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Evaluation of the start-up and initial implementation of the
Congo livelihood improvement and food security project (CLIFS)

Peter T. Ewell, USAID/REDSO/Food Security
Raymond Lumbuenamo, USAID/DRC/Livelihoods

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

SARPN acknowledges the Development Experience Clearinghouse website as the source of this report:
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The USAID Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo is implementing a Strategic Objective, Livelihoods Improved in Targeted Areas, as part of its new Integrated Strategic Plan, FY 2004-2008. To launch field activities an RFA was issued in 2003, and two transitional twoyear projects were funded. The Congo Livelihood Improvement and Food Security Project (CLIFS) is implemented by a consortium of 17 international and Congolese organizations led by Innovative Resources Management, Inc. (IRM), a U.S.-based NGO that has been working with USAID-DRC on anti-corruption and forest management projects. CLIFS has targeted selected areas in Bandundu and Equateur Provinces, in the center of the country. The Market Approaches to Livelihoods Improvement Project (MALI) is implemented by PACT working with two major partners, and operates in selected communities in Katanga Province, in the southeast.

One year into the implementation of both projects, the Mission decided to organize an internal review of their start-up and initial implementation. One year is not enough time to evaluate progress against expected results, so this has not been designed as a formal mid-term evaluation. The goals of the exercise are as follows:

  1. Review the start-up process in each of the major areas of activity against what was planned in the original workplans. If any major delays or changes in plan are found, identify the causes and suggest remedial measures. Evaluate the prospects for the completion of planned activities by September, 2005.

  2. Review the financial condition of the grants, to see if funds are being drawn down at an appropriate rate and are being used effectively and efficiently.

  3. Discuss the logic of the activities being implemented in terms of the selection of pilot sites, the targeting of potential beneficiaries, and methodologies and tactics being used to provide inputs, training, and other services.

  4. Review any internal management issues among the international and Congolese partner organizations.

  5. Discuss how well the pieces are likely to fit together to make a significant difference in the livelihoods of the wal people in the targeted communities, and then in the larger areas of impact, as laid out in S05,

  6. Discuss how well progress towards the objectives and intermediate results are being capured by the indicators in the Mission's Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP), and suggest any modifications.

  7. Discuss possible andlor improved linkages with other programs implementing activities in the same project areas:

    • Activities wholly or partially funded by USAID, including public health programs, anticorruption and other projects in the area of democracy and governance, the SECIDAITA cassava project, food aid distributions through the WFP, natural resource management through CARPE, etc.

    • Activities supported by other donors, including the FA0 support for seeds and tools, support by the World Bank and Belgian Technical Cooperation for the rehabilitation of roads, etc.

    • Community-level projects implemented by local NGOs, church groups, international NGOs...etc.

  8. Summarize lessons learned, to provide feed back to the partners, and to guide the next steps in the implementation of the livelihoods strategy.
The field work to look at the CLIFS project took place between September 15 and 25,2004. The team from USAID consisted of Peter Ewe11 from the Food Security Office of REDSO, the regional office in Nairobi, and Raymond Lumbuenamo from the Livelihoods team at USAIDKinshasa, who is CTO of the Cooperative Agreement with IRM. We first visited activities in Bandundu province, accompanied by Dale Rachmeler of IRM-Washington, Mergo Mbeya of IRM-Kinshasa, and members of the IRM field office in Kikwit. We then visited activities in Equateur Province accompanied by Norbert Yamba and Philippe Ngwala of IRM-Kinshasa and members of the field offices in Mbandaka and Bikoro. We met in Kinshasa with Lyse Pilon, Chief of Party for IRM in the DRC. The IRM team in the DRC took this as an opportunity to go through a systematic self-evaluation of their own progress, and provided a very useful, comprehensive checklist of issues and questions1, as well as the two quarterly reports submitted to USAID to date. There were no opportunities to meet with any management or supervisory personnel from the partner organizations other than the Vetiver Network, which is coordinated by Dale Rachmeler on a part-time basis. Diane Russell of ICRAF, the lead scientist in the ICC consortium, was consulted by e-mail.

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