Evaluation of “Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina” Project

The governments of Sweden and Switzerland decided to finance the implementation of the project “Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The project is being implemented in partnership of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) through its subsidiary SKR International, the Association of Municipalities and Cities of Republika Srpska (RS AMC) and the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH AMC).

The project supports the two municipal associations in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), the Association of Municipalities and Cities of Republika Srpska (RS AMC) and the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH AMC). In order to reach the long-term objectives of the AMC strategic plans, the project’s theory of change (ToC) is that AMCs need to improve their capacities and practices across a range of functions so that results can be seen at all levels, including governing structures, statutory provisions, membership participation, and in contacts with higher-level authorities. The project is set out to achieve results in three main outcome areas covering AMCs organisational capacities, service-delivery to members and their capacities to lobby and advocate in two key thematic areas: EU integration and local government finance.

The objectives of this assignment was to evaluate the Impact and the Sustainability as well as cross-cutting issues of the support to the Associations of Municipalities and Cities in BiH (AMCs) as it was in its last year of implementation.

The purpose of the evaluation was to help Sida and its partner Embassy of Switzerland to assess progress of the on-going intervention towards achievement of the set outcomes, indicate what had worked well and less well, and to inform on how project implementation could be adjusted and improved in a continued cooperation.

The evaluation questions were:

Relevance: Is the intervention doing the right thing?

  • To what extent has the intervention objectives and design responded to beneficiaries’, and partner needs, policies, and priorities, and have they continued to do so if/when circumstances have changed?
  • To what extent have lessons learned from what works well and less well, as documented in the Internal Review of 2019/2020, been used to improve and adjust intervention implementation?

Effectiveness: Is the intervention achieving its objectives?

  • To what extent has the intervention achieved, or is expected to achieve, its objectives, and its results? What have been factors which have enabled or hindered results achievement and what are the implications for strategies in the next phase?

Impact: What difference does the intervention make?

  • What have been the higher-level changes that the project has contributed to? What is recommended to enhance those contributions in the next phase?

Sustainability: Will the benefits last?

  • What has contributed to institutionalisation of changes in practices in the AMCs? In which areas does it still need to be improved andhow
  • To what extent are the Project results sustainable? How could Project results be further sustainably projected and expanded, having in mind the potential future contribution for a second phase?

In order to answer the evaluation questions, as well as to summarize the progress and main achievements of the project and identify lessons in terms of development of the AMCs, the Evaluation team conducted desk reviews of relevant project documentation, follow-up meetings with SALAR, RS AMC and FBiH AMC as well as interviews (individual or FGDs) with selected key informants in BiH (particularly from members of both AMCs) and the Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of Switzerland. The evaluation found that the AMCs have increased their competencies in several key and prioritised thematic areas and are increasingly part of the national political dialogue and advocating for their members’ rights. They have however struggled to define, monitor and evaluate their strategies, not developed a plan to become more financially sustainable or been able to ensure that the implementation of the project has taken into account the cross-cutting issues.

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