Kudos / NORAD / Ukategorisert / 2009 / Improving Livelihood of the Resource Poor: A Study of Future in Our Hands work in the Plantation Sector

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Forsiden av dokumentet Improving Livelihood of the Resource Poor: A Study of Future in Our Hands work in the Plantation Sector


Improving Livelihood of the Resource Poor: A Study of Future in Our Hands work in the Plantation Sector

Background The Development Fund (DF) of Norway and Future in Our Hands (FIOH) have cooperated as long term partners since 1986 in the social mobilization and empowerment project in the Province of Uva, Sri Lanka. In the long term partnership between these two organisations the DF plays the role as a donor and the FIOH acts as an implementation partner. The project has evolved to the form it is today in the middle of 1990s. Currently the project includes seven Cluster Level Organisations (CLOs), out of which six are in the villages among the Singhalese communities and one is among the Tamil communities in the plantation sector.FIOH started its social mobilisation and empowerment project within the plantation community in 1995, as this target group was often neglected by the national government's development initiatives. Purpose/objective The current evaluation was commissioned with the purpose of scrutinising the relevance and adequacy of current activities in relation to the fulfilment of the objectives of FIOH. Methodology The decision and choice of the evaluation methods were taken by using a participatory approach with the management and staff of FIOH. The evaluation adopted methods from both qualitative and quantitative approaches. By adopting a combination of approaches the evaluation took the advantages of capturing both qualitative and quantitative aspects of changes that have taken place as a result of people's participation in FIOH's project. This approach also allowed the evaluator to capture peoples' opinion about the FIOH implemented activities and the relevance of these activities to address the objectives of FIOH. Key findings • FIOH was found to be a very credible and well recognised organisation which was engaged in holistic and participatory development work among the tea plantation estate community in the region. The long- term commitment of FIOH among the estate community has resulted in a solid grassroots network structure, where this community fosters the deeper sense of ownership of the project.• The evaluation found that the social mobilisation process of FIOH is well instituted and its potential is accepted by the beneficiaries, resource persons and other stakeholders. The FIOH project has the potential to help the people organize themselves and find collective solution to their problems. Despite a somewhat slow progress, the members showed a high degree of satisfaction about the services they received.• Saving and credit was found to be one of the main components which binds the different levels of grassroots organisations together and justifies their membership and many of their activities.• The capacity building of the grassroots organisation needs due attention as the competence of the members in relation to planning and managing the activities were found to be not up to a satisfactory level. The training, education and other courses that are organised by FIOH are found to be mostly suitable for the youth and has very little or no relevance to the elderly members.• Education and awareness raising activities were found to be very important for the plantation community. The education levels of the respondents were very low compared with other communities in the country.• The vocational skills training were found to have profound impact in increasing the skills and improved the livelihoods of the youths among the targeted families. The plantation youths now have the opportunity to seek self-employment, which was unavailable to them in the past. However, it was found that there are many former graduate trainees who did not manage to engage themselves in suitable activities. The reasons for that have been identified as the lack of capital and market access.• Despite scepticism of the plantation management towards FIOH projects and intention at the beginning of its project implementation, evidence has shown that the plantation management is now willing to cooperate with FIOH in its development work. Recommendations • The skills training, education, awareness raising, workshops and activities should be arranged in line with the needs of the community. Trainings and workshops should be organised separately for small groups (SGs) and Integrated Community Organisations (ICOs) in order to build the capacity of grassroots organisations.• Members in various levels should be trained about participatory planning and management. It is also important that FIOH provide them with qualified facilitator with familiarity on plantation realities during the yearly planning session in order to make the planning and implementation realizable.• The mobilisers/animators should be provided with refresher course in participatory approaches, group dynamics and leadership skills. It is also suggested that the salary level of the social mobilisers/animators should be revised and be adjusted to the country's rate of inflation.• The networking among different stakeholders namely with the plantation management should be strengthened. FIOH should facilitate dialogue within and between different stakeholders to initiate access to internally available resources for productive purposes and act as a mediator.• The ongoing information sharing procedures between FIOH and ICOs should be improved. Representatives from the ICO to the CLO level should be increased from one to two in order to make the Forum more democratic.• The loan procedure should be revised and way to speed up the loan approval and disbursement process should be found. Logbooks for keeping records for the SGs and ICOs should be standardized and may be provided with printed copies.• The selection process for vocational skills training should be made more transparent and maintain standard procedure. The capacity of the training centres should also be increased. FIOH should reassess the priority and needs of the community and provide market-oriented skill trainings.• FIOH should extend its services among all the estate sector workers instead of only with selected estates to reach out more comprehensive and create overall impact among the estates community in the region. Comments from the organisation Any evaluation is produced within a very limited framework with regards to the composition of the evaluation team, its time available, its access to information and how it analyses the information received. Furthermore, any social reality can be analysed and presented in many different ways, among which an evaluation represents only one. Hence while this evaluation report may be useful as a tool for general learning, it has limited value as a source of information about the particular projects and partners in question. We urge any reader do consult the partners involved or Development Fund before applying this information in a way that may affect the partners and the project.