End-Term Evaluation of Shebedino Food Security Project of Shebedino Programme Unit in nnPR
Client: Plan International.
Plan International launched the Shebedino Food Security Programme Unit to achieve the following short term goals:
1) increasing food production through using improved crop and livestock varieties,
2) improving household cash income,
3) improving nutrition for all household members but particularly for children,
4) enhancing the capacity of stakeholders, particularly that of government line offices.
Objective of the study: The objective of the evaluation of Shebedino Food Security Project was to assess if the project had achieved the above stated goals in terms of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. In other words, the evaluation was meant to answer the following questions: What did Plan Ethiopia set out to achieve? What mechanisms were set in place to achieve the planned outputs? What tangible outputs were achieved both at the household and the community levels? What challenges were encountered in implementing the plan and the measures that Plan Ethiopia undertook? Are there any lessons learnt in designing and implementing projects?
Methodology Used : The following techniques were used for gathering quality data required for the assessment of the project.
1) A careful survey of 409 households was undertaken;
2) Focus Group discussions were conducted;
3) Cases of “success” and “failure” stories were carefully recorded;
4) A survey of children’s perception of the project was undertaken in selected kebeles;
5) Key Informant interviews with selected respondents were conducted;
6) Relevant documents were examined.
Findings The evaluation exercise carried out by BDS-CDR on the Shebedino Food Security Project brought out major features of Plan Ethiopia’s approach to community development. The following are the major features revealed by the study.
1. Plan Ethiopia adopts innovative strategies and approaches: In its engagement in the Shebedino Project,it undertook a need assessment survey, constructed problem trees to identify underlying problems of food insecurity and their causes, used networking to involve stakeholders in order to build lasting partnership and promote common understanding and adopted, as one of its principles, the newly emerging concept of institutional learning in the form of quarterly meetings in which key stakeholders such as NGOs and the local government offices could be actively involved.
2. According to the findings of the BDS-CDR study, by principle, Plan Ethiopia’s project is child-centered. It is unique in that it particularly focuses on the overall improvement of the quality of life of the children in the project area. As a result of Plan’s project, their nutrition has improved significantly. Some 90% of them have access to better health services. Sickness due to malaria has been reduced with the widespread use malaria nets. They go to better schools. In general, at a time when most children in other parts of rural Ethiopia draw a gloomy picture of their future, some of the interviewed children in Shebedino vision a bright future for themselves.
3. The BDS-CDR study showed that the Shebedino Project has been effective and has made a significant impact on the life of the people. The data sources: household survey, focus group discussions, perception survey, case studies, key informant interviews consistently confirmed that Plan’s intervention has been relevant and, to a large extent, effective. The effectiveness looms out particularly in the areas of crop diversification, bull service, hybrid heifer availability, health and education services, sanitation and nutritious food.
4. Findings of the BDS-CDR evaluation further showed that Plan Ethiopia ensures the effectiveness of its intervention through: a) building the technical capability of the community, the household and the individual, b) strengthening the capacity of the local government’s line offices, c) putting in place innovative and context- specific financial institution (i.e. a village savings and credit scheme) in the form of a revolving fund that caters to the needs of poor women, d) improving the quality of life of children through education, improved health and nutrition services and awareness creation, e) using animation to facilitate knowledge transfer and awareness creation using available resources, f) strengthening market linkages and value chains by working closely with relevant Desks of Woreda Agriculture Offices, g) introducing appropriate technologies that are simple, affordable and location-specific.
Recommendations Based on its findings, BDS- CDR forwards the following recommendations:
1. Fair and objective criteria should be set up for selecting beneficiaries.
2. Plan’s monitoring and evaluation system should be updated and strengthened.
3. The most recent techniques of policy influence and lobbying should be adopted and formalized.
4. Plan should do more to learn from farmers and make effective use of indigenous knowledge systems and institutions.
5. Plan should consider the option making difference by concentrating resources in limited areas.
By way of conclusion, we underline that the project has brought a difference in Shebedino. However, Plan’s interventions are still required to deal with unfinished business, and to rectify some of its shortcomings. Plan’s long-term objective of achieving food security to improve the wellbeing of children may not be realized within four or five years. Thus, Plan should look into other alternatives so as to bring more significant and lasting differences in Shebedino