This is the Final Evaluation report of the Multi-country Emergency Appeal operation for drought in Southern Africa. This evaluation was conducted following the IFRC evaluation criteria and hence it assesses relevance, coverage, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability in the implementation of the Emergency Appeal actions.
Relevance: To address food insecurity and its drivers, the National Societies designed response which was largely through Cash and Voucher Assistant (CVA) across the four countries in Multi- County Appeal. The CVA modality utilized by National Societies was in tandem with the manner in which governments of the four countries deliver social assistance to vulnerable persons/households.
In Botswana, discussions with beneficiaries at group meetings during this evaluation revealed that they preferred food vouchers to cash. In addition, from the survey, majority (71.3%) of beneficiaries in Botswana preferred vouchers as a modality to address their food and basic needs. In-kind support, which was largely utilized during lockdowns due to Covid-19 and at the beginning of the Emergency Appeal, was preferred only by 10.3% of the beneficiaries sampled. Twenty per cent (20%) of the beneficiaries would have preferred the assistance was offered in cash.
The use of the cash transferred from the Emergency Appeal actions was consistent with the manner in which beneficiary households utilized earnings from their main source of livelihood. Across the three countries (Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini) where cash transfer modality was utilized, beneficiaries used the cash to address needs beyond food including savings, covering health expense, paying school fee, transport to work and clinic, purchasing farm inputs, non-food basic goods as well as income generation. Since this was a food security intervention, beneficiaries largely used the money they obtained in cash transfer to address their household food needs. The proportion of the beneficiaries who utilized the cash transferred to purchase food in Namibia was 98.9%, while in Eswatini and Lesotho they were 83.5% and 98.9% respectively.
In Botswana, the actions of the Emergency Appeal mainly covered food expenses of the beneficiary households through food voucher system.
On average, beneficiary households in Namibia spent N$ 473.0(CHF28.58) from the cash transferred on food every month. This amount formed 63.1% of the monthly cash transferred to beneficiaries while beneficiary households in Eswatini spent E 551.78 (CHF 36.40) from the cash transferred on food every month which translated to 78.8% of the monthly cash transferred. Lastly, in Lesotho beneficiaries spent Loti 409.20 (CHF 27.07) from the cash transferred on food every month. This amount formed 54.1% of the monthly cash transferred to beneficiaries.
Modalities for agricultural recovery were relevant since backyard and keyhole gardens utilized beneficiaries’ existing capacities such as land and basic knowledge in agronomy. The Emergency Appeal actions built on these capacities by improving knowledge of the beneficiaries through training in Climate Smart Agriculture as well as provision of farm inputs to increase production.
At the time of the evaluation, Botswana Red Cross was at preparatory stages in the implementation of backyard gardening modality while Namibia Red Cross did not implement any actions related to the agricultural recovery.
Community Engagement and Accountability: The Community Engagement and Accountability minimum standards were largely utilized by the four National Societies during beneficiary selection and in obtaining feedback on implementation of the Emergency Appeal actions from beneficiaries.
Staffing: Only one of the four National Societies under the Multi-country Emergency Appeal was well staffed from the Headquarters to branch levels. Three out of the four National Societies under review did not have Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning personnel. The Program Managers or Disaster Management Coordinators doubled as M&E which compromised the quality of reporting during Post Distribution Monitoring. The lean staffing at the National Society level was directly supported by two staff from the IFRC at Cluster level namely: The Food Security Coordinator and Operations Manager who from time to time sought the assistance of the IFRC Regional Office in Nairobi on matters such as cash and voucher programming and procurement among others.
Adequacy of CVA: Majority (71.7%) of beneficiaries in Namibia indicated that the cash they received was adequate while in Botswana, 77.2% of the beneficiaries reported that the voucher adequately covered their food and basic needs. Over half (55.3%) of the beneficiaries in Eswatini reported that the cash received was adequate while only 34.1% of beneficiaries in Lesotho felt the same. Duration CVA lasts in households: Across the four countries under review, majority (72.6%) of beneficiaries reported that the CVA support they obtained lasted between three to four weeks while the rest (27.4%) said that the assistance lasted for just one to two weeks in their households. The duration the assistance lasted in the households was heavily dependent on the number of people and whether a household had income to supplement the support they received from EA.
Determination of the CVA value: In Botswana, the value of the food voucher was determined based on the agreement between the National Society with selected shops in the surrounding community. This amount was aligned to that of the government drought response plan. The food voucher was worth 800 Pulas (CHF 67.94). In Namibia, the cash transfer value was based on the National food Basket value and a top-up to cater for transport to the nearest town cash distribution Centre. The Cash transfer value was N$800(CHF48.26). In Lesotho, the unconditional cash transfer amount was set by the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee task force. LRC is a member of the government led stakeholder assessment committee. The value was based on the cost of minimum food basket as well as some basic non-food items (soap and cooking fuel). The transfer value is agreed upon by government and humanitarian actors in Lesotho. The cash transfer value was Loti 151 (CHF9.99) per person per household of up to a maximum of 10 people with a top-up of Loti (10) to cover withdrawal charges. The value for the agricultural support voucher was determined by market price assessment for farm inputs by the National Society.
In Eswatini, the cash transfer was based on 75% cost of the minimum food basket which was discussed and agreed upon by Eswatini Food Security and Nutrition Working Group. This group is comprised of the government (NDMA) and humanitarian partners including World Food Program. The beneficiaries received E 700 (CHF 46.33) in cash transfer. The value for the agricultural support voucher was determined by market price assessment for farm inputs by the National Society.
Sufficiency of installments: Across the four countries under the Multi-country Emergency Appeal, the lean season starts April through to September the beginning of rainy season. However, this hasn’t been the case in the recent past because of the effects of climate change across the region. The period of support of six months was based on the premise that rains would return at the end of lean season and demand for agricultural labour would increase to provide income to beneficiaries. Secondly, livestock production would increase and the sales thereof; across the four countries there would be flow of remittance from South Africa and manufacturing of products in agricultural value chain would restart/begin to create jobs and market opportunities. This was not the cases because of COVID-19 pandemic. The number of installments therefore was not sufficient. The number of the installments of the CVA support varied from one country to the next. For example, Botswana had eight, Lesotho had six, Eswatini and Namibia had six and five respectively
Coverage: In Lesotho, the Appeal reached a total of 2005 households. In gender terms, a total of 1030 female and 975 male headed households were reached by the Emergency Appeal actions. The same beneficiaries received agricultural support. In Botswana, the Appeal reached 300 households (by the time of the evaluation) and in gender terms there were 47 male and 253 female headed households. In addition, in Eswatini, through backyard gardening modality, there were 400 male and 561 female beneficiary headed households. In cash transfer, there were 799 male and 1468 female headed households. Lastly, with seed inputs/agricultural support a total of 706 male and 1273 female headed households benefited from the actions of the Emergency Appeal. In Namibia, the Emergency Appeal actions reached a total of 1,204 households. In gender terms, a total of 655 female and 549 male headed households were reached by the Emergency Appeal actions.
Efficiency: Timeliness in the implementation of the Emergency Appeal actions was heavily influenced by COVID- 19 containment measures, including lockdowns, movement and assembly restrictions as well as safety distancing protocols. Secondly, procurement processes and inadequate staffing delayed implementation of Emergency Appeal actions in all the four countries.
Cost effectiveness: The Emergency Appeal actions were implemented in cost effective manner. Most importantly, while the Appeal raised only less than 45% of the total amount required/budgeted, it managed to reach over half of the beneficiary household targeted while maintaining the cost of coordination at less than 10% of the total budget. A large contribution to this effect was done by the Finnish Red Cross supporting the Food Security Coordinator position to the IFRC Cluster as staff on loan for 13 months to oversee the coordination of the operation. In addition, British Red Cross fully supported a surge delegate to Lesotho and another to Namibia who supported the National Societies in conducting cash transfer feasibility study, Market analysis, and in the case of Lesotho also cash transfer planning. The delegate also assisted Lesotho.