External End of Project Evaluation. Capacity Building for Stronger Communities
Background The overall objective of the project Capacity Building for Stronger Communities is that “2000 poor and marginalised people, specifically women and youth of the project area will have developed their capacity to solve their health, educational and social issues, through awareness raising of their rights, development of skills in organised groups and provision of needed health services.” The project operated by the Salvation Army is being implemented through two programmes in two sites in Bangladesh, each with its own history and components. The two programmes are: Community Health and Development Project (CHDP) in six villages in Dumuria, rural southwest Bangladesh: works directly with over 1800 participants through three components: community development, education and health Urban Health and Development Project (UHDP) in Mirpur 11, Dhaka: works with 600 participants Purpose/objective The overall aim of the evaluation is: “to assess the project’s impact and sustainability in Mirpur Section 11, Dhaka and Dumuria Upazila, Bangladesh and the relevance of a next phase of the project.” The objectives of the evaluation are: Assess the major achievements of the project to date in relation to its stated objectives and intended outputs (results). Assess to what extent the community support groups have matured. Assess how the project addressed the gender issues identified in the proposal. Assess the key factors affecting sustainability of the project Make recommendations for the strategic direction of the next phase of the project. Methodology A range of methods were used as part of the evaluation including a desk review of the annual reports and other paper work (evaluations, mid‐term reviews etc.), individual interviews, focus group discussions, field visits and observations. The report first highlights the findings of the evaluation by the sight, subsequently it summarises the findings according to the objectives of the evaluation and makes key recommendations. Key findings Major achievements: The CSGs in Dumuria being able to function with limited support and are ready to continue independently. - Successful work with government schools in Dumuria means the schools in the area have been significantly strengthened. There has been highly successful cooperation with the government as the SA in operates the national TB and leprosy programmes in Mirpur 11. Volunteers for the TB programme have proved an effective, sustainable, community based way of identifying and providing on-going support to patients with TB and their families. With limited staff support, excellent planning and networking the community programme in Mirpur 11 allows poor women access to vocational trainings, adult literacy and savings. Key lessons It is important to have a clear exit plan from the beginning of a community development project. The process of a group (PG and CSG) becoming a CBO should be outlined when forming a group. There needs to be clear, realistic and measureable objectives. It is important to have clear plans to achieve the project objectives. Working with the poorest of the poor needs to be carefully planned and implemented. Working closely with community groups and volunteers is effective and sustainable. Working with the government where possible is important. Recommendations CHDP: CSGs should continue to work independently in Dumuria, taking over the work of the SA. They need to work towards registering the CSGs as CBOs; increase networking with NGOs and government organisations for extra support and services; and look at how the CSGs can take over development and some health and education activities. UHDP: Look at how the three project components can work more closely together and learn from each other. For example the TB volunteers could also increase awareness about leprosy; the leprosy programme could utilise more volunteers like the other two components; and the community development programme could learn more about TB and leprosy and work towards decreasing stigma through its group work. UHDP: Replicate the community development model in other areas of the camp. With the assistance of the existing primary groups more groups can be set up in the camps, specifically with the bari mothers and men. This model needs limited staff input and is highly sustainable. UHDP: Providing supplementary food for TB patients who are under-nourished and poor should be considered in the next project proposal. Under-nutrition is a risk factor for TB and TB causes under-nutrition. Volunteers, staff and patient have highlighted many patients cannot afford adequate nutrition and in urban settings it is difficult to rear animals and grow many vegetables. Future projects: As the SA move into other areas to implement community development, it is important that they plan ahead and learn from their extensive experiences. Comments from the organisation, if any The Projects Team in Bangladesh are satisfied with the findings of the evaluation. They found the evaluation process very valuable and appreciated the findings and recommendations that were put forward by Ms. Hannah Jennings. They will, in the continuance of their work, include and implement the recommendations to ensure that their work is as effective as it can be in addressing the local communities’ needs, as well as increasing the sustainability of the project activities.