End of Term Evaluation “Humanitarian Aid for Victims of the Food Crisis in Zimbabwe”
Background The aim of the LDS Project is to contribute towards the alleviation of immediate hunger and to mitigate against the effects of food insecurity and HIV/AIDS for PLWHAs in the district through the provision of food aid. Purpose/Objective The purpose of the evaluation was to assess results achieved and lessons learnt in the endeavor aforementioned. Findings of this evaluation were to be used to inform long term interventions of the LDS and its partnerships. The focus of the LDS project was Zimbabwe. Methodology A methodology employed included participatory and Gender sensitive approaches. The methodology included a desk review of documents and project site visits. Data collection methods used were Direct Structured Observation, Semi-structured interviews, Questionnaires, Triangulation, Focus Group Discussions, Understanding Processes and Change tool, Use of Vernacular Language, Meetings and Briefings, and Secondary Data Sources. Key Findings Key findings were that the project managed to identify the correct target group of people that really needed assistance in the community. Qualification was based on one’s status, which was clearly articulated according to the set WHO guidelines. This selection system was deemed to be transparent and fair by all those spoken to during the evaluation process. Also, the partnership or linkage with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare under this project was very strategic for LDS and ensured that the right people were targeted. Several benefits accrued to the PLWHA during the life span of the project. These include drug compliance, low death rate during the project period, reduced malnutrition amongst PLWHAs, weight gain and a peace of mind. The number of clients that visited the voluntary counseling and testing centres shot-up during the project period as people witnessed the benefits of the project to the PLWHAs. There was also an increased awareness of HIV and AIDS issues within the community. Further, internal project management processes employed by LDS were very effective and all respondents indicated that the just ended project was much more effective than its predecessor. Beneficiaries and nursing staff commended the mobilization process and the close cooperation between LDS and other stakeholders in as far as the project was concerned. All food commodities were properly accounted for. There were minimal losses experienced and these were properly documented. LDS had three field monitors covering the district and this resulted in better coverage and immediate support to the clinic staff and beneficiaries. The response time was immediate. The project inception workshop that was conducted by LDS at the beginning of the project greatly assisted in conscientizing the stakeholders in understanding their individual roles and how they would contribute to the success of the project. As part of the post recovery strategy, LDS sensitized the PLWHAs to start their own income generating projects (IGP). Recommendations Recommendations were that all programming aspects of the project, especially key objectives, must have a budget to support the key activities or actions that need to be done in order to achieve that objective. Key objectives must also be clearly articulated in the project proposal with activities to be undertaken there under. Functional project management and monitoring systems need to be enhanced. Coordination with other critical stakeholders must be enhanced at all levels of the project and not only at management level. Post recovery activities must be properly planned with initial start-up capital so that they are properly grounded. Critical recovery projects of this nature should cover periods of the year when the population is most vulnerable. There is need to timely monitor and evaluate such projects so as to derive maximum benefits from such exercises – midterm evaluations give partners opportunities to adjust or correct any anomalies identified whilst end term project evaluations benefit from the responses of the majority of respondents. There is also the dilemma of leaving too much responsibility to the implementing partner by the donor – a balance needs to be reached where the donor provides support and also monitor whether the expected results are being achieved. Comments from NCA (if any) – none.