Final Evaluation of the YouthStart Program

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2015, UNCDF
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
08/2015
Completion Date:
09/2015
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
150,000

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Title Final Evaluation of the YouthStart Program
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2015, UNCDF
Evaluation Type:Final Project
Status:Completed
Completion Date:09/2015
Planned End Date: 08/2015
Management Response:Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 3.2. Functions, financing and capacity of sub-national level institutions enabled to deliver improved basic services and respond to priorities voiced by the public
  • 2. Output 3.6. Governance institutional, and other critical bottlenecks addressed to support achievement of the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals
Evaluation Budget(US $): 150,000
Source of Funding: Project
Joint Programme:No
Mandatory Evaluation:Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Giampietro Pizzo Team Leader
Maria Grandinson Team Leader
Mary Jo Kakinda Senior Team Member
Aldo Moauro Senior Team Member
Marine Exposito Senior Team Member
Marco Pasini Junior Team Member
Valeria E. Pujia Junior Team Member
GEF Evaluation:No
Key Stakeholders:UNCDF, The MasterCard Foundation, Financial Services Providers, Government
Location of Evaluation:Regional
Countries: BURKINA FASO CONGO DRC ETHIOPIA MALAWI RWANDA SENEGAL TOGO UGANDA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 UNCDF welcomes the findings and recommendations of the YouthStart?s final evaluation, as they are very much in line with our own previous internal learning. As a matter of fact, most of the recommendations, if not all, are being addressed and/or will be addressed in the expansion of YouthStart: YouthStart Global (YSG).
2 1.Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1 ?Programme Design: Programme design and approach seems relevant to achieve scale but limited in terms of linking access to finance to concrete economic opportunities. The design should also take into consideration older youth (more in line with national definitions which are usually up to 35 years old). Finally, in the design of a possible successor program, UNCDF should consider adopting a more holistic approach with a set of actions dedicated to foster the demand for youth financial products (and non-financial services) as well as promote a conducive national context. According to recent studies, ?building sustainable markets that serve the poor requires focus beyond institution building to the financial system as a whole?
3 2. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 2- Programme Management and Implementation: The YS program has benefitted from very committed management as well as good quality reporting and monitoring (even within the limits of MISs of the partner FSPs), even if faced with some challenges in features of program outline and weak institutional coordination with UNCDF representatives at the national and regional level. The program has built and delivered a good quality training and TA process, but the unit cost in terms of people trained appears quite high, and it is difficult to assess relevant changes within the partner FSPs as a result of the training and/or TA interventions.
4 3. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 3- FSP performance: All partner FSPs record impressive progress in youth outreach with regard to the YS savings products and financial education services; the two products/services specifically promoted by the program. However, the roll out of credit products remain behind as well as the targets for young women.
5 4. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 4- Influence at global, macro, meso and market level: Overall, UNCDF, through the YS program, can be considered to have fulfilled its role as promoter of youth financial inclusion at the global level. However, it cannot be claimed to have taken on this role at the regional or national level given the relatively limited interaction with macro and meso level stakeholders in the partner countries and regionally.
1. Recommendation: UNCDF welcomes the findings and recommendations of the YouthStart?s final evaluation, as they are very much in line with our own previous internal learning. As a matter of fact, most of the recommendations, if not all, are being addressed and/or will be addressed in the expansion of YouthStart: YouthStart Global (YSG).
Management Response:

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: 1.Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1 ?Programme Design: Programme design and approach seems relevant to achieve scale but limited in terms of linking access to finance to concrete economic opportunities. The design should also take into consideration older youth (more in line with national definitions which are usually up to 35 years old). Finally, in the design of a possible successor program, UNCDF should consider adopting a more holistic approach with a set of actions dedicated to foster the demand for youth financial products (and non-financial services) as well as promote a conducive national context. According to recent studies, ?building sustainable markets that serve the poor requires focus beyond institution building to the financial system as a whole?
Management Response:

Although FSPs were encouraged to forge partnerships with Youth Serving Organizations, TVETs, schools etc, not all of them were able to develop these kinds of partnerships, either because there was a lack of supply of those organizations, or because their coverage area was different. In the countries where those partnerships were possible (Ethiopia and Rwanda), we can see a better linkage of access to finance and increase economic opportunities. With that in mind, YSG will employ a consortium approach in which from the beginning, FSPs will be partnering with YSOs, TVETs etc, and the grants will be given to the consortium. This approach has been already employed in the design of the Inception Phase of YouthStart Global (YSG). In regards to the age of the youth that YouthStart targeted, it is important to first explain our rationale for this choice. Developmental studies show that the earlier we start working with young girls in asset building programmes the greater the positive effects for their future (see publications by the Population Council). The choice of going only up to 24 and not until 35 as many African countries do, is because the youth that are most excluded from financial services are in fact those up until 24. Youth from 15 to 24 is already a very diverse group of individuals that need specific products and services for them. However, UNCDF acknowledges the importance of aligning their youth definition to the national age. As a result, we will take into consideration the national youth definition for YSG, but always keeping an emphasis on the most vulnerable youth (those between 12 and 24). Finally, the evaluators? recommendation about consider adopting a more holistic/market development approach for YSG is very well taken. This is also integrated into the design of YSG. In order to achieve this, UNCDF has engaged a team of consultants to help YSG design a theory of change and a result chain framework that takes into consideration CGAP?s latest guidance for measuring market development system that will also enable us to have greater impact at the national level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Design YSG with a concrete goal to link access to finance to more concrete economic opportunities, even if that means a more modest scale UNCDF/ YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
1.2 Design YSG taking the national youth definition into consideration, but with an emphasis on youth between 15 and 24 years old, as they are the most vulnerable and often times the most excluded from services that can help them create their own economic opportunities UNCDF/YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
1.3. Develop Result Based Management system for YSG that takes into consideration a comprehensive market systems approach UNCDF/YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
3. Recommendation: 2. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 2- Programme Management and Implementation: The YS program has benefitted from very committed management as well as good quality reporting and monitoring (even within the limits of MISs of the partner FSPs), even if faced with some challenges in features of program outline and weak institutional coordination with UNCDF representatives at the national and regional level. The program has built and delivered a good quality training and TA process, but the unit cost in terms of people trained appears quite high, and it is difficult to assess relevant changes within the partner FSPs as a result of the training and/or TA interventions.
Management Response:

YouthStart exceeded delivery of results relative to planned targets even when regional infrastructure did not initially function as planned. UNCDF has put in place revised guidance for staff to address these issues, and believes the adjustments are resulting in smoother implementation. YSG, will fully benefit from these adjustments, while also building into the budget sufficient staffing to support the programme (cost-shared with other UNCDF programmes when possible) so that we ensure proper support at the country and regional levels.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Design YSG with adequate resources to be able to support delivery of results UNCDF/YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
2.2. Develop more detailed monitoring systems for YSG that allows the programme to better measure the changes achieved thanks to the TA activities UNCDF/YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
4. Recommendation: 3. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 3- FSP performance: All partner FSPs record impressive progress in youth outreach with regard to the YS savings products and financial education services; the two products/services specifically promoted by the program. However, the roll out of credit products remain behind as well as the targets for young women.
Management Response:

The roll out of credit products remains behind because all of the FSPs started by designing, testing and scaling up savings services before credit services based on global experience that low-income clients have a stronger demand for savings than credit. This choice also allowed them to better understand the youth market and to build a relationship with the youth before starting to give them credit. Likewise, this allowed the youth to better know the FSP and its products. We believe in the importance of savings in particular for youth, and therefore a similar approach will be taken for YSG. However, the consortium approach will certainly put FSPs in a better position to scale up credit for youth. In addition, YSG may consider the recommendations of the evaluators regarding financing mechanisms to reduce the risk for FSPs. Finally, the feedback of the evaluators regarding the low outreach of young women are well taken and YSG will strive from the beginning of the programme to make sure consortiums reach their targets. Some of our suggested actions to enforce this may be to include in the Performance Based Agreement targets of women staff serving the youth for example. This strategy, has given very promising results in our partner FUCEC who was the last FSP to be awarded funding, and thus also benefitted from the lessons learned from earlier partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Design YSG employing a consortium approach and allowing FSPs to use the grants to reduce the credit risk of youth lending UNCDF/YSG 2016/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee
3.2 Ensure PBA targets for consortiums of YSG ensure other meaningful indicators and targets (e.g. percent staff female) to increase outreach to young women UNCDF/YSG 2017/06 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee. Monitoring framework and PBAs will reflect new meaningful targets
5. Recommendation: 4. Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 4- Influence at global, macro, meso and market level: Overall, UNCDF, through the YS program, can be considered to have fulfilled its role as promoter of youth financial inclusion at the global level. However, it cannot be claimed to have taken on this role at the regional or national level given the relatively limited interaction with macro and meso level stakeholders in the partner countries and regionally.
Management Response:

The YouthStart pilot was primarily designed as a programme to engage with FSPs and demonstrate the potential of serving the youth segment. While YouthStart was not designed as a policy project, and the limited resources allocated for policy work, nonetheless YouthStart did generate significant lessons about how YSG could engage national and regional stakeholders at the policy level as part of programme design. . As a result, the Inception Phase of YSG has placed emphasis on the engagement of national governments and YSG will have a national advisory committee in each country and will also actively disseminate learnings at the regional and national level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Inception phase of YSG provides UNCDF a roadmap to engage national stakeholders in the implementation of the programme UNCDF/YSG 2016/07 Completed YSG Programme document drafted and ready to go to Investment Committee

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