NAV Evaluation Report - The Integrated Rural Development Program 1994 - 2004
Background The NAV supported IRDP was operated in 5 districts of TT Hue province from 1994 to 2004. It targeted vulnerable people focussing on the poor, ethnic minorities, women and children. The overall goal of the programme was poverty alleviation and the purpose/aim of the programme was to strengthen and empower local communities and increase their capacity on community-based development. The programme was supporting capacity building closely linked to implementingprojects on food security, water and sanitation, education and emergency preparedness. Participatory approach was applied to involve local people in the whole process of their community development. Gender sensitivity, environmental protection, sustainability and HIV/AIDS were cross cutting issues of the programme.Boards of Management (BOM), Self-Help Groups (SHG) and Interest Groups (IG) were established for the implementation and management of the projects.The cooperation with district and province authorities and support services were also promoted in order to involve them in participatory approaches in community development and strengthen them to provide better services for local people in the longer run. Purpose/objective -Document results of NAVs long term commitment - draw some lessons learned and try to measure impact. -Assess to what extent the programme had contributed to reach the intended beneficiaries. -Assess the strategies applied by the programme vis-a-vis the main partners: BOM, SHG, IG. -Assess the effectiveness of the programme methods applied in the communities: participatory approaches, integrated approaches, self-help groups, bottom-up approaches -Assess the impact of the programme in relation to the main objective. -Assess the sustainability of the programme in the project areas. -Identify opportunities and constraints in achieving successful impact of the IRD programme in TT-Hue. -Create opportunities for reflection and learning. Methodology - Assessment of documents and reports from NAV, collection of data. - A participatory assessment of 17 stakeholder communities in the present 17 target communes carried out by the NAV staff. The stakeholder groups were divided into women and men, and also include non-beneficiaries. - A self-assessment of the BOMs facilitated by NAV staff. - The assessment team, as a last step, visited the project area and met partners and stakeholders at various levels from the village to the province level. Key findings NAV started to work in the province in a strategic moment in the mid-1990s and has been able to push the changes when there was much need for economic support and new approaches. The impact of the NAV programme was much higher than one could have expected. 1. Reach the targetNAV has reached the target groups better than many projects. NAV focused more clearly at the poor than most other programmes. 2. Participation and decentralisationBoard of management - BOMFrom 1994 to 1997 BoM was set up at district level, then it was decentralised to the commune level.Self-help groups (SHG) and Interest groups took over the implementation and management of activities around 1999 to promote self-reliance and equal participation between men and women for the sustainability of project after phasing out. Most people at various levels supported the idea of participatory working approaches and will continue to use this type of approaches in the future.The province and district government have learned from the participatory methods applied by NAV and want to integrate it in government programmes as well. 3. SustainabilityBOMs and SHG will probably not continue without further support from other sources, but the learning and capacity building is long-lasting. 4. ImpactFood Security and income generating activities: The findings from the self assessment, BOMs' evaluation, evaluation team and NAV's statistical data show that poverty has been reduced drastically in the last 10 years. Hunger almost eradicated. Not all is due to NAV's program, but it is reasonable to saythat NAV has contributed, especially in the early period where few other programmes were implemented. Credit was not very successful taken into account the repayment rate in the ethnic communities. In Kinh communities the funds were in general repaid. The credit has nevertheless given the ethnic communities an important input of capital - but it can be questioned whether it was to the benefit of the poorest. Capacity building: Provincial, district, commune and community level agreed that the capacity building had been essential for the results. Capacity building is difficult to assess. The team concluded that the integrated activities both vertically and horizontally had contributed to the implementation and made the various activities fairly sustainable. Water and sanitation: In all communes water has been made available, latrines and bathrooms installed and the health situation had improved. Education: Very uniform reaction that education level had increased: nursery schools are established in all communes. Gender: Women were a strong focus all throughout the program, but changed to more gender related activities - including both men and women. Ethnic minority: All beneficiaries in A Luoi were ethnic people. 50 percent in Nam Dong and very few in PHQ are ethnic minority groups. The project strategies were increasingly sensitive from late 1990s - the communal houses is one result. Different strategies were needed to work with many ethnic communities. NAV has been fairly successful to achieve results, but there were also failures. Recommendations -NAV should focus on areas that will not otherwise be financed, either specific issues like maintaining the identity of ethnic groups in spite of the integration into the larger socioeconomic environment. Language teaching in both ethnic and Kinh languages is an important area, which is included as one of the goals in the CPRGS, but not promoted much in the districts. -HIV/AIDS activities seem to be an important area to continue; It can be promoted both as awareness raising in all geographical areas, and it can be developed as special programmes for areas with considerable HIV/AIDS problems. -Gender policies and strategies have to be renewed and improved. -Some of the government activities are not carried out in practice because of lack of funds but this type of issues should be discussed with province and district, and other organisations as well. -Kowledge of activities of other organisations and government programmes in the locality is important in order to avoid overlapping, and to bring synergy to various activities. Many organisations work on poverty reduction, public administration - the question is to identify where NAV can contribute something special.