Rome, 8 February 2022 – IFAD-supported community-driven development programmes should take a phased, longer-term view of operations in order to support systemic and transformational changes in institutional capacities. In complex geographical settings, these changes should encompass establishment of well-resourced cadres of facilitators and facilitation services, which can maintain a presence in project areas after completion. This, according to the report published by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), on 1 February 2022.
The IOE report presents the findings of the project performance evaluation of the ‘Village Development Programme’ (VDP) in Indonesia. The VDP was the redesigned version of the ‘National Programme for Community Empowerment – Agriculture’, which was operational in Papua and West Papua from 2009 to 2014. The VDP was closed in June 2019, after two years of implementation. IFAD’s financing for the VDP was US$7.2 million.
The report found the impact of the VDP on human and social capital to be marginal. A contributing factor was the lack of priority that programme facilitators gave to technical capacity-building and training of groups. These were formed for the purpose of availing project benefits, without any particular affinity among group members. Moreover, facilitators could not link community groups to inputs, markets and information and encourage productive economic activities. Target groups also could not participate in local government planning and implementation. The presence of a robust and permanent facilitation structure, embedded in the local communities and able to respond to their needs, would have mitigated these operational shortcomings.
Lack of facilitation and coordination further resulted in VDP’s activities failing to attract additional resources from ongoing public programmes. The VDP’s performance was also affected by changes in local policy environment and nascent capacities of institutional partners such as the Ministry of Villages.
In terms of achievements, the biggest success of the project was its scaling-up through the Integrated Village Transformation Programme (TEKAD). Moreover, the VDP had a positive influence on the experiences of the Ministry of Villages and Development of Disadvantaged Regions in the form of feedback into the design of the TEKAD, which represents a much larger co-financing of over US$560 million by the national government, with a smaller investment of US$34.3 million by IFAD.
The programme also featured several innovative features, including the extensive use of social media for disseminating information, knowledge management and monitoring and evaluation.
For the future, the IOE report recommends that IFAD invest in a long-term and well-resourced cadre of facilitators and facilitation services, which can maintain a presence in project areas after completion. In addition, future projects should include a detailed diagnostic analysis of the existing market demand, and map it with existing production patterns in the project area.
Papua and West Papua are the eastern-most provinces of Indonesia and are well endowed in terms of natural resources but lag behind the rest of Indonesia in terms of socio-economic development. The poverty rate is roughly three times higher than the average for Indonesia at large. Access to sanitation facilities and clean potable water also remains a challenge, particularly in Papua.
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