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Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Eswatini
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Completion Date: 12/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Eswatini
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

In the next country programme, UNDP must identify clear areas of intervention that form a cohesive response to a definite set of national development challenges and that can be realistically implemented within its limited resource framework. Overall, in the next programme period there will need to be a clear, focused approach, with fewer partners and clear areas and strategies of support.

The development of theories of change in each outcome area will be essential to understanding and better identifying what UNDP’s contribution is and where it can be most effective. This can help UNDP reinforce the understanding of what constitutes key activities, both internally and with its partners. With a stronger understanding of what UNDP should do, and for which results, the programme will be less likely to steer away from its objectives. It will also be subject to fewer demands for small-scale support that have led to the scattered and ad-hoc nature of the current programme. In order to ensure that UNDP’s key partners agree to its programme, strategy and outcomes, UNDP should increase the participation of its partners in defining the programme’s theories of change. Particularly, partners in government should be included in defining the theory of change, while regular involvement with the Government of Eswatini should be encouraged to ensure that interventions align with the agreed approach and objectives.

In framing its intervention for a more focused programme, UNDP must make choices not only about specific areas where it works, but also to identify the most appropriate partners to work with, in order to address Eswatini’s development challenges. When responding to additional demands from partners, it must also ensure that those demands align with its existing objectives, and not lose track of the programme’s strategy. If new areas of support emerge, UNDP must find ways to ensure that new activities do not impact existing programme implementation negatively.

UNDP should fully review its policy monitoring support to the government, identifying areas that can realistically be developed and incorporated into a long-term strategic vision, supporting the government’s reporting needs. It should also identify areas of previous support that can be further leveraged, developed and possibly accelerated.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/01] [Last Updated: 2020/07/06]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Develop new CPD completed, with a clear, focused approach and strategic areas of support aligned to the country office resource framework
[Added: 2021/02/02] [Last Updated: 2021/03/03]
DRR 2020/09 Completed A new CPD 2021-2025 was developed and approved in Sept 2020 A Results and resources framework is an annex of the CPD. It is aligned to the CPD strategies and problem tree. History
1.2 Develop country programme evaluation plan which is strategic and focused to check progress towards agreed UNDP commitments
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/09 Completed A costed country programme evaluation plan with timelines has been developed. An M&E Consultant has been recruited to support its implementation.
1.3 Conduct consultative meetings in the first quarter to share the ICPE recommendations
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2021/02 Completed The development of the annual work plan (AWP) which is aligned to CPD strategies has been initiated. Meetings with external stakeholders will be held to finalize the plan. A regular monitoring schedule will be developed to review its implementation. Capacity building on M&E will be conducted for IPs. 5 sub- committees will be set up to oversee implementation of the CPD. 1. Governance & Oversight Committee 2. Inclusive Growth (Poverty Committee) 3. Inclusive Growth (Environment Committee) 4. Governance Committee 5. M&E reference group.
1.1 Develop new CPD completed, with a clear, focused approach and strategic areas of support aligned to the country office resource framework
[Added: 2021/03/25]
Country office 2020/09 Completed A new CPD 2021-2025 was developed and approved in Sept 2020 A Results and resources framework is an annex of the CPD. It is aligned to the CPD strategies and problem tree.
2. Recommendation:

UNDP must critically examine its achievements in the implementation of the current programme, understand where its main contribution lies, and where this contribution has the strongest potential to be sustained and scaled up. This process requires regular follow-up on project activities, improved documentation of UNDP’s outputs, and measuring progress on a more regular basis. The monitoring efforts must go beyond data collection and be used as a tool for programme management, learning and reporting. This will help UNDP communicate its contributions, reinforce trust between the organization and its partners, and strengthen its capacity to mobilize resources.

Existing achievements in the poverty and environment outcomes have shown that UNDP can contribute to both objectives when projects target inclusive growth, natural resource management and climate change adaptation together. In these areas in particular, it is critical to produce evidence of project results by establishing a baseline situation and monitoring changes or progress, whether on beneficiaries’ incomes, environmental factors or natural resources. UNDP should not implement ‘in the dark’ and report results without evidence to support them.

UNDP has supported processes that produced evidence for development in Eswatini (through research, censuses and SDG monitoring) but it needs to create links between its interventions for more significant and sustainable results across its portfolio. Stronger evidence and baseline data will support more effective monitoring of project progress, which in turn can better inform policy-making.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/01] [Last Updated: 2020/07/06]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Establish PMSU
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/06 Completed The PMSU has been established. The Head of PMSU has been recruited.
2.2 Develop partnerships and communications strategy
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/05 Completed A partnerships and communications strategy has been developed. An advocacy and communication consultant has been recruited.
2.3 Develop standard operating procedures for programme, with clear control framework
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/02 Completed Internal Control Framework has been developed.
3. Recommendation:

In implementing a more focused programme with a clear theory of change and objectives, UNDP must follow key project management steps more strictly. Priority activities and deliverables must be identified and followed during implementation. UNDP must increase efforts towards reporting and documenting activities and results for effective follow-up, both during implementation and by partners after project closure. In addition, UNDP needs to redirect its support away from facilitation across numerous activities and give greater and more meaningful support to technical issues.

The implementation of a multiplicity of small-scale activities is not sustainable, especially in the context of limited finances and a small programme team. It is important for UNDP to identify results that can lead to structural changes for the targeted areas or populations. For its upstream work to be effective, support to policy development must be planned across several years, with continuous engagement during distinct phases, including policy design, validation, training, implementation, and learning and feedback from implementation. 

The country office should develop a resource mobilization plan that reflects need within the country, as well as available national and regional opportunities, while also considering the current capacity and comparative strengths of the office. Current and future resource attraction should be coupled with a clear human resource development plan that includes additional resources for the implementation of projects, as well as support to existing staff in building their capacity. The regional service centre has a clear role in supporting a small office such as that in Eswatini, which has faced numerous challenges in recent years.

There is a danger that the new portfolio of projects will further inundate the current programme staff. A rationalization of the current project portfolio will be needed to ensure fewer activities and partners, which will reduce implementation pressures and management costs. At the same time a clear human resource development plan needs to be put in place that includes capacity development for existing staff to enable them to manage new projects, trains them in new project areas in the current pipeline, and develops a plan to bring in new human resources to take up some implementation responsibilities.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/01] [Last Updated: 2020/07/06]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Conduct theory of change training for all staff
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/03 Completed Training of Staff was conducted during development of CPD 2021-2025.
3.2 ICT associate will train the office staff on the use of Share Point and utilize current Microsoft tools that UNDP has already purchased, such as Power BI.
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office- ICT Associate 2020/06 Completed Training was conducted and continued for newly recruited staff.
3.3 The country office will develop an integrated monitoring and evaluation plan
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2020/03 Completed A costed country programme evaluation plan with timelines has been developed. An M&E consultant has been recruited to develop the comprehensive M&E plan.
4. Recommendation:

The country office should review the effectiveness of the allocation of programme and operations staff across the DAT structure and find ways to improve the allocation of its limited human resources. A strengthened focus and strategy for programme outcomes will resolve some of the current inefficiencies in implementation.

Instead of introducing a complicated structure to support a scattered programme with limited staff, UNDP can benefit from aligning its existing resources to a more focused programme. If staff members are expected to carry out new roles and responsibilities, the office must also support the process with on-the-job training and technical support if necessary. The country office should also bank on the small size of its team to encourage learning across the team (operational and programmatic), to increase support for programme activities.

A stronger collaboration with other UN agencies can further strengthen UNDP’s development offer. In the implementation of its current programme, UNDP’s time and resources have been used for the recruitment and management of external experts, for example in support of livelihoods and environment projects, where such expertise can be found within the UN country team. An improved use of available expertise and resources within the UN country team can help UNDP better allocate its own limited resources in line with the objectives of the DAT structure introduced in 2017.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/01] [Last Updated: 2020/07/06]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Review country office staffing structure and align it to the CPD
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office 2021/09 Initiated To be done as part of rollout of the new CPD
4.2 Identify staff learning needs and develop an action plan for learning
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office- DRR 2021/09 Initiated To be done as part of rollout of the new CPD
4.2 Identify staff learning needs and develop an action plan for learning
[Added: 2021/03/03]
Country Office- DRR 2021/09 Canceled To be done as part of rollout of the new CPD
5. Recommendation:

The timing of the development of the new CPD (2020-2025) is an opportunity for the country office to address the above-mentioned gaps. Over the past six months the country office has initiated various country office strategic positioning processes, including a Country Diagnostic Study that will feed into the CPD formulation processes. Further, the country office will conduct a stakeholder consultative meeting in the first quarter of 2020, during which the ICPE recommendations will be shared to frame the CPD focus.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/04/07]

Management action for Recommendation 1
Key action(s) Completion Date Responsibiliy

Tacking 

Comment

Status (initiated, Completed or no due date)

1.1 Develop new CPD completed, with a clear, focused approach and strategic areas of support aligned to the country office resource framework

Sept 2020 Country Office (CO)

A new CPD 2021-2025 was developed and approved in Sept 2020

A Results and resources framework is an annex of the CPD. It is aligned to the CPD strategies and problem tree.

Completed
1.2 Develop country programme evaluation plan which is strategic and focused to check progress towards agreed UNDP commitments Sept 2020 CO

A costed country programme evaluation plan with timelines has been developed.

An M&E Consultant has been recruited to support its implementation.

An M&E Reference group has been set up to oversee M&E events

Completed
1.3 Conduct consultative meetings in the first quarter to share the ICPE recommendations Feb 2020 CO

The development of the annual work plan (AWP) which is aligned to CPD strategies has been initiated. Meetings with external stakeholders will be held to finalize the plan.

 

A regular monitoring schedule will be developed to review its implementation. Capacity building on M&E will be conducted for IPs.

 

5 sub- committees will be set up to oversee implementation of the CPD.

  1. Governance & Oversight (Outcomes) Committee
  2. Inclusive Growth (Poverty Committee)
  3. Inclusive Growth (Environment Committee)
  4. Governance Committee
  5. M&E Reference Group
Initiated 
         

 

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

A Programme Management Support Unit (PMSU) will be established to strengthen the core programming compliance and quality assurance functions. Also, management will ensure results-based management systems and tools are effectively applied as part of regular programme management processes. The capacities of two staff members have been enhanced by participating in a regional training on M&E; one of the staff members will be part of the PMSU. In addition, the country office has recruited a communication consultant to develop a country office communications strategy, and a partnerships and resource mobilization consultant to support in developing the needed communication tools, alignment of reporting tools, and to map out a donors’ base and priorities to assist the country office to tap into traditional and non-traditional donors/partners. It is expected that with this support the country office will be able to better package and target its communication/messaging to partners and stakeholders and further enhance accountability of results.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/04/07]

Recommendation 2
Key Action (s) Completion Date Responsibility Tracking Comments Status
2.1 Establish PMSU June 2020 CO

The PMSU has been established.

The Head of PMSU has been recruited.

Completed
2.2 Develop partnerships and communications strategy May 2020 CO

A partnerships and communications strategy has been developed.

An advocacy and communication consultant has been recruited to support its implementation.

Completed
2.3 Develop standard operating procedures for programme, with clear control framework Feb 2020 CO Internal Control Framework has been developed Completed

 

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

The country office will ensure that the new CPD is focused and has a clear theory of change. As indicated above, the country office has initiated activities to strategically position programme interventions away from multiple facilitation-related activities and will also ensure strict compliance with corporate results-based management system standards. Furthermore, the country office aims to establish a PMSU to strengthen reporting and monitoring/documentation of results. This will serve for effective follow-up during implementation, as well as for project closures.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/04/07]

Recommendation 3
Key Action(s) Completion Date Responsibility Tracking Comments Status
3.1 Conduct theory of change training for all staff March 2020 CO Training was conducted during development of CPD. Completed
3.2 ICT associate will train the office staff on the use of Share Point and utilize current Microsoft tools that UNDP has already purchased, such as Power BI. June 2020 CO Training was conducted and continued. Completed
3.3 The country office will develop an integrated monitoring and evaluation plan March 2020 CO

A costed country programme evaluation plan with timelines has been developed.

An M&E Consultant has been recruited to develop the M&E Plan.

Initiated

 

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

As part of the new CPD, the country office will review the current programme staffing structure with a view to ensuring alignment with the requirements of the new CPD

Management Response: [Added: 2021/04/07]

Recommendation 4
Key Action (s) Completion Date Responsibility Tracking Comments Status
4.1 Review country office staffing structure and align it to the CPD Dec 2020 CO To be done as part rollout of the new CPD. Planned
4.2 Identify staff learning needs and develop an action plan for learning Dec 2020 CO To be done as part rollout of the new CPD. Planned

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Review country office staffing structure and align it to the CPD
[Added: 2021/04/07]
Country Office 2021/12 Not Initiated
4.1 Review country office staffing structure and align it to the CPD
[Added: 2021/04/07]
Country Office 2021/12 Not Initiated
4.2 Identify staff learning needs and develop an action plan for learning
[Added: 2021/04/07]
Country Office 2021/12 Not Initiated

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