Pokot Rural Development Project (PRDP); Report on Final Evaluation 2013
Background: The Pokot Rural Development Project (PRDP) is based in the northern part of West Pokot County, within the Rift Valley region. The area has rugged terrain, rocky hills and dry river valleys. Most of the project areas have unreliable rainfall for most of the year.The harsh physical conditions present enormous development related challenges to the community. Not only are Project areas almost inaccessible due to poor road conditions and river beds that are full of huge boulders, but also the seasonal rivers that flood during the rains make it extremely difficult to move from one Project site to another. Moreover, there are no bridges across the many rivers that tort the area. Movement to project sites is only possible with the use of four wheel drive vehicles. The long distances between the project sites make communication between project sites difficult. This makes supervision of projects a challenge. The population of the entire West Pokot County is estimated at 510,000, with the more densely populated parts lying in the south around Kapenguria town and its environs. The more northerly and south western parts of the County where the Project sites are located have scarce population, unevenly spread over an expansive area. The people are largely nomadic and live in temporary settlements.Purpose/objective:The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the success/failures of the implementation process. The evaluation was also to identify the main challenges that led to the fund withdrawal by the donor for part of 2011. The evaluation covered all the four thematic areas Health, Education, HIV/Aids and Anti-FGM advocacy campaigns. The main focus of the evaluation was on the overall impact of the agreed programme on the targeted community.Methodology:Four methods were used to carry out the evaluation:• Document review• Questionnaires• Observation, and• Focus group Discussions Field notes were taken and data collected analyzed to form the basis of the report.Key findings:The major lessons learned from implementing the Project can be summarized as follows:1. It is important to have clear goals and objectives to ease project implementation.2. A strong leadership team that is well co-ordinated can achieve quite a lot of the Project objectives. Clear structures, systems and teamwork were evident during the implementation of the West Pokot Rural development Project.3. Cultural values die hard. Even the best of intentions such as the HIV/AIDS awareness and anti-FGM campaigns and stopping early girl child marriages can be resisted as the evaluation found out. To get a people to accept and embrace progressive ideas requires persuasion, convincing and patience. Cultural barriers are broken when a people are ready to assimilate modernization and the new life styles that comes with it.4. Making progress in community development requires the commitment and all kinds of contributions from the community in question, be it the form of material form or labour.5. Failure to adhere to donor guidelines can cause discomfort and even lead to discontinuation of a noble project. Those who suffer from discontinuation of Project funding are the very people who targeted to benefit from the Project.6. Combining church matters and the need to manage and control Project funds can be very counteractive. Church must learn to dispose itself from taking part in areas where it neither has the capacity nor the internal expertise to offer direction. Recommendations: During the evaluation exercise, the participants made calls for extended work beyond the present. To this end, the following recommendations need to be made for consideration by both the church and the donor:(a) That the donor and church consider introducing the second phase of the Project to further advance the work on HIV/AIDS awareness training, Anti-FGM advocacy, Hygiene and sanitation and Gender related issues.(b) Critical educational needs still exist in the Project sites in respect of construction of additional classrooms. If no extra classrooms are built, some children who have already benefited from the current Project might be forced to look for admission in distant schools and this might result in a number of them dropping out of school. The plan to put up said classrooms had already been discussed and agreed upon. Necessary logistical arrangements were concluded. To help support the construction of these additional classrooms, the community had assembled the necessary building materials in readiness to start the construction.(c) It is noted that, over a period of nearly two years, the auditors had made suggestions on how to improve the Project books, with the same points being raised more than twice in two years, despite the management having promised to take appropriate action. We recommend that professional input meant to improve the Project’s financial management be addressed comprehensively as recommended by the Auditors. (d) The matter of the sustainability of the activities initiated by the Project is important. The propositions put forward in the Pokot Rural Development Project (PRDP) Project Document 210-201 needs to be pursued further even as there looms uncertainty about continued donor funds of the Project. (e) Consider establishing Autonomous Development Agency.Comments from the organisation, if any:Although the project has been terminated, we do hope that NWD are able to continue the work which has been started so that the experience and lessons learned are not forgotten.