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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Public Employment For Sustainable Agriculture And Water Management Project

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Public Employment For Sustainable Agriculture And Water Management Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 11.47m  10.63
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
Sector Board:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Cofinancing (US $M)
EU- Global Food Crisis Response Program
Board Approval Date
Closing Date
12/31/2011 12/31/2011
Irrigation and drainage (89%), Public administration- Agriculture fishing and forestry (8%), Public administration- Other social services (3%)
Rural services and infrastructure (75%) Rural policies and institutions (19%) Social safety nets (3%) Improving labor markets (3%)
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Lauren Kelly
Christopher David Nelson Christopher David Nelson IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
As stated in the Grant Agreement and the Project Proposal Paper, the objective of the project was to assist the Recipient to generate temporary employment and rehabilitate irrigation and drainage infrastructure in selected districts in the Khatlon Oblast as a means to increase household food security.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?

c. Components:

1. Public Works to Renovate Irrigation and Drainage Infrastructure. (Planned and Actual US$8.9m or 84% of the total). This component financed temporary employment in support of public works in areas with high food insecurity and high agricultural potential. Works financed included on-farm irrigation canals and off-farm drainage infrastructure. In addition to the public works, the component also financed the necessary provisions for renovation and rehabilitation including the rental and/or import of auxiliary equipment (excavators, bulldozers, etc.), and the procurement of low-cost, locally available tools such as shovels, wheelbarrows, picks and other tool items.

2. Development of a Water Basin Management System and the Enhancement of the Recipient's Capacity in Carrying out Public Works Program. (Planned and Actual US$600,000 or 6% of the total).The title and objective of this component differs between the grant agreement and the Project Document. In the grant agreement, the component is intended to provide technical assistance and training to the recipient to develop and implement a sustainable water-basin management system and to enhance the recipient's capacity in carrying out public works programs. The PAD and the ICR entitled the component "Technical Assistance" and state that the component is deigned to engage in preparatory work for the introduction of a Water Basin Management System. A critical component linked to the long term objective of this project of achieving food security in the long run, the important difference between the way that the components were represented is the grant's agreement's commitment to both develop and implement the system whereas the PAD and ICR fall short of this aim.

The component financed the preparation of the water basin management (WBM) system report, including the delineation of basins, outlining of institutional roles, responsibilities and structures, and the formulation of recommendations for a transition from the current system to the new one. It also provided for the formulation of recommendations for using lessons learned during project implementation for the design and implementation of future public works projects financed and managed by government that have the aim of providing temporary

3. Implementation Support, Monitoring & Evaluation (US$530,000 Planned, Actual US$390,000 or 3% of the total). This component financed the functioning of the PMU (implementation, coordination, monitoring, financial management and procurement). It also provided for a communications strategy at entry that informed rural households and local government authorities of the objectives of the project, the support that would be provided, eligibility criteria, and the measures that would be taken to prevent corruption. It also provided for EU visibility through financing of communication and public awareness activities to profile EU support through press releases, television and radio broadcasts.

***Project Preparation and Supervision Costs were US$770,00 representing 7% of total costs paid by BB.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates

Project Cost. Appraised at US$11.47m, actual costs were US$10.63, or 93 percent of the original project costs.
Actual funding available was reduced due a change in the Euro-US$ exchange rate that occurred during the delayed initiation stage, Project costs by component were for the most part aligned with projections at appraisal, with the exception of a reduction by 26 percent in the budget allocated for implementation support and M&E.

Project Financing At the 2008 Spring Meetings of the IMF/World Bank, Ministers from over 150 countries endorsed a proposed New Deal for Global Food Policy. Between May 2008 and June 2011 the GFRP financed 55 operations in 34 countries and committed $ 1.24 billion of which $836 million was financed by IDA, $200 million by IBRD, and $203 million from the Food Price Crisis Response Trust Fund. The Global Food Crisis Response Program provided 93 percent of the total project financing; US$770,000, or 7 percent of project financing used to support project preparation and supervision costs were derived from the Bank's budget.

Borrower Contribution. The borrower did not contribute any finance to this operation.

Dates Approved by the Bank's Board in August 2010, the project became effective in November 2010, and closed on schedule in December 2011.

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
The relevance of the project objective is rated High. While poverty in Tajikistan had declined precipitously over the past decade - from roughly 90 percent in the late 90s to 53 percent as measured in 2007, many segments of the rural population remained extremely food vulnerable (73 percent of Tajikistan's population lives in rural areas). Growth - and its resulting effects on poverty reduction - were attributable to increased productivity in the agricultural sector and an increase in remittances from Tajik workers in Russia and Kazakhstan. Yet the sector was highly vulnerable to shock. Tajikistan relies heavily on imported foodstuffs, fertilizer, petroleum and wheat. Just prior to the global financial crisis, roughly 50 percent of Tajikistan's food consumption was imported. When the global financial crisis hit in May 2007, average food prices rapidly increased. The country also had to contend with a locust infestation on top of the food shortages and high food prices. At the same time, due to the crisis, the value of remittances rapidly declined from a peak of 50 percent of GDP in 2008 to about 33 percent of GDP by 2009. In 2007, remittances accounted for 70 percent of household income among the 23 percent of households that received them (PAD p.68). Research suggests that this drop in remittances resulted in a 5.3 percent increase in rural poverty. The project objective responded to the urgent need of supplementing the incomes of those hit hardest by the crisis - especially those hit hardest by the fall of remittances -while addressing structural constraints (access to irrigated water, soil fertility) in the agricultural sector impeding long term food security. The objective is full in line with the 2010-2013 Country Partnership Strategy that set out to reduce the negative impact of the financial crisis on poverty and vulnerability and the Government's National Development Strategy (2006-2015) that seeks to identify and address key agricultural deficiencies (deteriorated irrigation systems) in order to promote sustained economic growth.

b. Relevance of Design:
Relevance of Design is rated Substantial. This is an emergency project that sought to achieve immediate relief for the most affected victims of the financial crisis by supporting short term public works. The project supported this aim with some 89% of project finance. The results framework generally supported this aim, by setting out to measure the level of improved income attributable to the project and the number of jobs created. Design could have been more relevant if the project logic had more effectively connected the short term employment aims of the project with the medium term goals of enhanced agricultural productivity with the longer term goal of food security. The project logic and results chain, for example, could have included qualitative measures for the rehabilitated works, to ensure that the works were contributing to infrastructure that could sustainably contribute to food security over time. As it was, there are no qualitative indices included in the project design. Since the project was implemented over at least two cropping seasons, early indicators of on-farm investment would have been useful to begin to measure and predict behavior - essential for ultimately understanding whether unblocking this constraint will contribute meaningfully to enhanced food security in the future.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

The efficacy of this project is rated High. The project substantially met its objective of assisting the borrower to generate temporary employment and rehabilitate irrigation and drainage infrastructure in selected districts in the Khatlon Oblast as a means to increase household food security at a time when income resources dried up for rural households while food prices precipitously rose in the face of the global food price crisis and natural disasters. An emergency project with a planned implementation cycle of roughly one year, the project created temporary employment for 10,590 persons for 2 months at an average of 20.5 workdays per month that generated a total wage payment of US$4.76m. Owing to the steep fall in the value of remittances that disproportionately affected households in the targeted oblast, the wage labor was designed to provide bridge funding to ease the effects of the crisis at the household level.

The public works scheme was designed to tackle one of the several structural constraints that household level vulnerability in the oblast, namely, the disrepair of the irrigation infrastructure. The public works scheme supported the repair or construction of to 1, 862 irrigation canals, as compared to the project target of 1,825 canals. While other works fell short of their appraised targets, this was due to changes during implementation in choice of investments to increase the efficacy of the investments. For example, the local authorities requested that more substantial investments be undertaken in five pumping stations rather than an original plan of undertaking superficial repairs in 14 pumping stations, which would have resulted in a shorter-term efficacy. For the same reasons, the local authorities requested that larger, more costly outlet gates be constructed in order to increase the effectiveness of water control improvements at critical secondary canal locations, which would hence benefit larger portions of the irrigation network. This change in investments results in construction of 305 outlet gates rather than the 503 envisioned at appraisal. For the remaining indicators, either the local authority undertook the work itself (e.g., the improved collector and drainage channel in Farkhor), or plans needed to change due to factors beyond project control: materials could not be obtained to repair the canalette in Farkhor district, fuel prices rose globally such that the project could only improve 312.5 km of collector and drainage channels against a target of 576 km. Ultimately, however, all the funds allocated for irrigation and drainage works at appraisal were effectively utilized, and in some cases such as in pump station repair or constructing outlets, the decrease in quantity was a result of increased efficacy of investments.

A one year emergency project, it is notable that the project commissioned and implemented a beneficiary assessment in an effort to measure some of the results of the intervention. Since there is no methodological discussion of how the assessment was designed or implemented, this review cannot validate the findings of the assessment, which to a certain extent is tangential to the overall findings of this review. Many of the reported results, like improved access to drinking water or increased incidence of disease, could be attributable to several factors outside of the wage employment provided by the project. A more useful exercise would have included targeted questions to individual members or a sample of the households assisted to determine (1) who received the wage benefits (intra-household) and (2) how the benefits were directly used to dampen the effects of the crisis (intra-household decision-making). Secondly, the project documentation does not provide any evidence of the quality of the renovated irrigation schemes. It is not clear if the schemes were fully renovated or rather if only essential renovations were implemented (the latter would shorten the lifespan of the schemes, the rate of return, and their contribution to longer term food security goals).

Other interventions designed to address the structural constraints to long term food insecurity include the support provided by the Bank on a Water Basin Management system. The Government of Tajikistan is using the Bank's analytical and technical assistance work as an input into a pilot River Basin Organization in cooperation with local branches responsible for operations and maintenance of water management systems. At the time of project close,
the development and implementation of a new Water Basin Management system had just gotten underway.

5. Efficiency:

Efficiency is rated Substantial. As clarified by comments received by the Bank team, the actual Economic Rate of Return of 25% exceeded the estimated rate of return of 23% for an equivalent share of project funds (as had been estimated at appraisal). During implementation, the client revised the allocation of irrigation and drainage investments for greater impact, for instance in the longer-lasting, more substantial investments in five larger pumping stations rather than superficial investments in 14 small pumping stations. Further, the choice of rehabilitating larger outlet gates on main canals rather than constructing smaller secondary and tertiary level outlet gates, besides having a greater economic return, saved project resources in terms of contract management and time spent by the PMU. Moreover, this also allowed the PMU to carry out full-fledged procedures for quality control and supervision of works despite the project's emergency nature and short implementation period. The works acceptance mechanism adopted by the project ensured a high quality of the works, again, despite the short implementation period.

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
ICR estimate:

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

6. Outcome:

A highly relevant project with a substantial design, the project supported a substantial amount of temporary employment that generated critical wages at a time when income resources dried up for rural households while food prices precipitously rose in the face of the global food price crisis and natural disasters. Efficiency is rated Substantial, with an ERR exceeding the projected rate owing to more substantial infrastructure investments that underwent quality-control procedures and supervision of works.

a. Outcome Rating: Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

While there are modest risks associated with sustaining the short term gains achieved under this project -- the temporary work succeeded in dampening the effects of the crisis in some of the hardest hit regions - there are substantial longer term structural risks in the sector that could induce rollback under similar future crisis conditions.
These include weak land use due to government policies that have forced and favored cotton production over more profitable crop and livestock enterprises, weak land ownership rights and associated slow adoption of needed privatization farm management adjustments, inadequate competition, large rural debt accumulation, and agricultural workers out-migration that is leading to social imbalance and a rising number of female-headed farms and households. Nevertheless, with regard to the infrastructure that was put in place by the project, the project helped to formalize an agreement with the Ministry of Melioration and Water Management concerning the housing, care and maintenance of the procured machinery and its appropriate use. While a plan to hand-over the equipment to O&M agencies was still in the works at the time of project close, a letter from the Chairman of the Khatlon oblast indicated that some local governments have begun to voluntarily and independently replicate the project process without receiving external technical or financial assistance.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Significant

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:

Quality at Entry is rated Moderately Satisfactory. The project was targeted towards high food insecurity areas within Khatlon oblast, the main location of rural poverty in Tajikistan. Five raions within the oblast were selected for project interventions, through the application of criteria requiring (i) high numbers of food insecure households, (ii) extensive areas developed for irrigation and with good agricultural potential and (iii) high proportions of agricultural land under private ownership following restructuring of farms. Some shortcomings in preparation appear to be related to the intense preparation period associated with this emergency operation however. For example, while the project was targeted at the administrative level, beneficiary targeting and selection at the village level would have required more extensive local negotiation and political commitment to ensure the integrity of the targeting scheme. Early disbursement delays are likewise associated with the funding vehicle utilized to deliver the emergency assistance (the Global Food Crisis Response Program) that was outside of the control of the project. The expected quick startup of the project was hampered by delayed signing of the umbrella agreement between the World Bank and the EU, including subsequent delays in receiving funds from the EU (i.e. from TF parent account to child). The Negotiations on the project were held on May 20-21, 2010, while GFR was approved only on August 26, 2010. As a result the project was signed only in September 2014, leaving very short time for the PMU to meet the project effectiveness conditions and facilitate early disbursements. Relatedly, regulations only allowed for a low level of capital (750,000 Euro) to be held in the designated project account at any one time. These financing constraints led to a delay in worker payments, which triggered fear of non-payment owing to similar phenomena that had occurred under local government programs. While highly relevant, mechanisms designed to enhance transparency and accountability also would have required more awareness-raising, training and implementation support than had been anticipated.

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:

Quality of Supervision is rated Satisfactory. Supervision of this project was intense: there was full time in-country presence of the task team leader and an assistant with day-to-day interactions with the government, donor stakeholders, the project implementation unit and the implementation partners. Part time staffing for monitoring and evaluation activities was made available, but as discussed in the M&E section of this review, this aspect of project supervision could have been strengthened. At mid-term, aspects of the project that were blocking disbursements, namely the maximum balance allowed in the Designated Project Account, was unblocked. There were no significant shortcomings in safeguard oversight, procurement, or financial management.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:
Government Performance is rated Satisfactory. There was a high level of commitment for this project by the national government, including multiple personal interventions by the Deputy Prime Minister. There was a high degree of cooperation between all levels of government, community entities and local organizations. However, progress is slow on the adoption of policy and institutional reforms related to water resource management which were the subject of policy advice and recommendations supported by the project.

Government Performance Rating: Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:
Implementing Agency performance is rated Satisfactory. Project implementation was overseen by a Project Implementation Unit based in the oblast at Kurgan-Tyube and by the Project Management Unit within the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resource Management in Dushanbe. Works design was contracted to service providers, community engagement was contracted to NGOs, and the local government and community organizations were also involved in implementing the project. There appears to have been good cooperation between the PMU with other public institutions, local departments of the Ministry, regional and local authorities, and existing water user associations. The project - through the PMU- also worked with groups leading the country's agricultural reforms. There is evidence that PMU performance was integral to the successful implementation of the public works component. In response to early difficulties in achieving timely disbursements, that created a lag in wage payments, the PMU the PMU teams actively engaged in consultations with the beneficiaries. The PMU also applied for and was successful in changing the designated account. All of these efforts had the effect of increasing demand by the beneficiaries in the second phase and supporting the completion of a major part of the public works program.

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Satisfactory

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

a. M&E Design:
M&E was adequately designed to measure the short term, emergency goals of the project, however more could have been done to link these immediate goals with the project's longer term aim of contributing to food security.
The M&E system was based on three main project indicators - (1) the amount of cash transferred, (2) the number of beneficiaries employed, (3) and the average income per beneficiary. The indicators fall short of measuring progress towards the PDO, which while seeking to support temporary work through infrastructure rehabilitation, ultimately viewed this support as a means to achieve long term food security. In order to measure progress against the objective, the project would have needed to better measure the quality of the infrastructure repair, the reduction of soil salinity and water logging, the behavior of beneficiaries with regard to the use of the additional revenue received (crop diversification, debt repayment, purchase of inputs, labor etc.), One component indicator - improved drainage - is a good example of a proxy indicator that is well aligned with the goal of achieving increased agricultural productivity as a means to secure enhanced food security. Perceptions of beneficiaries at baseline compared to endline would have also been a useful tool to gage the level of trust in this type of tool. The ICR reports for example that many beneficiaries had low trust in the beginning since they had not received compensation from similar government supported projects before. Perception data, rather than anecdotes, would have been a useful tool to present both to the client but also to other clients that may be attracted to this approach. According to the PAD, the project established a baseline from existing analytical work, however it is unclear what baseline data was collected since there are is no baseline data available in the Results Framework (all baselines are recorded as 0 in Annex 2 of the PAD). While a survey at endline was conducted, there seems to have been a missed opportunity to measure some of the qualitative factors that constrain beneficiaries from better managing risks, many of which will be additional to constraints imposed by the ill repair of the irrigation systems targeted by the project.

b. M&E Implementation:

M&E implementation was split between field teams (NGOs) -responsible for the social mobilization and coordination of the public works- and the PIU who collected data on certain aspects of the public works. Bank supervision missions reported that the performance of the field teams was excellent and the performance of the PIU was satisfactory. The PIU expert was employed on a part-time basis only and as a result had only partial involvement with the project as it progressed. This explains why data recording seems to have been more comprehensive in the first half than in the second half of the project period. Towards the end of the project, the PMU arranged for additional consultants to undertake a final project impact assessment study and an intensive final M&E exercise. The project impact assessment was based on analyses of (i) project records covering the manual labor beneficiaries, contracts and achievements, (ii) project records covering the mechanized works contracts and achievements, (iii) a survey of almost 1,000 beneficiary and non-beneficiary households in the project area, and (iv) jamoat-level project area statistical crop production data. (The findings of this assessment are reported in the Efficacy Section).

a. M&E Utilization:
Given the fast turn around nature of this emergency project, there does not appear to have been room to integrate the lessons learned from the beneficiary assessment into the program that was then about to close. However, a second Public Works project was approved in October 2012. A review of the results framework of this follow-on project reveals very little utilization of the findings or the questioned raise by the assessment conducted under the first project. The final impact assessment report provided data on the level of cash-for-work transfers to beneficiaries, and the uses made of this supplementary income by the beneficiary households, The new project tracks the number of direct project beneficiaries, disaggregated by gender and the Person days worked, disaggregated by gender and vulnerable group. However there are no measures designed to track the uses made of this supplementary income by the beneficiary households, i.e. behavior. The assessment undertaken by the first project also assessed the additional indirect (non-cash) benefits accruing to beneficiary households. None of these non-cash benefits are being measured. The project continues to measure the project’s impact on crop production
including cereal, food and fodder crop yield on rehabilitated irrigated land. The beneficiary assessment raised a number of questions relevant to the long term sustainable success of the development outcomes supported by these projects. Reverting to a results framework that too closely resembles the measures firs taken in the emergency operation is a missed opportunity for learning.

M&E Quality Rating: Substantial

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:

Environment (OP4.01). This project was rated Category B. Responsibilities for environmental management were assigned to an NGO contracted by the PMU. Site-specific environmental management plans (EMPs) were prepared, reviewed, updated as necessary, issued to stakeholders and publicly disclosed. They were then subject to formal public consultations with prior announcements and invitations, were finalized in accordance with received comments, and were made publicly available. Principal EMP provisions were included in works contracts, their implementation was supervised by the PMU field staff, and there were no reported non-compliance. Detrimental environmental impacts included localized noise, dust, solid waste, water pollution and vegetation degradation impacts during works execution. Works were carried out only along existing canals and drains in already developed irrigated agriculture areas, and mostly during the off season, so there were no damages to soils, to trees or other crops, or to protected areas, critical habitats, culturally or socially sensitive areas, or rare or endangered species. Beneficial long-term environmental impacts resulting from the irrigation and drainage infrastructure improvements included lower soil salinity risks and fewer stagnant water pools with associated potential public health issues. Bank supervision missions reported satisfaction with the project’s environmental management arrangements, performance and results.

Social Safeguards. Overall, the project engaged in a high level of public awareness and information sharing campaigns and worked against the grain to include women in the public works component (11% of the project labour force). Targeting of the poorest however was challenged by the configuration of the applied wage rate and the selection or screening criteria. Nevertheless, the project assisted with securing personal documentation and registration or found alternative means to include households in project implementation (through other family members, for example), capturing some of the otherwise excluded overage, underage, or handicapped beneficiaries. There were no identified or reported resettlement or land loss issues.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:

Procurement. Bank procurement guidelines were observed, and reviews of contracts subject to post review yielded no notable deficiencies. However, due to the procurement requirements, most of the machinery was only delivered towards the end of the project period due to discussions on the machinery types, specifications, and delays.

Financial Management. The financial management arrangements at the PMU were reported as satisfactory.
They included accounting and reporting, internal control procedures, planning and budgeting, external audits, funds flow and staffing arrangements. The internal control system at the PMU was assessed as acceptable and capable of providing timely project information and reporting. A deficiency relating to the register and marking of fixed assets was noted, but at the time of final ICR report drafting it was reported that a letter from the MMWRM verifying final compliance has been received and accepted.

The project added an additional layer of transparency and accountability into the financial management system. These features included They included (i) comprehensive cross-checking of lists of workers, work volumes executed and salaries earned, (ii) the use of bank accounts and deposits instead of cash for payments to beneficiaries, and (iii) full public disclosure through the posting in public places of the lists of workers, volumes and earnings, together with grievance system and project NGO contact details. While these feature led to long delays in the processing of project documents and payments, they seemed to have contributed to the overall smooth financial management during project implementation.

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
Several unintended impacts occurred as a result of this project. Some of the funds paid by the project for manual work were used to pay for income taxes levied on the additional wages. Paid to the Oblast authority, these taxes directly supported the oblast's public works budget. Households also experienced an increased quality of life as the drain cleaning and lowering of groundwater tables helped to "floodproof" homes and improve community sanitation. The project benefited from the opening of access to public assistance and other social programs to previously excluded rural poor and vulnerable groups , through the processing and securing of personal identification documents, social fund and tax system registration, and the opening up of bank accounts (which were needed to formalize the contracts and the payments for the manual labor).

d. Other:
Gender. In despite of social obstacles, this project made a significant effort to involve women in the public works component of this project. Of the 10.603 persons receiving a public works contract, 1,157 were women.

12. Ratings:

IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Risk to Development Outcome:
A project designed to address imminent vulnerability resulting from the financial crisis, the beneficiary population remains highly prone to shocks; the public works component was an important but partial response to unblocking structural constraints.  
Bank Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Short preparation period resulted in some challenges during implementation with regard to beneficiary targeting and funding restrictions caused delays in labor payments during the crisis period.  
Borrower Performance:
Quality of ICR:
- 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:

For emergency-type projects designed to primarily deliver quick turn around results, a one year implementation period may be appropriate, but this arrangement often does not allow for adequate lead time for proper preparatory social, technical, administrative and M&E activities. In public works programs supporting agricultural work rehabilitation or construction, a one year project is challenged by the need to split implementation across cropping seasons and by the inability to monitor and report on results after a full off-season period, thus limiting the ability of the client to learn how to improve aspects of the approach.

It is possible to overcome social barriers and include women in project activities that are typically viewed as geared more towards men Women can benefit from public works projects by applying a few simple additional incentive measures including by allocating smaller-scale works with lower lifting and throwing requirements to women, arranging for women to be assigned to work sites that are close to their homes and in certain societal contexts, by assigning separate work fronts and locations.

14. Assessment Recommended?

A field assessment would provide learning opportunities on the project's design choice - a cash for work program - allowing it to be juxtaposed against other emergency crisis interventions such as targeted conditional or unconditional cash transfers. Challenges associated with beneficiary targeting owing to complex social dynamics that arose during implementation would be useful contributions to Bank-wide discussions on service delivery and shared prosperity. In the absence of data in the quality of works, a randomized assessment of a sample of the works could support a more comprehensive validation of the public works interventions supported by the project and their contribution towards food security at the household level. The PPAR will also provide an opportunity to better assess the sensitive social dynamic that emerged during beneficiary selection.

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The quality of the ICR is rated Satisfactory, with shortcomings. The ICR was candid and specific about what the project set out to achieve, what it was able to achieve, and its limitations. While it is noteworthy that a beneficiary assessment was conducted, its questions could have been more poignant (attributable to the project) and the ICR should have included the assessment’s methodology in its annexes. More information should have been provided to explain how the project efficiency was determined, given the shortfalls in the planned versus completed works construction. The ICR could have also weighed in on whether the inclusion of the humanitarian aid recipients

(underage, overage and handicapped, as well as some others who were not included in the target population) affected project outcomes.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

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