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Mid-Term Portfolio evaluation on thematic area of YOUTH covering Youth Employment Project and Youth & Social Cohesion Project
Commissioning Unit: Pakistan
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Completion Date: 05/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Pakistan
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

At present, a large number and diversity of activities are being implemented under YEP through a myriad of implementing partners based in KP, Baluchistan, Sindh, and Islamabad. However, as elaborated in the sections on Efficiency and Impact, this approach can be counterproductive, requiring extensive management resources and resulting in scattered impact. Therefore, it is recommended that the program’s logical framework is reviewed at the output and activity levels with a view to consolidating programming. Accordingly, high-impact activities from the current program should be retained to continue building on the results thus far. Similarly, there is a need to consolidate partnerships with Implementing Partners (IPs) by combining various related activities under single contracts. For instance, instead of the current practice of sub-contracting similar activities to multiple partners, it is recommended that single IPs are engaged for the delivery of such activities. Examples in order are YEP activities related to policy engagement and university engagement. Furthermore, for comprehensive and sustainable impact, it is recommended that instead of implementing single-purpose activities, youth are provided a suite of inter-related services. For instance, university engagement for social development can be combined with establishing or strengthening job placement centers at universities, policy engagement, as well as the delivery of advanced digital skills, and so on. Similarly, there are opportunities for connecting social entrepreneurship with digital skills

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with the recommendations but would note that the programme is already implementing many of these points (to the extent possible as per UNDP POPP) and provided evidence to prove it.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Exploring opportunities for providing a suite of interrelated services to the youth
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2022/04/03]
CPRU & YEP team 2022/05 Initiated History
1.2 Review of Programme’s logical framework at the output & activity levels with a view to consolidating programming.
[Added: 2021/07/08]
CPRU & YEP team 2021/05 Completed N/A History
1.3 Review of sub-contracting approach for IPs selection for single-purpose activities.
[Added: 2021/07/08]
CPRU & YEP team 2021/05 Completed N/A History
2. Recommendation:

While a number of activities implemented under YEP have yielded high impact, others for instance those related to policy engagement have not demonstrated any evident impact, mostly due to lack of incorporating follow up activity. Resultantly, neither participating youth nor policy makers were tracked or supported for post-program engagement. It is therefore recommended that activities are designed with a view to not only warrant outreach but also ensure impact.

Furthermore, it is recommended that activities are modified according to the needs and capacities of the participating youth. For instance, a high dropout of younger youth has been observed in the case of TVET, skills, and entrepreneurship activities as these students are not yet ready to start practical life or intellectually prepared to take on the responsibilities of such tasks. In addition, there is a need to develop practical selection criteria. For example, youth without home internet access or prior IT knowledge should not be included in Advanced Digital Skills programs as was observed in some instances, since these aspects are essential prerequisites to effective learning and implementation.

Similarly, considering the specialized needs of highly marginalized youth, for instance transgender or disabled youth, it is recommended that tailored activities are designed for such demographic groups. For instance, when it comes to sports or idea competitions it is important to develop separate activities for such youth in order to provide them a level playing field. In this regard, it is important to dovetail efforts with the ongoing support mechanisms and initiatives of the GOP and civil society in the country, such as collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner for Transgender Persons at the Federal Ombudsman’s Secretariat or the Pakistan Special Persons Games, an initiative of the Pakistan Sports Board, etc.

Furthermore, it is recommended that based on the experience of YEP implementation, UNDP conducts research to understand the drivers for successes and results are fed into future program design. Important areas of research in this regard include exploration of the facilitating factors that encourage higher funding levels from private sector partners, comparison of employment outcomes among younger and older age groups, and impact of availability of internet at home on IT-related training activities, etc. 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agreed with the recommendations, the programme again is already undertaking many of the action points, some evidence provided to evaluators to demonstrate progress made during this period which ideally should be referenced in the recommendation, highlighting what has been done to address it already. Other activities have initiated in 2021

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Incorporating post-programme follow up activities for the policy engagement work to demonstrate evident impact.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2022/04/03]
CPRU & YEP Team 2022/12 Initiated A Facebook page has been created for young people who are/have gone through the program, https://bit.ly/3uIdF2G - although it has been difficult to draw a captive audience. We also have social media accounts under the YEEEP component in Sindh where we regularly share the news with project participantshttps://www.facebook.com/YEEEPSindh. An online youth policy lab is also being developed to provide an open platform for youth to continue their empowerment journey, this is being done jointly with the Federal Planning Commission – the draft outline/design is attached. History
2.2 To design tailored activities for marginalized demographic groups for instance transgender or youth living with disability.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2022/04/03]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/12 Initiated The project has developed a proposal together with UNDP China to support empowerment of youth with disabilities (proposal attached) and is working on another proposal with Bangkok Youth Colab team to include youth with disabilities in a new social innovation window to enhance empowerment of this group as part of the Leave No one Behind strategy (we just got this last week so working on it now, the application is attached). Another round of Youth Innovation Challenge is also being designed together with UNICEF specifically targeting young refugees living in Pakistan (some success stories from the previous round attached). History
2.3 To conduct a research to understand the drivers for successes, such as exploration of the facilitating factors, and comparison of employment outcomes among younger and old age groups, etc., and results are fed into future program design.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/08 Initiated More researches will be conducted in future History
3. Recommendation:

Considering the limited YEP resources and the immense scale of youth development needs in the country, it is important to ensure that the program directs its efforts at the most underserved groups, where possible. At present, the majority of YEP activities are being implemented with university students/graduates and blue collared youth, with KP and Sindh provinces receiving the highest proportion of resources and only a limited number of activities being implemented in Balochistan. However, the majority of youth in the country comprises is uneducated or has low literacy levels and limited or no skills, putting them at high risk. It is therefore recommended that the YEP orients some of its work to include such marginalized youth. This can be accomplished through engagement in economic sectors where such youth are active, such as agriculture and construction, etc. Moreover, it is recommended that instead of directly accessing youth, the program addresses the needs and priorities of youth leaders and influencers first. For instance, in the case of madrassas, students are highly influenced by their teachers and madrassa administration. Hence, it will be more cost effective as well as sustainable to build the capacity of these individuals before or in tandem with providing development support to seminary students. Furthermore, geographically the program is advised to deliver services in the most underserved areas such as second or third tier districts. For instance, in the case of university engagement, some of the participating universities were found to be leading institutions based in major cities which already have substantial support from other sources. Instead, it is recommended that universities from remote and conservative districts, such as D.I. Khan, Kohat, and Mansehra, etc. are provided such support. Similarly, while in Sindh the program has supported prisons in Karachi, prisoner needs in other major jails, such as the Special Prison for Women in Larkana and the Central Prison Sukkur are reported to be higher due to limited support from other resources.

Similarly, while Balochistan has received limited attention under YEP due to insufficient donor interest, it is a known fact that the province is the most marginalized, thereby leading to a sense of disenfranchisement among its youth. It is therefore recommended that UNDP works in collaboration with the Government of Balochistan to mobilize public and donor resources. For instance, the UNDP can offer assistance to the GoB for the implementation of the Prime Minister Youth Loan Scheme of PKR 2.0 billion.

Finally, while the Government of Pakistan and youth are identified as the primary target groups of the program, the program results framework/theory of change do not include activities specifically aimed at the GOP. Also, evaluation interviews revealed that, there is a common understanding among the YEP management team that the program is youth-centric with the GOP being one of the key stakeholders to support program implementation. It is therefore recommended that the program document and results framework/theory of change are modified to reflect this understanding

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with most of the recommendations, the programme again is already undertaking many of the action points, some evidence provided to evaluators to demonstrate progress made during this period. Other activities have initiated in 2021.The point on most of YEP activities being implemented with university students isn’t accurate. Surely blue collar workers (domestic workers, plumbers, daily wage workers) which form a large segment of our activities are indeed part of the under-educated/excluded youth group

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 To deliver services in the most underserved areas such as second or third-tier districts for program’s all three components.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU & YEP Team 2022/12 Initiated The implementation of the key action is ongoing and under every component, the focus is on underserved areas and marginalized. History
3.2 To work in collaboration with the Government of Balochistan to mobilize public and donor resources to engage more youth under YEP
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/08 Initiated The youth engagement in Balochistan is covered by another CPRU project. We now have at least one intervention with UNFPA to support the Youth Policy implementation in Balochistan and are now looking for resources for National Youth interventions which will allow the program to work more in this Province too. The process is ongoing History
3.3 To reflect the activities specifically aimed at the GOP being one of the key stakeholders to support program implementation in the program document and results framework/theory of change.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/10/29]
CPRU and YEP 2021/10 Completed the prodoc has been revised and it's reflected in the prodoc already History
4. Recommendation:

Partnerships formed by YEP have been a major driver of the program’s success. In order to further leverage these partnerships with its public, private, and civil society stakeholders, further measures are recommended in this section.

While the program has partnered with several private sector as well as civil society partners, the partnership with public sector has been limited. However, in the interest of efficiency and sustainability, it is recommended that YEP establishes stronger programming linkages with its government counterparts at the provincial level. Such partnerships will facilitate access to existing physical infrastructure while also enabling the program to build the capacity of government staff at the local level, strengthening of existing physical infrastructure, as well as ensure broader outreach.

For instance, instead of working with individual TVET centers to deliver entrepreneurship training, as was done by IP Kashf Foundation, it would have been more efficient and sustainable for the YEP to sign an MOU with NAVTTC or Sindh TEVTA to enable access to the various training institutions. Furthermore, as entrepreneurship is not included in the official TVET curriculum, such a partnership could have included the incorporation of the subject in the official curriculum for sustainable impact. Similarly, MOUs with the HEC and the provincial education departments can ensure easy access to universities and high schools for various activities, such as engagement and training, etc. 

Moreover, in order to build on its existing strength of ICT based outreach, YEP is advised to explore further venues for such programming in the interest of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability by developing relevant private sector partnerships. Furthermore, to strengthen its partnership with the private sector, it is recommended that UNDP seeks ways to establish partnerships on more equal footings when it comes to financial contribution. Thus far, the program is seen to carry the greater portion of the financial burden while private sector partners have contributed mostly in kind despite deriving substantial benefits from the program, such as recruitment of qualified staff.

In addition, the positive experience from inter-UN agency partnership can be built upon through similar other partnerships. In particular, such partnerships can be effective in the context of implementation in remote areas or when addressing diverse program areas. For instance, YEP can leverage on FAO or IFAD’s longstanding experience in Balochistan in the area of farm-based livelihoods. Similarly, there is a possibility for partnering with the UNODC which is already working in prisons in Sindh or with UNWOMEN that is also implementing a Royal Netherland Embassy (RNE)-funded project on digital skills training under its Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) portfolio.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with some aspects of the recommendations, the programme again is already undertaking many of the action points (we have agreements with HEC and STVETA) some evidence provided to evaluators to demonstrate progress made during this period. Other activities have initiated in 2021.  Some specific recommendations on how Kashf should have conducted the coordination of its training don’t take into account the numerous efforts the programme has made to incorporate entrepreneurship training into the TVET structure

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 To establish stronger programming linkages with the government counterparts at the provincial level in the interest of programme efficiency and sustainability.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/10 Initiated the end date needs to be extended as the linkages development is time taking . History
4.3 To explore further venues for strengthening existing ICT-based outreach in the interest of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability by developing relevant private-sector partnerships on more equal footings.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/12 Initiated the process has been initaied History
4.2 To strengthen inter-UN agency partnerships (FAO, IFAD, UNODC, UNWOMEN) in the context of implementation in remote areas or when addressing diverse program areas.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated In future programs, it will be ensured. Though we already have such linkages in existing programmes as well. History
5. Recommendation:

Under YEP, UNDP has generated significant research on youth in Pakistan, including formal studies such as that on hyper masculinity as well as insights acquired as a result of lessons learned from implementation. These programs findings need to be disseminated to relevant audiences in order to benefit future youth programming in the country. It is therefore recommended that a YEP Knowledge Management strategy is developed and such program knowledge is shared through relevant UNDP-approved channels.

Similarly, while activity-level has been assessed in some instances the impact of other activities is not yet determined. The availability of positive impact data from implemented initiatives is likely to not only encourage donors to contribute to future YEP programming but also inform other youth programs. Hence, it is recommended that a systematic program-wide impact assessment is undertaken at the output and outcome levels and its results be disseminated widely among relevant stakeholders.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agreed with the recommendations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 To develop YEP Knowledge Management strategy and share program knowledge through relevant UNDP-approved channels.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/10 Initiated The programme has conducted several digital surveys/exercises to further understand youth needs as well as producing numerous reports/research papers/KM products and blogs. These are frequently shared with govt and development partners in Pakistan and at Regional/HQ level. We will work on developing a KM Strategy document to better document this work. In future such strategiese will be developed History
5.2 To undertake a systematic program-wide impact assessment at the output and outcome levels and its results be disseminated widely among relevant stakeholders
[Added: 2021/07/08]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/12 Not Initiated This would be done towards the end of the programme.
5.2 To undertake a systematic program-wide impact assessment at the output and outcome levels and its results be disseminated widely among relevant stakeholders
[Added: 2021/07/08]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/12 Not Initiated This would be done towards the end of the programme.
6. Recommendation:

The program monitoring data is not available in a unified database and is instead stored in scattered resources, including progress reports and activity-specific beneficiary lists, etc. To ensure availability of consolidated progress and beneficiary data for facilitating Program planning, it is recommended that a monitoring database is developed and updated regularly. The utility of this database can be further enhanced through the development of reporting tools such as dashboards to provide readily accessible information snapshots

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 To develop a monitoring database management system to ensure availability of consolidated progress and beneficiary data for facilitating Program planning.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated end date need to be exytended History
6.2 To develop reporting tools such as dashboards to provide readily accessible information snapshots
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/08 Initiated the process in underway History
7. Recommendation:

In addition to the USD 8.6 Million received in direct funding from various donors, YEP has received approximately USD 2 Million to implement youth-related initiatives of the Regional Office Bangkok, UNDP Global Youth initiatives, and UNDP Units in Pakistan. However, these funds are reflected under their respective parent projects and not under the YEP ATLAS ID, thereby making it difficult to readily assess the full financial extent of YEP. It is therefore recommended that the linkages to YEP are clearly shown in ATLAS for all such funding in order to get a fair estimate of the project’s resources and capacities.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

This is not possible, hence tracking is done off-line.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 To explore the avenues for clearly reflecting the linkages to YEP in ATLAS for all funding to support global, regional and UNDP’s other units’ youth -related initiatives to get a fair estimate of the project’s resources and capacities.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU 2021/12 Completed this is not possible through ATLAS but we are doing this offiline History
8. Recommendation:

As lack of donor funding is a major challenge being faced by YEP, it is recommended that alternative financing resources are explored, including private and public sector channels. For instance, a potential funding venue could be the engagement of private sector philanthropists from the country.

Moreover, at times program funds of the GOP remain unspent due to lack of implementation capacity. For instance, reportedly the budget allocated to the GoP Madrassa Education Board remains largely unutilized. A potential venue for collaboration could be with such programs in exchange for building organizational capacity.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with recommendations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 To explore alternative financing resources including private and public sector channels from the country to get more funds to ensure broader outreach of the youth related initiatives
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated History
9. Recommendation:

The program’s experience after the onset of COVID-19 has demonstrated all too clearly the need for reliable internet availability as a catalytic factor for youth’s development. However, at present, Pakistan’s internet connectivity is limited and rural areas are further marginalized in terms of access. This presents an opportunity to the UNDP to delve into policy and strategic support to improve online connectivity which can be capitalized upon through partnerships with the Government of Pakistan (e.g., the Universal Service Fund under the Ministry of Ministry and Technology), private internet service providers, and mobile phone companies, and educational institutions, etc

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 To devolve into policy and strategic support to improve online connectivity for youth development through partnership with the GoP, internet service providers, mobile companies and other relevant stakeholders.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated This is part of the CO Digital Transformation Strategy which YEP is supporting and its in process. History
10. Recommendation:

Through collaboration with the private sector, YEP has trained and placed youth in TVET-related jobs. However, while the training were responsive to the needs of the employers, they were often not delivered according to an accredited certification, an element that is critical to ensure long term employability of trainees. It is therefore recommended that all future TVET training follow an agreed industry standard certification, such as the standards developed by NAVTTC.

Furthermore, in the interest of efficiency, outreach, and long term sustainability, it is recommended that the design of all training programs, regardless of their nature, consider Training of Trainers (TOT) approach. For the implementation of this approach, institutions and individuals engaged in learning and teaching, e.g., educational institutions, teachers, and community leaders should be targeted for such trainings.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/07/08]

Agree with recommendation as this is already part of the programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 To design and implement training of Trainers (TOT) for institutions and individuals engaged as community leaders, teachers, trainers etc., for the efficiency and long-term sustainability of the training programmes
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated History
11. Recommendation:

At present, the program’s economic empowerment component targets job placement and entrepreneurship. However, the provision of critical facilitating factors, such as access to markets and finance was overlooked in these activities. While a separate output was designed to address value chains, it could not take off due to lack of donor interest. Nevertheless, to ensure effectiveness and sustainability, there is a greater need to integrate such linkages with the existing training activities. Such an effort will not only be beneficial to trainees of entrepreneurship but will also enable skill trainees to explore options other than employment. It is therefore recommended that any future economic empowerment activities include the abovementioned missing components.

These linkages can take direct or indirect form. For instance, in addition to traditional methods such as market visits and job fairs, YEP is advised to explore further ICT-based solutions. For instance, currently, despite being one of the top supplier countries of freelancers in the world, nearly all the freelancing job portals in Pakistan are international and pose problems for workers in the area of receiving payments from international clients. YEP can therefore capitalize on this opportunity to work with the GOP to streamline international payment receipts for these youth.  This will not only benefit youth trained in IT skills by the program but will also have wide reaching impact on the freelancing landscape in the country.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree with suggestion to increase access to finance/market. This is part of our strategy as shared with the evaluators. Don’t agree that the programme has overlooked this, but we are looking to strengthen this component of the programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1 To integrate the provision of critical facilitating factors, such as access to markets and finance in job placement and entrepreneurship activities to ensure effectiveness and sustainability of the economic empowerment component.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/07 Initiated History
11.2 To explore further ICT- based solutions for the strengthening of freelancing opportunities for the youth and to work with the GOP to streamline international payment receipts for these youth.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP 2022/10 Initiated History
12. Recommendation:

Under its engagement component, YEP has engaged several policy actors at the national and provincial levels. However, in Pakistan as elected representatives are more concerned with the views of their local constituencies, it is recommended that engagement activities such as youth dialogues and forums are carried out at the district level. This will result in more direct engagement between youth and policy makers with the possibility to yield some tangible benefits and also build the capacity of both to eventually contribute at the provincial and national level debates.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/07/08]

Agree, partners do engage a the District level with youth and key stakeholders, examples were provided.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
12.1 To carry out engagement activities such as youth dialogues and forums at the district level to ensure more direct engagement between youth and policy makers.
[Added: 2021/07/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/31]
CPRU and YEP team 2022/10 Initiated History

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