It was carried out in 2019. The evaluation was commissioned to inform operational and strategic decision-making for future similar or alternate programming and was intended for both accountability and learning purposes. It focused on assessing the relevance (including its alignment with Haiti’s policy and strategies on school feeding), its efficiency and the sustainability of the McGovern-Dole model. Overarching evaluation questions were:
- EQ 1: Are the programme activities relevant in light of the needs of school children and their families, and education and school meals policies and strategies of national government?
- EQ 2: Has the programme achieved the expected outputs and outcomes at school level and which factors are explaining those results?
- EQ 3: To what extent does the community involvement in schools (general, parents especially via PTAs, SFCs, directors, etc.) contribute to outcomes and sustainability?
- EQ 4: To what extent are the key institutions (national, provincial/district and local stakeholders; international and national implementing partners and NGOs; international donors and multilateral agencies working on school meals in Haiti) and governance structures able to effectively deliver, implement, sustain and/or scale up school meal interventions in the long-term?
- EQ 5: What are the differences and advantages/disadvantages between the McGovern-Dole model and other approaches, focusing on nutritional and educational outcomes and community engagement, and how could it be adapted to increase effectiveness, sustainability, efficiency and long-term effects? The evaluation covered the following themes: a) School Feeding; b) Food security; c) Food assistance; d) Capacity strengthening; and e) Health and Dietary Practices
Key evaluation findings included:
- The programme is generally aligned with the National Policy and Strategy on School Feeding and it is highly relevant to food insecure and vulnerable school children and families. However, the programme does not systematically consider vulnerability as a suspension criterion and risks excluding the most vulnerable children.
- The programme has been effective. Key outputs achieved include the number of children attended, meals served, committees trained in canteen management, nutrition and hygiene, as well as number of teachers trained and certified. It also achieved most outcomes, with significant improvements in the enrollment, attendance and pass rate over the baseline, with similar results for girls and boys. However, without an end line comparing beneficiary and non-beneficiary schools, it is not possible to make a direct connection between school feeding activities and academic performance.
- The involvement of principals, parents (women and men), and school feeding committees contributed to the achievements of outputs and outcomes but, in many cases, the cash or in-kind contribution of parents is insufficient to ensure long-term sustainability. Support to local purchases and other homegrown models, such as in Nippes, may help improve community engagement and support the local economy, including women. Women contribute disproportionally more, particularly the cooks who work six or seven hours a day in difficult conditions, including the use of wood, which is detrimental to the environment and their health.
- Support to the Government of Haiti (GoH) at the national, decentralized government structures and school level has increased capacity to manage school feeding. While important policy framework is in place, the Haitian Government does not have the institutional or financial capacity to manage the programme independently, even partially, until crucial governance issues are resolved at the national level.
- Local purchases benefit both school children and local producers, including women. Financial mechanisms used by other development actors needs to be explored. As such, the experience of other Caribbean countries with similar climatic issues as Haiti provide examples of initiatives that create learning and economic opportunities at school and community level.
4 Strategic and 3 operational recommendations were formulated, including: -
- Validation of normative documents and support to Government on enhancing capacities at decentralized level;
- Development of a gender transformative strategy using proven approaches that employ social mobilisation;
- Consider increasing local purchases and support local producer organizations, especially women;
- Provide additional support (e.g. more training) to schools struggling to comply with programme rules
- Conduct an analysis on the use of the McGovern-Dole school feeding platform as a response mechanism to slow and rapid-onset