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Mid-term evaluation for Sustainable Energy for All Project
Commissioning Unit: Lesotho
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 01/2020
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Lesotho
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

It is recommended that the project is extended to accommodate the FSS grant disbursement mechanism, to be implemented from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2023, a period that exceeds the planned SE4ALL operational closure date by mid- 2021. The FSS grant is in the form of an initial grant for mini-grids at the beginning of year 1, followed by a performance-based grant at the end of Years 1 to 4. In practical terms this means that the grant mechanism will be implemented from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2023, a period that exceeds the planned SE4ALL operational closure date of mid- 2021.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/25] [Last Updated: 2020/09/28]

Under the new UNDP-GEF project extension policy, the maximum extension period is 12 months for projects approved during the GEF-5 programming cycle, which would apply to this SE4ALL project. The Performance Based Incentive (PBI) component of the Financial Support Scheme (FSS) requires 4 years to be implemented effectively, time which is not officially available, because the project ends in August 2021. UNDP/GEF policy is opposed to project extensions, as they are never “cost-free” The estimated cost of one-year project extension is USD 93,500.00, funds which were not catered for in the overall project budget allocation. It took the project over a year to design and operationalize the FSS, from late 2017 to early 2019. When reaching the point of requesting an extension, most likely in Q4 of 2020, the PMU will make a strong case on why the extension is required and how it will lead to greater impact

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Closely monitor project implementation processes and update risk log and mitigation to avert potential delays and bottlenecks
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All Project Team 2020/12 Overdue-Initiated
Develop a project exit strategy to determine available options for continuity and management of the component
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All Project Team 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Recommend to the PSC for a request of an extension, based on the progress of the project, at Q4/2020. Submit 1 year project extension request to GEF
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNDP, RTA, MEM, UNCDF 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated History
2. Recommendation:

For future direction and sustainability, advocate for appropriate institutional setup (e.g. a RE/rural/electrification agency) with an overall programme that integrates various donor-funded initiatives in one funding scheme that is linked with or managed by the ‘agency’.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/28]

It is not UNDP’s responsibility to facilitate/promote institutional arrangements within the energy sector, UNDP will however support the revival of the Energy Sector Working Group to facilitate co-ordination and synergies amongst key players in the sector.

 

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Share the evaluation report and recommendations with the Ministry and relevant stakeholders
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All Project Team 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated History
Continue advocacy for the institutional setup in engagement with the Ministry and related stakeholders in the sector, as relevant. Support revival of the energy forum to facilitate coordination and synergies among key players in the sector
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNDP Management, SE4All Project 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Address mini-grid regulatory issues before FSS scheme starts disbursing. As long as the Regulatory Framework for mini­grid applications does not have official status, this situation will deter investors, while even the companies selected under the Call for Proposal may delay their decision to start with the construction of the mini-grids. If not possible right away, the Project should discuss with DoE to be given dispensation to start with mini-grid construction to resolve the issue

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/28]

The project does not perceive the mini-grid regulatory issues as a hindrance to the implementation of the FSS because, a Regulatory Framework specifically for off-grid options (mini-grids and energy centres) was developed and adopted by Government with support from UNDP in 2019. Soon after that, draft regulations for mini-grid application were developed by Government and they are currently being reviewed for Cabinet/Parliamentary approval.  MEM developed a concession agreement engaging the selected developers   which provides same assurances as the adoption of mini-grid regulations, for the FSS. The agreement is not a long-term solution but can enable the FSS to start disbursing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Follow up action to facilitate Cabinet approval of regulations for mini-grid application
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNDP Management, SE4All Project 2020/12 Overdue-Initiated
4. Recommendation:

More involvement of academic stakeholders in the Project’s activities. On a working level, the collaboration of the Project with academic institutions, such as the National University of Lesotho (Energy Research Centre) and the Lerotholi Polytechnic can be strengthened and a work plan for such collaboration developed. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/28]

The SE4All project is working in collaborating with the NUL and Lerotholi Polytechnic. The two institutions are represented in the Project Steering Committee and the Financial Support Scheme (FSS) Investment Committee. However, the collaboration can be strengthened further. There are already discussions with the NUL to look at the possibility of attaching MSc students to the project for research on RE mini-grids and energy centres and financial business models, while NUL or Lerotholi Polytechnic can provide advisory/quality assurance services in the area of monitoring and evaluation, assessments and surveys (e.g. on ability or willingness to pay; demand and resources; training of district/local officials and technicians).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organise a meeting with NUL and Lerotholi Polytechnic to explore further areas of collaboration. Develop work-plans with NUL and Lerotholi Polytechnic on identified areas of collaboration. Sign an addendum to the MOUs between UNDP and NUL. Sign MOU with Lerotholi Polytechnic for identified areas of collaboration
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All project, UNDP, DoE 2020/12 Overdue-Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Implement a monitoring and evaluation plan for the implementation of the Call for Proposals for the development of mini-grid and energy centre projects. It is important that a good follow up takes place to allow troubleshooting interventions (if needed), to collect information for dissemination to the public at large and to distil conclusion on the pros and cons of the private-led business model and viability of mini-grids and energy centres. The MTR Team recommends the following studies to be carried out, based on the experience with construction and operation of the mini-grid and energy centres:

  • Assessment of actual energy demand and uses of electricity in the mini-grids and energy centres, actual costs of investment and operation, experiences with WTP/ATP and required tariff to make mini-grids economically viable.
  • Assessment of the desirability and viability of the private sector-led business model regarding mini-grids, looking at the actual policy-institutional-regulatory framework, financial availability and options, and comparison with similar mini-grid (government or private-led) initiatives

Post-project plan for future action (issues/barriers remaining and/or not addressed; proposals or ideas for future rural energy interventions).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/28]

The SE4All project M&E plan is available and it is being implemented closely. For the FSS host, UNCDF developed a detailed activity level M&E plan for the “Call for Proposal” to be implemented once activities start on ground. The project conducted pre-feasibility studies in 20 selected sites in 5 districts, the reports of which are available. The studies provide details on energy demand and uses of electricity in the mini-grids and energy centres, estimated costs of investment and operation, the infrastructures and socio-economic factors in the village, the magnitude of potential power consumers (load forecast), ability and willingness to pay etc. The collaboration with the NUL and Lerotholi Polytechnic through research will provide valuable information suggested in recommendation 5 above. The project will develop an exit strategy which will look at post-project plan and future actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNCDF to share activity level M&E plan with stakeholders. Monitor implementation of activity level M&E plan.
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNCDF, UNDP, DOE, SE4All project 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Ensure that activities of the addendum between NUL and UNDP are inclusive of the proposed assessments.
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All project, DOE 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Develop project’s exit strategy inclusive of post-project M&E plan for future action.
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNCDF, SE4All project, DOE 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

The MTR Team suggests some South-South cooperation activities. Lesotho’s experience will be invaluable for countries planning to implement similar renewable energy-based mini-grids for rural electrification in general and on the merits of the private-sector-led mini-grid business model in particular. The results and lessons of the Lesotho project can help inform the design and implementation of other mini-grid initiatives in the region, in particular, the proposed the GEF-7 “Africa mini-grids program”.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/09/28]

The point is taken; South-South cooperation activities will be explored. Component 4 of the SE4All project partly addresses recommendation 6 above. Outputs 4.3 and 4.4. talk to compilation of the project experiences, best practices and lessons learned for wide dissemination throughout the region and among countries planning to implement similar renewable energy-based mini-grids for rural electrification. Towards completion of the project, a workshop involving the participation of all in-country stakeholders and international participants will be organised to discuss lessons learned and next steps towards replication of best practices throughout the country/region. The programme will engage more closely with green mini-grid initiatives such as AfDB’s Green Mini-grid helpdesk as well as the African Mini-Grid Developers Association.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Liaise with one/two countries within the region, which have successfully implemented RE mini-grids in rural areas.Link with regional and sub-regional networks and explore opportunities for experience sharing.
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All Project Team, DOE 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated The team went to Tanzania in 2017. Lessons from Tanzania were incorporated in some of the project activities
Compile lessons learned and best practices for publication (including video). Organise lessons learned and results dissemination workshop involving the participation of all in-country stakeholders and international participants to discuss lessons learned
[Added: 2020/09/28]
SE4All Project Team, UNCDF 2020/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Document and publish knowledge resources on the project results to facilitate collation of best practices and lessons
[Added: 2020/09/28]
UNDP, SE4All project 2021/04 Overdue-Not Initiated

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