An Independent Evaluation of the Sustaining Peace in Mali and Sahel Region through Strengthening Peacekeeping Training Capacities Project (Phase II) was published in April 2019. Using a mixed-methods approach that was gender and human rights sensitive, the evaluation covered the project’s second phase and included a review of documents, survey, interviews and focus group discussions.

Limitations to the evaluation include:

  • Limited access to police officers deployed to MINUSMA given the absence of email; 
  • Police-Contributing Countries (PCCs) stakeholder contact details were outdated or missing and prevented interviews or survey;
  • Constraints for impact measurement; and
  • Final narrative and financial reports were not required for submission prior to the end of the phase and evaluation.

Key Evaluation Findings

RELEVANCE

The project was found to be relevant to MINUSMA’s mandate and to the security sector reform efforts undertaken in Mali. The project was also aligned with UNITAR’s 2018-2021 Strategic Framework objective 1.1. and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).
The project was found to be relevant to the beneficiary countries (Benin, Burkina-Faso, Senegal and Mali) but not to all initially planned countries (Nigeria, Egypt, and Togo).
Attempts were made to PCCs to understand the justification for these countries not engaging and the evaluation found that some countries already had similar opportunities in their respective countries. The project’s outputs were found to be highly relevant to all informants and generally adapted to their needs. Regarding the relevance to
SDGs, the evaluation could not determine if or how the
related target indicators were monitored by UNITAR and the beneficiary countries. The project was relevant to promoting gender and the objectives of security council resolution 1325, but some shortcomings were identified such as the lack of female trainers.

EFFECTIVENESS

Overall, the partnership with EMPABB was perceived as effective and contributed to the project objectives. Ninety per cent of informants were satisfied with EMPABB’s organization and logistics for the planning; however, it was noted that there is a need to strengthen the coordination with key stakeholders. UNITAR’s role was viewed as strategic, content and methodology-focused. The project outputs were found to be appropriate and effective by all key informants.
Project
outputs were found to be purposeful to the short-term objectives. Overall, the trainers expressed satisfaction with the level of training they received and with tools and methodologies applied during Training of 
Trainers (ToT) sessions. Finally, the project was found to be effective in targeting the right countries although some countries did not benefit from the project as originally planned. 

EFFICIENCY

The evaluation found that the project was cost-effective as all trainings took place in the Formed Police Units’ (FPUs) countries of origins prior to deployment. The informants were generally positive about the timeliness of the training, although some raised an issue of not having received the information sufficiently in time.
Regarding the efficiency of the project to build EMPABB as a centre of excellence for training FPUs and PCCs in the region, the evaluation did not find any key performance indicators to define or measure what constitutes a centre of excellence.  For now, while respected by all informants the denomination of excellence remains subjective and undefined.

IMPACT

Due to security reasons and the unavailability of contact details, the evaluation could not survey the population to obtain their perception of the police officers’ changed behaviours and on the FPU’s image across the country. It was not possible for the evaluation to measure the contribution to longer-term objectives due to the limited duration of phase II and timing of the evaluation, although it was understood that after the evaluation was initiated, a third phase of the project had commenced. What was obtained and confirmed during the interviews, surveys and group discussions is the confidence the police trainers developed after receiving the trainings. Moreover, though unintended, many informants expressed an interest in applying this project methodology to other peacekeeping missions.

SUSTAINABILITY

The evaluation found that some of the informants mentioned the likelihood and interest in sharing the information with their police colleagues. The evaluation could not specify the contribution of the project to the long-term stabilization in Mali due to the lack of a monitoring framework to measure long-term outcomes and the limited duration of phase II. It was viewed as less likely that activities would be able to continue without donor support within the current funding situation. Phase II did not have an exit strategy built into the project or a fundraising strategy which should be considered for future phases to strengthen the project’s sustainability.

Recommendations

  • Strengthen needs assessment and consultation prior to the design of the next phase;
  • Consider key strategic documents for greater alignment with MINUSMA;
  • Strengthen coordination with key stakeholders operating in Mali and the Sahel;
  • Strengthen the framework for monitoring results and define key indicators of success for EMPABB to become a centre of excellence;
  • Define and implement an incentive structure to encourage female participation;
  • Request detailed expenditure reports mid-course of the project to better monitor expenditures;
  • Develop an exit strategy and a fund-raising strategy to ensure continuity of activities.

Lessons Learned

  • Theory without practice is less effective;
  • Duplication is not a problem as long as the delivery methodology is effective;
  • Ongoing communications and engagement with focal points is critical;
  • Cultural context on the conflict of the peacekeeping operation is critical;
  • Measuring attitude and behaviour change is important in capacity building projects.