Final Report on Capacity Building in Monitoring and Evaluation for the Namibian Social Security Commission’s Development Fund

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  1. September 2013 This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Christine Potts for the Health…
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  • 1. September 2013 This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Christine Potts for the Health Finance and Governance Project. FINAL REPORT ON CAPACITY BUILDING IN MONITORING AND EVALUATION FOR THE NAMIBIAN SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION’S DEVELOPMENT FUND
  • 2. The Health Finance and Governance Project USAID’s Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project will help to improve health in developing countries by expanding people’s access to health care. Led by Abt Associates, the project team will work with partner countries to increase their domestic resources for health, manage those precious resources more effectively, and make wise purchasing decisions. As a result, this five-year, $209 million global project will increase the use of both primary and priority health services, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and reproductive health services. Designed to fundamentally strengthen health systems, HFG will support countries as they navigate the economic transitions needed to achieve universal health care. DATE 2013 Cooperative Agreement No: AID-OAA-A-12-00080 Submitted to: Scott Stewart, AOR Office of Health Systems Bureau for Global Health Recommended Citation: Potts, Christine. 31 July 2013. Final Report on Capacity Building in Monitoring and Evaluation for the Namibian Social Security Commission’s Development Fund. Bethesda, MD: Health Finance & Governance Project, Abt Associates Inc.. Abt Associates Inc. | 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 800 North | Bethesda, Maryland 20814 T: 301.347.5000 | F: 301.652.3916 | www.abtassociates.com Broad Branch Associates | Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) | Futures Institute | Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) | Results for Development Institute (R4D) | RTI International | Training Resources Group, Inc. (TRG)
  • 3. FINAL REPORT ON CAPACITY BUILDING IN MONITORING AND EVALUATION FOR THE NAMIBIAN SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION’S DEVELOPMENT FUND
  • 4. DISCLAIMER The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.
  • 5. i CONTENTS Contents ...............................................................................................................i Acronyms............................................................................................................iii Acknowledgments...............................................................................................v Executive Summary ..........................................................................................vii 1. Introduction...........................................................................................1 2. Technical Assistance Objectives and Activities...................................3 2.1 Initial Assessment of the Development Fund M&E Capacity ..................................3 2.2 Activity 1: Development of the M&E Framework and Plan.....................................4 2.3 Activity 2: Structuring Data Collection Tools, Templates and Processes...........6 Database................................................................................................................10 2.4 Activity 3: Development of M&E Curriculum for Training....................................12 Trainings................................................................................................................12 3. Summary Findings and Next Steps....................................................13 Annex A: Technical Assistance Work Plan .....................................................15 Annex B: Development Fund Indicator Matrix ...............................................19 Annex C: M&E Plan Processes Flow Chart......................................................26
  • 6. iii ACRONYMS DEC Data Entry Clerk DQA Data Quality Assurance M&E Monitoring and Evaluation MSD Maternity, Sick and Death Benefits Fund PPT PowerPoint Presentation SLA Service Level Agreement SSC Social Security Commission SSC-DF Social Security Commission’s Development Fund USAID United States Agency for International Development
  • 7. v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The success of this technical assistance was made possible by the support of Social Security Commission Acting Executive Director, Mr. David Keendjele, and the dedicated efforts of the Development Fund team: Ms. Olga Katjiuongua, Manager; Mr. Duscan Kasika, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer; Ms. Amanda Horn, Employment Officer; and Ms. Charlotte Cloete, Assistant. In preparing this report, the Health Finance and Governance team sincerely thanks the USAID/Namibia Mission for the warm welcome and generous support provided. Support from the Mission Director, Ms. Elzadia Washington-Danaux, the Health Officer, Ms. Melissa Jones, and Project Officer Mr. Matt Rosenthal, provided an enabling environment for our work.
  • 8. vii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Republic of Namibia has gained significant notice within the development community in recent years as it grapples with the transition to the group of upper middle income economies, as defined by the World Bank. In spite of this classification, Namibia continues to have the largest income inequality in the world measured by Gini coefficients (0.74) and an unemployment rate estimated at between 37% and 51% of the general population. Against these challenges, the Namibian Social Security Commission manages a set of funds intended to “provide a foundation of social protection on the principles of solidarity for workers in Namibia and their dependents.” The Social Security Commission’s Development Fund, which began distributing educational funds in 2009, seeks to help unemployed Namibians from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Development Fund supports disadvantaged students with bursaries for educational pursuits and through grants to organizations that provide training and employment opportunities to unemployed Namibians. As with any organization working to promote positive changes across society, a key activity for the Development Fund is monitoring and measuring the impact of its work. To this end, the USAID/Namibia Mission funded the efforts of a Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Advisor from the Health Finance and Governance project to work in close collaboration with the Development Fund for three months to develop a formal monitoring and evaluation framework, build the technical capacity of Development Staff in monitoring and evaluation and begin rolling out the monitoring and evaluation program in an effort to catch up to bursaries and grants already being distributed by the Development Fund. The intensive technical assistance resulted in the development of the following components:  A detailed matrix of indicators was developed that will measure the long-term impact of bursaries and grants dispersed by the Development Fund. Prior to this assignment, there were no mandated reporting indicators that the Development Fund was required to report on. The M&E Technical Advisor worked in partnership with the Development Fund M&E Officer to compile both process and outcome indicators. The process indicators focus on the operational effectiveness of the Development Fund in carrying out its mission. The outcome indicators focus on the benefits accruing to the beneficiaries of Development Fund grants and program support. Both sets of indicators will be compiled in the Development Fund Annual Report for stakeholders.  A structured monitoring and evaluation plan was developed based on the indicators described above to serve as a guide for the Development Fund staff in carrying out their mandate. The monitoring and evaluation plan provides a description of the lens through which the Development Fund activities will be evaluated, describes the sources of data for carrying out the monitoring activities, defines the roles of both Development Fund staff and support recipients in compiling the requisite data and outlines the timelines under which these activities will take place.  An original set of paper forms for applying for grants and bursaries by Namibians was in place at the beginning of the M&E assignment. During the course of the M&E assignment a revised set of data collection tools were made more detailed in order to ensure that the most granular level of information was obtained (e.g., disaggregation by age, gender and region in which they live) to allow for appropriate monitoring and evaluation. Grantee reporting templates were updated and recommendations were made for improving the Development Fund’s tracking database.
  • 9.  A set of capacity building training materials for the Development Fund was developed during this assignment. As a way of institutionalizing the monitoring and evaluation activities and building the capacity of Regional Compliance Officers at the SSC, the M&E Technical Advisor and M&E Officer undertook a three-week long training mission in which 34 project managers and accountants in four regions were trained to complete the quarterly reports. A fifth training was undertaken by the SSC staff after the assignment was completed. Much progress was made in strengthening the monitoring and evaluation capacity of the Development Fund during the three months of intensive technical assistance. There remain, however, a number of areas that will continue to warrant attention:  There is a need for additional Development Fund staff members to support the monitoring and evaluation work, particularly with regard to capture and recording of grantee data.  The Development Fund would greatly benefit from the introduction of an electronic data management system (in conjunction with other SSC units) in order to introduce structured data capture and streamline redundant processes currently being done by hand.  A longitudinal study to track the recipients of Development Fund bursaries and grants at routine intervals after completion of their program participation would likely add key information to the attempts to monitor the impact of Development Fund programs.  The DF should return to the M&E plan and review it periodically to ensure that it continues to meet their needs. The M&E officer has the materials and experience required to modify any part of the plan including how to direct changes to the database to meet data reporting needs. The remainder of this report provides additional detail on the activities implemented under the technical assistance provided during the three-month period of May through July 2013 by an M&E Technical Advisor working under the Health Finance and Governance Project.
  • 10. 1 1. INTRODUCTION The Social Security Commission of the Republic of Namibia was created by the Social Security Act of 1994, with its primary objective to manage three funds intended to provide social protection to the most vulnerable population in the country. The three funds are the Maternity, Sick and Death Benefits Fund (MSD), the Employees’ Compensation Fund and the Development Fund. Two additional funds, the National Medical Benefits Fund and the National Pension Fund, have been evaluated and proposed as additional resource mechanisms, but they have not yet been implemented. The Social Security Commission (SSC) is funded through a combination of budget allocations (from the Department of Labor) and through tax revenue, in particular taxes on employee earnings and assessments paid by employers. The Development Fund manages approximately NAD$38 million annually, which comes from an allocation from the Department of Labor (through the SSC) and from a transfer of the ‘free funds’ (over reserves) from the MSD equivalent to approximately NAD$20 million per year. As a division within the SSC, the Development Fund relies upon the SSC to cover administrative costs and operational resources. The SSC’s Board of Commissioners has mandated that the Development Fund maintain a minimum reserve balance of NAD$100 million. The following graphic provides an overview of the structure of the funds managed by the Social Security Commission, highlighting the mechanisms by which the Development Fund is resourced: The Development Fund provides support to vulnerable populations by distributing:  Bursaries: grants to unemployed, disadvantaged citizens for technical and academic training  Study loans: low interest loans to unemployed, disadvantaged students to pursue undergraduate degrees  Employment schemes: grants and loans targeting organizations managing job creation programs for unemployed and disadvantaged populations, and  Training programs: grants to training organizations managing programs targeting the unemployed
  • 11. and disadvantaged populations. The Development Fund has been funding bursaries since 2011, student loans since 2012 and began selecting organizations that are implementing training and employment schemes for awards in May 2013. The Development Fund is responsible for identifying and selecting beneficiaries of funding, monitoring the use of funds and operating with financial responsibility to sustain the fund. With growing pressure from the Government of the Republic of Namibia to expedite operations, disburse funds and demonstrate value, the Development Fund initiated its activities without a full-fledged monitoring and evaluation plan in place. In addition, the Development Fund is operating with only three full-time staff members: the Development Fund Manager, the Employment Officer and the M&E Officer. These three full-time staff members are supported on a part-time basis by clerical staff which is shared across other SSC programs. In order to fill the M&E resource gaps, the Development Fund requested support from the USAID/Namibia Mission in the form of a full-time Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Advisor to be seconded to the Development Fund in Windhoek, Namibia for a period of three months. The USAID- funded Health Finance and Governance Project (HFG) provided the requested technical advisor to the Development Fund for the period of May to July 2013. The following report provides the summary of technical assistance provided by the HFG project, including detailed findings and recommendations going forward.
  • 12. 3 2. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES The objectives of HFG’s technical assistance to the Social Security Commission’s Development Fund were to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan, build general monitoring and evaluation technical capacity for the Development Fund’s project team, and to ensure that the appropriate tools to implement the M&E plan were in place and relevant to their goals. The Development Fund’s M&E Plan will be used to document the value for money of the programs being implemented and to inform future programming by the SSC. In order to most expeditiously provide the technical assistance requested, an M&E Technical Advisor was seconded to the SSC Development Fund in Windhoek on a full-time basis from the beginning of May 2013 through the end of July 2013. The M&E Technical Advisor was assigned a desk to work from on a daily basis within the SSC offices and functioned as an embedded member of Development Team during the assignment. The M&E Advisor had access to all Development Fund background documents, grants and bursaries files, conducted site visits to grantees with the Development Fund team members and attended all regular and ad-hoc team meetings. For the duration of the assignment, the M&E Technical Advisor provided one-on-one mentoring to the Development Fund staff charged with overseeing the M&E activities and co-developed with them many of the M&E Plan components discussed in detail below. A copy of the jointly developed technical assistance work plan is provided in Annex A. 2.1 Initial Assessment of the Development Fund M&E Capacity At the initiation of the technical assistance assignment, the M&E Technical Advisor utilized an assessment to understand the environment into which and for which the plan would be designed. The findings of the initial assessment guided the creation of the technical assistance work plan and documented the Development Fund’s M&E capacity baseline. The Development Fund staff is comprised of a Manager responsible for the overall operations and oversight of all activities and reporting to the Executive Director of the SSC; an Employment Officer responsible for managing the Development Fund’s employment and training schemes; and an individual playing the dual roles of Education Officer overseeing the education scheme beneficiaries and M&E Officer implementing the M&E activities. As noted above, there are also part-time administrative assistant and data entry clerks employed by the Development Fund. The Development Fund Manager indicated that they intend to hire for two additional positions: a Senior M&E Officer and an individual to take on the Education Officer role, which would allow the current Education Officer to solely focus on M&E related activities for the Development Fund. Roles and responsibilities were clearly established among the team. Although very strong in managerial experience, the Development Fund team lacks any formal training in the areas of M&E. The M&E Technical Advisor and the M&E officer of the Development Fund worked closely together in the development of the M&E Plan over the course of the assignment setting aside approximately four to six hours per day for this effort. This approach allowed for a close mentoring dynamic and to ensure that all elements of the M&E Plan were clearly explained to and understood by the M&E Officer. The other members of the Development Fund team were available as needed to support the work of the M&E Technical Advisor and the M&E Officer, either by e-mail or through in-person meetings. Baseline knowledge of Development Fund operations was further enhanced for the M&E Technical Advisor
  • 13. through participation in site visits with the Development Fund team to current grants and bursaries recipients. The Development Fund team and SSC management had discussed the idea of using Compliance Officers from the SSC Operations department (who are based at the regional level) to support the M&E Officer in the evaluation and verification of project reports. Compliance Officers’ primary occupation currently is to help the SSC register all legal employees and ensure that they are paying what they should be into social security (i.e., generating revenue for the funds). These Compliance Officers are pressed for time in their current roles but consideration is still being given to utilizing them in a limited capacity to support Development Fund activities. Data Entry Clerks are hired on a temporary basis by the Development Fund and are not formally trained beyond using the database software for basic data entry. During the initial assessment, the Development Fund staff complained of many mistakes being entered into the database and many incidences of duplicated entries; the Development Fund staff specifically requested assistance from the M&E Technical Advisor in developing a system of internal oversight in the M&E plan to avoid these problems in the future. Additionally, the Development Fund staff noted that the Date Entry Clerks all use the same login ID for the database making it impossible to know which one entered data incorrectly. This issue and the contents of the database will be more thoroughly reviewed in the Structuring Data Collection Tools and Templates discussion below. 2.2 Activity 1: Development of the M&E Framework and Plan The first task taken on by the M&
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