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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Decentralization And Community Development Project


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
10/01/2012   
Country:
Rwanda
PROJ ID:
P074102
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Decentralization And Community Development Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 20.7  21.0
L/C Number:
CH094
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 20.0  21.0
Sector Board:
Social Protection
Cofinancing (US $M)
   
Cofinanciers:
Board Approval Date
  06/15/2004
 
 
Closing Date
06/30/2009 12/31/2010
Sector(s):
Sub-national government administration (50%), Other social services (30%), Central government administration (20%)
Theme(s):
Participation and civic engagement (33% - P) Decentralization (33% - P) Other social protection and risk management (17% - S) Other public sector governance (17% - S)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Judyth L. Twigg
Robert Mark Lacey Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
According to the Development Grant Agreement (DGA, p. 21), the project development objective (PDO) was “to boost the emergence of a dynamic local economy through empowerment of communities to lead their own development process under effective local government.”

The Project Appraisal Document (PAD, p. 2) states the objective identically to that in the DGA, but adds the following: “The specific development objectives are to: (i) strengthen District capacity to lead a process of planning and consultation with local communities, translating their development priorities into sub-projects which are incorporated into Districts’ strategic development plans; (ii) develop a matching grants system to finance the sub-projects; (iii) validate procedures for decentralized project cycle management and financial management, through implementing the sub-projects, to replicate as basic operating procedures in Rwanda’s overall decentralization program; and (iv) introduce and promote public awareness programs.”

This Review will assess the achievement of objectives as stated in the DCA, as they are more outcome-oriented.

The project was designed as a follow-on to the Community Reintegration and Development Project (US$ 5.0 million, 1998-2003), a Learning and Innovation Lending instrument. The Decentralization and Community Development Project was intended to scale up its predecessor from 11 to 39 districts. At the time of appraisal, Rwanda contained 106 districts. In 2006, a realignment reduced that number to 30 total districts. With that realignment, this project covered four entire provinces and two districts in a fifth provinces, for a total of 17 of the country's 30 districts.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:
The project contained four components:

1. Institutional Capacity Building (appraisal, US$ 7.0 million; actual, US$ 5.6 million). This component was to support the Government’s decentralization policy by strengthening institutions’ and communities’ capacity to plan, implement, manage, finance, and maintain development activities. It also contributed to the establishment and improved management of control mechanisms to strengthen accountability and transparency of local administrations vis--vis the communities they serve through strengthening participatory planning systems to allow communities to participate in development planning and provide mechanisms for targeting the most vulnerable groups. Activities included a broad spectrum of training workshops and on-the-job training at all levels of implementation, national and subnational, on a needs basis.

2. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) (appraisal, US$ 2.3 million; actual, US$ 1.3 million). This component was to support development and implementation of an IEC strategy. IEC supported the process of decentralization and informed and mobilized the population regarding the project. IEC was to be implemented through a two-way process: from the top-down to the provinces, districts, secteurs (Umurenge), cellules, and communities; and from the communities to the districts to the provinces. This component was to inform and educate different actors at all levels on the objectives, activities, and modalities of decentralization and relevant laws and regulations. The communications strategy also supported the project’s participatory monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

3. Community Development Initiatives (appraisal, US$ 8.5 million; actual, US$ 11.9 million). This component was to finance grants to participating communities, targeting 39 of the country’s 120 districts. The subprojects to be financed were to be identified through a participatory planning process, resulting in agreements by the communities on Five-Year Strategic Development Plans and Annual Action Plans for each district. The specific focus of subprojects was to be demand-driven, but was envisaged to include education, health, nutrition, social protection, income generating activities, youth skills training, HIV/AIDS, community roads, and water supply. In addition, this component was to finance the design and piloting of microfinance activities.

4. Project Coordination and Monitoring (appraisal, US$ 1.6 million; actual, US$ 2.2 million). This component was to support a small Project Coordination and Monitoring Unit (PCMU) at the national level within the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), and four project Provincial Coordination Offices (PCOs) to assist provinces and districts. The PCMU, in collaboration with the provincial offices and other partners, was to be responsible for the overall M&E of the project’s progress and outreach and technical assistance to the districts in their respective provinces.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost: The project spent significantly less than anticipated on components 1 and 2, and more than anticipated on components 3 and 4. The ICR (p. 5) explains that the reallocation from Components 1 and 2 to Component 3 was to ensure supply of equipment to health facilities, complete unfinished community development initiatives, and ensure that created assets were to standards for mainstreaming into the budgetary plans of the Ministries of Health and Local Government. According to the ICR (pp. vii-viii), “the reallocation resulted in enormous benefits and positively impacted on completion, functionality, and sustainability arrangements.” The ICR does not explain the overspending on Component 4. It also does not directly explain the difference between planned and actual total project costs, though these are likely due to gains from the US$/SDR exchange rate. The project team clarified that the overspending on Component 4 was due to several factors: an expansion of project activities resulting from local government realignment, which expanded the geographic scope of the project; a one-year delay between project effectiveness and the start of implementation, which eventually resulted in a project extension; and the extension of counterpart funding beyond project closing, to ensure smooth handover of project assets to local governments and to complete the project evaluation. The difference between planned and actual total project costs was due to exchange rate gains.

The discrepancy between total estimated project costs at appraisal and the sum of the estimated component costs at appraisal is due to physical and price contingencies.

Financing: Financing was through an International Development Association (IDA) Grant.

Borrower Contribution: According to the PAD (p. 1) and the ICR (p. 22), there was a planned US$ 0.7 million contribution from the Government, but the ICR (p. 7) also states that the Government made a full counterpart contribution of US$ 4.1 million on schedule. The ICR does not explain this seeming contradiction. The project team explained that the initial estimate was intended to be a dynamic one, given the demand-driven nature of the project, and that the Government made a higher-than-planned contribution due to: (a) Government willingness to fund activities complementary to approved subprojects that were not covered by IDA funds; (b) Government assistance in meeting additional operational costs under Component 4, resulting from the extension of the closing date; and (c) Government willingness to sustain the core project team after the closing date in order to ensure smooth handover of created assets to local governments and communities.

Dates: The project’s closing date was extended once, on June 24, 2009, from September 30, 2009 to December 31, 2010, to make up for time lost due to early implementation delays. Also on June 24, 2009, the project underwent an adaptive Level II restructuring to make minor changes to performance indicators, and for reallocation of grant proceeds. This restructuring did not change the project’s development objectives or associated outcome targets.


3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
Relevance of Objectives is rated Substantial. According to the PAD (p. 4), the experience of the war and genocide in 1994 made it clear that poor governance was at the root of Rwanda’s tragic history. The post-war Government of National Unity, acting within the framework of the Arusha accords, resolved that decentralization and democratization were necessary to reconcile the Rwandese people and to fight poverty. The objectives are substantially relevant to the Government’s decentralization policy, adopted in May 2000, with objectives to unleash the potential of local populations to initiate and monitor development actions, mainstream participatory accountability and transparency mechanisms, increase the responsiveness of public administration to local governments, improve predictability of funding, strengthen economic and financial planning and management at local levels, and scale up decentralization and democratization. The objectives remain substantially relevant under the Government’s 2008-2012 Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which focuses on local governance and decentralization, and its Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), launched in 2007.


The project’s objectives are also substantially relevant to the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS, 2009-2012), current at project closure. The two pillars of the CAS are promoting economic transformation and growth and reducing social vulnerability, including provisions for improving access to and quality of key economic infrastructure services, strengthening management of public resources at central and local levels, and supporting village initiatives that reform and develop delivery of basic services.

b. Relevance of Design:

Relevance of Design is rated Substantial. The project’s components and organization matched its development objectives, with activities outlined in the components reasonably expected to lead to expected outcomes. A detailed Design Summary (PAD, pp. 38-41) summarized the results chain, with the development objectives plausibly linked to outcomes, outputs, activities, and inputs. Planned activities brought planning and budgeting processes together at local levels, and they worked directly on the skills that the Districts immediately needed for both local government staff and community members. The planned activities, including strengthening of district capacities to plan for community development and the inclusion of community members in the planning process, the matching grants system for demand-driven subprojects, the training in project cycle management, and the public awareness programs, were all designed to strengthen the effectiveness of local government, and through that strengthening, to empower communities to lead their own local development processes, in such a way that the objective of promoting a dynamic local economy would be achieved. Outcome/impact indicators were well specified. Project design appropriately anticipated an evolving reform environment. The project's demand-driven aspects allowed the project to adapt flexibly to evolving needs, including the provisions of the 2007 VUP. The specific areas of activity anticipated for the demand-driven subprojects – health, education, agro-livestock, administrative and community infrastructure, energy, and water – were appropriate for more sustainable development of decentralized entities.


4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

The achievement of the project's overarching objective, to boost the emergence of a dynamic local economy, was to be achieved through the strengthening of District capacity to lead a process of planning and consultation with local communities, development of capacity for decentralized project cycle management and financial management, a matching grant program to finance demand-driven subprojects, and the implementation of public awareness programs. All of these activities were designed to empower communities to begin to lead their own development processes, with effective local government working together with community members, so that the local economy would become more dynamic.

Boost the emergence of a dynamic local economy through empowerment of communities to lead their own development process under effective local government is rated Substantial.

Outputs:

Strengthen District capacity to lead a process of planning and consultation with local communities:

All local government staff were trained, covering 10,771 people in the areas of financial management, leadership, planning, procurement, conflict management, M&E, project management, cooperatives, and environmental protection. 220 staff went on relevant study tours. All district Community Development Committees (CDCs), covering over 18,000 community members, were trained in priority setting, project planning, financial management, M&E, problem resolution, and participatory development planning processes.

All districts/CDCs formulated a development plan and budget by the second year of the project, exceeding the target of 75%. All districts were implementing their development plans by the fourth year of the project, exceeding the target of 75%. The launching of District Development Plans coincided with the introduction of performance-based contracts, which accelerated the formulation and implementation of plans and budget execution rates and ensured that activities in the Plans were in line with community priorities. The project team added that, in districts where project activities were included in the performance-based contracts, results were delivered faster than in districts where this was not the case, most likely due to predictability in financing and increased availability of technical assistance.

The project’s subproject cycle procedures have been incorporated as the basic operating procedures in Rwanda’s overall decentralization and community development programs.

Develop a matching grants system to finance sub-projects:

All 17 targeted districts (where community development initiatives were supported) had implemented or were implementing subprojects in accordance with proposals made in their development plans by the second year of the project, exceeding the target of 40%. Matching grants were provided in the form of land or labor contributions (in-kind by communities) for the construction of schools and health centers, and 5% in cash as district contributions toward total subproject costs. All projects had a maintenance/financial mechanism plan for rehabilitated/constructed infrastructure in place and budgeted one year after the completion of the infrastructure, exceeding the target of 75%.

Validate procedures for decentralized project cycle management and financial management, through implementing the sub-projects:

Of the 17 districts where community development initiatives were supported, all 17 implemented annual action plans on time (meeting the target), and 15 of 17 implemented annual action plans according to their development plans (falling short of the target of 17). All 17 districts submitted annual audit reports that were assessed as unqualified by the Auditor General (meeting the target), and 14 districts submitted those reports on time (falling short of the target of 17).

530 demand-driven subprojects were initiated, and 100% of those were completed. Of these, 68 were in education, 14 in health, 19 in administrative infrastructure, 9 in electrification, 378 in capacity building, 20 in income-generating activities, and 3 in socioeconomic infrastructure.

Introduce and promote public awareness programs:

The project sensitized and trained an unspecified number of community leaders in all 30 districts on laws, rules, and regulations under the decentralization program. Promotional activities and materials included handbooks, magazines, and radio and television programs.


Outcomes:

All 30 districts (100%) achieved at least a 75% budget execution rate by project closing, exceeding the target of 17 out of 30 (57%). This was an increase from 33% of districts achieving a 75% budget execution rate in 2005. All districts are current in updating their rolling development plans through consultative processes, exceeding the target of 75%.

The project’s capacity building efforts catalyzed the participation of 375,000 villagers in 12,500 communities over the lifetime of the project. The percentage of beneficiaries surveyed expressing satisfaction with their district participatory development planning process increased from 51% at the mid-term review (2008) to 91% at closing (2010), exceeding the target of 60%.

Demand-driven subprojects created community assets: 14 health centers that benefited 197,682 people, 420 classrooms (exceeding the target of 394, benefiting 31,500 people), 5 bridges, 19 Secteurs offices, 20 houses for vulnerable groups, 5 solar energy facilities, and one modern market. All of these assets reached a 100% completion and are functional, and all subprojects were visited by project staff. Where applicable, all subprojects were equipped as well as built (health centers and classrooms). As a result of these new assets, the number of students per classroom decreased from 46 to 27 and the number of teachers increased by 72% (the ICR does not provide a time frame; the project team stated that the increase took place primarily in the last 18 months of the project). In the area of income-generating activities, the project distributed 3,000 cows, 5,200 rabbits, and over 8 million cassava cuttings to selected populations at the community level. Of beneficiaries surveyed in the targeted communities, 61% reported improved quality of education, 32% reported improved classroom conditions, 36% reported reduced distance to travel to school for both teachers and students, 42% reported a reduction in classroom crowding, and 70% reported increased enrollment rates. 69% reported improved quality of health services and facilities, 16% reported improved equipment quality, and 16% reported reduced crowding in health facilities. 62% reported benefiting from access to inexpensive organic manure collected from animal waste and increased farm output. 45% of market vendors indicated that they were able to sell their products with more ease, and 44% noted an increase in the number of buyers. 75% of beneficiaries noted an increase in entrepreneurship skills. The ICR does not address the fact that some of these levels of improved quality, access, and/or satisfaction are not high, in some cases well under half. These data are reported from a November 2010 Beneficiary Assessment that sampled subprojects in all 17 districts in all geographic regions of the country. Both direct beneficiaries and stakeholders participating in project implementation were reached through individual interviews and focus groups. The ICR does not state how many interviews and focus groups were conducted as part of this survey, nor how many beneficiaries and stakeholders were included.

As of the last recorded progress in February 2010, 83% of subprojects were implemented in a satisfactory way according to their individual output and outcome targets and presence of sustainability arrangements, falling just short of the target of 90%, but an increase from 75% in 2006. The ICR (p. iv) notes that “the team is confident that results from an impact evaluation that the Government will do this year will reveal full achievement of the target.” The ICR does not assess the rigor of these individual subproject evaluations. At closing, all subprojects had been completed and were officially handed over to the districts. Community assets that were created were mainstreamed into local government budgets.

Microfinance projects benefited 1,793 people in associations and cooperatives. Of the subprojects supported by microfinance, 7 were in agriculture, 10 in farming, 29 in commercial activities, and 17 in crafts. Beneficiaries noted unspecified benefits in a culture of saving and using small loans, increased financial capacity of families, institutionalization of a culture of working in associations, and increased interaction between members of associations.

At closing, 60% of community members, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and private sector actors were knowledgeable about each other’s roles and responsibilities regarding the decentralization process, according to the 2010 Beneficiary Assessment.


5. Efficiency:

Efficiency is rated Substantial.


The PAD did not compute net present value or internal rate of return due to the demand-driven nature of subproject activities.

The ICR (pp. 14-15) compared cost per beneficiary or unit for selected subprojects, compared with similar government projects. The analysis confirmed largely uniform quality and durability of constructed assets, and it included benchmarking the unit costs of infrastructure subprojects using standard unit costs to assess whether project-financed subprojects were cost effective when compared to sector norms and standards. The analysis found that project-financed classroom costs were 70% of comparator classrooms financed by the Ministry of Education, and project-financed health clinic costs were 50% of comparator health clinics financed by the ministry of Health. In terms of annual costs per beneficiary, subproject-financed schools averaged US$ 138 per beneficiary per year, compared with over US$ 370 for government schools. For health centers, project costs averaged US$ 12 per beneficiary, compared with US$ 15 for government costs. Design and construction time for project schools was one-half that for government schools, and for project health centers was one-third that for government health centers. Supervision missions and the technical audit confirmed that high standards and sectoral norms were maintained in over 97% of subprojects. The project achieved these efficiencies, according to the ICR (p. 15), by accelerating implementation, ensuring timely expenditures, and minimizing price revisions and related additional costs. The project team added that low costs may have been due to: (i) relatively low costs in rural areas, where most of the activities took place; (ii) national- and provincial-level engineers working with the project, with the skills to evaluate bids and ensure that prices were not out of range with acceptable norms; and (iii) community participation, which drove down costs.

Project management costs (Component 4) were higher than anticipated, suggesting inefficiencies or underestimates.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:


Rate Available?
Point Value
Coverage/Scope*
Appraisal:
No
%
%
ICR estimate:
No
%
%

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

Based on Substantial Relevance of Objectives and Design, Efficacy, and Efficiency, the project’s Outcome is rated Satisfactory. The project’s development objectives were substantially relevant to country conditions and government strategy at the time of appraisal, and to the current Bank Country Assistance Strategy. Project design was appropriately flexible and constructed a plausible results chain linking activities to expected outputs and outcomes. The development objectives were substantially achieved, with district and local planning and budgeting capacity substantially improved and a wide range of community-driven subprojects successfully implemented, all contributing to the development of dynamic local economies. Public awareness of decentralization activities was substantially improved. The project achieved unit and per-beneficiary costs substantially below those for comparator projects financed by the government.

a. Outcome Rating: Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

Most of the project’s initiatives have been mainstreamed into government programs. Processes, procedures, and service delivery assessment tools initiated by the project (citizen report cards, community score cards, community development subproject preparation and implementation, M&E manuals) have been adopted as part of the government decentralization framework. According to the ICR, “decentralization policy reform has permeated governance” in the country. According to a Government of Rwanda Citizens Report Card and Community Score Card in September 2009 (ICR, p. 8), citizen approval of decentralized service delivery was 87%, and of participatory decision-making was 92%. This very high approval rating of reform outcomes attests to high citizen ownership and therefore likelihood of sustainability.

According to the ICR (p. 9), some forums that promote active engagement at the local government level, such as the Joint Action Development Forum (JADF), National Decentralization Implementation Secretariat (NDIS), and Community Development Committees (CDCs) have been strengthened and are now playing a significant role in local government development. The JADF, for example, is a mechanism designed to achieve improved service delivery and economic development at the local level by improving accountability and coordination of relations between the demand side (consumers, citizens, farmers) and the supply side (local governments and service providers).

Sustainability of assets constructed under the subprojects is supported by government action on staffing and provision of consumables. As the project closed, districts provided evidence that their regular operational and maintenance budgets will cover these assets to ensure their regular maintenance (ICR, p. 9). Supplementary revenue arrangements have also been put in place, including user fees set by community/parent committees.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Negligible to Low

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:
A Policy and Human Resources Development Fund (PHRD) grant (US$ 725,000) and Project Preparation Facility (US$ 460,000) were received for project preparation, supporting training and workshops as well as a number of priority studies: environmental and social assessments, feasibility studies, studies on the role of decentralized capital and development financing, development of the Project Operations Manual, and institutional assessment of key stakeholders. The organizational structure of the project was appropriately designed to ensure efficient and effective institutional arrangements for the administration of project activities, as well as to effective coordination with government, community institutions, and partners in a participatory manner. Appropriate lessons were learned from decentralization programs and processes in other countries (PAD, p. 21), including the need: (i) for commitment at the highest levels of government and civil society for the enabling environmental of institutional and policy reforms; (ii) to develop capacity systematically through intensive support to institutions at all levels; (iii) to recognize that local-level participation is necessary but not sufficient to sustain development initiatives, with central government needing to be proactive in monitoring, technical assistance, and other support; and (iv) to adopt a differential approach in mobilizing society across a broad spectrum of technical competence, interest, and capacity for social engagement. The preparation team appropriately studied the operating environment and articulated possible risks, proposing remedial actions in a timely manner (PAD, p. 36). Risks identified as Substantial included the risk that MINALOC would have difficulty implementing the project through Rwanda’s decentralized governance structures, and that there would be insufficient capacity to complete procurement processes in time and to quality. The PAD contains important preliminary studies and plans, including extensive analyses of Rwanda’s decentralization and community development policies (pp. 80-86), an explanation of the project’s IEC strategy (pp. 87-92), and an analysis of major related projects financed by development partners (pp. 93-97).

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:
From 2008 onward, the task team leader (TTL) was based in the field, providing ongoing supervision and proactivity in addressing implementation challenges. Supervision missions contained an appropriate range of specialists. The Country Management Unit and the Sector Management Unit worked together effectively to support the project team. The ICR does not state whether the project team worked cross-sectorally with education and health teams, or whether there were health and education staff on the project team. The project team explained that cross-sectoral collaboration was extensive, and that early engagement with sector ministries and implementation through districts fostered close collaboration and facilitated functionality. Funded community subprojects were validated by the health and education ministries, and their district-level staff provided oversight to ensure adherence to sectoral norms. In addition, the full functionality of the health facilities and schools was made possible through engagement arrangements with the sectors so that they could plan for consumables, staffing, and other supplies in the facilities ready for utilization upon completion. According to the project team, Bank health and education staff were included on supervision missions as appropriate.

Throughout, the task team worked closely with the project implementers to innovate and improve attention to technical quality and maintenance of works, to ensure transparency in subproject selection, to strengthen participatory processes, and to develop a strategy for ensuring sustainability after project closing. According to the ICR (pp. 18-19), the project team helped to maintain focus on compliance with fiduciary and safeguard policies.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:
The Government demonstrated financial and policy commitment to the project throughout. According to the ICR (p. 19), the Government maintained a dynamic and supportive relationship with the Bank, providing counterpart financing on schedule and requisite staffing needs to ensure proper functioning of the project. Recurrent costs for project-supported operations were provided through the Government’s fiscal decentralization program. The Government ensured adequate equipment and staff were provided at health facilities, that teachers were assigned to schools, and that relevant support from the provinces, districts, and secteurs was made available during implementation. Working with the Bank team, the Government ensured that adequate transitional arrangements were in place for the sustainability of implemented subprojects.

Government Performance Rating: Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:
Project staff and management displayed a high level of competence and the appropriate skills mix in implementing project activities and addressing bottlenecks as they emerged. The PCMU trained local government staff and communities in project processes, spearheaded information dissemination, and championed the implementation of robust M&E. There was weak fiduciary capacity at the district level at the start of implementation, though this was subsequently addressed. The project staff were highly proactive in ensuring that contractors were appropriately monitored and that community assets were completed. According to the ICR (p. 20), “the dedication and commitment of the staff during implementation and following project closing has been highly professional … [project] management, based on its success and strong collaboration with local governments and communities, established a solid and positive reputation with the Government and throughout the country.”

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:
According to the PAD (pp. 3, 98-107), project performance data were to be tracked using a comprehensive M&E system that would capture project and subproject operations; project finance, procurement, and cost accounting; the consultation and communication strategy; the identification and mitigation of social and environmental impacts; and the impact of the project on poverty reduction and community development. The design of this system was well-detailed in the PAD. The approach was to track progress on strategic objectives, not individual activities. Indicator selection, and training and capacity building activities, were designed to ensure that the project would complement and reinforce broader institutional strengthening activities at the province, district, and Secteur levels.

b. M&E Implementation:
During implementation, the performance indicators were monitored to provide information for project progress reports, Bank mission reports, and Implementation Status Reports (ISRs). The following information was provided: (i) outputs related to project training, including local government training and the formulation of community development plans; (ii) the number of completed subprojects by type; (iii) outputs related to IEC; and (iv) community level results from qualitative assessments. According to the ICR (p. 7, early implementation of M&E was challenging due to staff turnover. The mid-term review encouraged specific focus on M&E to ensure availability of data for project evaluation; this recommendation was implemented and generated useful results.

A Beneficiary Assessment was conducted in November 2010. It examined a sample of subprojects implemented in 17 districts across all part of the country. Both direct beneficiaries as well as stakeholders participating in project implementation were interviewed on an individual basis and through focus groups. Based on the information provided in the ICR (pp. 30-36), the Assessment's methodology was sound, although it relies on respondents' recollection of conditions prior to the project, and it does not cite a control group.

a. M&E Utilization:
Based on lessons derived from project M&E data, the community-driven development approach has been adopted nationwide, recommendations from an M&E assessment for districts have been mainstreamed into district M&E, and the project’s district development plan model has been adopted in all districts (in addition to those supported by the project).

M&E Quality Rating: Substantial

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:
The project was Environmental Category B and triggered Environment Assessment (OP/BP/GP 4.01). The PAD (pp. 108-111) contained a detailed Environmental Mitigation Plan and Social Consultation Framework. According to the ICR, no major environmental issues were incurred during implementation, given the relatively small size of most of the subprojects. Environmental assessment was conducted jointly with district environmental specialists and communities during appraisal and during monitoring of the infrastructure subprojects. Each subproject was individually screened and reviewed by project staff and local government representatives for potential negative impacts, and mitigation measures were proposed and applied where necessary. A November 2010 technical audit noted that the environmental screening and compliance for the subprojects was assessed as Highly Satisfactory, with 92.3% compliance. Compliance with environmental safeguards was rated Satisfactory throughout implementation.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:
Technical assistance from the Bank’s financial management (FM) team, training of accountants in the districts, and upgrading of software to support decentralization led to quality and delivery improvements in preparing financial management Interim Financial Reports (IFR), and related reports and outputs. These were harmonized with Government formats. Two delays in 2008 were remedied through intensified capacity building and monitoring. Project funds flows remained satisfactory, and Withdrawal Applications (WAs) were submitted to the Bank on a regular and timely basis. The ICR reports that, overall, financial management performance gradually improved during implementation, with enhanced accountability at decentralized levels; however, toward project closure staff departures slowed implementation of FM recommendations, especially at the district levels. External audits were conducted in a timely manner; the ICR does not state whether these audits were unqualified. The project team confirmed that audits were unqualified.


Procurement performance improved significantly during implementation at both the district and provincial levels. The procurement rating was Satisfactory at the last ISR.

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):

d. Other:



12. Ratings:

ICR
IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
Satisfactory
Satisfactory
 
Risk to Development Outcome:
Negligible to Low
Negligible to Low
 
Bank Performance:
Satisfactory
Satisfactory
 
Borrower Performance:
Satisfactory
Satisfactory
 
Quality of ICR:
 
Satisfactory
 
NOTES:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:

The following lessons are derived primarily from the ICR, with adaptation:
  • Participatory processes can promote demand-side governance and ownership. The comprehensive participatory processes introduced by this project promoted not only citizen participation, but also increased communities’ abilities to participate in demand-side governance.
  • In a rapidly transforming environment, projects must be designed flexibly to adapt to changing circumstances. This project’s ability to adapt to Rwanda’s decentralization reform and provide flexible institutional development support was central to its achievements.
  • Completion of community infrastructure in these types of projects is a necessary, but not sufficient, measure of success. There must also be proactivity in ensuring that all stakeholders are dedicated to ensuring the functionality and sustainability of those assets.

14. Assessment Recommended?

No

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is concise, candid, and evidence-based. It does not discuss possible issues of attribution of observed results to other sectoral Bank-financed projects in Rwanda. The ICR does not state whether audits were unqualified. The ICR does not explain the overspending on Component 4 nor the difference between planned and actual total project costs. There was a planned US$ 0.7 million contribution from the Government, but the ICR also states that the Government made a full counterpart contribution of US$ 4.1 million on schedule. This seeming contradiction is not explained.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

(ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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