A multi-sphere project assessment framework for livelihood projects in Zimbabwe

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Applied Science (IJRIAS) | Volume VII, Issue V, May 2022 | ISSN 2454–6194

A multi-sphere project assessment framework for livelihood projects in Zimbabwe.

 Sifelani Ngwenya
Centre for Evaluation Science, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
Lupane State University, PO Box 170 Lupane. Zimbabwe

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Incapacitation due to low commitment levels, limited stakeholder participation and the adhoc manner in which assessments are done defeat the purpose for which the practice and process was instituted, “to judge the direction, progress and performance of programs and projects.” This scenario undermines the noble benefits and value that the assessment practice brings to the design, planning and implementation of programs. Thus, the need for a multi-sphere assessment framework tended towards stakeholder commitment, inclusion and participation becomes apparent. This study assesses the need for a multi-sphere assessment framework for livelihood projects in Zimbabwe, by interrogating the participants’ experiences, and perceptions, on the assessment practice, and the ideal components of the new framework. Data for this study were collected through, desktop review, focus group discussion and questionnaires, limited to non-probability purposive, and conveniently selected 85 participants from Bulilima, Gwanda, Mangwe and Umzingwane districts of Zimbabwe. These participants comprised of district development coordinators (DDCs), Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officers, councilors, traditional leaders (chiefs), NGO managers, and heads of schools. These participants were significant to the study, in that they brought depth to this study due the number of years of involvement in livelihood projects. The study found assessment to be a popular practice, that is variedly understood across domains and disciplines, but accorded little priority, done in an ad hoc manner, and districts lacking uniform assessments frameworks to guide all stakeholders. Hence, the existence of a parallel assessment regimes in the districts, and high incapacitation levels due to lack of political will and commitment. Therefore, the study recommends the strategic lobbying of all stakeholders to commit towards the embracement of the multi-sphere assessment framework, through the mobilization of political systems and institutions, to formulate pro assessment policies and allocation of resources. Taking this route may be critical in addressing commitment related incapacitation challenges and help stakeholders change their perception on assessment, resulting in a radical shift from an ad hoc approach to a proactive one that embraces inclusivity and participation. Furthermore, the proposed radical approach will foster confidence, participation, inclusivity, equity, accountability, transparency, networks, trust, and a mindset change, leading to new innovations in the assessment practice. The study further recommends, the making of capacity-building, training, and education the prime focus, to promote correct understanding, all stakeholder commitment to the assessment practice, and significantly contribute to the expansion of assessment knowledge. Therefore, study findings offer implications in terms of highlighting the salience of establishing the multi-sphere assessment framework that promotes inter-stakeholder collaboration.

Key words: Multi-sphere; Assessment; assessment framework; livelihood; Zimbabwe.

I. INTRODUCTION

Despite the assessment practice’s popularity across various disciplines and domains, it is variedly understood, and not well supported by stakeholders. Hence, its susceptibility to various challenges such as incapacitation, owing to lack of political will, exclusion of, and non-participation of all key stakeholders in all the assessment processes. Consequently, this undermines its purpose,