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Mid-term Evaluation of Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG) project
Commissioning Unit: Bangladesh
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 05/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bangladesh
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

Considering UP as the Core Intervention Area rather than UZP:

The project made its interventions in three sub groups: i) sub group 1 targeted UPs and UZPs for intervention, sub group 2 targeted UZPs and sub group 3 targeted Ups for intervention. Out of these, sub groups one and three that focused on the UPs for project interventions, produced better results in almost all aspects of the project compared to that of the sub group 2. Project interventions at the UP level were found to ensure greater participation of citizens in LGI activities than the interventions at the UZPs. Community people were found to be less connected to UZPs and they hardly seek services from there. It is the UP which is considered as the most popular place for the local people to receive their required services. Despite having interventions at the Upazila Parishad, community people of the sub group 2 reported less satisfaction about and access to services provided by both Upazila and Union Parishad. The project, thus, may consider making interventions at the Union Parishads in the remaining period of the project or in the next phase, if extended. Alternately, the project may undertake initiatives for intensifying coordination between the UZPs and UPs in order for benefiting the community from the project interventions undertaken at the Upazila level.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Partially Agreed

Union Parishad (UP) is a service delivery organization, while Upazila (UZP) is primarily a coordinating body, providing services by the 17 transferred line departments. UNDP will focus on SDG localization, engaging multi-tiers of Local Government Institutions (LGIs) and other actors, including CSOs and the private sectors, if the next phase of EALG or a new project for local governance is designed. However, EALG will continue to work with UPs and improve service delivery and accountability of line departments until the end of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Delivering more activities with UPs once the lockdown is withdrawn.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/12 Initiated EALG will revise AWP 2021 to implement the action.
2. Recommendation:

Capacity Building through Extending the Duration of Training:

In order to capacitate the LGI functionaries, although the EALG offers various kinds of training, the study found that the duration of the most of the training sessions is shorter than required for ensuring effective learning. It is recommended that the duration of the training sessions should be reviewed further in order to make it suitable for effective learning.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Partially Agreed

The training duration will be assessed and revisited by EALG accordingly. EALG will offer a supporting role to the National Institute of Local Governance  (NILG) in reviewing the designed courses. However, increased training time will require additional resources that might be a challenge for EALG. For this reason, the project will address this recommendation if it finds solutions to address constraint budget issues. At the least, UNDP will consider this recommendation in designing the next phase of EALG or a similar type of project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Revisit the training duration and take a decision accordingly.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/09 Not Initiated It will be initiated once the lockdown is lifted.
3. Recommendation:

Internal Resource Mobilization through Collection of Tax:

Holding tax collection as a means of resource mobilization is very important for the LGIs to perform its assigned functions with autonomy and attain self-sufficiency. The mid-term evaluation found apathy among the tax payers as well as the tax collectors to collect holding taxes. EALG can increase awareness through training and workshops among the UP and UZP functionaries to emphasize tax collection. Importance of increased tax collection for the sake of improving the quality of local level services should adequately be explained to the LGI functionaries in training/orientations arranged by the EALG. Similarly, initiatives should also be undertaken to make the citizen aware in this regard.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

EALG has already piloted raising awareness of the community people in the UPs about tax, conducting an assessment on holding tax, and collecting holding tax engaging UP functionaries and local youth. If the piloting is successful, UNDP will replicate this approach in other UPs if EALG is scaled up or a new project is designed. If not, EALG will document the learning and share the document with the Horizontal Learning Programme (HLP), Local Governance Support Project (LGSP), and Local Government Division (LGD) with a replication request. EALG has researched resource mobilization for LGIs in Bangladesh and advocated with LGD to integrate these recommendations into the revised tax schedule.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Advocate with LGD on the revision of the UP Model Tax Schedule.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/12 Initiated The piloting was initiated, and the advocacy is going on.
Document and disseminate learning from the piloting.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2022/03 Not Initiated The piloting is yet to be completed.
4. Recommendation:

COVID-19 Support can be continued if the pandemic exists:

The project has significant achievements regarding COVID-19 support. Awareness activities related to COVID-19 can be continued as people of treatment areas were found to be more aware of pandemic than that of control areas. Moreover, the program can focus on vaccination, more awareness activities on using mask, soap and social distancing so that people can be well informed about COVID19 and the health guidelines required to follow to contain it.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed
EALG will integrate awareness of vaccination in its following COVID-19 awareness-raising messages through multiple channels. It is expected that the awareness-raising event will be imparted in June-July 2021. Moreover, the awareness-raising messages will also emphasize using masks, soaps and maintaining social distancing apart from the distribution of masks and soaps for project stakeholders, including poor citizens living in project working areas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Revise the awareness-raising messages to be broadcasted by loud miking.
[Added: 2021/06/27] [Last Updated: 2021/07/27]
EALG 2021/07 Completed The awareness-raising message has been revised incorporating the information as planned in the management response and it is broadcasted using loud miking. History
5. Recommendation:

Coordination between Government Officials and Public Representatives:

At the Upazila level, in some cases misunderstandings and mistrusts between public representatives and government officials are found to be prevalent, which seriously affects coordination between these two key service providers. In order to improve service delivery at the Upazila level it is essential to improve coordination between the UZP functionaries and the line department officials at the Upazila level. Regular arrangement of six monthly review meeting, periodic coordination meeting has supported to minimize the gap, Ward Shava, Open Budget should be continued to keep the momentum.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

The existing interventions, such as six-monthly review meetings and periodic coordination meetings, have supported minimizing the gap. Ward Shava and Open Budget will also be continued up to the project period. The project has also assisted LGD in circulating 17 UZP committee ToRs, which will improve coordination among the service providers, and planned to orient the relevant stakeholders making committees more functional and improving coordination. The project will also consider monitoring and follow-up of the committee functions following the TOR.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Facilitate training on newly approved ToRs for the UZP committee members.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2022/03 Not Initiated Training will be initiated once the approved ToR is published for dissemination.
Monitor and follow-up the functions of the committee and coordination at the UZP level.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2022/06 Not Initiated The process will be monitored by the DDLGs and DFs.
6. Recommendation:

Emphasis on Increasing Citizens’ Awareness about UP Activities:

EALG project focuses on improved participation of the citizen in UP and UZP activities through Ward Shava, Open Budget Meeting and Public Hearing. But the project does not have any component dealing exclusively with increasing citizens’ awareness about local government activities. This can be achieved by introducing some interventions for increasing citizen awareness.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

EALG will encourage improved citizen participation in UP and UZPs’ public functions through various awareness-raising activities, particularly disseminating this information by Information Education Communication (IEC)/ Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) materials. EALG will also share some of the information related to UP and UZP mandates through these materials.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design and disseminate IEC/BCC materials.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/09 Initiated The design process is under process and will be completed soon.
Keep the UP/UZP Facebook functional and use them to sensitize people through various awareness-raising messages.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2022/03 Not Initiated Actions will be taken with proper implementation planning.
7. Recommendation:

Live Streaming the Public Engagement Programmes:

Facebook/twitter pages for the UPs and UZPs operated by the project can be utilized further to live streaming of the ongoing Ward Shava, Open Budget Meeting and Public Hearing meeting from each of the areas. This will have multiple effects on local level governance: i) might help increase awareness of the local people about the activities of the LGIs; ii) increased number of people may feel encouraged to attend the Ward Shavas/Open Budget meetings; and iii) will facilitate making local governance more transparent and accountable.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

EALG will advocate with LGD to introduce this innovative idea and issue a letter from LGD/DDLG to consider the Facebook live of Ward Shava, Open Budget Session, and the public hearing session. These initiatives will help the relevant UP secretaries and local youth improve skills to support Facebook live events where citizen engagement is visible.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Issue an internal circular to promote this idea in its working area.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/09 Not Initiated Advocacy with LGD/DDLG is needed to issue the letter.
8. Recommendation:

Continuing support for publishing the Annual Report and Five Year Plan:

The EALG project provided financial and technical support to the Union and Upazila Parishads to publish their annual reports and five-year plan books. This intervention has produced encouraging results in terms of ensuring transparency and accountability of Union and Upazila Parishads as well as in disseminating key information about the LGIs to the wider audience. UNDP pursued LGD to amend the ‘Revenue Fund Utilization Guideline’ of UZP. As a result, LGD updated the guideline and allocated BDT 100,000 for preparing and publishing annual report and other publications of UZP which ensure the sustainability of publishing annual reports. On this backdrop the current evaluation strongly recommends to continue this practice in future.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

To continue the annual report of UP and UZP in 2021, EALG obtained approval on the UP annual reporting guideline and UZP annual reporting guideline by LGD. LGD has adopted these two guidelines for all UZP and UPs, which help the institution publish these reports confidently.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Disseminate these guidelines through multiple channels and monitor the status.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/12 Not Initiated EALG has a plan to implement the idea of disseminating guidelines through multiple channels.
9. Recommendation:

Revision of the Result Framework:

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, some of the policy level tasks did not go according to the plan. As per the current design, the project has around one and a half years left to cease to exist. Considering the time required for executing the policy level interventions, some of the project targets/objectives can be revised from the result framework and key priorities can be set up. For example, the project has a target for integrated planning by the LGIs, but given the current structure and government process, integrated planning will be difficult since it will need a major reform of the local government system and this will be a time consuming process. Given this, the project can support the LGIs for a coordinated planning process for efficient use of resources and maximizing benefits for the citizen.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Partially Agreed

EALG will focus on the policy issues throughout the remaining period. Meanwhile, EALG has had a communication with SDC for necessary revisions in the results framework. The communication from SDC concluded that no further modification is needed as SDC treats non-achieving results as a point of learning, meaning why the result was not possible to be achieved. However, there may be a possibility that the RF revision issue comes in at a later stage. In addition, the project is advocating with LGD for an inter-ministerial coordination committee to facilitate better coordination at the UPZ level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthen six-monthly review meeting at the field level for better coordination.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2021/12 Initiated Both UZP and UP functionaries will share their views and identify actions to be taken for better coordination.
10. Recommendation:

Monitoring of the EALG Project needs to be strengthened:

Continuous financial and physical activities monitoring of UP and UZP from the EALG project has been found to be beneficial to achieving the project objectives. Simultaneous monitoring from the EALG Dhaka office, District Facilitators, Office of the Deputy Director of Local Government can be a powerful mechanism for ensuring effective monitoring of project activities. Monitoring by the LGD would sustain even after the project end. Introducing MIS/M&E system might help in this regard. EALG facilitated online monitoring support to LGD and expecting its’ launching by 2021. The online monitoring system will sustain the monitoring mechanism beyond the project intervention.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/06/27]

Agreed

EALG has already updated its M&E plan and will introduce an online-based monitoring system using UNDP Share Point/Google Docs to obtain real-time data. Apart from this, EALG has already integrated a field monitoring plan corresponding to the project monitoring plan engaging PMU staff and the DFs. Moreover, EALG is ready to assist its UPs and UZPs in entering necessary data in the monitoring platform to be introduced by LGD in June 2021.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide support to the UPs and UZPs to enter updated data in the LGD Developed MIS/monitoring platform.
[Added: 2021/06/27]
EALG 2022/03 Not Initiated The system will be introduced among relevant LGIs. Ensuring data input is a critical challenge.

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