Youth for Business and Innovation project final evaluation

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2022, Tajikistan
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2022
Completion Date:
03/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

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Title Youth for Business and Innovation project final evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00114095
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2022, Tajikistan
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2022
Planned End Date: 03/2022
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG Target
  • 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,627
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Antonio Castro International Evaluation Consultant
Jovidsho Juraev Local Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: TAJIKISTAN
Lessons
1.

The experience of YBI has demonstrated that partnering with the private sector is an indispensable element for securing the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of the initiatives implemented in the sphere of entrepreneurship so to ultimately generate new job places. This partnering could take various forms –
1) Use of most business oriented/experienced POs or Profit Organisation in the implementation of specific project activities, and especially in the selection of beneficiaries for grants. In this case, Partner POs/Profit Organisations should be able to assess the potential “return on the investment” of the initiatives proposed by would be-beneficiaries. POs experienced exclusively in dealing with charity/community work most probably will not be able to select effectively beneficiaries for business endeavours.
2) Engagement of the private sector in helping defining training content and/or delivering trainings. The best training is the training that gives what entrepreneurs/specialists know is needed; the best trainer is an entrepreneur/specialist that has direct experienced of how to address the challenges that occur while running a business/developing a product.
3) Involvement of the private sector for apprenticeships and to facilitate employment of project beneficiaries. For an entrepreneur, the recruitment of a new employees is an investment with connected risks of losing time (for training the new employee), money (hiring the wrong employee) or both. To enhance the likelihood that job places are created some form of incentives for the entrepreneur should be conceived.

YBI’s experience confirmed that the combination Training- Financing is a most effective approach for stimulate entrepreneurship. When thinking of launching a new business, access to finance is one of the main constraints faced by would-be entrepreneurs in the first place. This is especially true in in Tajikistan where interest rates on loans are very high and the fact that most beneficiaries do not have assets that can be used as collateral further complicate the borrowing process. The fear of not being able to pay back a loan is an obstacle for many potential entrepreneurs, and even more so for youth. As Training fostering entrepreneurship is acknowledged as one of the solutions to generate new business ideas and enterprises, it is necessary to complete the equation providing financing too. The provision of mini grants in the form of small pieces of equipment or grant, even if worth few hundred of dollars, is a highly effective and tested instrument to support entrepreneurship and business development, start working and ultimately generate jobs. At the same time, the experience of InnoResponse Challenge proves that having financing for larger initiatives enables the launch of projects that may have significantly larger dimension than a small business, with larger potential for scaling-up and impact.
As the experience of the small grant with Himoya and its project “Competent legal support for everyone“ demonstrates, an extra element that should be included in the equation is access to business advice/support in accompanying business creation. The availability of qualified business support organisations whose mandate is to support micro and small business is crucial to increase their survival rate. Therefore, bringing the SI FDET up to play such role, as facilitator for providing business consultations on legal/tax issues as well as on other topics, practical services (e.g., juridical addresses), is extremely important.


Findings
Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1. The evaluators advise UNDP to apply in future Actions (similar to YBI) the combination of activities/budget allocated between «traditional activities» (i.e., support in agribusiness, service, small production) and «new activities» (IT trainings, digitalisation), and to keep some of the tools used in YBI.

2

Recommendation 2. UNDP is advised to continue helping the business support organisation assisted during YBI, and in particular SI FDET, to achieve full sustainability.

3

Recommendation 3. UNDP should continue to provide policy advise assistance, consolidating its role as reputed partner of Tajik State Institutions.

4

Recommendation 4. UNDP is advised to consider increasing the budget allocated for financing grants.

5

Recommendation 5. Future action similar to YBI should be implemented partnering with a limited number of POs/Business support organisations, avoiding the spreading of resources.

6

Recommendation 6. The selection of beneficiaries of project initiatives should be done based on criteria likely to enhance the potential for effectiveness.

7

Recommendation 7. The provision of activities focused on digitalisation should be accompanied by measures that enhance their inclusiveness.

8

Recommendation 8. UNDP is advised to further enhance the monitoring role conducted by its Local Offices to track Medium/Long term effects achieved by project’s initiatives.

9

Recommendation 9. UNDP is advised to improve the potential effectiveness of communication and training material as instruments for enhancing replicability of the initiatives supported.

10

Recommendation is accepted

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1. The evaluators advise UNDP to apply in future Actions (similar to YBI) the combination of activities/budget allocated between «traditional activities» (i.e., support in agribusiness, service, small production) and «new activities» (IT trainings, digitalisation), and to keep some of the tools used in YBI.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will continue applying tools and best practices of the Youth for Business and Innovation which are combining “traditional activities” with the innovations in the framework of its youth economic empowerment projects.
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated This recommendation is general and is already considered in design of new projects and initiatives, particularly Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan project.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2. UNDP is advised to continue helping the business support organisation assisted during YBI, and in particular SI FDET, to achieve full sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will continue partnerships and capacity building for business support organizations, including State Business Incubator of Tajikistan to improve their potential for entrepreneurship and youth-led innovations promotion.
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated It’s already considered in design of new projects and initiatives, particularly Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan project.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3. UNDP should continue to provide policy advise assistance, consolidating its role as reputed partner of Tajik State Institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will expand its efforts to support policy reforms and promote more favorable regulatory environment to address existing and new challenges for the youth economic empowerment and employment including the issues faced by the marginalized people (PWD, returning migrants, etc. )
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” project and will be applied in design of new projects. Stronger role in policy support is envisaged in the new CPD 2023-2026
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4. UNDP is advised to consider increasing the budget allocated for financing grants.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In the framework of new and ongoing projects UNDP will continue supporting youth and communities through provision of small grants, with a focus on initiatives that are proposed by beneficiaries with the necessary credentials (experience, drive, etc.), having credible business plans, a good/high potential in terms of employment creation, replicability, and innovation.
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” and “Accelerating Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery through Improved Livelihood, Employability, and Regional Cooperation in Ferghana Valley” projects.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5. Future action similar to YBI should be implemented partnering with a limited number of POs/Business support organisations, avoiding the spreading of resources.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will design and apply targeted solutions for youth empowerment with consideration of age groups, gender and other factors (migration, rural/urban). Activities aimed at employment promotion will be more focused on working age young men and women
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Not Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” and “Accelerating Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery through Improved Livelihood, Employability, and Regional Cooperation in Ferghana Valley” projects.
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6. The selection of beneficiaries of project initiatives should be done based on criteria likely to enhance the potential for effectiveness.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will continue covering various categories of population and youth within implementation of project activities, with special attention given to engagement of marginalized youth, women and girls and rural youth.
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” project.
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7. The provision of activities focused on digitalisation should be accompanied by measures that enhance their inclusiveness.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will continue documenting and dissemination of knowledge products and communication products featuring best practices and tools
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager 2023/12 Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” project.
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8. UNDP is advised to further enhance the monitoring role conducted by its Local Offices to track Medium/Long term effects achieved by project’s initiatives.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will strengthen its monitoring approach with clear distribution of roles and responsibilities between Local offices and project team in Dushanbe. Conceptual framework for mid/long-term monitoring of YEE activities will be designed jointly with M&E Officer of CO and applied through new CPD2023-2026
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager, CO M&E Officer 2023/12 Initiated The recommendation is embedded in M&E plan for new CPD 2023-2026
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9. UNDP is advised to improve the potential effectiveness of communication and training material as instruments for enhancing replicability of the initiatives supported.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/25] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP SED Cluster, Project Manager
[Added: 2022/04/25]
UNDP will continue documenting and dissemination of knowledge products and communication products featuring best practices and tools 2023/12 Initiated The recommendations are considered within the “Youth Empowerment through Skills Development and Promotion of Innovations in Tajikistan” project.
10. Recommendation:

Recommendation is accepted

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/03] [Last Updated: 2022/06/03]

Recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

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