United Bible Societies’ HIV Service evaluation, evaluation scope 2009-2012
Background Bible Societies in Africa decided in 2002 to take up Information, Education and Communication (I.E.C.) initiatives related to HIV and AIDS as part of their mission. This initiative required a new strategy and a new structure. The existing UBS Service Organisation was strengthened with additional resources and competence, and the HIV Service was established as a unit for coordination and development of the Bible Societies HIV Program and to provide capacity building in the national HIV programs. The first Good Samaritan Programs (GSPs) were launched in Uganda and Cameroon in 2004. Since then the GSP has experienced rapid growth and today GSPs have and are being implemented at various levels in 24 sub-Saharan countries. Purpose/objective The objectives of the evaluation activities was to evaluate: Strategic planning, development of support programs, goals and achievements of the HIV Service over the past three years HIV Service achievements against previously agreed objectives with international donors Effectiveness of the HIV Service in supporting Bible Societies’ HIV programs How regionalization of team members impacted the effectiveness of the HIV Service Identify the programs or services that require further development to increase effectiveness Answer these questions: What has been the return on investment? Has the consumption of resources been commensurate with the results achieved? Did the funding Bible Societies experience the desired results? Methodology The methodology used for the evaluation process included: Qualitative interviews with stakeholders, including the HIV Service team; funding partners; GSP National HIV coordinators in Kenya, Togo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, Swaziland, Malawi, Ethiopia and Burundi; and general secretaries in Togo, Cameroon, Uganda, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Burundi Documentation review Training observations Participation in Joint Program Review meetings Field visits to Ethiopia and Burundi SWOT analysis Quantitative rating scale of services provided by the HIV Service 8. Facilitating an organizational self-assessment tool Review and identification of organization and sector specific best practices Key findings A. Respect for the Church is very high in Africa, with many Africans valuing the spiritual approach to overcoming challenges. Therefore, churches and their Christian worldview can be strong tools for transmitting an implementer’s message. The GSP continues to play a vital role in empowering churches in Africa to respond to the HIV epidemic. B. The program is unique in its use of a Bible-based curriculum to address stigma and prevention, and empowering individuals living with HIV to be active members of their churches, engage in enterprise initiatives and share their testimonies with friends and family. C. The success of the GSP is in the pedagogical approach that incorporates interactive and participatory training. Individuals are empowered to respond to HIV through interactive training, including oral tradition, drama, discussions and films that are combined with relevant biblical stories with a holistic approach to understanding the epidemic. D. Relevant recommendations from previous evaluation has been followed up on. E. The HIV Service supports the implementing Bible Societies and funding partners by developing and updating materials. It provides support for GSP coordinators and key monitoring and evaluation tools for project implementation. It conducts capacity building through workshops, annual program reviews, peer training and project visits. It also updates the Intranet. F. Capacity building is a key function of the HIV Service, and its impact on coordinators is evident. However, there is a lack of strategic thinking and implementation of capacity-building efforts. G. Sustainability of the program beyond external funding is a great concern. H. Objectives of the funding bible societies have been met. I. The greatest strength of the HIV Service is its personnel and their ability to function beyond its three-member team. However, the newly established structure of peer coordinators were in the too early stages to be able to see results. Recommendations Restructuring and redefining capacity building with an emphasis on reviewing the current skills of each of the Good Samaritan national HIV coordinators in specific areas. Strengthen their role in the project report and application review process Facilitating further integration of the Good Samaritan Program at a national level by equipping Good Samaritan Program National HIV coordinators with data analysis. Cultivating sustainability by working with the national Bible Society to promote the Good Samaritan Program among various Stakeholders. Comments from the organisation, if any The evaluation managed to integrate information from stakeholders at all levels. HIV Service developed a management response showing how they intend to follow up on the findings and recommendations in the evaluation report.