Evaluation of Training for Socioeconomic Transformation
Background:Training for Socio-Economic Transformation (TSET) was established in 2006 as an ecumenical joint initiative, a tool developed and used jointly by Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Transformation (PACSA) and Ecumenical Services for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET) to work towards strengthen local communities to achieve democratic and accountable governance, and socio-economic justice. It runs a national socio-economic literacy training course that seeks to promote people’s literacy skills and empower citizens by reinforcing self-confidence, self –reliance and the ability to continue learning throughout their lives. It seeks to empower people to participate in the democratic processes and exercise their rights and responsibilities as human beings. This is done through training which aims to empower communities on the structures of government, the local government processes and avenues for citizen participation. More specifically it offers knowledge and skills to understand the roots of socio-economic justice and skills to mobilise communities and offer leadership in developing localised advocacy and development initiatives. TSET envisages a vibrant local democracy for a sensible and equitable society.Purpose/ Objective:To advise the board members, partners and intermediary organisations, participating organisations, current and prospective donors on:• The impact that TSET has had on its beneficiaries, its partners and intermediate organisation during 2007-2009.• The relevance of the project for its partners and participating organisations• The quality of the services offered by TSET and the beneficiaries’ perceptions of the services offered• The program’s effectiveness in meeting its purpose, objectives and outcomes and the factors that influence positively or negatively on the realisation of these goals• The efficiency and sustainability of the projectMethodology:Participatory evaluationDesktop study: relevant documents e.g. annual reports, progress reportsInterviews, meetings, group discussions, questionnaires, focus groupsAnalysis and reporting Key Findings:TSET work remains relevant in a society with growing inequalities as it assists marginalised communities and individuals to engage the governance structures and claim their entitlements and rights for a dignified life. Socio-economic rights issues remain urgent issues for most communities.TSET however needs to increase/strengthen its technical and resource capacities in order to remain sustainable and relevant. Communities are embracing the TSET work and making efforts to duplicate it at their various levels. The impact of the work has gone beyond community to individual levels, individuals are now better able and confident to take up issues with duty bearers and to build strong community activism as noted by one of the evaluation respondents: “ we have been able to learn and understand the different systems of government and are able to engage with government” .....” our confidence has now enabled us to access our rights in a practical way”Recommendations:• TSET needs to use the strength of the current partner organisations and intermediary organisations and strategically position itself to be the capacity building/training arm of these organisations.• Partner organisations also need to fundraise for TSET activities, when/as they fundraise for themselves• TSET project should be localised within specific communities for sustainability and increased ownership and increased participation• Develop a fundraising strategy to expand the funding base beyond traditional donors like NCA, Christian Aid – this can be done by marketing TSET as a civil society/community empowerment process and offering services to paying clients• Extend the Board –beyond board members from partner organisations to bring in more value and experience and develop guidelines and procedures for holding TSET members accountable• Review the Project manager position to include/prioritize resource mobilization and fundraising skills• Include Local case studies to contextualise the work and to enable participants to relate directly to it.• Strengthen research and documentation processes Comments from Norwegian Church Aid (if any):NCA has had to discontinue support to TSET because of its South African focus, to strengthen its work and future mandate, NCA is seeking to work with partners who have a regional (SADC) outlook and benefit.Most of the SA national partners have also had to be dropped as it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund raise for development work in South Africa which is considered a middle income country, there is more need for resources in other poorer SADC Countries.