The creation of UN Women in July 2010 came about as part of the UN reform agenda, consolidating the Organization’s resources and mandates on gender equality for greater impact. The mandate of UN-Women calls on UN Women to have universal coverage, strategic presence and ensure closer linkages between the norm-setting inter-governmental work and operations at the field level. UN Women is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to i) support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms, ii) to help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it and to forge effective partnerships with civil society, and iii) to hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress and mobilizing and convening key stakeholders to ensure greater coherence and gender mainstreaming across the UN. Since 2001 UN Women (previously as its predecessor entity UNIFEM) has implemented catalytic initiatives on promoting women’s economic, political and social rights. In 2012 a Country Office with Delegation of Authority (DOA) was established in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The political situation in Kyrgyzstan was fragile after its independence in 1991 followed by instability and change of Governments in 2005 and, in June 2010 amid political and social tensions, violence erupted in the southern regions which led to the violence between ethnic populations.
At the same time, disagreements over the borderline among Central Asian countries continue to lead to misunderstandings and distrust between neighbouring communities, exacerbating existing tensions over natural resources, and preventing the resolution of crucial developmental and societal challenges. Conflict drivers, such as competition over other natural resources (water, land and pasture), high levels of (youth) unemployment and out-migration are remaining high in Kyrgyzstan.
In long term climate change, with has already been linked to a 30 percent reduction of glaciers in the mountains, will lead to lower water availability. This is likely to cause economic shocks and strains on the rural population, especially women of targeted regions, in the long run further exacerbating conflicts over natural resources.
The efforts from the Government and the UN for the past years contributed to increased stability in the southern regions and in the country in general.
Given the above context, initiatives that support women’s and men resilience and mitigate the negative impact of climate change contribute to peacebuilding effect.
The UN Women Kyrgyzstan Country Office’s Women, Peace and Security portfolio has been working on peacebuilding and providing support at the policy level especially on the implementation of UNSCR1325 and at the national and community levels implementing a number of projects focused on empowering of women and their participation in peacebuilding, conflict management and equal access to natural resources for sustaining peace and development.
One of its projects which is focusing on equal access to natural resources and effective management of water is being implemented the FinWaterWei II Finland-funded programme implemented in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is called: ‘’Securing livelihoods for vulnerable women, men and children, through their participation in community governance of water resources, and enhanced ability to use water efficiently” with a short title “Livelihoods through participation and equal access to water”.
II. Description of the programme/project: Livelihoods through participation and equal access to water
Project strategy and expected results:
The project Livelihoods Through Participation and Equal Access to Water aims at securing livelihoods for vulnerable women, men and children through efficient on-farm use of water and equitable community governance of water resources. The project strategy is to fairly, transparently and sustainably allocate scarce water resources at community level to enhance intra-community partnerships, community resilience and create opportunities for establishment of livelihoods that in the context of challenges increasingly associated with labour migration, present a credible alternative to such migration.
The theory of change of the project is: if excluded sectors of the rural population in particular women and girls are empowered to productively use limited on-farm water resources for starting to build livelihoods in an environment where communities appreciate inclusion and water conservation, then they will be healthier and more prosperous. The increased knowledge and economic opportunities will lead to increased participation of target groups in water management activities which will ultimately enhance the local power relationships in favour of the presently excluded, resulting in enhanced access to water resources to secure sustainable livelihoods.
The expected outcomes of the project are formulated as follows:
Outcome 1: People in target communities have started adopting measures for equitable and efficient water use in their households/gardens. It is expected that raising awareness of the secondary schools’ students, equipping them with practical skills of efficient agricultural production, and engaging them in advocacy campaigns, aimed at general public, religious and political leaders, municipal workers, members of the local councils and other decision makers in the communities, will have a multiplier effect on the communities as a whole. Simple tips related to efficient water use, water safety and sustainable agricultural practices will be communicated through various advocacy initiatives of the students. Students will have demonstrated application of sustainable agricultural production in their kitchen gardens and school demonstration plots in practice. As a result, it is expected that 70 percent of the survey respondents in target villages will confirm to have adopted one or more of the sanitary and efficient water use measures recommended through advocacy actions – Indicator 1.
Output 1.1: Secondary school students in selected areas have demonstrated safer and more efficient agricultural practice in their communities. This output will be measured through the following indicators.
Indicator 1.1a: As a result of enrolling in the ‘My Prosperous Farm’ course 1,000 secondary school students in 10 partner schools of the selected villages will have improved their knowledge and understanding of the agricultural production based on the productive, efficient and sustainable use of natural resources, as well as basics of marketing and business planning. Teachers of the course will conduct regular tests to determine whether the learning outcomes for the specific period of time have been achieved and flag any issues to address for the next trimester. Further, the need for equal access to water as well as issues of clean water and sanitation will be addressed.
Further, Indicator 1.1b will measure if no less than 500 of these students have applied the practical knowledge on their kitchen garden plots of 0.01 ha by growing profitable crops, using simple environmentally friendly agro-technology and with extension support throughout the vegetation period provided by RAS. Data for this indicator will be collected through regular site visits of the extension specialist to students’ plots and school demonstration plots. Students will keep diaries recording implementation of the recommended agro-technology. Regular site visits will ensure regular extension support at critical points of vegetation period, document progress of the students, and flag issues in a timely manner. Site visit reports and student dairies will provide disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data on the results achieved by each student.
Indicator 1.1c is intended to measure effectiveness of the recommended sustainable agro-technology. It is expected that the students will have received yields, which are at least 20 percent higher than the average yields in the given area, and have participated in the market and received income from sale of their produce. The data will be collected from the extension specialists’ site visit reports and student diaries.
Output 1.2: Students have acquired advocacy and communication for change skills to influence attitude change in their communities in favour of more equitable and efficient use of natural resources will be achieved through integration of the ‘My Safe and Peaceful School’ component into the curriculum of the selected schools. As part of this course the students will be supported to carry out a number of advocacy and communication for change activities covering the wider population of their communities to raise awareness of the general public about the sustainable use of natural resources, communicate importance of equal access and equitable use for resources by all population groups, as well as simple easy-to-use tips on how to improve water and land use in daily life in their households and gardens. Students showing superior aptitude will be involved in a multitude of activities conducted by UN Women beyond and outside the scope of this project to further consolidate their skills on influencing attitudes.
Indicator 1.2 is put forth to measure the number of people reached by the various advocacy actions of the students. It is expected to cover no less than 30,000 people in all target communities. The data on the reach-out will be collected from student reports supported with evidence (photos, print run, etc.).
Outcome 2: Capacitated local self-government and Water Users Associations in target areas provide equal access to resources and enhanced services to the population. Local self-governments in the selected municipalities will be offered to be trained on the use of the database management system ‘Berkut’, which will automatize the most popular functions of municipal staff, such as preparation of certificates, disaggregated reports and compilation of statistical analysis for the reporting purposes on the basis of household information. This however requires intensive work of inputting household data from paper-based documents into the database. Simultaneously the social worker of the municipality will carry out social passportization, review the household data of the existing recipients of state allowances to evaluate their eligibility and carry out household surveys to identify new families eligible for the allowances but not receiving them currently. Both exercises will require intensive work during the first 4-6 months and will serve as a commitment test and pre-requisite for further interventions in the municipality. ‘Berkut’ will be updated with a module on social passportization and Water Users Association. The latter will derive data from the general database of household data and is intended to create a comprehensive list of users in order to ensure all eligible are included in water users lists, and fee collection is systematized and transparent. The project will advocate for a system where water fees ensure full cost recovery with exceptions for those unable to pay, as per the law. However, as the project focusses in enabling the vulnerable to enhance livelihoods through the effective use of water, everyone in time should be able to pay for water use based on the additional income generated by such use of water. A graduated scheme, whereby the first small quantity of water is either free or subsidized with these subsidies recovered from heavy water users (who either derive a high profit from this use or are using water inefficiently and as such to the disadvantage of the community) will be advocated where legally possible. On such matters, the role of the project will be to try to build consensus between all local stakeholders. Further, the project will facilitate the establishment of feedback mechanisms on the performance of the WUA. Households in the catchment area and WUA clients will be interviewed to assess WUA performance and level of participation and inclusiveness. While the project will oversee this process, it will facilitate the local self-government and the WUA to conduct such assessments in the longer term. Findings will be collated, analysed and reported back to both the local kenesh as well as informal institutes such as the Kurultai, the local people’s assembly. Data will be disaggregated according to gender and other site-specific factors of interest.
‘Berkut’ is a stand-alone computer-based MIS system that can be programmed to allow for online data exchange. Given unreliable and slow internet access in villages in Kyrgyzstan, data put on USB sticks can also be aggregated by offline uploading centrally. ‘Berkut’ is to be fully integrated into the local self-government administration where access to data is given on a need-to-know basis ensuring data security and privacy. The WUA module is maintained by local WUA staff, drawing on base data which specifies households in the WUA catchment area. Data can then be uploaded to the local self-government administration ‘Berkut’ database for monitoring of compliance with legal provisions such as those relating to equal access to the public good water. Select data, such as that of water users having fully met water payments and thus being entitled to water can be posted in the local administration for public access. Other data is kept confidential, and WUA will only have access to data they have a right to as per the law.
Use of ‘Berkut’ in a municipality is a prerequisite for participation of this community in the second component. Municipalities and communities failing to realize their formal commitment made prior to the project commencing in a community can still participate in MPF related activities of the first component described above but will not be eligible for investment and grants under the second component.
As a result, it is expected that the level of satisfaction of the population with service delivery relating to water management increases. Achievement of this outcome will be measured through the following two indicators:
Indicator 2a: Percentage of people satisfied with the services of LSG in relation to ensuring equal access to water resources. It is expected that the level of satisfaction will increase by 50 percent over baseline. The survey of a sample group of respondents will be carried out at the municipal administration exit at the start and the end of the project.
Indicator 2b: Percentage increase in the number of newly identified water users by WUAs (covering potentially excluded groups, such as female headed households, disabled people, etc.). The number of newly identified water users is expected to increase the number of users by at least 10 percent over baseline at the end of the project. The number of users before project intervention will be recorded during start-up stage from the official records of the WUAs.
Output 2.1: Local self-governments have started using electronic database management information system ‘Berkut’ with updated list of people eligible for social allowances. Introduction of ‘Berkut’ will improve the quality of service provision of the partner local self-governments, one of which is better targeting of the state allowances to the most vulnerable. This is required by the Law of KR On social passportization and in line with the established methodology and instructions of the Ministry of social development of KR. Local self-government’s relevant officials will be trained on the use of ‘Berkut’ and the methodology of social passportization and backstopped on a regular basis in the process to address the challenges which may be faced. As a result, it is envisaged that the number of newly identified people eligible for state allowances will reach at least 15 percent of the total number of the initial number of recipients – Indicator 2.1. The relevant disaggregated data will be retrieved from the official list of the recipients of state allowances from the municipal records or local Social fund offices. ‘Berkut’ has been in use since 2005. It has been used by interested LSG. Use has been welcome by the state but not mandated. GTZ, EU and USAID have all implemented projects where ‘Berkut’ has been pursued by LSG participating in these projects. The Secretary of the LSG administration as well as the Social Worker are the primary beneficiaries of ‘Berkut’ in that they save much time in conducting their work using ‘Berkut’. Therefore, it is them who first upload information on households from the paper based Khos Kniga that currently records such information. Data entry is very simple and conducted in Kyrgyz, with an explanatory menu on the ACCESS database in both Kyrgyz and Russian.
Output 2.2: WUAs have increased water fee collection as a result of improved user accounting and billing incorporated into ‘Berkut’. The database management system ‘Berkut’ is intended to serve as a tool to improve the quality of user lists, which is a pre-requisite for transparent and equitable allocation of water resources. The potentially excluded population groups, such as female headed households, disabled, and others will be included into the overall database platform from the household records of the municipality, from which the WUA module derives the data. Improved lists of users will also result in a more transparent billing and fee collection. It is envisaged that water fee collection will improve by at least 10 percent over baseline – Indicator 2.2. Data for this indicator can be reliably collected from the accounting records of the WUA on a regular basis and progress tracked throughout project duration.
Project beneficiaries and stakeholders.
The target groups of the project are:
- Those deemed vulnerable (muktash) according to social passportisation data;
- Note: given the nature of activities it is likely that a larger proportion of beneficiaries will be women rather than men. However, there is equal access to anyone meeting criteria;
- Persons with disabilities;
- Interested girls and boys enrolled in the 9th through 11th grade of local secondary schools, their teachers and parents;
- Single-headed households;
- Key functionaries of local self-government;
- Water Users’ Association.
Government counterparts in the project are the Gender Unit at Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Melioration and various district administrations and municipalities involved in the project. Responsible party is the Rural Advisory Service Jalalabad (RAS JA).
Budget and geographical scope and timeframe.
The project is implemented in 3 provinces, 5 districts and 7 municipalities of the Kyrgyz Republic (Provinces: Chui, Batken, Osh Districts: Sokuluk, Kadam-Jai, Leilek, Aravan, Nookat, Uzgen Municipalities: Asyl-Bash, Halmion, Uch-Korgon, Kulundu, Naiman, Check-Abad, Don-Bulak) selected based on analysis of the following criteria:
- Agro-ecological suitability;
- Current status and predictable change of seasonal water resource availability;
- Commitment to assume ownership, including financial contribution at local self-government, community and target group/beneficiary level ;
- Readiness of Social Worker to carry out functions as relates to social passportisation;
- Local WUA confirming equal access to water resources in their charter for anyone in their catchment area;
- Established willingness of the community to practice minimum standards of sanitation, or, in case these are not presently practiced assessed interest in amending behaviour based on being taught practicable and realistic methods as taught in the My Prosperous Farm (MPF) course and subsequently advocated at community level by participating student.
Total project budget is 900’000 Euro comprising of 890’000 Euro funding from the Government of Finland and UN Women contribution of 10,000 Euro for the period of 30 months (01.10.2015-31.03.2018).
The project is managed by UN Women who as the executive agency bears the responsibility for the overall project outcome. The responsible party is jointly responsible with UN Women for the achievement of the outputs. The day-to-day implementation of the project is managed by a project manager with the support of the project team within UN Women and the responsible party. Oversight and strategic steering is provided by the Coordination Council with representatives from the government counterparts, local NGOs, UN Women, the Donor and the responsible party.
III. Purpose (and use of the evaluation).
As indicated in Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Plan of the Strategic Note 2018-2022 of the UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic, a final evaluation with a special focus on lessons learnt will be conducted towards the end of implementation period of the project Livelihoods through participation and equal access to water. The main purpose of this final evaluation is to assess in more detail the programmatic progress and performance of the above described intervention from the point of view of relevance, effectiveness, organizational efficiency and sustainability.
The findings of the evaluation will contribute to effective programming, refining the CO approaches to women, peace and security, organizational learning and accountability, and to inform overall implementation of the Strategic Note of the UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2018-2022. The information generated by the evaluation will moreover be used to engage policy makers and other stakeholders at local, national and regional levels in evidence-based dialogues and to advocate for gender-responsive strategies to sustain peace and conflict-prevention with a particular focus on engaging adolescents and women in dialogues on gender equality, human rights, and peace and security at local, national and regional levels.
Targeted users of the evaluation are the UN Women staff at the Kyrgyzstan Country Office, the responsible party and the government counterparts at local and national levels, CSOs, and other UN agencies, donor community and development partners present in Kyrgyzstan and the ECA region and the project beneficiaries.
The objectives of this evaluation are to:
- Analyse the relevance of the project strategy and approach at local and national levels on gender equality and women’s empowerment, peacebuilding agenda, and adaptation to climate change.
- Assess effectiveness and organizational efficiency in progressing towards the achievement of the project results, including the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment results as defined in the intervention.
- Assess the sustainability of the results and the intervention in advancing gender equality through the target group.
- Analyze how human rights based approach and gender equality principles are integrated in the project implementation.
- Assess how the intervention and its results relate and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Identify and document lessons learned, good practices and innovations, success stories and challenges within the project, to inform future work of UN Women in the frameworks of Women, Peace and Security agenda and beyond.
- Identify strategies for replication and up-scaling of the project’s best practices.
- Provide actionable recommendations with respect to UN Women’s work on women, peace and security in Kyrgyzstan, youth, peacebuilding and beyond.
Key evaluation questions
Considering the mandates to incorporate human rights and gender equality in all UN work and the UN Women Evaluation Policy, which promotes the integration of women’s rights and gender equality principles, these dimensions will have a special attention in this evaluation and will be considered under each evaluation criterion.
- To what extent was the design of the intervention and its results relevant to the needs and priorities of the beneficiaries? How appropriate was the chosen focus on vulnerable groups in addressing the needs and priorities of the beneficiaries?
- To what extent is the intervention consistent with the national development strategies, and specifically National Strategy on Achievement of Gender Equality till 2020, its National Action Plans, National priorities in climate change adaptation, National Strategy on Sustainable Development, and other key national strategies and programmes in the area of advancing gender equality and water governance?
- To what extent has gender and human rights principles and strategies been integrated into the programme design and implementation?
- To what extent has the project been catalytic in addressing some of the root causes of inequalities in participation and equal access to water?
- To what extent is the intervention aligned with international agreements and conventions on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of water governance?
- What is UN Women’s current comparative advantage in this area of work compared with other UN entities and key partners in the Kyrgyz Republic?
- To what extent have the expected results of the project been achieved on both outcome and output levels?
- What are the reasons for the achievement or non-achievement of the project results? Has project achieved any unforeseen results, either positive or negative? What are the good practices and the obstacles or shortcomings encountered? How were they overcome?
- How appropriate is the project strategy of empowering and engaging youth and local self-governments as advocates for gender equality and human rights making a contribution to community level stability through inclusion?
- How well did the intervention succeed in involving and building the capacities of rights-holders, duty-bearers, as well as the project partners?
- To what extent are the monitoring mechanisms in place effective for measuring and informing management of project performance and progress towards targets? To what extent was the monitoring data objectively used for management action and decision making?
- Have resources (financial, human, technical support, etc.) been allocated strategically to achieve the project outcomes?
- To what extent does the management structure of the intervention support efficiency for programme implementation and achievement of results?
- Have the outputs been delivered in a timely manner?
- What is the likelihood that the benefits from the project will be maintained for a reasonably long period of time after the project phase out?
- How effectively has the project generated national ownership of the results achieved, the establishment of partnerships with relevant stakeholders and the development of national capacities to ensure sustainability of efforts and benefits?
- To what extent the intervention succeeded in building individual and institutional capacities of rights-holders and duty-bearers to ensure sustainability of benefits and more inclusive practices to local development and water governance?
- To what extent has the project been able to promote replication and/or up-scaling of successful practices?
- To what extent has the exit strategy been well planned and successfully implemented?
Considering the mandates to incorporate human rights and gender equality in all UN work and the UN Women Evaluation Policy, which promotes the integration of women’s rights and gender equality principles into evaluation, these dimensions will require special attention for this evaluation and will be considered under each evaluation criterion.
It is expected that the evaluation team will develop an evaluation matrix, which will relate to the above questions (and refine them as needed), the areas they refer to, the criteria for evaluating them, the indicators and the means for verification as a tool for the evaluation. Final evaluation matrix will be approved in the evaluation inception report.
V. Scope of the evaluation
The final evaluation of the project Livelihoods Through Participation and Equal Access to Water will be conducted at the end of project implementation and will cover the entire duration of the project 01-10-2015-31.03.2018. The evaluation is scheduled between January and April 2018.
The evaluation includes a data collection mission in Bishkek and three selected project sites in Kyrgyzstan, covering both its southern and northern parts.
The evaluation shall cover all aspects of the project, and broadly allocate resources (time) in relation to the relative expenditure between the various project components.
The Livelihoods Through Participation and Equal Access to Water project has been included in the Country Programme Evaluation conducted in 2017 as part of the project portfolio of UN Women Country Office in Kyrgyzstan. Some of the approaches and strategies employed in the project have been implemented within the previous PBF-funded Building the Constituency for Peace and EU-funded Promoting Gender Justice and Empowerment of Young Women projects. These evaluation and lessons learnt reports with findings and recommendations will be made available to the evaluation team to inform the evaluation design, methodologies, and final evaluation report.
VI. Evaluation design (process and methods)
The evaluation will be a transparent and participatory process involving relevant UN Women stakeholders and partners in Kyrgyzstan. The evaluation will be based on gender and human rights principles and adhere to the UNEG Norms and Standards and Ethical Code of Conduct and UN Women Evaluation Policy and guidelines.
The evaluation is a final programme evaluation and a summative approach focusing on capturing the lessons learned during the implementation and assessing the achievement of the results at output and outcome levels will be employed. The evaluation methodology will furthermore follow a ToC approach and employ mixed methods including quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and analytical approaches to account for complexity of gender relations and to ensure participatory and inclusive processes that are culturally appropriate. Methods may include but are not limited to:
- Desk review of relevant documents such as project and programme documents, progress reports, financial records, meeting minutes and monitoring reports, and secondary data or studies relating to the country context and situation
- Online consultations and discussions with UN Women Country Office senior management, programme and project management staff
- Semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, surveys with direct and indirect beneficiaries, implementing partners, donor and other stakeholders
- Field visits to and observation at selected project sites
Data from different research sources will be triangulated to increase its validity. The proposed approach and methodology has to be considered as flexible guidelines rather than final require