1. Impact on beneficiaries and the community
2. Participatory identification of beneficiaries and selection criteria
3. Selection and processing of animals
4. Project management and overall implementation process
The overall feeling in the community regarding the project was very positive. Beneficiaries were, naturally, very pleased to have received animals and they are already able to identify an increase in the quantity of wool and the consumption levels of dairy products in their households. One household explained that this increase had enabled them to save money as they reduced the amount of flour consumed. Other households were already producing in excess of consumption needs and preparing dairy products for consumption and sale during the winter. It was suggested by one beneficiary that restocked households could form a group and hire someone, for example a poor person not included in the project, to sell their produce for them in the sum or market, since it is difficult for them to do this themselves. This could be a potential form of income generating activity for beneficiaries and other non-beneficiary poor people. It was requested that some form of training or support could be provided to help with the marketing and sale of produce.
Both beneficiaries and community members commented on the increased level of activity and workloads within restocked households. Neighbours commented that the attitude and behaviour of the household members had changed; they were now more active and conscientious about looking after their animals and this they considered to be a positive sign. Some herders also demonstrated a personal interest in how well the households were looking after the animals because they wanted to be beneficiaries in the future and this depended on the current projects success. They were therefore keeping a close eye on the households activities and persuading them to work hard. This is important as there was also some feeling that people were not worried about losses of animals because of the insurance cover. It was reiterated to those that mentioned this that the insurance does not cover loss due to neglect. There is therefore some social pressure in the community for restocked houses to take the loans seriously and do their best to repay, to ensure the future benefit of the wider community. Clearly, there is an expectation within the community of a further round of restocking under this project.
All people interviewed were asked about the selection process of beneficiaries and whether they felt the most appropriate people had been identified. The general opinion expressed by the Aimag Project Team, Sum Project Work Team and community was very positive. With the exception of two people who were later disqualified by the Aimag team and Sum Representative Hural, it was generally felt that appropriate households had been identified through the participatory process of interviewing using wealth ranking and a bag hural. One was disqualified because it was later discovered that his herding skills were not good enough. He had been herding Company animals and when they went to collect them from him they discovered that 21 sheep and 2 horses had died and thus the household was in debt for approximately Tg200,000. The second household was registered as having no company animals but on further inspection it was discovered that his wife had some. The mans father was also a project beneficiary and he approached the Aimag team asking for his son to be eliminated as he was unreliable. He was worried that if his son lost the animals he would have to take responsibility for repayment. No-one at the bag hurals had mentioned these facts even though it was generally acknowledged that the first man was not a very good herder.
Only one household was identified to replace these vacancies and this was from a different bag. This selection was not done in a bag hural and the household had not previously been on the list of applicants. The selection was made without consent of the bag hural and thus by an irregular and unacceptable process. The Sum Project Work Team had recommended 3 possible replacements but none were accepted. One had been on the list in the Bag II hural but not selected. The Aimag, however, rejected him because he had only lived in the countryside for 2 years and they felt he did not have enough herding experience. Why two more households could not be identified from Bags I and II is difficult to ascertain, but it was explained by the Sum and Aimag that no-one else in these bags fitted the criteria and therefore they had to choose from a third bag. Why two people were not then chosen from this bag, rather than just another is also unclear, but it has meant that not all the money for restocking was spent and this is being held by the Aimag Coordinator. He explained that it is now too late to identify a 25th household because the cost of animals has increased and the remaining money is insufficient to adequately restock someone. Instead he is considering purchasing some male breeding animals for the aimag which could be used by project beneficiaries.
Surprisingly, no-one from the community mentioned the choice of the replacement during the interviews which would imply that they either did not know about it, have accepted it, or felt it inappropriate to discuss. However, complaint about this was heard by one of the evaluation team members whilst traveling through the aimag on public transport, and thus it has not escaped becoming wider general knowledge. Such an action threatens the credibility of the transparent participatory approach adopted to implement the project and also the Project Coordinators reputation. It should be avoided at all costs in the future. To help prevent a similar situation it is recommended that the bag hurals also draw-up a reserve list of households, whose names could be given to the sum as replacements should the need arise. The Sum Hural should then review and agree the suggestion, ensuring the process to be transparent and publicly known.
Aimag and Sum Project teams both felt that the communitys role in deciding which people should be beneficiaries was very important and supported this participatory approach. However, the Project Coordinator felt that if people in the hural had been more open to criticise or disagree, and representatives from the sum and aimag management had also participated in the bag hural decision making and been less hands-off, the two households which were later disqualified would not have been selected. The previous report (CSD May 19961) comments on this passive mechanism of discussion and voting in the bag hurals. To overcome this, the Project Coordinator therefore suggested that voting should be done secretly rather than by hand-raising. This suggestion was put to the Sum Project Work Team and all people interviewed and the vast majority felt that this would be better, as it would allow people to more honestly express their opinion. Several people who had attended the hural told us that they had voted for someone even though they had reservations about them, because they felt uncomfortable disagreeing in front of them. Everyone knows each other so well - they are either friends or relatives - and so they dont like to openly criticise another person in such a public forum; secret voting would relieve the social pressures somewhat. Some argued that openly was better but when asked if they would voice disagreement against someone they generally said they wouldnt. The Sum Project Work Team also agreed that secret voting would be better in the future. However, if this is to be adopted it is important that there is still an opportunity for the hural to discuss the results of the voting, before the final decision is made, so that there is no potential for fixing the votes. It is important that the process is still transparent and based on communal agreement. The selection process would therefore be in two stages: i) drawing-up the list of applicants who fit the project criteria (by the bag governor) and analysis of this list with respect to the results of the wealth ranking interviewing, e.g., to identify those who are poorest, are known as good herders, etc., and the public announcement of the list; ii) the bag hural and secret vote based on the publicised list.
1 Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop, FAO Restocking Project, Tuvshruleh Sum, CSD May 1996Wealth ranking interviewing
Wealth ranking was used to identify wealth groups in the community and who amongst those categorised as poor, fitted the project criteria (see the report from the initial workshop for details of the methodology, CSD May 1996), particularly regarding good herding skills. This information based on community opinion provided a good basis against which to compare the lists of potential candidates drawn-up by the bag governors, and the similarity of opinion between the two was significant. The final selection resulting from the bag hurals identified three people in Bag I who had not been on the bag governors list, two of whom were ranked as very wealthy (third and seventh place on the wealth ranking list, see CSD May 1996). During the evaluation interviews some people said they felt these two should not have been included in the project because they were not poor but they did not feel comfortable to say this in the hural. They had few animals because they had distributed them to their children, who were now supporting them, and therefore didnt need to benefit from the project. It was also mentioned that some beneficiaries were too old. A general comment was that old people should not be included because they do not have the labour capacity to look after many animals and also do not have the same needs as a young family with children. Therefore, younger households, in particular those with many children, should be prioritised over the elderly. A households position in the life cycle is therefore clearly an important consideration for eligibility in the project. Supporting elderly households which are poor and lack sufficient family support may be better done by restocking a younger household in the hot ail, which could then provide for them.
The Aimag team also considered the wealth ranking interviewing technique to be a very valuable source of information on local opinion, as it encouraged people to speak openly, and provided a useful comparison with the list of applicants and bag governors lists. The Livestock Officer in particular felt that this was an important part of the process of establishing who the poor are and identifying beneficiaries, and worth the necessary human resources and time. He felt that this should be done well in advance of the bag hural, so that the results can be properly analysed and used when receiving applications and drawing-up the list of those who fit project criteria. Ideally, this would be a month or two beforehand. The plan for the IFAD projects is for the wealth ranking interviewing to be done, along with awareness raising and publicity, in the autumn and the selection of beneficiaries at the bag hural in January or February 1997.
Peoples opinions regarding the selection criteria for beneficiaries were investigated to see whether they felt them to be appropriate or not. Generally, people had few comments to make about the specific criteria but there was a feeling amongst beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries that poorer people should be involved - those restocked were mostly middle level. Hence, it was suggested that the minimum bod number be reduced to less than 10, but at the same time, it was also recognised that such households may not be able to manage the herd or to repay. It was felt that those who do have the skills should be able to participate whilst those who dont should be assisted in some other way, for example, developing their skills in marketing livestock products for others, or vegetable growing. One man suggested developing small workshops, e.g., carpentry, which would be run in the sum but in which rural poor people could work seasonally.
The criteria of membership of a strong hot ail needs consideration. One restocked household had already split from its original hot ail, to form a smaller one consisting of three relatives. The reason was that with the larger herd they now felt able to become independent from the richer (unrelated) households they had been living with. They were confident there would be no problems with this new arrangement. Several of the other restocked households asked whether it was necessary to stay together with the hot ail throughout the whole year, as this would be difficult during different seasons when grazing was limited. There was concern that the terms of the agreement would restrict this necessary flexibility of hot ail membership. Would they, for example, have to remain within the same hot ail until fully repaid? The usual seasonal flexibility of hot ail membership may possibly be a reason why some hot ail leaders had not signed the tripartite contract, feeling that they could not be responsible for the household when or if it split for a particular period. This is an issue which needs to be discussed with the herders and hot ail leaders, to establish a general opinion about the appropriateness of strong hot ail membership as a criteria and the importance of the shared responsibility of the hot ail leader. This responsibility needs to be clearly defined and well understood by the community.
A sixth criteria had been added by the Aimag Team to beneficiary selection - the exclusion of those with company animals - without direction from FAO. This was felt by the aimag and sum to be very important despite not being included in the original criteria. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, a large percentage of people in the sum have company animals and their exclusion was therefore an effective way of limiting the number of potential beneficiaries, to make selecting just 25 households easier. (One may question the validity of this). Secondly, and more importantly, those with company animals receive many benefits, e.g., a salary ranging from Tg12-3 0,000 depending on the number of animals held (this seems unrealistically high but was told to us by the Company Director), free transport and hay making services, dairy products from the animals and any young born in excess of their contractual agreement. They therefore have some major advantages over other households. The Company Director was very much in favour of this criteria. However, not everyone in the community shared this view and in the bag hural one person argued against it because they did not own the animals and they were therefore not personal assets. The Aimag Team are intending to retain this criteria for the IFAD project.
The Sum Project Work Team suggested adding another element to the good herder criteria which would look at the households buying and selling patterns. Some people like to buy and sell animals frequently and these would be considered unreliable.
The fixed viable herd size of 25 bod was also a common issue of discussion. The large majority of people, including the Aimag and Sum Project Teams, said that it would be better and fairer if the size of the household were taken into consideration when calculating the number of animals to be restocked, rather than bringing everyone up to the same level of 25 bod. A household of two has very different needs to a household of 9 and yet they are expected to live off the same herd size. A more appropriate system would be to calculate the needs of the household based on the number of adults and children, e.g., 4 bod per adult and 1 or 2 per child. Clearly, deciding upon the appropriate numbers is not simple, nor is identifying the minimum herd size necessary for any household to maintain a viable existence, but assuming that these could be calculated, this flexibility would allow more effectively for the needs of different households. However, a total herd size upper limit of around 25 or 30 bod would still need to be kept otherwise the loan would become unmanageable and there may not be sufficient adult labour if the household had many children. A simplification of this might be that households with up to 5 members are restocked to between 20 and 25 bod and those with more, to between 25 and 30. This is given as an example and obviously would need to be properly calculated.
The implementation process was a very time consuming and intensive one, the discussions with recipients, identification and selection of animals all taking considerable effort. This was undertaken primarily by the Aimag team, in particular the Restocking Officer Dinsambu, who took responsibility for the process. Great care was given to discussing with the individual households about the type and number of animals they required, with Dinsambu making several visits to the household, and overall the requests made matched very closely with what they finally received. Although Dinsambu felt that this individual discussion process was very valuable it took about one man month to conduct for all 24 households and it was agreed that this stage could be significantly reduced to save time in future implementation.
The identification of animals was also a long drawn-out process again conducted by the Aimag team and employing different methods of procurement - locally and from other sums and from beneficiaries relatives/friends (see Swift Supervision Report on Project Activities June-July 1996 for details). The main problem encountered was finding sufficient and suitable animals locally and negotiating reasonable prices for them as the prices were made artificially high by sellers in knowledge of the projects need. To reduce and simplify the process for future projects it is planned that a public auction will be held in the sum at which animals can be examined by beneficiaries and the sum/bag vets and bought en mass. They would then be held in the sum for veterinary treatment, etc., before being distributed. The auction would be well publicised in advance through the local newspaper and other mediums. Other methods would also need to be employed. In particular, herders favour identifying the animals themselves from relatives and friends, feeling that this guarantees quality, and this method worked well in the project. The system of numbering animals and distributing them to households by number meant that there was no favoritism or bias in the quality of animals given and this system was liked by the project teams. Some beneficiaries also commented that they felt it a fair method but that the animals should be mixed up before numbering so that consecutive numbers were not from the same source, as some sources were better than others. For example, those who received animals from the Company in Tuvshruuleh tended to be unhappy with them and would have preferred to be able to choose their animals. Doing this, it was suggested, would mix the quality better. The Sum Work Team explained that most houses did in fact receive mixed animals because they were bought in small numbers and distributed in stages. Those who had animals from a single source received them from relatives.
The identification of animals is considered by the Aimag team to be a highly specialised job requiring professional skill and knowledge not only on disease but also on aimag livestock policy and therefore they do not feel that using commercial traders to supply animals would be an appropriate option, as they lack this necessary knowledge. The Aimag team will draw-up very detailed guidelines for undertaking this process so that in the future the sum will take primary responsibility for it. The fact that the sum played a minimal role this time was a point of issue raised by the sum project work team; they felt that the aimag team had had too much control over the process and that this should have been done by them. This is a valid complaint with respect to local ownership and participation. However, in undertaking the process themselves the Aimag team gained valuable experience for replicating the process on a larger scale for the IFAD Project, and thus in the long-term this will be of benefit to the future of the aimag restocking programme.
The issue of the quality of animals was raised by several of the restocked households. Some felt that the animals bought from the Company in Tuvshruuleh were bad quality, whilst those from Bulgan, Tsenher and Batsengel sums were fine. One household had lost 4 animals (2 female sheep and 2 lambs) which he received from the Company and two other households had sick animals (a cow and a yak). They claimed that the animals were of poor quality when they received them, despite the fact that they had been passed by the sum veterinary inspection. On receipt of animals, the recipients are at liberty to reject any animals they do not like and they sign a document to acknowledge their acceptance. It should be noted, however, that these documents were not always signed by the required people, in particular by the project team member and the hotail leader. This is also signed by the project team member handing over the animals and the hotail leader. These complaints of poor quality were thus strongly contested by the project staff. However, the death certificates for the 4 animals which died were signed by the bag vet who diagnosed the cause as an illness from birth, thus contesting the professional opinion given on the condition of the animals when distributed. This kind of incident and disagreement could cause significant problems in the future for dealing with losses and insurance claims, repayment, etc. Thus, since the bag vets are likely to be the ones providing the most regular and immediate service to the restocked households, it would be highly advisable that they also be involved in the procurement and processing to consolidate professional opinion.
The project appears to have been implemented with few significant problems. The main areas of difficulty have been the identification of sufficient animals at reasonable prices and the badly managed replacement of the disqualified beneficiaries. These problem areas reflect the key factors identified by the community for the successful running of the project: i) identification of the right people to be restocked, i.e., those who are poor but have good herding skills, and ii) selection of good quality animals by people with the appropriate knowledge and skill. Many of the restocked households said that they would like to have more regular routine veterinary visits to check the animals, particularly during the winter and spring. Some said that they had not been visited at all by the bag or sum after receiving the animals, whilst one household said that it had been visited 5 or 6 times. Since there is an expressed need it would therefore be recommendable that the bag or sum vets make regular monitoring visits to the restocked households, but any services provided, such as medicine, treatment, etc., should of course be paid for by the household.
In general, people recognised and appreciated very much the amount of effort that was put into implementing the project, especially the selection and distribution of animals by the Aimag Team and sum vet and this was openly expressed in the evaluation bag meeting.
Regarding the official records on the number of animals owned by each household, it was suggested that these should be recounted before identification of beneficiaries because the figures at the end of the year may not be accurate at a later date. However, this would require considerable time and expense and also could provide people with an opportunity to try and manipulate the size of their herd to fit the project criteria. One informant suggested that this had happened at the end of 1995, because some people had known in advance about the project. She was unable to provide a source for this information and it is almost certainly not true as the details of the pilot project were not clear then. However, with wide knowledge of the future IFAD project it is quite possible that people will try to do this and so the Aimag Project Coordinator has stated that animal ownership over the past 3 years will be reviewed in official records for each applicant.
Lack of sufficient public awareness about the project was also a point raised by some members of the bags. Not everyone had been aware of the project, the criteria for beneficiaries or the bag hurals. For example, the wife of one of the disqualified people had not known anything about the project when her husband was selected. There needs to be much better publicity about the project details, criteria, repayment system, selection process etc., so that everyone understands clearly the participatory role and responsibilities of the community and how the project will be implemented. Not enough time was given to this in the pilot project.
An area which may be problematic in the future and thus needs urgent attention and clarification is that of the repayment system. According to the most recent instruction from FAO, this should be the same as the IFAD repayment system. However, the current understanding of repayment amongst the Sum Project Work Team and beneficiaries is quite different to this. The repayment schedule for each household has been calculated based on the spring 1996 purchase price of the animals plus annual interest of approximately 15%. If the household prefers to repay in kind they should return two animals for every one received. Thus, herders feel that paying in cash is cheaper than paying in kind because the value of only one animal is being paid, plus interest. Cash repayment also has a 5% reduction. For this reason, every restocked household which was interviewed said that they preferred to repay in cash, according to the schedules which have already been given to them by the Aimag.
The IFAD repayment system differs to this in two ways: firstly, whether the household pays in cash or in kind, they will repay the equivalent of two animals for every one received. Secondly, the value of the animals will be calculated according to the current price at the time of repayment, and not according to the purchase price when the animals were received in 1996. Due to inflation, the value of the animals, and thus sum to be repaid, is therefore likely to be much higher than if calculated based on spring 1996 figures. Thus, if a household chooses to repay in cash they will have to pay the value of two animals, not one. The 13-15% annual interest on the loan will in effect be covered by the second animal, and they will also receive a 5% reduction. The repayment schedules will be calculated by IFAD/UNOPS, not by the Aimag Management.
These differences mean that the schedules drawn-up for the Tuvshruuleh households are in fact lower than they should be, if they are to adhere to the IFAD repayment system. Changing these in line with the IFAD system could cause considerable problems and complaint, especially because the repayment schedules have been included in documents already signed by the recipient households.
There is clearly now considerable confusion over repayment and this needs urgently addressing.
Three training elements were involved in the implementation of the project: i) the initial Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Workshop; ii) a 4-day workshop in the sum centre on herding management, planning, household income and expenditure, run by the Aimag Project Coordinator, Livestock Officer, Sum Government Officers and Orsoo, from the Ministry of Agriculture; iii) one day training given by a labour hero from Hotont sum, on herding skills. These training events were considered to be very important by the Aimag Project team, and it was felt that information and ideas from the social development training (PME Workshop) need to be spread down to the bag community. The training given by the labour hero was very much appreciated by the beneficiaries and it would therefore be advantageous to make this kind of training by a local expert a regular thing. The Aimag team also think it important that training is given to the sum project team to ensure effective local implementation and management and they will be developing detailed implementation guidelines for the sums. They have highlighted the need for careful selection of the members of the sum implementation team to ensure transparent and effective management of the project.
The monitoring system designed during the initial PME workshop run by CSD has been followed by the Aimag and Sum Project Work Team, although the information has not been documented in one place, e.g., much of the procurement process was done by the Aimag and the documentation for this is not held at the sum. The qualitative monitoring regarding hot ail relations, collaboration, division of labour, etc. has not however, been documented so far. At a meeting with the members of the Sum Work Team who were present in the sum at the time of the evaluation (vet, breeding specialist and Sum Governor) the Sum Governor explained that this was less easy to do and, it would seem, has been given little importance. In the monitoring system this was intended to be the responsibility of the Project Work Team and Bag Governor, but the Sum Governor said that this had proved to be difficult as people do not speak so openly to officials. They therefore appointed one of the beneficiaries to be a leader, who would observe these things and provide feedback informally. Thus they have adapted the system to be more participatory. The evaluation team suggested that herders should develop their own monitoring system to record productivity levels, changes in household consumption, sickness of animals and services provided by the vet, etc. The information from these could then be collected once a season by the Sum Project Work Team and documented in the sum. It was agreed that this would be useful and that they would develop such a system, with the assistance of the sum vet. It was also suggested that the beneficiary leader be given a more formal role and that he should meet with the sum team on a regular basis, perhaps at a monthly monitoring meeting, to share feedback. In future, this leader should also be identified by the beneficiaries themselves, rather than nominated by the sum. The hot ail leaders, as the key supervisors of the beneficiaries, should also have a formal monitoring role regarding the beneficiaries activities. The Sum Work Team also agreed that they would start a monitoring dairy, to be kept in the sum, which the team members would fill in whenever they made a formal or informal visit to a household, detailing any problems or issues that had arisen, and their observations. In this way they would develop a qualitative documentation system. The Aimag Project Management need to follow-up all these suggestions to make sure that they are actually put into practice and they also need to agree on whose responsibility it is to collate the documentation held at the sum and aimag so that it is accessible to everyone.