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Mid-term Evaluation of 1st phase of Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities Project
Commissioning Unit:Bangladesh
Evaluation Plan:2017-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date:11/2017
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bangladesh
1. Recommendation:

We asked the beneficiaries about the length of the programme in FGDs. Almost everybody thinks that it should be stretched up to 2 years. Their argument was that it took about a year to ‘get on their feet’ and they needed one more year to improve their situation. The first year was all about repaying debt and making some essential spending on food, clothing, housing, health, etc. Therefore, the length of the tenure can be reconsidered for the scaled-up project.

It was also pointed out by the beneficiaries that the work-fare can be phased out gradually, for example, full-time work for the first 18 months and part-time works for the following 6 months when the beneficiaries will work for 2-3 days a week.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

The duration of the public works tenure is fixed to 18 months in the DPP and ProDoc, making it difficult to deviate without Government of Bangladesh (GoB) consent. Adding part time work for an additional six months will also have budget implications, and the project is already very strained financially. However, the SWAPNO design includes six months’ follow-on handholding support after the end of project employment to prepare for the transition from safety net employment to market driven employment. It has to be noted that cash-for-work represents employment of the last resort and can never be but an episode in the life of participants.The focus of SWAPNO is instead building future employability after this employment episode.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discussion on the proposed extension of employment tenure in the next PSC meeting with decision on GoB standpoint on the issue
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
Local Government Division (LGD) 2018/01 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The government is not likely to extend the employment tenure due to the resource constraints.]
2. Recommendation:

We need another follow-up survey at least after one year to assess the sustainability of the interventions beyond the project. The sustainability of the outcomes of the project after the project life should be a part of the monitoring tool of SWAPNO.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

We agree that such ex post tracing of beneficiaries after a year and beyond would add valuable knowledge to the sustainability of project outcomes. This can be done through both existing online MIS mechanism and a sample survey; the latter contingent on availability of funds.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Online MIS follow-up of the first cycle of women
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
SWAPNO Project 2018/01 Completed
Repeat impact survey of the treatment group sample of baseline and endline surveys
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
UNDP Resilience & Inclusive Growth (R&IG) Cluster 2018/11 No Longer Applicable [Justification: No fund is available for repeating impact survey of the treatment group. Only in case if the additional fund comes through in the future, it will be conducted.]
3. Recommendation:

One way to solve the asset monitoring problem is to disburse graduation bonus in the middle of the project life, for example, after six months. If the investment is made right after six months of the start of the project, the project staff will have ample time to monitor the asset. The incubation period of the business will get long enough time to experiment and redesign the investment options if required. The beneficiaries will also earn their labour income and investment income at the same time.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

Such deviation from project design will require PSC decision. However, the project has already recognized the problem and has introduced ROSCAs for investment in productive assets from voluntary savings, in addition to the mandatory savings paid out at employment end, from the very beginning of each beneficiary cycle. Running small-scale business based on assets financed through ROSCAs have proven to give valuable ‘dry run’ experience in how to handle the larger investments to be financed from the graduation bonus.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discussion of the proposed split of graduation bonus in two instalments in the next PSC meeting, with decision
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/10/15]
LGD 2018/10 Completed
Formation of ROSCAs for the second cycle of women
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
SWAPNO Project 2018/01 Completed
4. Recommendation:

Carefully crafted business models should be part of the project design – if a beneficiary earns Taka 100 from the project, saves Taka 40 during the project period and invest in option X, it will bring Taka Y in the next one year. These types of exercise will give beneficiaries the confidence that they can maintain a standard of living after the project similar to what they used to maintain during the project life. These business models should be the part of the training programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

Agreed. Business model exercises can be made part of business training if ongoing resource mobilization focusing on financing expanded vocational skills training bears fruit. Applying such exercises in training of participating women implies both development of new training materials and competence building of trainers.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development of business model training materials
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/07/30]
SWAPNO Project 2018/07 Completed
Training of trainers
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/11/28]
SWAPNO Project 2019/03 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Better monitoring mechanism should be in place to oversee the public works, as FGDs suggested. In this light, it is recommended to increase the number of union workers per union.  Monetary incentive of a union worker was also argued to be low and does not commensurate with the work load it demands.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

Increasing the number of union workers is not financially possible and does not represent a sustainable model to be scaled up or replicated. However, contingent on successful resource mobilization, the remuneration of union workers can be increased. Also, they can be given additional training for further capacity development.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Increased remuneration of union workers
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
SWAPNO Project / UNDP R&IG cluster 2018/07 Completed
Additional training of union workers
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/10/15]
SWAPNO Project 2019/03 Not Initiated Subject to funding availability
6. Recommendation:

The participants acknowledge and understand the usefulness of the training but may not know how to use them effectively in their real lives. Class-room training can thus be complemented by hands-on training on various business options such as cow-fattening, poultry, wood-work, etc. Teaching materials on social issues such as gender, human rights, etc. can be made more interesting and communicable with the help of internet and multimedia. These types of contents are readily available in the internet and can be used with very low cost.

The content of the courses can be re-assessed by an education expert before scaling up the project in order to better serve the beneficiaries. We believe there are scopes to merge and squeeze some of the overlapping issues on gender, human rights and leadership development.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

Agreed. This is to some extent contingent on sufficient resource mobilization and requires additional training of union workers who are the trainers.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Re-design of relevant teaching materials
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/05/06]
SWAPNO Project 2018/06 Completed
Training of union workers
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/10/15]
SWAPNO Project 2019/03 Not Initiated Subject to funding availability
7. Recommendation:

All Union Parishad offices of Bangladesh house a UDC which is a public-private partnership enterprise offering a host of public services such issuing birth certificates, delivering social security benefits, etc. We discussed with a couple of UDCs regarding its scope of involvement in SWAPNO. It is found that these UDCs are under-utilized and UDCs can be involved in several stages of project implementation, from beneficiary selection to project monitoring.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/27]

Agreed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discussion with a2i on how UDCs can be engaged in SWAPNO
[Added: 2017/12/27] [Last Updated: 2018/10/15]
SWAPNO Project / UNDP I&RG Cluster 2018/09 Completed

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