External evaluation of community based planning as an approach to facilitate durable solutions for internally displaced people in Zimbabwe


Final evaluation the NRCs Community Based Planning (CBP) project in Zimbabwe

The CBP project

In May 2014, NRC commissioned a final evaluation the Community Based Planning (CBP) project in Zimbabwe. The project, which had been running since 2010 was delivered in close partnership with local government actors and community leaders used CBP as an entry point to work with displacement affected communities. The main objective was to facilitate acceptance and reconciliation of IDPs, the host community and district actors and to link this to mainstream Government planning processes and ultimately the attainment of a ‘durable solution’ for Internally Displaced Persons and migrants.

Summary of NRC’s response to the evaluation

There are some important and valuable learning points in the evaluation which will be taken forward. However, the evaluation did not focus enough on how the CBP approach had been adapted to context of IDPs. It did not make any specific recommendations on the context nor evaluate on how successful the adaption of CBP for a humanitarian situation was.

Learning from the Evaluation

  • CBP did bring reconciliation, recognition, acceptance and security for IDPs with host community. This was possible even with short term interventions and short funding periods
  • CBP is an approach which build acceptance with local authorities and local leaders because it built on existing local structures and systems and complemented mainstream processes.
  • There is a need to adapt the process to the local situation and context and adapt the tools and revise approach accordingly.
  • There is a need to build in longer term funding cycles that enable NRC to build a level of sustainability which is not possible with shorter term interventions. This is particularly important when aiming to build capacity of communities and also to build local authority commitment to their responsibilities.
  • The importance of including community based monitoring and reflection systems in the design and building this into project implementation from the start.

Planned use of the evaluation

  • NRC used the evaluation to undertake advocacy with Local authorities and other stakeholders and in November and December 2014 NRC Zimbabwe incorporated some of the key message into the Exit Workshops.
  • The country office will aim to further document some of the aspects of CBP that are not contained in this report.
  • The experiences and lessons learned from the community based planning approach in Zimbabwe, beyond those included in the evaluation, must be captured in order to ensure organisational learning.

Priority actions

Advocacy with Local Authorities to mainstream CBP and to resource it from existing resourcing streams. Learning within NRC: in particular on

  • how to facilitate community programming in different contexts,
  • to identify the key elements of a community led development process,
  • To develop community led monitoring and reflection systems and develop tools to facilitate this