Reinforcement of Local Democracy Project Phase IV, Final Project Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2015-2020, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
05/2016
Completion Date:
09/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
10,700

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Title Reinforcement of Local Democracy Project Phase IV, Final Project Evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00093064
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2020, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2016
Planned End Date: 05/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Democratic Governance
  • 2. 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 $): 10,700
Source of Funding: Project budget/donor resources
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 32,480
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Paul Van Hoof Evaluator pjmvanhoof@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Associations of Cities and Municipalities of the Federation BiH, Association of Cities and Municipalities of Republika Srpska, Civil Society Sector, selected municipalities
Countries: BOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

The process selection of Local Governments (LGs) ensures that the most progressive LGs are selected to participate. Certainly, in the early phases of the project this is justifiable as the Project wants to prove the viability of the LOD methodology. Looking at the selection criteria for LGs, they are quite stringent and one could say that the most important step to adopt the methodology is already taken by the call for participation (i.e. the political will to change). The LGs which lack this level of political leadership and most likely need the LOD methodology are thus mostly excluded. On the other hand, knowing from experience that unless there is progressive leadership that is adhering to democratic governance practices, the sustainability of the LOD methodology beyond the project duration is limited. This is a difficult dilemma, but the gains that can potentially be made in the less progressive LGs are far bigger as well. The evaluation therefore recommends that the LOD project considers for the next phase to include in the selection at least some of these LGs at the lower end of the spectrum as well by approaching them proactively to participate.

2

Aim for the adoption of the LOD methodology for almost all grants to CSOs that are disbursed by the participating LGs, including sports organisations and war veteran associations to further increase the transparency and quality of grant distribution by the LGs also to these organisations. There could still be room for direct funding to “special interest” organisations, but this should be based on clearly defined criteria and considerations and only in exceptional cases. Several LGs prove that this can be done and that these organisations in these LGs, after a period of initial resistance, also appreciate a more transparent methodology.    

3

Avoidance of a fragmentation of CSO grants to as many CSOs as possible. Many LGs split their limited budget funds for CSO grants in small grants to almost all CSO projects that meet the basic requirements and that are approved by the selection committee to appease everyone. Thus, none of the CSOs is able to implement the project they applied for and they only use the money to cover some basic operational costs. Thus, the link to achieving the development objectives of the LGs lost and as a result, the activities of the CSO remain invisible to the populations, strengthening their perception that CSOs are not useful. 

4

While the LOD methodology stimulates on the one hand an increase in the number of high quality proposals and competition between CSOs and therefore forces every organisation to stay on its toes, it might on the other hand restrict new inexperienced organisations, who have wonderful ideas to reach out to their community, but have not received the same basic induction training and backstopping support from UNDP to apply successfully for funding from the LGs. This is a difficult dilemma since the LGs do not want to stimulate a wild growth of CSOs on the one hand, but also do not want to block new CSOs effectively from the system. Especially in the medium and larger LGs  and cities this could present a problem. One could argue that these new CSOs should link up with existing ones in the beginning or ask for peer support to learn how to draft good proposals, but in practice this rarely happens as they are in fact each other competitors for a limit source of funds.  

1. Recommendation:

The process selection of Local Governments (LGs) ensures that the most progressive LGs are selected to participate. Certainly, in the early phases of the project this is justifiable as the Project wants to prove the viability of the LOD methodology. Looking at the selection criteria for LGs, they are quite stringent and one could say that the most important step to adopt the methodology is already taken by the call for participation (i.e. the political will to change). The LGs which lack this level of political leadership and most likely need the LOD methodology are thus mostly excluded. On the other hand, knowing from experience that unless there is progressive leadership that is adhering to democratic governance practices, the sustainability of the LOD methodology beyond the project duration is limited. This is a difficult dilemma, but the gains that can potentially be made in the less progressive LGs are far bigger as well. The evaluation therefore recommends that the LOD project considers for the next phase to include in the selection at least some of these LGs at the lower end of the spectrum as well by approaching them proactively to participate.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2016/12/07]

Reccommendation valid and accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In ReLOaD, the Call for Selection of partner LGs will take into consideration multiple recommendations and lessons learned in four LOD project phases. Out of 20 LGs that are envisaged to be selected in Bosnia and Hercegovina, at least 5 LGs will be from lower end of the spectrum.
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2017/12/21]
ReLOaD Project team 2017/12 Completed Public call for LG will not target only progressive LGs that adhere to democratic governance practices and possess strong capacities, but also will approach LGs that possess smaller capacities for implementation of the LOD methodology. All LGs in BiH will be informed about the ReLOaD CfP through formal communication. Special venue will be made for prospective five LGs, with use of peer mechanisms and presentations of champions of LOD methodology for the past implementation. Final decision regarding criteria and final selection of partner LGs will be made by the Board of Partners. September 2017: Out of 20 LGs planned, the Project selected 10. History
Organize a series of Open days following announcement of Public calls for LGs.
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2017/09/18]
ReLOaD Project team 2017/07 Completed ReLOaD will consider for organizing Open days on more locations to make sure to reach the audience in targeted LGs ad include other partners such as the entity associations of cities and municipalities and the EU. History
2. Recommendation:

Aim for the adoption of the LOD methodology for almost all grants to CSOs that are disbursed by the participating LGs, including sports organisations and war veteran associations to further increase the transparency and quality of grant distribution by the LGs also to these organisations. There could still be room for direct funding to “special interest” organisations, but this should be based on clearly defined criteria and considerations and only in exceptional cases. Several LGs prove that this can be done and that these organisations in these LGs, after a period of initial resistance, also appreciate a more transparent methodology.    

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2016/12/07]

Reccommendation accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
ReLOaD will start collecting in detail the experiences and challenges that were encountered in the LGs that have introduced this practice already such as Novo Sarajevo & Visoko. It will include review of a legal framework for financing sport associations in each partner LG and its comparation with the LOD methodology main principals and suggest some changes in implementation where possible. ReLOaD will continue with the practice of encouraging LGs to commit all their resources for funding CSOs through Public calls. Therefore, the methodology and its tools as well as successful practices and LG champions will be promoted
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
ReLOaD Project team 2019/10 Completed Given the fact that the Programme is replicated in six Western Balkans countries/territories, application of the LOD methodology will continue to be scaled up but also depends on the national regulations within each country. Note: Sports organizations and war veteran associations do not subscribe to this practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina. War veterans’ associations mostly exist outside BiH while sport organizations are completely excluded from funding under same umbrella in some countries/territories (e.g. Montenegro). History
3. Recommendation:

Avoidance of a fragmentation of CSO grants to as many CSOs as possible. Many LGs split their limited budget funds for CSO grants in small grants to almost all CSO projects that meet the basic requirements and that are approved by the selection committee to appease everyone. Thus, none of the CSOs is able to implement the project they applied for and they only use the money to cover some basic operational costs. Thus, the link to achieving the development objectives of the LGs lost and as a result, the activities of the CSO remain invisible to the populations, strengthening their perception that CSOs are not useful. 

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2016/12/07]

Reccomendation valid and accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
ReLOaD to include this issue into learning process (consider the possibility of promoting Public call with specific LOTs for small grants and larger grants with different set of criteria). Raising awareness campaigns that include all relevant stakeholders (CSOs, beneficiaries etc.) will encourage LGs to recognize the importance and the benefits to financially support more valuable CSO projects, that deal with strategic issues within community. Services delivered by civil society organisations will address the needs of local communities within partner LGs.
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
ReLOaD Project team 2019/10 Completed CSO grant size is often defined in regulations on a national level and the program fully respect it. ReLOaD recommendation to local governments is to avoid funding of very small and operational grants; instead, full-fledged CSO projects to be funded. History
4. Recommendation:

While the LOD methodology stimulates on the one hand an increase in the number of high quality proposals and competition between CSOs and therefore forces every organisation to stay on its toes, it might on the other hand restrict new inexperienced organisations, who have wonderful ideas to reach out to their community, but have not received the same basic induction training and backstopping support from UNDP to apply successfully for funding from the LGs. This is a difficult dilemma since the LGs do not want to stimulate a wild growth of CSOs on the one hand, but also do not want to block new CSOs effectively from the system. Especially in the medium and larger LGs  and cities this could present a problem. One could argue that these new CSOs should link up with existing ones in the beginning or ask for peer support to learn how to draft good proposals, but in practice this rarely happens as they are in fact each other competitors for a limit source of funds.  

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2016/12/07]

Reccommendation valid and accepted. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
ReLoaD will focus on this issue during the adoption of the LOD methodology and direct capacity development of LGs. Special attention in work with LGs will be dedicated to small/grassroots CSOs and how to make best approach in working with them. CSOs will be advised to have more realistic approach in the process of writing project proposals and budget size.
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2019/10/31]
ReLOaD Project team 2019/10 Completed The management action is integrated in the Project implementation strategy applied in the work with the CSOs. History
ReLOaD will encourage small/grassroots-level CSOs to partner with bigger and/or experienced once to achieve better and more visible results.
[Added: 2016/12/07] [Last Updated: 2019/10/16]
ReLOaD Project team 2019/10 Completed This recommendation was implemented through a set of new measures introduced across WB region with aim to support inexperienced and grassroots' CSOs to apply more competitively for the grants. This was achieved through several measures: Length of the public calls for CSO was increased from 4 to 6 weeks. Training for CSOs in PCM were extended in duration for additional day to total 3 days of intensive training. This was further enhanced with provision of mentoring to all interested CSOs as a new capacity building activity. Finally, detailed feedback to CSOs after the Calls for CSOs is provided as lessons learned and in order to prevent same or similar mistakes on any future calls. These measures encompass all viable support in regard to this in addition to advice for CSOs to partner with bigger and more experienced CSOs to overcome capacity insufficiency. Also, during capacity development activities,grassroots CSOs were encouraged to understand their limits and partner up with bigger CSOs History

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