Lead Evaluator: Liz Kiff
The evaluation sought to assess the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of DFID assistance at country level, within the context of a fragile state and during a major conflict.
Development programmes are relevant to conflict.
In Nepal, DFID alongside others, demonstrated that development programmes could address the consequences of conflict on poor communities without recourse to large scale humanitarian action. This was achieved by the adoption by development programmes (outside of Government structures) of a semi-humanitarian approach, i.e. targeted, quick delivery, and tangible outputs (for example in water and sanitation projects). Given that ‘old-fashioned’ project approaches can be adapted not only to fragile contexts but also to situations of armed conflict in an effective way, there is good justification for continuing with them if they allow DFID to work effectively in these situations.
Choosing interventions / partners for peace building.
Taking risks to try and support the political objective of support to a peace process (as in RAP extensions and rapid impact projects) is not inherently wrong; indeed donors are often criticised for being risk averse. However, the window for such opportunities is almost always relatively short. Therefore, suitable choice of programmes is critical, with important characteristics including being quick to start up and produce results, with flexible design and few bureaucratic procedures. Partners with a proven track record should be used. The risks of failure to deliver the development objectives of the programme need to be the priority factor in deciding to implement. These risks need to be assessed in terms of the potential harm to poor communities –i.e. use of do no harm framework.
Remaining engaged during conflict.
The need to stay engaged by protecting development space in areas affected by conflict is essential for delivering both development programmes and if necessary humanitarian relief. This proved crucial in enabling DFID to remain engaged and deliver on its country action plan strategies. The Basic Operational Guidelines enabled DFID staff and partners to engage in local and district level negotiation with the non-state party to the conflict (CPN-M). Without this dialogue, the development space would have considerably narrowed.
Reference: Evaluation of DFID Country Programmes. Country study: Nepal (2007) http://www.dfid.gov.uk/aboutdfid/performance/files/ev679.pdf