. Consequently, the UN should build on the lessons learned from the PBF-funded project in Kosovo and consolidate the work it has started with a more structured approach.


Findings
1.

Relevance:

The evaluation found that the PBF-funded project was very relevant as the project design was based on a sound understanding of the context of Kosovo and the particular challenges facing the young post-war generation. In this sense, the project was developed through an understanding of the needs of its beneficiaries, and sensitive to addressing the situation of non-majority communities (inter-ethnicity), as well as the role of young women in peacebuilding (gender equality). It was thus also aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Agenda 2030, and the framework of both UNSCR 2250 and UNSCR 1325. The project was also proactive, at design stage and during implementation, in looking for complementarity with UN and non-UN projects in Kosovo and finding some synergies. However, some elements of the conflict analysis, which should be the basis of every peacebuilding operation, could have been better articulated. For instance, the project could sometimes have been clearer in defining and explaining the casual link between some of its initiatives and the ambitious objectives regarding divisive narratives, social cohesion, and gender equality, as well as the relationship between key areas of focus like fragility and unemployment and between fragility and trust-building.

 


2.

Coherence:

The evaluation found that the project had solid internal coherence as it was developed in synergy with other UN complementary interventions, and in line with the 2016-2020 UN Common Development Plan in Kosovo (Social Inclusion Priority Area), and the UN Integrated Strategic Framework for Kosovo 2018-2020 (ISF) (focus on Intercommunity trust-building). Regarding external coherence, the evaluation identified that the project team was willing to work with other donors and sought, from the start of the process, synergies with relevant projects implemented by partner organizations, although with limited success. For instance, while there is evidence of good cooperation with OSCE, the same cannot be said about the project’s coordination with similar USAID initiatives.


3.

Effectiveness/Impact:

The evaluation found that, while population-level results could not always be confirmed, within its sphere of influence the project had a strong impact at the individual level. The project did empower the youth it worked with by successfully creating shared spaces for young men and women from different ethnic groups to meet and collaborate, it engaged with them, it increased their confidence and it helped them to develop critical thinking, communication, teamwork, influencing and leadership skills. 85% of youth interviewed confirmed they had already managed to apply what they learned from project activities and, in some cases, secured a job because of the experience participating in the project. Moreover, the final beneficiaries (youth) and the main project stakeholders (UN agencies, implementing partners and local authorities) felt very positive about the impact of the project. Given the limited scale and duration of the project, these were significant results.

 

The main hypothesis about enhanced social cohesion leading to decreased impact of divisive narratives was only partially tested given that the evidence on the outcome level is more scattered. There is some anecdotal evidence, for instance, that youth have continued collaborating with youth from other groups, yet there is no evidence of an established practice of working together identified as one of the main objectives of the project. In this sense, the project did contribute to inter-ethnic cooperation and to breaking down stereotypes but its results have not been institutionalized so far. Also, the evaluation could not confirm a direct connection between increased trust toward local institutions and project activities as the youth interviewed had a variety of perspectives regarding this topic.”


4.

Efficiency:

The project managed to complete all its activities by March 2021 and reached 100% delivery. The results mentioned above are even more important considering the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on what was meant to be the final phase of the project in the first half of 2020. The project, indeed, was efficient at adapting to the challenges posed by COVID-19 by assuring a smooth and quick response, which included adjusting some of its activities to tackle issues caused by the pandemic.  The evaluation reckoned that one of the main reasons why the project was efficient in doing so was the proactivity and commitment of the project team as well as the main stakeholders involved (both UN agencies and implementing partners). Regarding the joint project modality, the analysis of the documentation showed that the project was developed on the basis of each agency’s comparative advantage: UNICEF focusing on education related activities, UNDP-UNV on building trust in institutions, volunteering and employment and UN Women on empowering young women through skills-building and mentoring. The evaluation, however, found that the implementation of the project encountered some minor coordination and communication problems. In this sense, the project structure was very complex with 21 main activities and many sub activities that related to a variety of complementary yet separate results. Moreover, it can also be observed that, during the project implementation, it was sometimes difficult to integrate the project’s activities and maximize synergies between agencies, partially because of the need to focus on separate outputs.


5.

Sustainability:

The evaluation identified some signs of sustainability for some of the project activities and results although many of the project results are unlikely to be sustainable without further support by Kosovo institutions. The evaluation team found many instances where the implemented project activities led to intended positive results even if not all of them had been anticipated in the project document. During implementation, the project built on existing partnerships with institutions and CSO partners (for instance, UNDP previous engagement with Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sports; UN Women cooperation with Agency for Gender Equality) and some of its results inspired initiatives outside the project. Nevertheless, the evaluation identified several challenges for the authorities to take ownership of project activities and develop some follow-up initiatives, such as the volatile political landscape (there were three elections during the duration of the project).


6.

Gender Equality:

Lastly, the project also showed a good understanding of the importance of gender mainstreaming throughout its activities under all three outputs. Most commitments regarding gender equality (incl. targets) from the initial project documents were realized during the implementation of the project, albeit with some modifications due to COVID-19. Output level targets related to gender equality specifically or the foreseen impact on girls vs. boys were achieved. Overall, the project contributed to the commitments of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda and UNSCR 1325 by implementing various initiatives for young women from different communities, such as training and mentoring workshops and programs, and by engaging media to promote “responsible journalism” and collaborating with Kosovo institutions on addressing women’s rights and gender equality.


Recommendations
1

UN Resident Coordinator in Kosovo to develop a regional project building on social cohesion on the results of this project

2

RUNOs (Recipient United Nations Organizations) to clarify the objective and the vision of peacebuilding projects

3

To develop more coherent projects based on solid TOC

4

To develop a clear ‘exit strategy

5

To improve the M&E and reporting system of new projects and make it more outcome oriented, articulated, and gender sensitive

6

To develop, possibly, a “learning system” for future similar peacebuilding projects

7

To develop a communication strategy that is effective and uses easy-to-understand terminology

8

To better clarify the possible scenarios for governance set-up for joint programs and to select the most appropriate one

9

To engage with Kosovo authorities at central and local level and ensure that they are part of the sustainability strategy of future peacebuilding projects

1. Recommendation:

UN Resident Coordinator in Kosovo to develop a regional project building on social cohesion on the results of this project

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The DC accepts the recommendation, as she considers it highly relevant to build future work on good practices from previous projects.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Recognising the importance of consulting youth on project Theory of Change and development of activities, with regard to the regional youth project, UNDP as lead agency with support of DCO has led a number of in-person youth consultations (with small numbers due to COVID restrictions), on 12 October, and the Youth Advisor of the Kosovo Prime Minister. The networks created through the PBF project that is the subject of this evaluation were instrumental in consulting with youth on the future project. The feedback has been incorporated into the design of the upcoming regional youth project.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
DCO and UNDP Programme Unit 2021/10 Completed
2. Recommendation:

RUNOs (Recipient United Nations Organizations) to clarify the objective and the vision of peacebuilding projects

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

Management of RUNOs takes note of the recommendation and accepts it. The vision and mission of the upcoming regional project has already incorporated the recommendation to have clearer and specific objective(s) including achievable and measurable results. The same will be applied in all upcoming joint projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a Kosovo specific glossary on the themes of peacebuilding and social cohesion, which will address issues of gender equality and youth empowerment
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women 2023/12 Initiated The glossary will be developed by UNDP and UN Women and will be available to all UN Agencies
The upcoming project on youth was designed with a specific objective and vision which will lead to measurable and realistic results
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women 2021/11 Completed
3. Recommendation:

To develop more coherent projects based on solid TOC

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs takes note of the recommendation and accept it. RUNOs have applied it in the upcoming regional PBF funded project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
RUNOs will ensure that TOCs for future projects are developed in a participatory manner based on evidence-based, solid understanding of the systemic challenges and transformative changes needed, demonstrating the most effective pathway to achieve clearly defined objective(s).
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UN Women UNDP 2023/12 Initiated
UNDP as lead agency of the upcoming regional youth project initiated a series of extensive consultations on the TOC, including two interagency workshops on theory of change involving four agencies and five RCOs (using innovative technology such as a MIRO board allowing interactive participation from across the region) and an extensive consultation process with over 400 young people from across the region to test the assumptions of the TOC.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP Programme Unit 2021/10 Completed
4. Recommendation:

To develop a clear ‘exit strategy

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs acknowledges the recommendation and partially accepts it. The exit strategies are designed for the context in which RUNOs operate, and quite often their implementation comes across challenges linked to funding and capacities needed beyond the project duration including institutional support. In the upcoming joint regional project, funded by the PBF, the recommendation was already applied.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Future interventions to ensure that institutional and individual capacities are built based on the needs identified and the results to be achieved. Assessment of these capacities will be included as an integral part of the sustainable exit strategy.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women UNICEF 2023/12 Initiated An example of this is the early engagement with MYCS in the design of a youth project in order to commit to the implementation of specific project activities
For future joint programs, initiate the engagement with institutions and beneficiaries at the project conceptualisation stage to ensure alignment with their needs, ensuring strong ownership based on Kosovo’s development priorities and strategies, allowing for results to be sustained beyond the project duration.
[Added: 2021/11/28] [Last Updated: 2022/05/12]
UNDP UN Women UNICEF 2022/04 Completed The PBF has approved a new project as part of its regional support for the Western Balkans. History
5. Recommendation:

To improve the M&E and reporting system of new projects and make it more outcome oriented, articulated, and gender sensitive

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs acknowledges and accepts the recommendation. Greater attention will be paid to the monitoring process, viability of indicators, and feasibility of targets which will consider and better articulate gender sensitivities. .

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Agencies participating in future joint programs should ensure a clear program design, based on their existing systems, to enable results-based management and reporting. This should include gender analysis either researched by the project itself or using existing analyses.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women UNICEF 2023/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

To develop, possibly, a “learning system” for future similar peacebuilding projects

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs acknowledges and accepts the recommendation, as it recognizes the importance of knowledge management, systematic capturing of lessons learned, including their dissemination and use.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As part of the development of the new regional youth project, UNDP as lead agency will ensure an adequate budget for M&E and the inclusion in the team of a part-time M&E support officer with a budget for M&E travel in the region. This process is designed also to contribute to better capturing of lessons learned and the ability to modify project activities throughout the lifetime of the project, instead of waiting for a final evaluation.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP Programme Unit 2021/11 Completed
7. Recommendation:

To develop a communication strategy that is effective and uses easy-to-understand terminology

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The recommendation is partially accepted. The management of RUNOs considers that the communication strategy for the joint project was effective and efficient in reaching intended target groups, as demonstrated by outreach campaigns, the participating municipal institutions, community volunteers, and other beneficiaries. Nevertheless, RUNO management acknowledges the need for a wider dissemination of results and enhanced communication with other stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The communication strategy for future joint projects will be developed by the project team in close discussions with direct beneficiaries and institutional stakeholders. The strategy will be finalized using internal or external gender expertise, to ensure that communication efforts are gender sensitive and serve the different outreach needs of women, men, girls, and boys from different backgrounds.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women UNICEF 2023/12 Initiated
The upcoming regional youth project will have a small communications component that will ensure professional communications accompanying the project throughout, whereby stories will be told about what has happened in the various project initiatives, and package them to target audiences, including local audiences (in the respective language) as well as an international audience (including for UN leadership). This approach will facilitate greater visibility and impact of the initiatives and can help show the connections regionally. It will also be strategic and coordinated regionally to ensure that project activities and results will be known beyond a relatively small group of project participants and UN managers
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP UN Women 2021/11 Completed
8. Recommendation:

To better clarify the possible scenarios for governance set-up for joint programs and to select the most appropriate one

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs acknowledges and accepts the recommendation. Actions have already been taken through the upcoming joint regional project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The new regional youth project envisages a regional Steering Committee chaired by one of the DCs and a technical advisory board run by the RUNOs.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
DCO UNDP UN Women 2021/11 Completed
9. Recommendation:

To engage with Kosovo authorities at central and local level and ensure that they are part of the sustainability strategy of future peacebuilding projects

Management Response: [Added: 2021/11/25] [Last Updated: 2021/11/28]

The management of RUNOs acknowledges and accepts the recommendation, which is also addressed as part of Recommendation 5 (Actions 5.1 and 5.2).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As lead agency of the new regional youth project, UNDP in close consultation with DCO will pay special attention to involving the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in the formulation of the project document from the very beginning. This included insisting on their participation in an all day workshop testing the TOC (with youth stakeholders), extensive discussions on the project document with the Deputy Minister and the Youth Adviser of the Minister of Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport (MCYS) including the Deputy Minister as a co-chair on the Project Advisory Board.
[Added: 2021/11/28]
UNDP Programme unit 2023/12 Initiated The Ministry has made numerous detailed suggestions to the project design, ranging from the inclusion of non-majority groups to the actual formulation of sporting events, which show their interest in the project and active involvement.

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