In Chile, sustainability of several of the interventions in the area of social equity has been improved through well-targeted capacity development. For example, ministry professionals trained and supervised by the UNDP team were able to carry out assessment of the Chile Solidario project. In several other areas, the cooperation between ministry employees and UNDP staff has served to build the capacities of those employees and to improve the methodologies, setting the ground for future ministry action without additional UNDP support. In Zambia, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Eritrea and Uganda, capacity has been built at the central and/or intermediate levels for stronger regulation of the microfinance systems. In a few countries, non-profit organizations have been trained so that they can manage long-term micro-credit schemes with a pro-poor orientation (such as the Micro Bankers Trust in Zambia, Enterprise Uganda and the National Union of Eritrean women). One specific example is Senegal, where through UNDP support for creation of the national micro-finance policy ‘a wider range of higher quality services are increasingly available, thanks in part to the capacity development of (microfinance institutions) within the particular project (developing standards, business plans, new products, empowerment through partnerships, implementation of the national association of microfinance institutions, data and study publications, and dissemination of the accounting framework’. Such examples notwithstanding, the more common picture is that although UNDP in principle puts a lot of emphasis on capacity development, very little sustainable capacity
is developed in practice. This is partly due to factors beyond UNDP’s control – for example, rapid transfer of government staff between ministries and departments which results in capacity acquired in one sphere being wasted when engaged in other spheres. But partly, the problem is created by a tension between UNDP’s multiple objectives. On the one hand, UNDP wants to create national capacity so that others can carry on without further support but on the other it also wants to ensure that outputs are delivered in time and in good quality. The latter compulsion means that, especially when existing national capacity is either non-existent or very weak, UNDP takes it upon itself the responsibility of delivering the output, resulting in a de facto conversion of national execution modality into direct execution modality. Moreover, questions are often raised in evaluations regarding whether participation and interest in training and knowledge transfer can be effectively transformed into full national ownership and institutional transformation over the long term. For example, it is noted in Rwanda, Benin, Mozambique, Liberia, Botswana and Zimbabwe that support for improved poverty measurement and assessment and/or national statistical capacity is probably not capable of being sustained by partner agencies due to understaffing and chronically low budgets for these systems, as well as other systemic institutional challenges. Also, it is noted in Benin that there are no noticeable improvements in data quality and timeliness of some key poverty reporting mechanisms (such as the national HDRs and MDG reports) in spite of the UNDP investments made, possibly due to institutional factors outside UNDP’s control.
C hapter 4 . A S S E S S M E N T O F U N D P ’ S C O N T R I B U T I O N
Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to Poverty Reduction