Evaluation Report of the Jaffna Rehabilitation Programme
Background Between 1986 and 1996 the northern peninsula of Jaffna has been a site of continual battle between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. This has resulted in massive destruction and significant displacements and return. The Sri Lanka army gained full military control in 1995 and international organisations were requested to assist in rehabilitating the district in 1996 as the displaced began returning to their homes. Up until the ceasefire was announced in 2002 the district has been isolated. Purpose/objective To study of the impacts of the programme to date, identify lessons learned and make practical recommendations for improved performance and suggestions for a possible new strategic phase of intervention. Methodology The evaluation focused on the organisation of FORUT Jaffna and the qualitative impacts of project design and delivery on the target communities. The study comprised desk research, 16 days of field investigations conducted through interviewing and focused group meetings with FORUT staff, beneficiaries, administrators and officials and members of civil society utilising a sample of nine villages. Key findings 1. Using existing community level organizations to mobilise and organise people for the resettlement and development activities is effective. Micro-credit operations have taken root as the people are benefited very much through it.2. The shelter and basic infrastructure programme has been very successful as the impact on the lives of the people is significant.3. Support to primary education, environment and access roads have been virtually neglected over the last few years indicating that perhaps FORUT should have concentrated on a few, core activities critically important for rehabilitation.4. FORUT's strategy of promoting a few NGOs to take to vocational training is commendable but essential inputs have not been made available to these NGOs for institutional and financial sustainability.5. At the conclusion of the five year programme, FORUT has succeeded in producing almost all output targets. Budgetary control has been extremely good. Overall, the JRP has been able to support successfully the programme beneficiaries to resettle and lay a foundation for progressively enhancing the quality of their lives. Recommendations 1. Planning: The use of LFA for identifying objectives and outputs and relative indicators needs to be more systematic and technically correct. Baseline data and information on the target groups and target communities should be scientifically gathered and recorded. Needs analysis, programme planning and monitoring needs to be participatory. Strategically vital concepts should be better operationalised. FORUT should consider developing criteria for ranking of societies based on its experience.2. Villages & societies: It might be developmentally more meaningful if interventions are concentrated in a fewer locations. FORUT should motivate and facilitate the strong societies/CBOs to undertake their own situation analysis, conceptualisation and formulation of their own projects proposals for funding from FORUT and/or from other donors. Promoting apex bodies of the village level societies/CBOs should be undertaken carefully after studying a few examples in Sri Lanka and learning from lessons. Partner Organisations should be offered technical assistance for studying and analysing their performance and designing a sound business plan with a view to institutionalisation and sustainability. FORUT should avoid being perceived to be arbitrary and patronising in its dealings with partners.3. Capacity Building: Training should be both relevant and timely in relation to the interventions on the ground. FORUT should consider adopting a system of formal recognition of staff acquisition of specified types of skills and knowledge. FORUT should consider recognising those who achieve excellence in their work.4. Policy influence: FORUT should develop a housing policy incorporating all the learning by all parties for future resettlement work. Comments from the organisation Changes to be introduced as a consequence of the evaluation:- The programme document to have clearly differentiated outputs and objectives. The qualitative indicators to have specific means of verification.- Baseline data of TG people to be scientifically gathered and recorded to make reliable impact studies.- Participatory needs analysis, planning and monitoring to be visible to make the people own the programme.- Graduation models with well-profiled benchmarks are to be introduced to measure the sustainability of organisations.- CBO performance grading to be introduced, using FORUT's long term experience linking not only savings/credit but also community participation, gender, shared leadership and youth involvement.- The management information system to include 'lessons learning' as an item that requires regular follow-up. Important lessons to be documented.- Interventions to be concentrated so that outputs and impacts are deeper and more durable. Model villages to be developed for learning and replicating.- APEX bodies to be tried after documenting necessary minimum guidelines, initially at the GSO level or cluster level before going to DS level. Points we disagree with:- Construction programme was taken forward with total participation of the beneficiaries from the planning phase to the end. The limited financial input of FORUT for a shelter construction demanded the most effective and efficient usage of resources to fulfil the needs of the returnees. Thus, the design of a two-roomed shelter that would provide cemented floor and permanent roof was discussed and agreed upon throughout the programme phase by varying CBOs and beneficiaries. At no stage was there a comment or question from the beneficiary side to change the model. Thus, we do not quite agree with the findings on "ownership sense and satisfaction of the beneficiaries".- Tri-partite agreements involving the Divisional Secretary (DS), CBO and FORUT were signed annually for each of the CBOs collaborating with FORUT. The MoU clearly defined the type of project in the particular CBO for the year together with the different roles and responsibilities of each stake holder including the DS. There was no single CBO during the JRP operational period that did not have such a MoU. Thus, it becomes difficult to know from the findings of the evaluation that two DSs were not aware of FORUT's housing programme. However, it can be a situation in some DS divisions that the officials are new who assumed office without the slightest knowledge on the MoU signed by his predecessor.