1 Executive summary
This is the evaluation report for Southern African Food Insecurity Project implemented by National Societies of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique. The project was funded by IFRC and various Partner National Societies in the four countries.
An estimated 9 million people were food insecure in the four countries under review at the time the Appeal was launched. Food insecurity was addressed through various methods. For example in Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the National Societies utilized mobile cash transfer system to send money to target beneficiaries to address their immediate food needs. Mozambique Red Cross utilized the voucher system which enabled beneficiaries to obtain from the contracted vendors, cooking oil, beans, rice, sugar and viable seeds. All the National Societies in this review provided farm inputs such as seeds, tools and training in good agricultural practices to the beneficiaries to increase their resilience to the risk of drought. WASH and health components were cross cutting in the Emergency Appeal actions.
The evaluation assessed program relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact/outcomes and sustainability in a logical sequence. In addition, it answered the pertinent questions of the evaluation as set out in the ToR, documented lessons learnt, good practices and provided recommendations for future programing.
The study employed various methods of data collection to gather information relating to the various criteria of evaluation. The study heavily relied on four methods of data gathering namely: literature review, survey, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and observation.
The project design took into consideration the priority needs of the beneficiaries which were identified by the proposal and corroborated during the evaluation. The priority needs of the beneficiaries highlighted by each nation’s vulnerability assessment and corroborated by the evaluation through focus group discussions with beneficiaries were food, health, water and sanitation. The beneficiaries received money through mobile cash transfer and voucher system to address these needs. The cash enabled beneficiaries to address their immediate food needs.
In the four countries under review, men often abandon their families to live with women perceived to be of high socioeconomic status during distress. In many beneficiary households, women were the recipients of the cash transfer; this eliminated the diversion of the cash received to anti-social use which would otherwise have been the case if men received the cash on behalf of the households. Other anti-social behaviour common in male headed households during distress are child labour and early marriage of young girls.
The level of efficiency in the implementation of Emergency Appeal activities was ranked below average. Delays started with the preparation and approval of the Emergency Appeal documents. A process which would otherwise take a recommended forty eight hours took two months to complete. The evaluation noted that the process of approval of Emergency Appeals can be fast-tracked by seeking and obtaining feedback on the Appeal documents from Cluster office, Regional office and Geneva simultaneously.
❖ Cost control
In terms of cost controls, the cash in advance system ensures proper accountability documents are submitted to the cluster office for approval of the cash request by the National Societies. The implementation of subsequent activities listed in the Emergency Plan of Action proceeds after clearance and transfer of additional funds to the National Societies. The lead time taken by the National Societies to consolidate and submit accountability documents was 33 days and the time taken by IFRC to reconcile the accounts and transfer the money was 14 days. A total of 47 days was used in processing cash requests and reconciling accountability documents from the National Societies.