Mid-term Review/Evaluation of the Country Programme (2019 – 2023)

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Lesotho
Evaluation Type:
Country Programme Evaluation
Planned End Date:
10/2021
Completion Date:
10/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Mid-term Review/Evaluation of the Country Programme (2019 – 2023)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Lesotho
Evaluation Type: Country Programme Evaluation
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2021
Planned End Date: 10/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Organisational Output 1.1 Evidence based performance analysis and decision making at all levels
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Stephanie Hodge Consultant
Ts'o Sechaba consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UNDP, UNCT, Government of Lesotho,
Countries: LESOTHO
Comments:

Midterm review/Evaluation of all CPD outcomes 

Lessons
1.

Governance and Peacebuilding The lesson for the governance portfolio is about relationship building and how that important relation as well as the neutral role of UNDP has enabled the UNDP to be positioned for a time now where by all the partners are looking to UNDP for its neutral position as well as its ability to convene and coordinate partnership and also to enable nimble follow up for the processes of national reforms   

Inclusive Growth The main lesson from the evaluation for the Inclusive growth pillar is about how the current operating context and the more favorable political climate are focused on the sustained economic recovery and potentials in the business sector. This is a perfect time for coordinating and moving towards his private sector work.   The other key lesson is the funding attached to the initiatives. It would be good for UNDP to build capacity for innovative financing and PPPs.

Environment and Energy As Lesotho is still one of the countries in the world most affected by climate change, the relevance of these interventions remains the same as when these projects were started. The lesson learned from this pillar is that while the projects are really relevant and meet the needs, the project designs used models that were not reflective of the actual time needed to complete the activities, such as the time it would take for communities to voluntarily work on the rangeland management and for the government, through the Department of Energy, to agree with energy developers on the operational modalities as the issue of mini-grids is a new concept in Lesotho. Therefore, the mixed logical framework results should be considered as challenges emanating from project design, project assumptions, and the lack of updating of the logical framework rather than as challenges in the action of the project stakeholders implementing the project. A key lesson for EE is to monitor these project closely with the government implementing partner and planning the CPD main counterpart. Relations between the project and various stakeholders are good but need constant and clear communication to all affected parties, particularly the beneficiaries. The capacity development activities undertaken to date have resulted in positive progress toward the implementation of CPD activities although more capacity work should be done on the monitoring part of CPD activities to ensure that progress is in line with the planned activities.


Findings
1.

The CPD is highly relevant and is based on previous cycles and learning. All three pillars reflect the current and priorities needs, and is aligned to the NSDP II, UNDAF and past programs and is informed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, anchored on the NSDP II and UNDAF, and guided by the UNDP Strategic Plan, 2018–2021. The NSDP II 2019- 2023 prioritizes promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and private sector-led job creation to address challenges of political instability, persistent poverty, non-inclusive economic growth and inequality.   However, this evaluation finds there has been significant changes in context which impacted on the drivers, and assumptions, as well need for realigning the emphasis on some pillars and forging better linkages and focus areas between the pillars.

The new operational context–post Covid 19, post dialogues and impacts of slow follow up actions–impacting and threatening the peace process and the good governance environment with intensifying joblessness and poverty, has opened a unique window of opportunity for UNDP to help government envision what might could be the new functions (in the institutional architecture), policies (subsidies and finance), and services. The evaluators found unique opportunities UNDP regarding the unique window of opportunity for positioning gender sensitive inclusive sustainable development, inclusive economic recovery, evidence-based planning, and applying institutions for good governance with regards to the ongoing support to the post dialogues institutional architecture. Here the UNDP comparative role per stakeholder interviewed is emphasis in the short run placed on the modes, such as planning, coordinating, and mobilizing partnerships to sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and peace to engage fully with government on the priority planning and versioning processes: COVID recovery and NRA with peace and a human rights architecture and institutional development in follow-up planning.

With the changes in context including the follow up action planning in relation to the national reforms, Covid 19 and the African Agenda, the period offers new opportunities to strengthen the CPD program in the short term (to end of current cycle) and the next cycle (long term). With COVID, resources have been reprogramd and per the evaluation, most effectively (see the effectiveness section under inclusive growth-accelerator lab), but more strengthening of the links between pillars and strategic ways to coordinate for results. This include joint planning support upstream and more monitoring the downstream with the development partners.  For example, the peacebuilding coordination work can be augmented and reinvigorated, and the support to the follow up of the national reforms process and the COVID recovery agendas are opportunities for UNDP and government joint planning support concerning its comparative offers especially convening, coordination and  institutional capacity development and supporting the country redesign of the new government architecture to meet needs based on a new vision of sustainable development in line with UNDP's nexus sustainable integrated programming vision. At the regional-level Africa agenda, UNDP can continue to engage and support SADC’s peace and sustainable economic development initiatives for Lesotho.


Recommendations
1

A. Revisit the theory of change and plan for greater synergies between the pillars with a refocus the work in the new context. Develop an accelerated results plan on the key planning opportunities i.e. Covid 19 Economic Recovery and Post National dialogues NRA planning work.

2

B1.  Operationalize the accelerated results plan and institute key actions for management as stated below (Improve projects monitoring):

  • CPD Managers can schedule regular monitoring of pillar level results i.e. and practice of instituting pillar level program level MTR and formative evaluations against the UNDP nexus offer.
  • CPD Managers can include the (MDP) and other relevant stakeholders in field visits to see broader bottlenecks affecting the current projects.
  • Develop a detailed operational work and implementation plan for all remaining activities linked to resources (e.g funds).
3

B2. Strengthen the project team’s capacities in participatory planning and monitoring

  • Pillars can work together to take stock of the current context and plan an integrated and accelerated results plan taking into consideration the current opportunities for transformative level results. Modes such as coordination of sectors i.e. business/private sector and partnership with key groups i.e. SADC and the regional Africa Agenda are part of this exercise. This exercise to develop an acceleration plan can be facilitated with a workshop and skilled monitoring facilitator.
  • CPD Managers can build greater synergies between pillars and further position UNDP for future program and partnerships, by instituting mechanisms for the cross cutting CPD services as a priority: knowledge management plan and related cross pillar and audience learning activities, i.e. social media program, case studies, advocacy branding and communication of UNDP nexus offer.
  • CPD Managers can move the accelerator lab upward over the pillars in the organizational aspect and institute it as a mechanism for design thinking and integration emerging areas.
4

C1. UNDP should develop a strategic approach to partnership building, i.e develop a renewed and more strategic approach to partnerships in a refined and researched written document (resourcing, monitoring and implementing). This should be linked to the accelerated results plan based on the rationale highlighted above.

  • UNDP should further focus its partnerships to support its priorities and better plan the resources needed for partnering.
  • UNDP should plan more carefully for the partnerships that are needed for achieving their outputs/priorities in the CPD including influence and resourcing.
  • UNDP should engage a smaller number of high influence, committed and strategic level (program level) partners than be involved in numerous partnerships that do not directly contribute to their priorities.
  • UNDP should also continuously evaluate the socio-economic environment and regional imperatives the country is in as it is difficult to attract direct investment because of geographical situation and size of the economy.
  • UNDP should monitor and evaluate the result of these partnerships on a regular basis to ensure that the partnerships are leading to results and functioning efficiently.
  • UNDP should regularly update its partnerships as indicated in PCAP.
5

C2. Work toward reporting that captures UNDP achievements with partners:

  • Consider how the program units should develop an integrated approach for tracking, analyzing, and making public the results delivery or performance in each partnership.
  • The achievements should be linked to CPD results framework and due attention should be given to how partnership achievements can be attributed to progress to long – term results
6

C3. Improve information sharing and coordination on partnership:

  • Systematic sharing of information about partnerships, their function, successes and challenges can be a key learning tool for UNDP to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of partnerships.
  • Increase reporting on CPD outputs across pillars. Information on the achievements in each partnership should be shared internally and among partners and made publicly available.
  • Information sharing is also important for ensuring a coordinated approach to working with various partners.
  • Include documentation of processes, lessons and best practices with partners.
7

C4. Enhance partnership engagement to become more strategic:

  • Develop tools for systems analysis of strategic partners to undertake strategic choices of partners.
  • CPD Managers can target the program for (policy influence and enhanced coordination) and undertake partnership building beyond public sector partners, international agencies and enhance those relations based on stakeholder analysis matrix on influence (impact) and interest as much partnership is not reflected on PCAP strategy.
  • UNDP should include partners in their strategic planning and further develop the approaches to engaging them, for instance, for detailed project descriptions as was highlighted by NUL that Lehokela Crime Alert App lacked detailed project description and UNDP to support all initiatives (not only those GoL is interested in them but all those contributing to national priorities as indicated by CCL. CPD managers can develop a new partnership plan as part of the visioning and accelerated CPD post MTR implementation strategy exercise mentioned above. Key strategy level resourcing and sector influence partners such as SADC and others can be included as per the finding of this MTR.
8

C5. Build more partnerships with civil society organizations and private sector:

  • Identify CSOs and private sector that will positively contributes to CPD outputs as they are agents of change and significant results could be achieved through their partnerships
9

D. Continue working on cross-cutting issues to be inclusive of all groups:

  • Work to develop specific policies with respect to vulnerable groups (PwDs, marginalized etc)
  • In line with the recommendation above for accelerated results plan, CPD managers can institute more concrete mechanisms for monitoring and supporting cross pillar level expected results especially those concerning women, and youth, disabled (particularly vulnerable groups) related development support targets.
  • Do communicate and position UNDP’s expected results with the development of a strategic knowledge management (KM) and integrated results branding strategy linked to the acceleration plan.
10

E. Articulate vision for sustainability

  • Develop an exit strategy linked to the accelerated CPD strategy responding to the institutional, economic, social and environmental risks to sustainability and taking into consideration the current operation context and the greater opportunities for results as highlighted by this report. For instance, UNCT engagement in the health sector, economic sector planning post – Covid and governance institution planning and targeting post-national dialogues, greater partnership to accelerate results, i.e. with SADC, African Union and cross border economic agents

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