Active Labour Market 2

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Kosovo
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2017
Completion Date:
12/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Title Active Labour Market 2
Atlas Project Number: 00080204
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Kosovo
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2017
Planned End Date: 12/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
SDG Goal
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG Target
  • 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 $): 15,000
Source of Funding: Government of Finland - 00110
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 16,835
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Frank Kavanagh International Labour Market Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Labour and Soc. Welfare. Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Municipalities and UNDP
Countries: KOSOVO
Lessons
1.

For the self-employment programme specifically, an identified risk was the possibility of a limited number of interested and eligible people wishing to establish their own business and to apply for the self-employment programme. It was emphasised that entrepreneurship spirit and viable business plans are the two main elements ensuring success of beneficiaries. Lack of interested applicants might also have an impact on the project implementation


2.

Based on the evidence in this evaluation, the SEP can be regarded as a very successful active labour market intervention for the target groups in Kosovo and outcomes are satisfactory with very few shortcomings.


Findings
1.

5. General Analysis

The SEP design benefitted from a previous self-employment programme developed by the UNDP and partners in Macedonia (FYROM). The well tested guidelines are exceptionally comprehensive and cover all aspects of the SEP, such as the key elements of programme management, a seven-step programme guide and includes twenty-two appendices covering all administrative aspects such as application forms, templates for business ideas and plans assessments, monitoring, certificates et al.

The selection of the beneficiaries was done in three stages. Firstly, registered unemployed submitted their business idea to the Employment Office of their municipality. The applicants with the best business ideas (as determined by a commission of project partners) were invited to participate in a start your own business training course in the Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) of their region, and at the end of it underwent a written test. Applicants who scored more than 70% in their written test were invited to submit their business plan application. Some of the 2016 cohort were assisted at that stage with their business plan formulation by external consultants from the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development (CEED) group in Kosovo, who were contracted by the SEP to provide coaching and mentoring support to beneficiaries. Business plans were evaluated by external experts (on a pro-bono basis) and a commission. The successful candidates were then invited to register their business with the Kosovo Business Registration Agency, and signed a 24-month contract (reduced to 12 months for the 2016 cohort) to receive the grant and the technical/mentoring support.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Institutional Strengthening

2.

6. Relevance

Considering the high level of unemployment and inactivity among the general population in Kosovo, a striking feature of the SEP was the level of interest from the public, as reflected in the high number of initial applications (534) for the SEP. This points to a high level of relevance of the SEP for the target groups. This may be partly explained by the lack of direct employment opportunities in the current labour market.

The targeting of the national industrial sectors by the MTI also played a role in orientating the beneficiaries towards businesses that reflect a relevance at national level. The priority target groups of greatest relevance to national social inclusion policy included long term unemployed (more than 12 months); youth (18-29 years old); women; beneficiaries of social assistance; single parents; people from rural areas; people with disabilities and ethnic minority groups (gender based violence and domestic violence survivors were also awarded extra points in the 2016 cohort). Applicants from these groups were targeted and awarded extra points during the applicant evaluation process.

The breakdown of those surveyed and set out in the Chart 2 below indicates that the gender targeting worked. This is particularly encouraging considering the very low labour market participation rate for women in Kosovo (18-20%).


Tag: Relevance Gender Mainstreaming Gender-Based Violence Disabilities Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Women and gilrs Youth

3.

7. Effectiveness

Activity 3 of the original ALMP2 project document sets out a measure of SEP effectiveness as follows: ‘Training and employment opportunities for vulnerable long term unemployed jobseekers provided. Equal opportunities are provided to women and men. Inclusion of vulnerable groups is ensured through carefully designed selection criteria. Actions: Implement self-employment programs aiming at generating sustainable jobs (training plus grants plus mentorship). Through carefully designed criteria, ensure inclusion of women, minorities and other vulnerable groups’.

During the site visits, all the partners were asked if the model and process of the SEP could be regarded as heavy and complex, to achieve a result where just 82 beneficiaries were actually grant-aided. But interestingly, all actors pointed out in different ways, that the long road from the call to the grant was necessary and useful. All said that they regard the process as a very positive ‘weeding-out’ model that ensures that only committed applicants get to the final stage. A number of partners mentioned that past self-employment initiatives merely awarded money, with no real follow-up or indeed close examination of the business idea and plan. The current self-employment programme run by the Ministry of the Interior for repatriated citizens may be a case in point and VTCs report that the potential beneficiaries of that programme can be quite assertive in their perceived right to receive the standard € 3000. Many do not have the real commitment to follow through with the business idea and plan that they formulate during the training phase. On the other hand, the SEP candidates are reported by the VTCs to be very focused and while some are coming from disadvantaged positions in society and educationally, they are regarded in the main as genuine potential entrepreneurs that have been through a thorough selection process. During the incountry visits, the existence of the UNDP team support, monitoring and the availability of mentors were reported to the evaluator by the MLSW, PES offices, the new central PES Agency administration and the VTCs, as being crucial to the success of the SEP initiative 4. With regard to the effectiveness of the targeting of beneficiary characteristics/groups the following Chart 3 gives a survey self-declared breakdown that indicates good targeting, with the exception of people with disabilities. Beneficiaries could select more than one characteristic, hence they can appear in more than one category (e.g. LTU and rural).


Tag: Effectiveness Jobs and Livelihoods Capacity Building Vulnerable Youth

4.

7. Effectiveness (continuation)

The beneficiaries were asked if anything in the training could be improved. 15 suggested additional inputs; mainly with regard to smaller classes, more professional approach by a trainer, specific skills training in their profession, more specificity/less generality, more on marketing and that computers should be available in the training room so that work could go in parallel on the actual business plans writing. The beneficiaries surveyed were asked to rank their overall support needs on a scale for 1 to 5 (where 1 is the most important and 5 the least important). The results in Table 2 below indicate a need to prioritise the type of initial and continuing support. The clear primary need identified is in the financial planning area with a significant number also identifying branding/marketing as the second most important need and it is recommended that this ranking be taken into account when designing the SEP training module into the future.

7.2 Financial Grant. One of the core features of the SEP is the financial grant award. All the participants interviewed during the in-country visit regarded the grant as the key factor that allowed them to kick-start the business. Coupled with the fact that 77% of the 2015 grantees and 90% of the 2016 grantees are still in business in 2017, this would indicate that the financial grant was effective in the context of the programme design. Of those that are not trading, the reasons given relate mainly to factors other than the capital grant, such as lack of expertise in planning and management, lack of technical skills, business skills, quality assurance and failure to survive in the market due to competition. A minority mentioned the existence of unpredictable expenses. Respondents confirmed that they had also borrowed funds ranging from €500 to € 13,000, with the average amount borrowed being €1500. Some of the entrepreneurs interviewed during the site visits, indicated that it would be very useful if it were possible to build some post-start-up funds into the SEP model. This related to the need for additional specific skills training in new approaches to their original production model and other additional equipment needs that only become apparent as the business develops and expands. Funds are available from other sources but the application preconditions can exclude some of the beneficiaries. If such an option were included in the SEP model, the beneficiary would already be familiar to the UNDP/PES and would come with a proven track record, without the need to prove their bona fides again from scratch.


Tag: Effectiveness Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Jobs and Livelihoods Micro-credit Capacity Building

5.

8. Sustainability (two evaluative levels-see footnotes 5 and 7 below)

The subject of sustainability can be viewed from two perspectives: the individual businesses and the actual SEP model. It is too early to say if the businesses supported are sustainable but considering the SEP target groups, the indications are good (as outlined above, 77% of the 2015 and 90% of the 2016 cohorts are still trading). International experience would indicate that if new businesses are to fail, that it usually happens within the first three year. This aspect will need to be revisited by end 2018/2019, to measure further the sustainability of the enterprises. But as mentioned, the relatively sophisticated SEP model and the selection procedure would appear to ensure a good measure of permanence for the enterprises but this is also of course subject to the economic environment in the region.With regard to the sustainability of the SEP model in Kosovo, the picture is different. During discussions with the PES managers and staff, it became very clear that they doubted their own ability to fully manage SEP, despite the training provided to them at the beginning of the process. The main areas of difficulty for them are the mentoring, monitoring and coaching aspects.


Tag: Sustainability Business Model Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Poverty Reduction

6.

9. Impact

It is clear from the business survival rates of 77% and 90% in 2015 and 2016 respectively, that the SEP impact is lasting for that majority that are still in business. The impact is even more significant when one takes into account the profile of the participants as set out in Chart 3 above. Another very significant aspect of the impact of the SEP is the number of jobs created by the business start-up owners. It is reported that 27 additional new jobs were created in 2015 and 18 in 2016. While some of the jobs are seasonal and part-time, many are reported to be full-time. This clearly indicates a significant level of additional employment and when added to the SEP beneficiaries, amounts to 117 posts created and surviving, in total by 2017. The impact on the actual livelihoods of the beneficiaries is regarded as significant and can be measured in part by the number of businesses in profit and the gross turnover from the businesses. Of the 70 respondents to the survey, 67% are in profit and 29% are breaking even. Turnover amounts to €342,600 for the first two years of the 2015 cohort and €145,000 for the first year trading of the 2016 cohort, giving a grand total of €487,800 by end 2016 for the currently trading businesses. If we add to this the notional wages of 27 additional workers for the first group for two years and for the second group of 18 for 2016, we get an additional wealth creation of €345,600 over the two full calendar years of 2015 -16, based on a notional wage of €400 per month for each additional employee. These figures represent a significant impact on lives of the beneficiaries, their employees and their families and have thus increased the wealth in circulation within the local economies. With regard to the impact on policy makers, it is clear that the SEP approach has been fully adopted by the MLSW and it is now their policy that the Ministry will use the SEP operational guidelines and model for any self-employment initiative they will approve in future. During the field visits, the representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Industry also indicated that they are happy with the SEP sectoral approach and encourage further expansion, but also indicate that a widening of the priority industrial sectors is acceptable to them. 


Tag: Impact Business Model Policies & Procedures Country Government Jobs and Livelihoods Capacity Building

7.

10. Efficiency

42% of respondents indicated that they had borrowed €63,900 in total, in matching funding (this was a plus factor that awarded extra points during the business plan evaluation process). This feature of the SEP process is likely to have increased efficiency and beneficiary commitment. The partnership model underlying the SEP design and its operationalisation during the course of the SEP was robust and this was confirmed during the in-country interviews with the stakeholders. If there was one weak area, it was the sourcing of experts to assist in the business plans evaluations. This process relied on the engagement of experts from industry on a voluntary and partnership basis. This partnership depends on goodwill and it is not certain that this approach is sustainable in the longer term, particularly since this aspect is key part of the beneficiary selection process.


Tag: Efficiency Business Model Partnership Capacity Building

8.

11.Theory of Change or Results/Outcome Map

If we look at the main factors leading to the intended outcomes and the assumptions, factors or risks inherent in the design that influenced the overall outcomes, we can identify the high quality of the programme design and its implementation by the ALMP and PES teams as the main key factors influencing the high level of achievement of the intended outcomes. The huge number of initial applicants confirmed the assumptions that there is a need for and a desire to engage in SEP among the general population. The selection process was exceptionally intensive and ensured that weak business ideas were weeded out and only committed beneficiaries were ultimately funded. Targeting was good and the beneficiaries’ profiles matched the initial programme ambitions, with the exception of social assistance beneficiaries and PwDs.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Risk Management Theory of Change

9.

12. Gender

The project design set out gender equality as one of its main ambitions. This targeting of women as potential entrepreneurs was very pointed and was even more so in the second 2016 round, where victims of domestic violence were particularly encouraged to take part in the SEP. This initial design factor and the operational implementation of the SEP, influenced participation and access by women to programme benefits. During the incountry visits it was clear that the female participants interviewed were particularly strong entrepreneurs who had a clear vision for the future expansion of their businesses.

Gender equality has already been indicated in section 6 above, where the breakdown of surveyed participants is 43% female to 57% male. As stated above, this is very encouraging considering the very low labour market participation rate for women in Kosovo (18-20%). Female applicants were awarded extra points during the applicant evaluation process. Chart 13 below indicates that the targeting of female groups was good and a number were single parents but less women than men were from rural areas. Long-term unemployment rates were similar for both men and women.It is very interesting to note that more women than men are making a profit, indicating good beneficiary and business idea selection.Women were more likely to have heard about the SEP from friends or social media, whereas the majority of men heard about SEP in the employment office. This is important to take into account when launching future programmes that have inter alia an equality agenda.

 


Tag: Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Jobs and Livelihoods Women and gilrs

10.

13. Stakeholders and partnership

The project Board and Working Group approach at the SEP design phase, ensured that MLSW felt complete ownership of SEP and in particular, the operational guidelines. This was an extremely important factor in the overall support and buy-in from all actors interviewed during the in-country visit. In that context, it is clear that the partnership process between the UNDP, MLSW, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), ALMP2 team, VTCs and the PES appears to have worked exceptionally well. It became clear during the in-country interviews that the agreed design was effectively put into operation by those programme partners and the process maps were adequately established and operationalised. 

However as set out in the 2015 annual project report, ‘even though the counsellors in the PES offices were trained to provide support to unemployed applying for the programme, there was a need for direct support from the project team throughout the process’. Based on the interviews during the in-country visit, this situation has not changed and is addressed in the recommendations section below.


Tag: Partnership Policies & Procedures Country Government

Recommendations
1

In the past, there has been a lack of coordination in Kosovo among donors who support start-ups. As set out above, there is a requirement for the MLSW and the newly established central PES Agency management to ensure that a standard operational approach to the self-employment ALMM be adopted. It is recommended that in order to ensure consistency and quality assurance, that an ALMM implementation committee be established by MLSW on a partnership basis, where the UNDP ALMP2 team and the PES have central roles. Any donor-led proposals for the implementation of ALMMs should in future be reviewed by this committee before any implementation occurs. Standard operational guidelines established by MLSW should be imposed as a condition of the acceptance of donor-led ALMM proposals and their funding. (As a result of close collaboration between the UNDP and the MLSW, these guidelines are now available for a range of ALMMs including SEP, on the job training, wage subsidies). 

2

The SEP model requires comprehensive structural support in order to work successfully, as outlined earlier in this report. However, it is clear that the PES as they currently stand, feel that they cannot deliver that support just by themselves. This is partly due to staffing issues but also to the lack of specific expertise in some aspects of business start-ups, particularly in relation to the mentoring and coaching aspects. During the implementation of the SEP, such specific coaching and mentoring supports were provided in part by the VTCs but mainly by the UNDP team and the consultants (CEED) retained to provide the extra supports. There are a number of options available that could address this:

Provide a budget line for consultancy support in any new self-employment programme implemented by the PES. However, such consultants should come within the management control of the MLSW/PES so that quality and intensity of consultancy support to beneficiaries is ensured.

Recruit and train one self-employment adviser in each main PES office who would deal with all self-employment clients funded within the PES office catchment area. This would also entail the provision of an adequate travel budget to cover fuel/motoring expenses for monitoring and mentoring purposes and Provide both options to each main PES office.

3

The process for the evaluation of business plans required assistance from business people who worked on a voluntary basis. This needs to be addressed in any future programmes, by the establishment of a panel of such experts who would understand the commitment required. A gratuity award system might also be considered for such experts

4

The VTCs played an important role in the SEP. However, in some cases it is reported that some trainers have limited capacities and skills required to bring beneficiaries to the point where they can produce a good business plan, in accordance with the standard required in the SEP operational guidelines. This could be addressed by the provision of such self-employment trainers with refreshment training of trainer’s inputs. One of the VTC managers interviewed during the in-country visits, indicated that bringing in project-based outside trainers is not the solution, as in the experience of that manager, the outside trainers can cause operational problems within the VTC, because they are answerable to the donor rather than the manager. This can be addressed through a contractual arrangement whereby the management reporting lines are specified in the collaboration contract. There may also be a need to provide more human resources to the VTCs if the self-employment ALMM is significantly expanded and numbers of beneficiaries increase (for example, this may happen if the numbers of repatriated self-employment clients increase).

A clear primary need identified by the beneficiaries is in the financial planning area with a significant number also identifying branding/marketing as the second most important need and it is recommended that this be taken into account when designing the SEP training module into the future.

5

While there was very little evidence of fraud (one participant) in the SEP, there is some discussion about the procurement of equipment by beneficiaries and the potential scope for issues in this area. Currently the close monitoring by the UNDP team and the PES advisers ensured that equipment was bought, recorded and its use monitored. In the past, in other similar projects there have been issue around procurement and sell-off of purchased equipment (or indeed a grant given and no machinery purchased). One of the advantages of SEP is that the process is efficient and the grant can be accessed quickly once approved, and equipment purchased. If the procurement of such equipment were to be centralised, then delays might occur. It is recommended that the experience in other countries, particularly in Macedonia (where procurement is organised centrally) be reviewed in order to reach consensus on a feasible new approach or indeed to leave the status quo in place where the mentors were quite involved in equipment purchase. The centralised approach may be more appropriate for particular sub- groups of beneficiaries, depending on their background and characteristics

6

While social assistance beneficiaries were a target group, the take up from this group was small. They face huge financial and practical difficulties in starting a business. There is an argument that as in some other countries, there be a disregard of social assistance payments when such clients take up training and/or other ALMMs such as SEP. It is recommended that social assistance benefits be retained by such potential beneficiaries for a period of one year from business start-up and grant approval. This would ensure that inclusion aspects of SEP are strengthened. This would require a legislative change.

7

A number of beneficiary interviewees indicated that it would be very useful to have the option of post-start-up additional funding. This related to the need for additional specific skills training in new approaches to their original production model and/or other additional equipment needs that only become apparent as the business develops and expands. It is recommended that this option be examined and if feasible, be incorporated into any future expansion of the SEP model

1. Recommendation:

In the past, there has been a lack of coordination in Kosovo among donors who support start-ups. As set out above, there is a requirement for the MLSW and the newly established central PES Agency management to ensure that a standard operational approach to the self-employment ALMM be adopted. It is recommended that in order to ensure consistency and quality assurance, that an ALMM implementation committee be established by MLSW on a partnership basis, where the UNDP ALMP2 team and the PES have central roles. Any donor-led proposals for the implementation of ALMMs should in future be reviewed by this committee before any implementation occurs. Standard operational guidelines established by MLSW should be imposed as a condition of the acceptance of donor-led ALMM proposals and their funding. (As a result of close collaboration between the UNDP and the MLSW, these guidelines are now available for a range of ALMMs including SEP, on the job training, wage subsidies). 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The draft report is handover to MLSW
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project team ALMP2 and MLSW 2018/06 Completed The MLSW has expressed their interest to continue the cooperation based on available funds History
Project proposed to MLSW to update operation guidelines on ALMM in lines with findings of the impact evaluations
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project team and MLSW 2018/08 Completed In this context in new operational guidelines is expected to be established ALMM implementation committee and to reflect all required updates by this impact evaluation History
2. Recommendation:

The SEP model requires comprehensive structural support in order to work successfully, as outlined earlier in this report. However, it is clear that the PES as they currently stand, feel that they cannot deliver that support just by themselves. This is partly due to staffing issues but also to the lack of specific expertise in some aspects of business start-ups, particularly in relation to the mentoring and coaching aspects. During the implementation of the SEP, such specific coaching and mentoring supports were provided in part by the VTCs but mainly by the UNDP team and the consultants (CEED) retained to provide the extra supports. There are a number of options available that could address this:

Provide a budget line for consultancy support in any new self-employment programme implemented by the PES. However, such consultants should come within the management control of the MLSW/PES so that quality and intensity of consultancy support to beneficiaries is ensured.

Recruit and train one self-employment adviser in each main PES office who would deal with all self-employment clients funded within the PES office catchment area. This would also entail the provision of an adequate travel budget to cover fuel/motoring expenses for monitoring and mentoring purposes and Provide both options to each main PES office.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support establishment and fully operational Employment Agency (EARK)
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project Team and MLSW 2018/12 Completed Newly established EARK is expected to have budged code which is a process that takes time soon as EARK will be independent in terms of budged it will be easier to implement the recommendations History
The ALMP 2 project initiated this idea EARK has budged limitation in this line the process is depending on available funds
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2019/02/04]
Project team and MLSW 2018/12 Completed Depending on EARK budged and recruitment of new staff. The EARK has allocated the necessary budget with specific budget code for this line and also has completed successfully the recruitment process. History
3. Recommendation:

The process for the evaluation of business plans required assistance from business people who worked on a voluntary basis. This needs to be addressed in any future programmes, by the establishment of a panel of such experts who would understand the commitment required. A gratuity award system might also be considered for such experts

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Update of Self Employment Operation Guidelines
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project and Programme Team UNDP 2018/08 Completed New operations guidelines will be updated based on recommendations from impact evaluation History
4. Recommendation:

The VTCs played an important role in the SEP. However, in some cases it is reported that some trainers have limited capacities and skills required to bring beneficiaries to the point where they can produce a good business plan, in accordance with the standard required in the SEP operational guidelines. This could be addressed by the provision of such self-employment trainers with refreshment training of trainer’s inputs. One of the VTC managers interviewed during the in-country visits, indicated that bringing in project-based outside trainers is not the solution, as in the experience of that manager, the outside trainers can cause operational problems within the VTC, because they are answerable to the donor rather than the manager. This can be addressed through a contractual arrangement whereby the management reporting lines are specified in the collaboration contract. There may also be a need to provide more human resources to the VTCs if the self-employment ALMM is significantly expanded and numbers of beneficiaries increase (for example, this may happen if the numbers of repatriated self-employment clients increase).

A clear primary need identified by the beneficiaries is in the financial planning area with a significant number also identifying branding/marketing as the second most important need and it is recommended that this be taken into account when designing the SEP training module into the future.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The project proposed the EARK to increase the number of trainers and to organize semi-annual trainings for capacity building of staff of VTC on delivering services according to operation guidelines.
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2019/02/04]
Project and Programme Team UNDP 2018/12 Completed The EARK is established, is fully functional and operational. History
5. Recommendation:

While there was very little evidence of fraud (one participant) in the SEP, there is some discussion about the procurement of equipment by beneficiaries and the potential scope for issues in this area. Currently the close monitoring by the UNDP team and the PES advisers ensured that equipment was bought, recorded and its use monitored. In the past, in other similar projects there have been issue around procurement and sell-off of purchased equipment (or indeed a grant given and no machinery purchased). One of the advantages of SEP is that the process is efficient and the grant can be accessed quickly once approved, and equipment purchased. If the procurement of such equipment were to be centralised, then delays might occur. It is recommended that the experience in other countries, particularly in Macedonia (where procurement is organised centrally) be reviewed in order to reach consensus on a feasible new approach or indeed to leave the status quo in place where the mentors were quite involved in equipment purchase. The centralised approach may be more appropriate for particular sub- groups of beneficiaries, depending on their background and characteristics

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Update of Self Employment Operation Guidelines
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project and Programme Team 2018/08 Completed New operations guidelines will be updated based on recommendations from impact evaluation History
6. Recommendation:

While social assistance beneficiaries were a target group, the take up from this group was small. They face huge financial and practical difficulties in starting a business. There is an argument that as in some other countries, there be a disregard of social assistance payments when such clients take up training and/or other ALMMs such as SEP. It is recommended that social assistance benefits be retained by such potential beneficiaries for a period of one year from business start-up and grant approval. This would ensure that inclusion aspects of SEP are strengthened. This would require a legislative change.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

The Project send the report to MLSW and asked for taking further steps in line with this recommendation however its up their budged and readiness to follow up next steps. The project offered the expertise to support MLSW/EARK to update all guidelines and necessary documents in line with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Update of Self Employment Operation Guidelines
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project and Programme Team 2018/08 Completed New operations guidelines will be updated based on recommendations from impact evaluation History
7. Recommendation:

A number of beneficiary interviewees indicated that it would be very useful to have the option of post-start-up additional funding. This related to the need for additional specific skills training in new approaches to their original production model and/or other additional equipment needs that only become apparent as the business develops and expands. It is recommended that this option be examined and if feasible, be incorporated into any future expansion of the SEP model

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2021/01/18]

 In designing of the new phase of the project it will be taken in consideration the option to have a post-start-up additional funding.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Update of Self Employment Operation Guidelines
[Added: 2017/12/21] [Last Updated: 2018/09/04]
Project and Programme Team 2018/08 Completed New operations guidelines will be updated based on recommendations from impact evaluation History

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