How well is the KCPP doing? Compared to what?
27 August, 2008
One conventional approach to the evaluation of aid projects is to identify the project’s objectives, and then see what has been achieved on the ground and how it compares to the stated objectives on paper.
This approach has its own difficulties. For example, the objectives might not be stated very clearly. Or if there are clear objectives, there may not be any useful indicators of progress with these objectives. Or if there are useful indicators, there may not be any targeted level of achievement on those indicators. I have already discussed these types of problems in the KCPP, both directly with the AMREF KCPP staff, and via this blog. (e.g. “Appropriate Goals“)
But this approach may be irrelevant to many people. What may be more important is how the KCPP seems to be progressing, when compared to other development projects that they know of.
Yesterday’s article on the Guardian Katine website (by Richard Kavuma) on President Museveni’s visit to Soroti mentioned a number of different development initiatives that have been promised, and in some cases already happened. Richard’s article mentions Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), and now “model farms”
“Presenting highlights of his anti-poverty campaign, Museveni announced a fund of 98 billion Ugandan shillings ($60 million) to support six homesteads in each of Uganda’s 5,000 parishes to set up model farms. The idea is that the remaining villages will learn from the model homesteads how poverty can be overcome and will – hopefully – start their own journeys.” **
The KCPP project is also about developing convincing models of good practice (re health, education, water, sanitation, livelihoods, governance), that government, local communities and individual households will hopefully adopt.
However, the NUSAF (Phase 2), the SACCOs, and the model farms will all be in competition with the work AMREF is doing via the KCPP. In competition for the attention of local elected leaders and administrators, who need to decide how to best use their scare resources (both their own time and the budgets they are responsible for). And in competition for the attention of households as well.
Competition could be useful. But it will depend on who sets the rules, about what kinds of development achievements are really important. That will be an important arena of competition itself. AMREF could well argue that transparency (about how a project is managed) is most important of all, because without open access to information how can people really tell what is going on? Have the billions of shillings really been spent as intended?
AMREF could also argue that sustainability is very important, important enough to sometimes justify its own development costs being higher than others (e.g. for installing a borehole and establishing a working water source committee).
But to do this it will need some hard facts, not just optimistic assumptions. For example about the percentage of KCPP boreholes still functioning after two years, compared to those established by NUSAF.
And it will also need a strategy, a sense of what facts are the most important, amongst the many that could be collected. What are the most important differences between how AMREF is doing things in the KCPP, and how others (government and non-government) are doing them? And what difference is it expected that these differences make to people’s lives?
These questions can be asked at two levels: (a) about AMREF’s work generally, and (b) much more specifically, about individual project activities. Such as providing furniture and books for schools, or training Village Health Teams, or working with farmers groups to improve their incomes. Facts and findings about concrete activities like these are probably going to be of most interest to the people of Soroti district.
If it can successfully compete for people’s attention, then the impact of the KCPP will have a better chance of spreading, beyond the currently limited number of schools with new equipment or tthe few villages with new boreholes. It will also be in a better position to convince its current (and prospective) donors that there is good reason to fund organisations like AMREF, rather than channeling money directly to poor communities, or to local government, or to other NGOs. It will be able to show how its particular way of working adds value in a way that justifies the cost involved.
Footnote**: $60 million = $2,000 per model farm. There could be 30 model farms set up in Katine sub-county, which has five parishes.