Watershed services mid-term evaluation

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2022, Tanzania
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document Final TOR MTR Watershed project - National Consultant-signed.pdf tor English 380.97 KB Posted 1072
Download document Final TOR Watershaed Intl Consultant.pdf tor English 379.21 KB Posted 1077
Download document PIMS 5077 Securing Watershed Services via SLM MTR_Final Report 4th October.pdf report English 2103.70 KB Posted 1717
Title Watershed services mid-term evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00086631
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2022, Tanzania
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2018
Planned End Date: 10/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Goal
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG Target
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: GEF, UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 28,840
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Securing watershed services through SLM in the Ruvu and Zigi catchments (Eastern Arc Region).
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Land Degradation
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5463
PIMS Number: 5077
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Water , Vice President's Office, Local Government Authorities
  1. Working through government structures and systems creates a good platform for the political commitment in SLM interventions as demonstrated in the restoration of the Amani plateau in the Zigi catchment through consolidated engagement from national to community levels, with demonstrable wider incentives and disincentives and the observation of the rule of law.
  2. Commitment without finance is not enough: Implementation of SLM through government structures and systems imply the respective institutions owning and meeting the necessary costs. Although the institutions – MDAs, LGAs and Basin level institutions have demonstrated commitment including inclusion of SLM interventions in their plans, funding has remained limited. The risk is that gradual loss of results after the project if these institutions remain resource handicapped.

  3. Timing of disbursements of funds for SLM is critical because many of the activities are time sensitive – missing one rainy season may mean a whole year lost for project implementation; 

  4. Involving communities via awareness raising is a cost effective way of protecting watersheds, but is highly dependent on clear incentives;  

  5. Many people are aware of the local level laws governing watershed management but they will not comply unless there is a clear disincentive;  

  6. Multidisciplinary collaboration is a powerful tool, but it can be difficult and expensive. It requires patience and negotiation skills, backed by commitment by senior management; as well as broad understanding of costs and benefits of sector specific interventions/activities on overall watershed services; it needs champions. 

  7. IGAs can be a clear incentive for watershed management but they have to be adequate and delivered early in the process.

  1. The stakeholders have demonstrated a very high degree of collaboration and coordination; credited to the strong PCU and senior management of partner institutions who have demonstrated high commitment and drive. The project has made significant progress towards the objective of integrating the use of sustainable land management to alleviate land degradation, maintain ecosystem services and improve livelihoods in the Ruvu and Zigi Catchments. Implementation of the project is in substantial compliance with the expected results, and it can be taken as an example of ‘good’. The project is well integrated systemically in the partner institutions, particularly the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Tanga and Morogoro Water Basins Authorities as well as the Local Government Authorities within the project area. The project has been well-managed and has demonstrated commitment to gender mainstreaming. The implementation and governance arrangement, stakeholders’ participation and M&E have been rated as ‘Satisfactory’. The project is highly relevant, meeting a felt need at the local, national and international level.
  2. Despite challenges with disbursements, project implementation has progressed fairly well with about 57 percent progress towards indicators with about 54 percent budget spent; this is evidence of an appropriate implementation arrangement. Early impacts are significant: sediments loads measured at 11 stations in Ruvu catchment and 6 stations in Zigi catchment registered an average of 27 percent reduction in soil erosion (exceeding the end of project target of ten percent). This is impressive as it happened concurrently with increase in mean annual river flow rate, which rose by 20 percent for Ruvu River (from 60 m3/sec at project inception to 72 m3/sec; measured between January and December 2017). This is double the end of project target. There is a three percent improvement in household welfare for households adopting income generating activities; yields of maize have increased from 2.5 tons/ha at project inception to 3.8 ton/ha for farmers adopting SLM measures, with concurrent increase in income from TZS 480,000/- to TZS 550,000/- per year. The project has therefore effectively demonstrated that SLM is a powerful tool to address complex IWRM challenges, and that communities are ready and willing to play their part in IWRM when the incentives and disincentives are clear.

  3. However, there are a few challenges. With four outcomes, 13 outputs and 69 groups of activities covering a large area (over the two basins), the project was ambitious. Thus the scale of the implementation/piloting is very small given the huge magnitude of the challenge in each basin. In addition, at MTR the returns from income generating activities are too low to adequately compensate the lost opportunities for those vacating the sixty meter radius of the river channels. This is against a background of heightened expectations from participating communities and WUAs. It is therefore not advisable to scale down the project to one basin to consolidate impacts. This is because the project has demonstrated best practices in community participation in IWRM via WUAs, including engaging WUAs in M&E processes; engaging previous practitioners of illegal activities in the WUAs and therefore guardians of the watershed. However, this could be reversed if the project is withdrawn from one basin or benefits from IGAs continue to be limited, with serious reversals to the impacts already demonstrated.  

  4. The proposed SLM Fund is unlikely to materialize because it lacks a legal basis. Both UNDP and Government have been slow in providing committed co-finance, compounding financial access as a barrier, and limiting the potential for upscaling. The project sustainability is still threatened by inadequate socio-economics benefits and the still weak Water User Associations.


The project to modify the SRF indicators to reflect those in the PIR. It could also keep all of them if they are deemed necessary as an annual project monitoring tool


The probability rating of two risks should be upgraded from Low to Moderately High. These are: a) Government institutions lack the resources and/or capacity to implement the project or to sustain gains once external project support has been withdrawn; and b) Local level economic growth fails to provide adequate returns on investment in SLM, or the economic gains of SLM are eroded by external factors such as rampant inflation


There should have been two additional risks: a) that the livelihood and income generating alternatives offered by the project may fail to provide adequate incentives for long-term adoption of SLM practices, despite the demonstration by the project; b) That the SLM Fund may lack the Law supporting its establishment and capitalization. Previous experience of establishing the Environment Fund (under the VPO) and attempt to establish the REDD+ Fund (under Forestry) have proven that these Funds need special provisions in the Law to enable their creation and capitalization


Collaboration among multi stakeholders requires effective management with clear partnership mechanisms for continued partnerships beyond the project. Operationalization of the Catchment and sub-catchment committees is the best starting point. Other arrangement would include the planned Zigi Trust Fund and the project working with the respective basins to facilitate operationalization of the Catchment and sub-catchment Committees


The project improve the quality of all its publications and awareness raising materials before sharing them widely. The PCU would benefit from the services of a part time Technical Advisor, provided for at design but not yet hired


UNDP should step up its fundraising efforts to meet its committed co-finance to ensure that the project interventions are completed, and the project outcomes are realized by the end of the project


A 2-years no-cost extension period will be required for logical completion of the remaining activities


Overall expenditure as of August 2018 was 54.2% with component 1 registering a 21.07% over expenditure mainly because of the additional activities included in 2016. This component will therefore require revision on the remaining activities and prioritization of funding for this critical component.


Review of the project scope: The Project workplan/activities should be revised to focus on priorities that will consolidate impacts. For instance, the establishment of the SLM Fund should be dropped and emphasis focused on further fund raising to provide funds for upscaling the initiatives throughout the basins. Empowering WUAs, expansion of the income generating activities and completion of steps 5 and 6 of the land use plans should also be prioritized


UNDP to identify and to communicate transparently the reasons for the regular disbursement delay to inform proper planning


There exists a potential for engagement of the private sector. The MoWI and the other implementing partners should forge and promote partnerships with private sector and increase efforts on new funding options including development of high quality proposals to access the significant funds from the Water Fund, negotiating and engaging new stakeholders such as the large water users – cement factories in Tanga and Dar es Salaam, breweries, cold drinks companies etc. The planned process to establish Water Trust Fund should be hastened as there is interest for the private sector to contribute to such initiatives as part of their Corporate Social responsibility CSR


Link and work with other government agencies i.e. The VPO, MoFP, Ministry of Agriculture – for the Smart Agriculture Window and the respective National Implementing Entities (NIEs) on preparations to access GEF 7 funds targeting the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) angle, GCF and Adaptation Fund


Most implementing partners have included SLM activities in their workplans and budgets. However, financing of such activities from own sources remains poor. Lobbying should continue through the PSC and the Focal Points to ensure SLM is prioritized during financial planning


The income generating activities should take on a value chain approach. The PCU should acquire additional capacity in this field


it is important to focus attention on raising additional funds from other sources, including providing income generating activities for the WUAs. In addition, the institutional capacity building work should not be rushed once UNDP co-finance is availed. It is recommended that the project be extended by two years to increase the probability of creating resilient WUAs. It is particularly important to support them through the local and general elections of 2020 when political considerations might undo most of the benefits from the project if it is closed earlier, and if the benefits from income generating activities are still considered inadequate compensation for the opportunity cost of the sixty-meter radius along the river channels


The project to develop an exit strategy immediately, to provide ample time to discuss it with potential funders. It is further recommended that the exit strategy be informed by a public expenditure review to provide a clear picture of expenditure on SLM; identify potential sources of funding for SLM and provide material/information for crafting a business case for private sector investment in SLM


Other options to be considered as part of the exit strategy include lobbying Local Government Authorities and other implementing institutions to continue budgeting for and financing initiated interventions, especially support to Water Users Associations and income generating activities; Fast track establishment of the Tanga Trust Fund; formulate a clear business case for private investment into watershed management; develop concepts for available international climate and Disaster Risk Reduction funds such as GEF 7, GCF, LDCF, Adaptation Fund, involving the Vice President’s Office as the GEF Focal Point; develop concepts and sell them to bilateral donors (NORAD, Dutch, CIDA); improve quality of technical advice to produce bankable funding proposals

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213