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Strengthening Rural Development Models in Georgia (ENPARD II) Midterm Evaluation

Strengthening Rural Development Models in Georgia seeks to build on the success found by Mercy Corps, CARE and People in Need as they introduced the LEADER model for rural development to the municipalities of Borjomi, Lagodekhi and Kazbegi. In addition to continuing to implement this community-led local development approach, they were tasked with providing more national-level support for other Georgian LEADER implementations with the support of ELARD, a Europe-based not for profit organisation.

A series of interviews and focus groups held with beneficiaries, implementing agencies and other stakeholders provided a very positive picture of the impact being delivered by the LEADER model in these three municipalities, particularly in terms of increased engagement with local governance, community cohesion and economic participation.

Results further suggested that the growing presence LEADER in Georgia’s rural municipalities was positively moving Georgian rural governance in the direction envisioned by the Georgian Government and the Delegation of the European Union, that is, towards a state of alignment with the European Common Agricultural Policy.

The main difficulty identified is that Georgian Government policy looking forward appears to be wavering with regards to its commitment to the LEADER model, despite the levels of investment provided by the EU. Read More...

Baseline Evaluation: Partners for Learning – P4L

Key results of the project evaluation

In the P4L intervention areas, we estimated that approximately 5.7 % 1 of children are out of school girls and boys (OOSGB) who come from most rural households (72%), in female-headed households (63%), and extremely poor and their education expenses consume a large part of their global expenses (59%). Most of the surveyed OOSGB are between the ages of 7-14 (66%) without a large difference regarding their sex (girls or boys).

The dropout situation was measured; it is estimated to at a level of 3% mostly in the rural areas (77%) and more frequent among older children from 15-17 years (6.6%). The reasons for non-enrollment or dropout are varied and among others we will mention: High domestic workload for the children; Children’s participation in agricultural activities; Lack of economic means to pay fees, material, textbooks, shoes, and/or uniform; Lack of identification documents (baptismal certificate / birth certificate / national ID) for enrolment; Repeated teacher absences, caused often by strike; Hunger (absence of school feeding program); Distance between home and school.

Main recommendations / perspectives

Considering the results obtained from the data analysis some keys actions are recommended such as more campaigns for providing a ID document to each children; more awareness campaigns to reduce children’s workload until the total elimination of the child labor exists; more awareness activities for enrolling children at the normal school age (5-6 years) regardless of their sex; sensitization for parents around community-based retention and consistent attendance of their children at school; and by increased support to families to raise their household income. Read More...

(Epidemic Control and Reinforcement of Health Services (ECRHS) Phase 1 Programme in Sierra Leone)

This report presents findings from the end phase evaluation of the Epidemic Control and Reinforcement of Health Services (ECRHS) Phase 1 Programme in Sierra Leone, which was implemented from November 2015 to December 2018. The aim of the Programme is to ‘Improve the health status of the population of Sierra Leone’. The Programme was originally designed to provide response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, but also considered a longer-term view and worked towards putting in place preparations putting in place preparations for the transition of an extended health system strengthening (HSS) effort.

The overall purpose of the evaluation was ‘to assess result and impact of the above-mentioned Epidemic Control and Reinforcement of Health Services Programme against the Programme goal and outcomes in targeted northern region of Sierra Leone. The evaluation was specifically commissioned to; 1) Assess the Programme result areas in relation to effectiveness, relevance and efficiency of the Programme, 2) assess changes made in general conditions and perspectives, 3) assess need for additional (Programme-) support in future, 4) assess sustainability of achieved results with respective to the DHMTs and Community-based Surveillance (CBS) system, 5) identify the Programme’s key challenges during implementation, and lessons learnt/best practices, and 6)generate concrete recommendations for decision making process regarding health and SRH Programming in the future.

The Evaluation integrated both quantitative and qualitative research methods. 1,608 respondents were randomly selected from across 80 communities for households/individual interviews. This sample included 1,196 female and 412 male respondents. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were held with community members in 60 communities and 30 key informant interviews (KIIs) were done with CARE, implementing partners, state actors and chiefdom authorities. Twenty-seven (27) Community Health Workers (CHWs) and 5 Water Management Committee members were also interviewed. Also, facility assessment was conducted for -77 PHUs using the Ministry of Health and Sanitation standard tool and case studies/insight stories were further documented from the field interviews.
Read More...

Measuring Social Norms and Girls’ Empowerment Report of the SenseMaker study of the

This report presents the findings from a SenseMaker story collection process conducted as part of a qualitative evaluation of CARE International’s Tipping Point project in Sunamganj, Bangladesh. Tipping Point aims to reduce the incidence of child marriage through shifting social norms at the community level, addressing the root causes of the practice and seeking to holistically effect change at the level of individuals, communities, and the broader enabling environment. The SenseMaker study was conducted by the Overseas Development Institute and researchers from Jahangirnagar University, in close cooperation with Tipping Point’s two local implementing
partners, JASHIS and ASD in Sunamganj district. The evaluation team collected 875 stories in total: 325 from girls; 214 from boys; and 336 from mothers and fathers of adolescents.

The primary analytical approach for assessing the nature of change within Tipping Point communities was comparing the data from Boundary Partners (girls and boys who participate in Tipping Point ‘Fun Centre’ groups, and parents of adolescents who participate in Fun Centre groups) with data from non-Boundary Partners from the same village. Read More...

RESPONSIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE PROCESSES FOR INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT (RAPID)

This report constitutes the final evaluation of the Responsive and Accountable Processes for Inclusive Development project (RAPID), implemented in Balkh (Charkent and Khulm districts) and Parwan (Bagram and Jabulseraj districts) provinces of Afghanistan by CARE and the Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC). The project aimed at strengthening community-based groups in contributing and influencing local decision-making processes and monitoring service delivery and to enhance responsiveness and accountability of power-holders and local authorities in order for them to serve the needs of communities, particularly women and girls. Read More...

Women’s economic empowerment in emergency contexts: Niger case study

While discussion of the ‘Humanitarian, Development and Peace Nexus’ continues within the sector, there remains debate as to whether women’s economic empowerment is a luxury, or even feasible in humanitarian contexts where the priority is to keep people alive. Increasingly, however, humanitarians are seeing interventions aimed at women’s economic empowerment in emergency contexts as a key tool to increase protection and support people in crises to live in dignity. CARE set out to analyse whether financial inclusion strategies like community-led savings groups may in fact represent a way to not only respond to crises, but also to build resilience against them, even in highly fluid contexts.

In June 2018, CARE teams conducted fieldwork in two areas where it is implementing ongoing humanitarian interventions. CARE organised focus groups and interviews with communities and individuals in Diffa and Konni where it has delivered humanitarian assistance. The interventions combined blanket cash distributions, and the establishment of savings and credit groups which also provided women with life skills and business training to set up small businesses.

Within a crisis setting, combining a savings group structure including income generation support with humanitarian assistance such as food and non-food items (NFIs) helped women not only to meet basic needs in a more sustainable way, but also improved their independent access to and control over money.

During emergencies, providing women with humanitarian cash to cover basic needs allowed women in savings groups to continue saving and to invest in income generating activities (IGA), rather than using up capital on food.

If crises continue to hit, the positive impact of savings groups set up in emergencies can become strained. In this case, further cash interventions can preserve small businesses.

Membership of savings groups and receipt of IGAs and life skills training increased women’s income and confidence. Membership of a savings group provides psychosocial benefits to women who are suffering anxiety, depression or trauma by providing a social network that meets and talks regularly. Read More...

Kore Lavi Safety Net Beneficiary Resilience Assessment

As part of its mandate, the Kore Lavi program has developed and established a food voucher-based social safety net model for the poorest households in conjunction with the Haitian Government – through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST). This Resilience Assessment contributes to a stronger understanding of the current food security and resilience situations of the most vulnerable program beneficiaries.

Based upon the data collected, the social safety net members – which is considered as the study sampling universe – are mainly affected by Illness, death and drought, respectively. The experiences shared by the respondents also revealed that they often face several types of shocks and stressors simultaneously.

The food voucher had a very positive impact and helped a lot during each key moment: before the shock or stressor affected the respondent, immediately after, sometime after and now. In the different stories that were shared, a certain number of respondents mentioned that they have no other means to ensure their food security - other than the Kore Lavi food vouchers. With regard to the food vouchers indirect contribution, it is important to highlight that 59% of
respondents used the money they saved to pay school fees and 28% to pay medical fees. 36% save it in their Village Saving and Loans Association (VSLA). Yet, there is also an emerging group that used the money to invest in agricultural endeavors and start-up income generating activities.

When comparing the three main types of assets (personal, social and physical-financial resources), it could be observed that especially vulnerable respondents tended to rely on social resources. Generally, the respondents used more negative coping mechanisms that compromise their food security like eating less or less preferred meals per day (58%), reducing expenditures related to household needs (32%), producing charcoal (33%), reducing agriculture production area (20%) and livestock (19%) or selling assets.

The study identified that 22% of VSLA members followed resilient pathways versus 16% of non VSLA respondents. In almost all the signifier questions, there were found small differences between both groups, but not as much as it was initially expected by the Kore Lavi team. Read More...

Kore Lavi Title II Program Haiti – Midterm Evaluation

This reports presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations related to the Kore Lavi mid-term evaluation.

DESCRIPTION OF KORE LAVI. Kore Lavi’s Theory of Change holds that positive and lasting transformation must happen within interrelated domains: (1) where the effective social safety net programming and complementary services reach the most vulnerable populations and protect their access to food while building self-reliance; (2) that achieve breadth and depth in behavior and social change needed to tackle under-nutrition among vulnerable women and children; and (3) that institutionalize accountability, transparency and quality of delivery for mutually reinforcing social protection programs under the leadership of MAST.

EVALUATION METHODOLOGY. The evaluation employed three data collection methodologies: document review, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions.

PRIMARY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS.
At the time of the MTE, Kore Lavi had completed data collection in 16 communes demonstrating the ability to adapt and innovate to address the initial data quality problems that existed at the beginning of the program.

In terms of its implementation on the ground, the food voucher scheme is operating well in identifying voucher recipients and enrolling them in the program, distributing food to beneficiaries via paper or electronic vouchers, recruiting and managing the network of collaborating vendors, enforcing policies governing the scheme and overseeing operations. Food received by beneficiary households from both paper and electronic vouchers is inevitably shared with non-household members, including neighbors and even strangers. The VSLA scheme has effectively provided a mechanism by which large numbers of vulnerable women and men living in program communities can save and access small loans at reasonable interest rates to invest in their businesses or children’s education or for other purposes.

SO3 social behavioral change communications interventions are, on the whole, well designed and well implemented. Care Groups, moreover, appear to be an effective methodology for mobilizing women and communicating critical SBCC messages. Community health agents and Lead Mothers play a critical role in SO3 activities. While they are, for the most part, doing a good job and are satisfied with their roles, they also have a number of legitimate concerns related to the lack of monetary compensation and reimbursement for expenses incurred. The program has done a good job identifying and reaching the targeted women and infants.

Kore Lavi has taken a holistic approach to gender integration from design to implementation and has made a conscious and good faith effort to integrate gender considerations in each of the four program SOs.

Kore Lavi has prioritized information management and has demonstrated a clear institutional interest in improving knowledge and learning.

Read More...

Baseline Study of the Title II Development Food Assistance Program in Haiti

In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Food for Peace (FFP) awarded funding to CARE International and its partners, Action Contre La Faim International (ACF) and the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), to implement a Title II development food assistance program in Haiti.1 The four-year Kore Lavi Program directly supports the Government of Haiti’s (GOH) social protection efforts. The overall objective of the program is to reduce food insecurity and vulnerability by supporting the GOH in establishing a replicable safety net system and expanding capacities for preventing child undernutrition.

KEY FINDINGS.
The Title II program area residents face challenges in all four pillars of food security: (1) availability of food, (2) access to food, (3) utilization of food and (4) stability.

Survey results indicate that 57.5 percent of households suffer from moderate hunger and 13.5 percent of households suffer from severe hunger.

An HDDS of 6.2 indicates that households in the Kore Lavi Program area typically can access and consume 6 of 12 basic food groups. Qualitative data indicate that food consumption is pragmatic at the household level. Individual families eat what is available, what they can grow or what they can afford to purchase. Despite these challenges, many respondents spoke ardently to beliefs about the cultural significance of certain foods, while also holding strong opinions on imported food in comparison to locally produced food.

The household survey data show that 69 percent of all households have an adequate level of food consumption, 22 percent score at the borderline level, and 9 percent score at the poor level.

Across the Kore Lavi Program area, 43.6 percent of households currently live in extreme poverty (less than the international poverty line of USD$1.25 at 2005 prices), with average daily per capita expenditures of constant USD$ 2.10.

The household survey data show that 40 percent of households use an improved drinking water source and 16 percent of households use a non-shared improved sanitation facility.

As measured by body mass index (BMI), the nutritional status of women 15-49 years of age who are not pregnant or two months post-partum is generally satisfactory despite a lack of dietary diversity.

The survey data reveal that 8 percent of children under five years of age in the Kore Lavi Program area show signs of being moderately or severely underweight, and 19 percent of children under five years of age are stunted.

Across the qualitative data, views about gender equality tended to be polarized, rooted historically and in tradition. Read More...

Village Savings and Loan Associations as Economic Drivers

Exploring impacts of Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) at micro level to understand their potential to contribute to the Tanzanian economy

Savings-led microfinance innovation aims to improve access to financial services in remote areas, especially among women. CARE International has been the leading innovator in the field and has initiated Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) programmes across Tanzania. CARE aims to increase members in Tanzania to 8 million by 2025 with the vison to help improve the national economy. CARE thus commissioned SFTZ to carry out a study that investigates the potential of VSLA contributions to local and national economies.

METHODS. The study was implemented in six villages in Mufindi district, Iringa region; four of which were assigned as treatment and two as control. Treatment villages had 9 to 15 NGO-facilitated VSLAs, and control villages had only two comparable VSLAs.

RESULTS. Analysis of the data at the village level did not provide evidence that VSLA initiatives have contributed to large-scale economic growth except for one risk mitigation sub-indicator. A number of issues hindered the village-level comparison: First, microfinance savings groups were also present in control villages. Secondly, the penetration of savings groups within all treatment villages was low (below 30%, except for one village).

However, at the household level, VSLA membership showed significant impacts on a number of micro-level measures of economic growth. VSLA households had higher household savings, drew on VSLA savings to overcome negative impacts of household shocks, attained greater food security and more diverse diets, achieved better agricultural and business outcomes, and enjoyed greater economic status. Although these differences cannot be directly attributed to the VSLA programme without before-and-after comparisons with a meaningful control group, the positive household impacts suggest that a VSLA programme scaled to a high density within each village could have a positive impact
on the local economy. Read More...

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