Review of Five Assessments for Sector Programme Support

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What is written in Sida's assessment memos for Sector Programme Support? DESO:s Project on Sector Programme Support has made a review of five assessment memos for Sector Programme Support in order to define a baseline on how some areas (results-based management, the perspectives of the poor on development and the rights perspective, gender, capacity development and communication) are handled in the assessments today. The assessments memos reviewed where Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia and Mali, all written in spring 2006. One memo stood out as a good example regarding all areas, which can be interpreted as a sign that all issues are inter-connected; if you have a good results-based approach this will make it easier to integrate the two perspectives in the assessment. It is clear that when the author has made his/her own judgement and analysis, rather than just cutting and pasting information, it shows in the memo and all areas benefit from it. The memo in question does not follow the exact structure in "Sida at Work", which implies that it is difficult to follow a manual too rigorously. The demands made on Sida officers in the new context of aid are high and since one cannot be an expert on  verything most programme officers have one specialist area which is easiest to focus on. But the different issues are interconnected and must be looked upon simultaneously. Those interviewees who have written an assessment memo for budget support or sector programme support agree upon one thing: this should not be done by one programme officer alone. It is much work and it is almost impossible for one person to be able to cover all areas that has to be included in the assessment. If more people would participate in a good and concrete way (like writing parts of the memo) the assessment would benefit from it.

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