Communities defined their priorities with facilitation from 'fellows' (community-based mobilisers) and through developing 'Village Books' (Village Development Plan).
Through this process, the communities benefit through improved access to basic education, primary healthcare, water and sanitation facilities, and a range of infrastructure projects such as school buildings, Rural Health Centres, roads, bridges and road improvements. The activities are implemented by a consortium consisting of the NRC, SDC, the Karen Development Network (KDN) and Action Aid Myanmar (AAM). The programme ran from December 2012 to August 2017, and covered over 90,000 people (Male 46911 & Female 47655) in 89 conflict-affected villages. It was funded by the European Commission (EUR 7.0 million) under its 'Aid to Uprooted People' programme.
The consortium commissioned a final, external evaluation of the SIRP programme. The evaluation included field research in 19 sampled villages across the project area. Complementing previous reviews, the study focused on relevance, impact and sustainability of project outcomes. The evaluation deployed a rich set of methods, including a Most Significant Change process, staff reflection workshops, key informant interviews, document review, and community workshops (with trend analysis, and focus group discussions). Newly built infrastructure was inspected as part of transect walks.
The key findings are presented below:
- The expected results (framework) are highly relevant to the needs of the remote, impoverished and post-conflict communities that SIRP targeted. Investments in health, education, infrastructure as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are indeed relevant, given local conditions.
- In terms of general infrastructure, the trend analysis confirmed that new roads and bridges reduced travel times, gave better access to markets, hospitals and other services. Furthermore, communities identified a strong positive impact on livelihoods.
- Addressing the willingness and capacity of local actors to continue pursuing or maintaining project outcomes, it was found that SIRP incorporated a range of suitable mechanisms. The village book process and - where applied - the community-led implementation ('CBO approach') enabled a strong sense of ownership.
- While continuing the village book and fellowship approach, it is important to improve fellow support, coaching and mentoring structures. This include also the need to revise the 'Village Book' document sharing procedures to ensure a "do no harm" approach in all settings