Component 4: Implementation support, Communication, Monitoring and Evaluation

Sub-component 4.1: Implementation support and Communications

A common challenge of multi-sectoral projects is having in place effective mechanisms to coordinate project implementation across sectors and between countries. The capacity of stakeholders is generally weak on many fronts: policy coordination, administration, project implementation. The designation of the most appropriate lead agency is also critical.

Implementation support is provided in a strategic and sustainable way. The project is managed by the existing administration instead of creating an ad-hoc project implementation unit for the operation to be sustained. The project provides support to prepare the implementation manual and finance related operational training to project teams, audit for the financial management, the accounting system, office equipment (vehicles, PC, printers, office furniture etc.), and running cost throughout the project life. The project also finances various training courses for leadership, change management, communication, project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation and financial management, with the aim of ensuring sustainability and creating operational capacity within the administration.

In addition to various support for strengthening of communication capacity and tools in the border management that are embedded in the project activities, the project also puts particular importance on communications strategies as part of the implementation arrangements. COMESA produces short documentaries/videos, other media programs, websites and use of social media to raise awareness of the conditions that cross border traders are facing and to familiarize all relevant stakeholders with the Traders Charter and related policy reforms. Those communication products are widely disseminated at global, regional and each country level. The project also provides finance to each of three countries to develop communication strategy and communication products that should be customized to the national context.

Sub-component 4.2: Project M&E and Systems for Monitoring Small-Scale Cross-Border Trade

The development of a robust system of monitoring and evaluation is essential for this project. The project develops a system to capture progress in improving conditions for cross-border trade, including, inter alia, the efficiency of cross-border operations, the relationships between border officials and cross-border traders, and the broader impact on conflict affected communities. The project includes a specific and concrete set of measurable indicators upon which project progress can be monitored, measured, and evaluated.

In particular, the project supports ‘citizen engagement’ and be data-driven exploiting disaggregated data gathering technologies. The project finances capacity building (e.g. training enumerators and data managers on data collection methods, increasing the number of and/or workloads and scope for enumerators and data managers) for the aforementioned agencies responsible for M&E to enable them to carry out their

M&E responsibilities as well as mechanisms for necessary field work for data collection, including periodic surveys of project beneficiaries, consistent with the Project Development Objective (PDO) indicators.

The M&E-system of the project is linked to other relevant frameworks to allowit to show its added value and measure its aggregate impact on peace and stability in the region, particularly to the fourth pillar of the PSCF, to other World Bank programmes in the region and, where possible, to country-specific frameworks for stabilization and peace consolidation.29 This process is supported by the Great Lakes Indicators Project, the Great Lakes Region Conflict Facility (GLRCF) and the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group (FCVG).

Information on cross-border trade flows is an essential input into policy making and planning of border operations as well as project monitoring. In addition to the support provided for the direct project M&E activities, this Sub-component supports coordinated data collection on small scale cross border trade at the priority border posts in the project.

The project supports the use of advanced IT collection systems and platforms (including Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)) in the project countries. In Rwanda, plans for rolling out a program which uses tablets and customized software to collect and transmit data collected by enumerators at borders is in advanced stages. This project supports Rwanda’s efforts to execute this plan. In Uganda and DRC, the project supports the development and roll

COMESA plays a critical role in coordinating, facilitating, and standardizing small-scale cross border trade data collection, monitoring, and reporting in the region. In particular, COMESA under this project develops standards and best-practices for data collection and reporting. Standardization and harmonization in methodologies across countries in the region is important for providing reliable and consistent data. COMESA also convenes regional workshops and seminars to provide a platform for peer-to-peer learning, sharing of best practices, and establishing standard procedures. Further, COMESA supports the effort to roll out IT systems for data collection and reporting, learning from the Rwanda experience, and developing standardized software platforms to improve consistency of data in the region. Finally, COMESA provides an online outlet for data reporting through its COMSTAT platform.