TERMINAL EVALUATION REPORT OF PROJECT FOR REINFORCEMENT OF CAPACITY OF LEADERS (PRCL)
Background: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon (ELCC) is divided into 10 regions, in districts and congregations. There are a total of more than 1500 congregations. The head office, situated in Ngaoundéré, coordinates the ecclesiastical activities as well as the health department (OSELCC), education department (SEDUC) and the Integrated Rural Development Project (PADI). The youth movement and women’s movement are organised in the same way as ELCC with groups in each congregation, district, etc. It is expected that the central administration assist and strengthen the work of proclamation in the congregations. But the administrative structures don`t seem to function suitably to achieve the desired goals. In addition to the problems in the administrative structures, the main leaders at various levels are not sufficiently competent to assume their responsibilities. The members of the various councils and committees are not always well chosen and often do not know their obligations.All these problems cause a dysfunction within the Church. ELCC is responsible for the project management and implementation. The Centre for Intercultural Communication (SIK) has since the beginning in 2008 been responsible for the monitoring, while NMS has been the responsible partner in relation to Digni/NORAD. SIK has visited the project twice a year the first two years and then once a year while NMS has followed up through their presence in Cameroon and visits from the head office. Purpose/objective: The major objective of this terminal evaluation is to assess the project’s progress, covering such aspects of the project’s implementation as planned versus implemented activities and their contributions to the set objectives, major challenges encountered and lessons learned, and to identify key performance and recommendations. To that end, the evaluation exercise focused on the following items:• To summarize shortly the activities in the project.• To assess whether the project reached its goals• To assess the impact of the project• To assess whether the church has sufficient plans on how to maintain and further develop the work that the project has focused on and give recommendations for the future.• To assess how the project is managed, financial routines included.• To assess in what way has the project promoted gender equality• To assess the consultancies done by NMS and SIK. Methodology: A multi-stakeholder participatory approach was used for the evaluation exercise. The evaluation exercise involved the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data from both primary and secondary sources.Desk review of relevant documents: Project proposal and plan documents, progress and other monitoring reports, constitution document of the ELCC, the newly printed manual by the project and audit reports were reviewed.Participatory discussion and reflection: For the participatory discussion and reflections, the evaluation team initially selected three regions that were able to qualitatively represent the different characteristics of the project target but due to the factors stated below, it could have visited only two regions.Specific methods used under this methodology include general and focused group discussions with the representatives of project stake-holders; key informants’ interview, project staff and final consultation/debriefing meeting with project staff, the executive board, representative of the donor and external advisors for the project.Observation of project sites and/or physical characteristics: The evaluation team did also make efforts to capture specific and rather detailed information on some project activities, to help understand their operation and success. Key findings: Implementation of planned activities The planned trainings to internalize the constitution of the church and make it applicable has been conducted at all targeted regions and the constitution is well adhered to and the regional and district councils are following it.Trainings in relation to leadership and management have also been provided to all target participants and the planned manual on management was finalized and printed under the title ‘Improve the management in ELCC’ and is being distributed to the beneficiaries.The enrichment or contextualization of curricula by the biblical and theological schools for better response to the challenges of the church has been well implemented at Meiganga theological sem. and the first batch of pastors will complete their study soon.Work of the project in promoting women’s participation in decision making bodies was limited only to participating the leaders of women in the training organized for other activities and as a result the participation of women in regional and district councils and other decision making bodies in most of the regions is very low. The same is true in case of youth.Activities related to local resource mobilization and fund raising skill development is almost not addressed. Only one of the three visited region has started raising fund and opened bank account as part of ensuring sustainability of the project. Achievement of the goal The project has exerted its utmost effort in reinforcing the capacity of leaders through training on different topics of leadership and management. The strategy and approach applied by the project in grouping the participants to address them in consequent years starting from the executives to the grass roots level and using local internal human resources for facilitation of training (skill transfer), preparation of manual which can be understandable by all users, working on constitution of the church and focusing on leaders has helped the project in achieving its main goal of reinforcing the capacity of leaders in management and leadership. However, the initial goal of promoting women’s participation in decision making bodies of the church has not been fully achieved. ImpactsThe project has shown significant impact in the work of the church especially in improving leadership and management skills of leaders at all levels. This is reflected in that the constitution of the church is strictly adhered to and followed by the concerned organs in the church, leaders know their roles and responsibilities and rights and obligations, improved skill in planning, budgeting, financial management, properly conducting meetings and documentation of results and reporting. The concept of accountability and transparency is understood by most of the leaders at various levels and they have started exercising it practically. The impact of the project is seen even beyond the church environment as most of the participants of the project are part of the entire society and civil servant. Some of them witness that they use the knowledge they acquired in their daily work and life. Sustainability It is understood that the sustainability of some of the activities are possible, the evaluation team could not get any plan from the church on the strategies the project should continue. All trainings on leadership and management can be sustained if there will be proper planning and strategy to follow up. Leaders have been trained in management and leadership and the manual is already prepared and in use by most of the regions and districts. Leaders at various levels are exercising planning, budgeting, leading meetings properly, and understood and adhered to the constitution of the church which indicates that skill is developed among the leaders through knowledge transfer by the project. Project management In general the project management is efficient in that there is a good harmony among the actors (stakeholders) due to the high commitment of the coordinator and support from the others. There are adequate office facilities and logistics for the project management purpose. Recommendations: 1. The evaluation team recommends that the project be terminated according to the plan stated in the project document.2. The ELCC should design strategy of ensuring sustainability of the achieved results in collaboration with project within the remaining months of the project extension period.3. According to the assessments and information from various documents, participation of women in decision making bodies of the church is very low and the condition of women in the society is very poor. Therefore the evaluation team recommends that the ELCC and NMS should work on empowering the women and address the wider gender issue. NMS has excellent experience in addressing gender issues and empowering women with its partners and should arrange replication of these experience In Cameroon through initiating comprehensive gender and development and women empowerment project.4. Developing local resource mobilization and fundraising skills can be considered in line with the recommendation under 3 above.5. It is also recommended that enriching or contextualizing of curricula by theological schools which is currently successful at Meiganga should be expanded to other Bible schools using the remaining month of the extension period. Comments from the organisation, if any: The recommendations have been considered and discussed when developing the new project document for the next project phase. Especially the need to strengthen the focus on gender and organisational resource mobilization have been included in the new PD.