The outcomes of evaluating developmental projects using sustainable livelihoods approach : the case studies of Masco tutoring project and Qedidlala community garden project.
Ramashala, Malose A.
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Evaluation is an important aspect of the project cycle. The evaluation results are used to determine new strategies of the programme as well as the future of the project. However, the problem is that most conventional evaluations are seen as external intervention because they often disregard the role project participants could play in the process of evaluation. Then there is sustainable livelihoods approach which is viewed as a holistic and participatory approach. Because the sustainable livelihoods approach is people-centred; is holistic; dynamic; builds on strengths; considers macro-micro links; and considers issue of sustainability, it could provide a framework with which evaluation could be conducted. The objective of this study was to find out the outcomes of using the sustainable livelihoods approach as a tool for evaluating developmental projects. The theoretical framework for evaluating projects was designed using sustainable livelihoods and evaluation literature. The framework was tested using two projects in the area of agriculture and rural education. The research process guide was also designed and guided the process of data collection. The study has shown that the sustainable livelihoods approach could be used to evaluate developmental projects. The opportunities and the challenges of evaluating developmental projects using the sustainable livelihoods approach in each step of evaluation process were discovered. Using SL framework to define evaluation programme revealed that projects could be viewed holistically though not covering everything. However, the volume of the data collected was large and required more time to analyse. The logical framework was useful in terms of planning the evaluation programme. On the downside, the logical framework was technical and required guidance from the researcher. Establishing success indicators required the participants to negotiate the yardstick for measuring. The participants could not select data gathering methods because 1) the participants had no knowledge of the participatory methods and 2) the methods already used were not appropriate for the data collected. Reliance on participatory methods alone affected the robustness of the evaluation data collected. Thorough planning and capacity building are critical in interpretation of evaluation results follow sustainable livelihoods approach guidelines. Further studies with more representative sample and with a longer time span are needed to refine the implementation of the evaluation of developmental projects using sustainable livelihoods approach.