Midterm Evaluation - Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP)

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2012-2016, Lao
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
05/2014
Completion Date:
09/2014
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
4,630

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Download document 2013_MTE Terms of Reference - UNDP CSO Project.docx tor English 80.12 KB Posted 689
Download document 2014-09-08. Final CSSP Midterm evaluation report.docx report English 59.26 KB Posted 916
Title Midterm Evaluation - Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP)
Atlas Project Number: 00062102
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2016, Lao
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2014
Planned End Date: 05/2014
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 2.4. Frameworks and dialogue processes engaged for effective and transparent engagement of civil society in national development
Evaluation Budget(US $): 4,630
Source of Funding: CSSP budget
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Adam NOVAK Dr./ School of Politics, History and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus Adam.novak@nottingham.edu.my
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: MoHA
Countries: LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 1: Under Output 1: Ministry of Home Affairs support to NPAs & Foundations a) The Division still faces major difficulties in managing its workload. Work depends on a small number of officers. b) Reporting has improved continuously, but is still relatively weak by donor standards. c) Provincial authorities have much lower capacity, but are responsible for the major part of registration and supervision. d) Revision of the NPA and Foundation decrees has introduced restrictions on foreign funding. It has not increased the scope of permitted activities for CSOs and is unlikely to reduce delays. ? The registration process for NPAs could be reviewed and where possible simplified and streamlined. The MoHA Civil Society Division appears understaffed given the breadth of its mandate. Monitoring and Evaluation functions should be strengthened, within MoHA and in collaboration with line ministries and provincial officials, and based on constructive cooperation with the CSOs concerned. ? At the level of the overall enabling environment, there appears to be a need for increased public awareness, increased information and knowledge sharing among stakeholders; and possibly re-visiting of the NPA decree and guidelines, based on experience in the first two and a half years of their implementation. ? Future MoHA outreach to civil servants at the provincial level could incorporate some of the information materials produced by NPAs highlighting their contribution to national development. ? In its outreach to civil servants in other ministries and at the provincial level, MoHA could place a greater relative reliance on written resources, and on a helpdesk function within MoHA CSD. The currently preferred strategy of meetings as a way of disseminating information should only be maintained if MoHA is confident that the outcomes of such activities are effective, efficient and sustainable. ? MoHA could consider using short-term technical assistance for institutional strengthening in areas such as: monitoring and drafting of remaining interim and final reports ? A study of CSO registration at the provincial level and the capacity development needs of civil servants at this level. These studies could benefit MoHA directly during the current phase of the CSSP. They would also provide valuable information and analysis for the formulation of any future phase of the CSSP. ? MoHA could take measures to improve communication and information sharing to reduce unrealistic expectations (of donors) to identify areas of common interest and intensify dialogue on CSO issues (given the lack of a CSSP Steering Committee) and to capitalise on outputs of the programme, particularly information about Lao CSOs ? In any future project, MoHA could consider existing on a management structure that ensures regular and direct contact with the donors concerned, and possibly also a consultative role for NPAs themselves.
2 2: - INGOs report that they face an increasing range and intensity of restrictions and have not perceive MoFA DIA as facilitating their work. - Revision of the INGO operating guidelines is not perceived by stakeholders as consultative - Limited information and opportunities for discussion. MoFA could reinforce its efforts to continue with the consultation and revision of the INGO Decree 013. CSSP resources could be used for example to support the following: ? Translation of recommendations received into Lao and MoFA response into English ? One or more meetings with INGOs and possibly Development Partners at the technical level, to discuss options and formulate pragmatic consensus proposals to senior decision-makers. MoFA could use CSSP Technical Assistance to carry out a range of activities complementary to its core activities, such as: ? A comprehensive capacity development assessment and capacity development strategy.
3 3: The CSSP does not have its own project steering committee, meaning that the donors are effectively engaged primarily at the level of NGPAR. Each project is subject to a single annual review. This provides SDC and Oxfam-Novib with little opportunity for input and discussion. It should be noted that both SDC and Oxfam-Novib have considerable know how and experience in this sector in other countries, and have a range of engagements in Lao PDR. A greater role for them in the CSSP could have provided MoHA and MoFA with valuable insights, feedback and opportunities for broader discussion on relevant issues Since there is no CSSP steering committee, SDC and Oxfam-Novib could explore possibilities for more regular discussion with project managers at MoHA and MoFA. The preparation of the 2014 workplan, the discussion of this mid-term evaluation report, and discussion of any further report-type outputs of the CSSP would seem to offer opportunities for formal and informal exchange between the key stakeholders of the CSSP.
1. Recommendation: 1: Under Output 1: Ministry of Home Affairs support to NPAs & Foundations a) The Division still faces major difficulties in managing its workload. Work depends on a small number of officers. b) Reporting has improved continuously, but is still relatively weak by donor standards. c) Provincial authorities have much lower capacity, but are responsible for the major part of registration and supervision. d) Revision of the NPA and Foundation decrees has introduced restrictions on foreign funding. It has not increased the scope of permitted activities for CSOs and is unlikely to reduce delays. ? The registration process for NPAs could be reviewed and where possible simplified and streamlined. The MoHA Civil Society Division appears understaffed given the breadth of its mandate. Monitoring and Evaluation functions should be strengthened, within MoHA and in collaboration with line ministries and provincial officials, and based on constructive cooperation with the CSOs concerned. ? At the level of the overall enabling environment, there appears to be a need for increased public awareness, increased information and knowledge sharing among stakeholders; and possibly re-visiting of the NPA decree and guidelines, based on experience in the first two and a half years of their implementation. ? Future MoHA outreach to civil servants at the provincial level could incorporate some of the information materials produced by NPAs highlighting their contribution to national development. ? In its outreach to civil servants in other ministries and at the provincial level, MoHA could place a greater relative reliance on written resources, and on a helpdesk function within MoHA CSD. The currently preferred strategy of meetings as a way of disseminating information should only be maintained if MoHA is confident that the outcomes of such activities are effective, efficient and sustainable. ? MoHA could consider using short-term technical assistance for institutional strengthening in areas such as: monitoring and drafting of remaining interim and final reports ? A study of CSO registration at the provincial level and the capacity development needs of civil servants at this level. These studies could benefit MoHA directly during the current phase of the CSSP. They would also provide valuable information and analysis for the formulation of any future phase of the CSSP. ? MoHA could take measures to improve communication and information sharing to reduce unrealistic expectations (of donors) to identify areas of common interest and intensify dialogue on CSO issues (given the lack of a CSSP Steering Committee) and to capitalise on outputs of the programme, particularly information about Lao CSOs ? In any future project, MoHA could consider existing on a management structure that ensures regular and direct contact with the donors concerned, and possibly also a consultative role for NPAs themselves.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

MoHA and UNDP agree on this recommendation. The CSSP will improve the project?s implementing activities process according to the recommendations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.2. Provide training to the project staff and NPAs on reporting to improve their skills up to donor standards.
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2015/06/30]
MoHA/CSSP 2015/09 Completed In Q4 2014, the new quarterly and annually progress reports templates have been launched by UNDP with the purpose to improve the reporting. The templates have been used by project team with assistance of UNDP PO since Q4 2014 and the feedback from donor is positive.
1.3 Provide training to provincial authorities and responsible staff for the major part of registration and supervision.
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2015/06/30]
MoHA/CSSP 2015/12 Completed The project has provided both technical and financial support to train the provincial authorities and responsible staff in every province regarding the role of civil society and main elements of the decrees. This work will be continued after the Capacity Development Consultant completes the mission on conducting the training needs assessment and those recommendations will be incorporated in AWP 2015. In 2015, the project conducted two workshops- the first one was conducted at the central level on Information management on CSO database operation on 06 March and the same workshop was conducted at the provincial level on 13 March for responsible CSO staff. The second workshop was on communication skills presentation, public speaking, and effective facilitator skills) for responsible CSO staff at the central and provincial levels on 6-8 May 2015. According to the pre-post test survey result, there was about 35% of increase in the government staff?s level of knowledge on effective communication and facilitation.
1.4 Ensure the restrictions on foreign funding in the revision of the NPA and Foundation decrees has been discussed and consulted in wider platform together with CSOs and INGOs.
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2014/12/29]
MoHA/CSSP 2014/12 Completed During the government meeting on 17 October 2014, the meeting agreed that the Article on the ceiling of fund from donors to be removed from the revision.
1.1. Identify workload in the CSO Division to ensure sufficient number of officers to facilitate to the establishing NPA.
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2015/06/30]
MoHA/CSSP 2015/03 No Longer Applicable This issue has been raised in the Annual Review Meeting on 5th February, 2015 and this is beyond the scope of the project and is up to the Government to address the concern.
2. Recommendation: 2: - INGOs report that they face an increasing range and intensity of restrictions and have not perceive MoFA DIA as facilitating their work. - Revision of the INGO operating guidelines is not perceived by stakeholders as consultative - Limited information and opportunities for discussion. MoFA could reinforce its efforts to continue with the consultation and revision of the INGO Decree 013. CSSP resources could be used for example to support the following: ? Translation of recommendations received into Lao and MoFA response into English ? One or more meetings with INGOs and possibly Development Partners at the technical level, to discuss options and formulate pragmatic consensus proposals to senior decision-makers. MoFA could use CSSP Technical Assistance to carry out a range of activities complementary to its core activities, such as: ? A comprehensive capacity development assessment and capacity development strategy.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

MoFA agrees with this. More consultation meeting and information sharing will be provided to INGOs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.2. Facilitate a workshop for INGOs and stakeholders to discuss about the guideline
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2014/12/29]
MoFA/CSSP 2014/12 Completed A National Conference on the review of cooperation between the Lao PDR and INOGs workshop was organized on 28 October 2014. This is very successful high level conference that Deputy Prime Minister was the chair together with some Ministers and Deputy Ministers level attending. The meeting agreed to have this kind of conference once a year and more regular technical with concern ministries. This conference was a great platform in presenting how INGOs support and work in Lao PDR. This brought more understanding and strengthening the cooperation between government and INGOs in the future.
2.1. Identify number of workload in the INGOs Division to ensure sufficient number of officers to coordinate with INGOs
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2015/06/30]
MoFA/CSSP 2014/12 No Longer Applicable The issue has been raised in many meetings but it has not been settled yet. Since this project has been closed in May 2015, the INGOs division will take over the responsibility.
3. Recommendation: 3: The CSSP does not have its own project steering committee, meaning that the donors are effectively engaged primarily at the level of NGPAR. Each project is subject to a single annual review. This provides SDC and Oxfam-Novib with little opportunity for input and discussion. It should be noted that both SDC and Oxfam-Novib have considerable know how and experience in this sector in other countries, and have a range of engagements in Lao PDR. A greater role for them in the CSSP could have provided MoHA and MoFA with valuable insights, feedback and opportunities for broader discussion on relevant issues Since there is no CSSP steering committee, SDC and Oxfam-Novib could explore possibilities for more regular discussion with project managers at MoHA and MoFA. The preparation of the 2014 workplan, the discussion of this mid-term evaluation report, and discussion of any further report-type outputs of the CSSP would seem to offer opportunities for formal and informal exchange between the key stakeholders of the CSSP.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

MoHA and UNDP will consult on this recommendation to put appropriate plan into future phase of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Provide more platforms for discussion on project activities for key donors to ensure that they have more opportunity to discuss and provide inputs effectively.
[Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2014/12/29]
MoHA/CSSP,UNDP 2015/12 Completed Donors have been invited for quarterly meetings to review the progress and to discuss the way forward. This engagement would become an on-going practice of the CSSP project.

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