Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
Promoting Cross-Country Learning in DDR Projects
May 2011

Over three days in late March 2011, 12 evaluation specialists from six different national DDR commissions gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, to share experiences and learn from each other.

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How many Burundian ex-combatants chose to learn a trade during their reintegration? Where did disabled ex-combatants in Rwanda resettle? How many Congolese ex-combatants joined associations?  The answers to these questions depend on the quality of the data captured in management information systems (MIS) in the various countries, and how these data are monitored and evaluated (M&E).

In March 2011, the TDRP organized a three day-workshop on these two subjects in Nairobi. The workshop helped to promote exchange and learning among M&E and MIS specialists from DDR commissions. Participants came from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo (RoC), Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Adolphe Hasabindero, M&E Specialist in the Technical Coordination Team of the Burundi DDR project
Adolphe Hasabindero,
M&E Specialist in the Technical Coordination
Team of the Burundi DDR project

Participants in the driver’s seat

The format of the workshop purposely put participants in charge. “We wanted them to ‘take center stage’ and present their projects, their systems and their efforts to each other”, says Aki Stavrou, who led the TDRP team organizing the workshop. “This was clearly the right format, as I have rarely seen such rich and productive engagement by all in attendance”, Stavrou adds. This sentiment was echoed by the participants themselves who expressed how valuable the workshop had been.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to the presentation of M&E systems in each of the six countries. Participants shared the details of their projects, the various studies and surveys they had carried out and those still to be launched. The TDRP provided guidance on methodology for these evaluations. For example: how to write terms of reference that will lead to quality studies?  What to include in the questionnaires used to collect data?

Association of Tailors in Kindu. One of the rare associations able to provide 
a regular and sufficient source of income to its members. Each of the 13 members
has access to a sewing machine.
Michael Butera, M&E specialist
in the Rwanda Demobilization
and Reintegration Commission

Much needed exchange of experience

 “It was really useful to hear about the experience of our neighbors who implement similar projects” says Adolphe Hasabindero, M&E specialist in the Burundi DDR technical team. “It was my first time meeting with my counterparts. We exchanged contact information and will certainly be in touch if one of us has a question that another could help to answer” he adds.

Learning how each country was dealing with special groups, such as children or women, was particularly appreciated.  “There was a lot of interest on how we handled the issue of the disabled ex-combatants for example”, said Michael Butera, M&E specialist in the Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission. “This is something where we would benefit from more exchanges”.

Technical training on SPSS

The second day was dedicated to presentations of MISs in the different countries. The focus was on system hardware and software requirements, data entry, storage, retrieval and protection.  Ben Burckhart of the TDRP gave a short training on the use of the SPSS software, which most commissions already have but do not use to its full potential. 

“I wish we could have had a whole week of SPSS training. This is really important for us,” Butera said. Jeff Kabatunanga, MIS specialist in the Unité d’Exécution of the PNDDR in the DRC, concurred: “In the world of information technology, where things progress quickly, it is important to learn and share with others continuously. This was my first opportunity to receive training outside of my country”.

Jeff Kabatunanga of the UEPNDDR in the DRC presents the MIS of his country
Jeff Kabatunanga of the
UEPNDDR in the DRC presents the
MIS of his country

From theory to practice

A few weeks after the workshop, Hasabindero, Butera and Kabatunanga have already put to good use some of the learning from the workshop.

Hasabindero explained:  «After the workshop, I revised the terms of reference I had prepared for our third beneficiary survey. I believe the revisions will help us get more accurate results.  We plan to launch the survey in the next few weeks ».  Butera added: “I am using the terms of reference template given to us by Aki to guide me in preparing several studies. This will ensure the focus and quality of deliverables.”

Continued Support by TDRP and World Bank

Because the workshop was so well received, the TDRP is planning to organize an identical event in a year’s time, opening up participation to other countries in the region.

“There are many themes that could be covered. For example, the issue of social reintegration, or the inclusion of families in reintegration programs” says Hasabindero.
The TDRP is continuing to engage with each country bilaterally to provide support as needed. In the Central African Republic for example, it worked with the local M&E staff, preparing them to attend  an M&E week-long seminar in Dakar, Senegal, sponsored by the World Bank DIME unit (Development Impact Evaluation Initiative)

Regional Work

At the Nairobi workshop, the TDRP team presented the different regional studies it will undertake in the last year of the program.

The workshop participants with the TDRP team in front of the World Bank Office in Nairobi
The workshop participants with the TDRP
team in front of the World Bank Office in Nairobi

“We will carry out comparative analysis of all the countries in the region” says Stavrou. “This is why the harmonization of questionnaires for the various evaluations still to be carried out is critical. For once, we will have the right data to be able to compare like with like, which is not something we were able to do in the past”.

Kabatunanga expressed the wish to go further with the harmonization of DDR data: “I hope one day we will have compatible databases across the region, which would enable the regional states to cross-check and reference their work. This would be extremely useful”.

 

 

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