Evaluation of Irish Aid Local Development Programme in Northern Province, Zambia, 2007 - 2016
Publication18 July 2019
Ireland established its official aid programme in Zambia in 1980 and in 1982 inaugurated a Local Development Programme (LDP) in Northern Province, the oldest of Irish Aid's local programmes. LDPs have been an important feature of Ireland's development cooperation since its earliest days.
This evaluation considered the LDP over the period 2007-2016, during which time approximately €25m was disbursed. From 2007 to 2012 €15.5m was provided for activities delivered in partnership with local government (at both provincial and district level) and local CSOs. The subsequent cycle of the LDP saw a shift to implementation through a management agent with an indicative budget of €9,350,000 for the period 2013-2017.
This evaluation was undertaken in order to: review progress over a longer period; consider the sustainability of interventions; and ask what had changed as a result of Ireland's presence in Northern Province during that time. It was designed to help inform an understanding of how (and when) change happens at local and national levels and also of why, in some cases, it does not.
Evaluation Main Findings
The main findings are outlined below; more detailed findings can be found in the report that:
- Irish Aid's support to district and provincial authorities was well aligned with and relevant to both the decentralisation agenda of the Government of Zambia as well as Irish Aid's Development priorities;
- investments in influencing policy dialogue were undermined by frequent shifts in sectoral priorities;
- vulnerability of beneficiaries can be increased if a programme is ended too quickly;
- a more strategic approach to capacity building, or shared understanding of expected outcomes, could have led to greater impact;
- implicit in a mandate to target interventions at the poorest and most vulnerable community members should be an understanding that such interventions – often quite disruptive in nature - require time and investment to approach sustainability.