WHO declares the end of the most recent Ebola virus disease outbreak in Liberia

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Today the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia. This announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in Liberia tested negative for the disease for the second time. Liberia now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to ensure that any new cases are identified quickly and contained before spreading.

Liberia first declared the end of Ebola human-to-human transmission on 9th May 2015, but the virus has re-emerged three times in the country since then. The most recent cases were a woman who had exposure to the virus in Guinea and travelled to Monrovia in Liberia, and her two children who subsequently became infected.

“WHO commends Liberia’s government and people on their effective response to this recent re-emergence of Ebola,” says Dr Alex Gasasira, WHO Representative in Liberia. “WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases.”

This date marks the fourth time since the start of the epidemic 2 years ago that Liberia has reported zero cases for at least 42 days. Sierra Leone declared the end of Ebola human-to-human transmission on 17 March 2016 and Guinea on 1 June 2016 following the last flare ups.

WHO cautions that the 3 countries must remain vigilant for new infections. The risk of additional outbreaks from exposure to infected body fluids of survivors remains.

WHO and partners continue to work with the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help ensure that survivors have access to medical and psychosocial care and screening for persistent virus, as well as counselling and education to help them reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of Ebola virus transmission.

WHO in collaboration with partners, is committed to support the Government of Liberia to strengthen the health system and improve health care delivery at all levels.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Head of UN peacekeeping operations visits south Sudan

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The Under-Secretary-General (USG) in charge of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Hervé Ladsous, will be visiting South Sudan from tomorrow, Friday 10 June until Monday 13 June 2016.

USG Ladsous will be in South Sudan to assess the situation following the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and to demonstrate the continued commitment of the United Nations and United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to support South Sudan.

Hervé Ladsous will also be travelling to Bentiu and Malakal to visit the protection of civilians sites and interact with peacekeepers.

The visit will be concluded by a press stakeout which will take place in the UNMISS Conference Room in Tomping base. Journalists willing to attend are requested to be present at 12:30 Monday 13 June.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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CAR: UN independent expert on follow-up mission to meet newly appointed authorities

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The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, Keita Bocoum Marie-Thérèse, will conduct a follow-up visit in the Central African Republic (CAR) from 10 to 20 June 2016.

This seventh visit comes following the inauguration of the new government set up by President Touadéra and the start of the work of newly elected parliamentarians.

“I’m going to discuss with the authorities, civil society and the international community on the current human rights situation, and perspectives related to security, respect for human rights, justice and national reconciliation”, Ms. Keita Bocoum said.

On 28 June at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Keita Bocoum will discuss the issue of transitional justice with representatives of the Central African authorities, MINUSCA and civil society organisations

The UN Independent Expert will submit her final report to the Human Rights Council in September 2016.

The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic was established by the Council of Human Rights on 27 September 2013. Ms. Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, a former professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, held various positions both in Côte d’Ivoire and in the UN. She was Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to UNOWA, as well as Director of the Division of Human Rights and the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Darfur. For more information, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/CF/Pages/IECentralAfricanRepublic.aspx

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Central African Republic: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CFIndex.aspx

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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CAR: UN Independent Expert on follow-up mission to meet newly appointed authorities

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The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, Keita Bocoum Marie-Thérèse, will conduct a follow-up visit in the Central African Republic (CAR) from 10 to 20 June 2016.

This seventh visit comes following the inauguration of the new government set up by President Touadéra and the start of the work of newly elected parliamentarians.

“I’m going to discuss with the authorities, civil society and the international community on the current human rights situation, and perspectives related to security, respect for human rights, justice and national reconciliation”, Ms. Keita Bocoum said.

On 28 June at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Keita Bocoum will discuss the issue of transitional justice with representatives of the Central African authorities, MINUSCA and civil society organisations

The UN Independent Expert will submit her final report to the Human Rights Council in September 2016.

The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic was established by the Council of Human Rights on 27 September 2013. Ms. Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, a former professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, held various positions both in Côte d’Ivoire and in the UN. She was Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to UNOWA, as well as Director of the Division of Human Rights and the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Darfur. For more information, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/CF/Pages/IECentralAfricanRepublic.aspx

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Central African Republic: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CFIndex.aspx

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Tveit meets peace-builder Tutu on way to South Africa reconciliation consultation

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On his way to a Peace-building and Reconciliation Consultation in Johannesburg, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary stopped off to visit South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.

WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, went to Cape Town to talk with Archbishop Emeritus Tutu, the former head of the Anglican church in the Province of South Africa during the turbulent apartheid days.

The meeting with 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tutu was on 7 June, Tveit visited on 8 June Robben Island and the cell of prisoner 4664, Nelson Mandela, who spent much of his 27 years as an apartheid prisoner there.

Tveit and Tutu discussed the role of the WCC, the situation in South Africa, which has important local government elections this year, Africa in general and the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

Tutu was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

The two church leaders discussed the refugee situation in South Africa where some 300,000 people from other African countries seek refuge, but also where xenophobia rears its ugly head in anti-migrant sentiment periodically.

“They gave us shelter when we needed it in our struggle,” Tutu told Tveit in a reference to how many African countries accepted exiles from South Africa during the time of the struggle against apartheid.

In his conversation with Tveit Tutu spoke about the WCC noting, “We would never have won the struggle [against apartheid] without the support of the international ecumenical family.”

“We also talked about new expressions of racism in all continents, particularly about the situation in the United States,” said Tveit after the meeting.

“He [Tutu] shared some of his reflections about what a truth and reconciliation process can contribute in terms of another language to deal with such conflicts.”

In 1996, Tutu was appointed by then President Nelson Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body set-up to probe gross human rights violations during apartheid and seen as playing an important role in preventing a post-apartheid blood-bath.

Commenting on racism Tutu told Tveit, “What we learn from human history is that we do not learn from human history.”

Tveit commented, “It is always inspiring to listen to and talk with Desmond Tutu. He carries both the legacy and the vision of our Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace with us.

“His experience, wisdom and not least his spirituality is a great gift to the ecumenical movement as we work for the unity of humanity and the unity of the church in every corner of the world.”

Next stop for Tveit is Soweto in Johannesburg, once a black dormitory city in the days of apartheid, where Tutu and Mandela both lived.

From 8 to 11 June the general secretary will attend a consultation entitled “Peace-Building and Reconciliation Consultation: The Place of the Church” in Soweto, the place where black children rose up against inferior apartheid education in 1976.

The consultation is jointly organized by the WCC and the SACC to provide a safe space where churches who come from conflict or post-conflict countries could engage in a mutual questioning, challenging and learning for improved participation of the churches in peace building and reconciliation among the churches and in the society.

Church leaders will be challenged to take a proactive role in engaging in and supporting initiatives for peace-building, justice and overcoming poverty.

The consultation will have 30 participants representing WCC member churches from Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa, South Sudan and Sudan.

Other ecumenical organizations will be the ACT Alliance Regional Forum, SACC, specialized ministries engaged in peacebuilding, WCC member of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and WCC staff.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).

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South Africa to Host Inaugural Regional Annual Sports Awards

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The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 (http://www.AUSCRegion5.org.bw), which comprises 10 African States, announced today that it would be celebrating their Inaugural Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA), at Birchwood Estate in Johannesburg on Saturday 25 June.

“This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate sports excellence, reward achievement, stimulate interest in sports, discover new talent and promote development. It also provides the opportunity to recognise sport luminaries, in and off the field of play and help position the region’s Sports Awards brand as the main event in the region,” says AUSC General Manager, Stanley Mutoya.

The awards, which will be supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation (http://www.srsa.gov.za), have been divided into 11 categories. The accolades will be bestowed upon athletes, coaches, member countries, journalists and teams that have produced outstanding performances in sport at regional and international level. “The essence of the awards is to maintain credibility by considering winners of country awards as RASA nominees,” says Mutoya.

The Chairperson’s AUSC Region 5 Special Award will also be bestowed to a country that has has taken a leadership role in the implementation of the AUSC Region 5 programmes; has well executed sport and recreation development programmes and represents athletes and teams that are excelling and bringing home medals from international championships and events.

Commenting on the awards, George Jana, AU Acting Secretary General said it had been one of the Region’s strategic targets to establish criteria and give honours and awards to member states, teams and individuals in recognition of meritorious service in sport or for outstanding achievement in sport. “The 2016 theme of “Celebrating Excellence! Inspiring Innovation” resonates with the Region’s strategic thrust, that of continuously promoting excellence in sport and recreation at all levels,” he says.

“We are honoured to be supporting the African Union and hosting the inaugural awards in South Africa. Our great continent of Africa prides itself with talented men and women who represent us well in the world of sport. South African history is not unique but is shared by many other African nations. Such history tells us sport has always been a great tool to unite a divided people. These awards will be a platform to celebrate African excellence and promote African unity,” concludes Sports and Recreation Minister, Fikile Mbalula.

The awards are expected to attract a record number of dignitaries and sports celebrities from across the region.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Sports Council (AUSC).

Distributed on behalf of the AUSC and Ministry of Sports and Recreation in South Africa by Cathy Findley PR.

For any media queries contact:

Jacqui Rorke or Cath Jackson
Media and PR Officers – Cathy Findley PR
Tel: +27 (0) 11 463-6372/ Jacqui – Cell +27 (0) 84 9221893; Cath – Cell +27 (0) 82 9006477
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Esethu Hasane
Media and Liaison Officer – Ministry
Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa
Tell: +27 (0) 12 304 5114 / CELL: +27 (0) 71 259 2422
Email: [email protected]

Mr. Mickey Modisane
Sport and Recreation South Africa
Head of Marketing and Communications
Office Tel: 012 304 5159
Mobile Tel: 082 992 0101
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.srsa.gov.za

Ms. Sandra Botha
Sport and Recreation South Africa
Marketing and Communications
Office Tel: 012 304 5009
Mobile Tel: 082 4513 210
Email: [email protected]

EDITORS NOTE:

The African Union Sport Council Region5 (AUSC Region5) is the sports arm of the African Union, which was once the Organisation of African Unity. It was formed in the 1960s, and its headquarters is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The main aim of the AUSC is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa i.e. sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.
The AUSC divided Africa into seven competition zones due to the vastness of the continent and for financial prudence. The main consideration was the countries’ geographical positions. It is from this that AUSC Region was born.

BACKGROUND OF THE AFRICAN UNION SPORTS COUNCIL (AUSC) REGION 5
The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 is one of the five Regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the African Union. This follows the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA), under which the Region 5 was known as SCSA Zone VI.
Members of the Region comprise of: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The SCSA was established on the 14 December 1966 and served as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for the coordination of the Africa Sports Movement and to utilize Sport in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid on the continent. Invariably, the SCSA was essentially a political organization which furthered the aims and objectives of the OAU through Sport.

Source:: South Africa to Host Inaugural Regional Annual Sports Awards

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Press Attaches and Focal Persons in Communication at AU Member States Embassies in Addis Ababa converge in Sierra Leone to brainstorm on how to broaden outreach about the Union and Agenda 2063 at national levels

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Ahead of the 27th AU Summit scheduled for 10 to 18 July 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda, the Press Attaches and Focal Persons in Communication at AU Member State Embassies in Addis Ababa met on 6 and 7 June 2016 in Freetown, Sierra Leone to brainstorm on the AU communication strategy with the view to popularize the activities and achievements of the AU Commission and create impact by taking information from the AU headquarters to the people at the national level

The workshop was raised much awareness about the continental Organisation as is holding in the same venue where the Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was hosted in 1980. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, the Representative of the Chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), the Representative of the Bureau Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mrs. Christiane Matondo, the Sierra Leonean Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, H.E Mr. Doradji Ketong, the Ag. Director of Information and Communication of the AUC, Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou, the Diplomatic corps, Members of Government, senior media editors and correspondents from renown press organs based in Sierra Leone, as well as AUC Official, and resource persons who presented the programs, projects and aspirations of the Ten Years Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

Representing the Chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), H.E Mr. Doradji Ketong said Sierra Leone has continued to stand strong in spite of the crisis caused by the Ebola epidemics and congratulated the country for successfully fighting the Ebola virus. He commended the Government and the people of Sierra Leone for showing resilience and courage in fighting and eradicating the deadly disease. Mr. Doradji underlined that the solemn declaration which brought together Heads of State and Governments of the AU reiterated the need to enhance African integration and the need to enhance peace and security in the continent as this will determine Africa’s destiny. He said the Agenda 2063 represents an opportunity to proclaim the African renaissance, reflect on the achievements of past fifty years while planning on the next fifty years so as to prepare a better Africa for future generations. Mr. Doradji called on the need to join efforts and be united. He underscored the need for synergy between the political social and economic sectors and the role of media to promote the values and vision of the AU. On concluding Mr Doradji said that the meeting presents an opportunity for the Member States and communication experts to find better popularization mechanisms for the Africa Agenda 2063. (See complete speech of the PRC Chair on the AU website: www.au.int ).

Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, lauded the initiative of the workshop and thanked the AU Commission for choosing Sierra Leone to organize such an important meeting which will not only raise awareness about the vision and missions of the African Union, but will sensitize the population on the need to have the sense of belonging and be part of the development process of the continent through the Africa Agenda 2063. ‘This is an important gesture of solidarity and a strong message from the AU headquarters showing human affection to their sisters and brothers in one of the countries just coming out from the plague of a deadly disease, the Ebola and whose economy was seriously affected even though now things have started regaining their normal trends with the many investment opportunities in Sierra Leone” stated the Ministers of State. He welcomed the participants to Freetown while echoing the late Chinua Achebe who stated “that stories or narratives are the most durable of human achievements and the stories you tell will outlive you”. In the same vein the Minister of State labeled the gathering as one of pertinent importance for communicators to tell the story of Africa’s premiere institution, the African Union.

H.E Dr. Mohammed said that it is now time for African communicators to tell their story through the African narrative stressing that Africa is not only about the wars, as painted by western media but about the resilience and solidarity of its people to face problems, the progress activism of development and compassion. The Minister for Cooperation and Foreign Affairs called upon media and communication experts to spread the positive news about democratic values and the positive socio economic initiatives of Africa. “We need to show case the vision of the African Union to Africans, we need to show that the African Union is a union of African people and not just of states a union of common men and women who can together lead to the achievement of Agenda 2063. Said Dr. Mohammed. (See complete speech of the Minister of State on the AU website: www.au.int ).

“The workshop will go a long way in shaping the manner in which Agenda 2063 will be popularized in light of the common dream of Heads of States who adopted the development Agenda for a prosperous and peaceful Africa.” said Mrs. Matondo while addressing the participants. She noted that the resilience and courage of the people of Sierra Leone is encouraging as it is proof that with solidarity and determination a country can overcome all problems. “Africa came together as one to strongly combat the Ebola Virus. Let us also combine our efforts to achieve the goals and aspirations of Agenda 2063” said Mrs. Matondo.

Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou, the Acting Director of the African Union Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) in her opening remarks welcomed all the Press Attaches and focal persons of communication from the Embassies of AU Member States based in Addis Ababa, and thanked them for accepting to undertake the long journey from the east region to the far western country of Sierra Leone in the coastal city of Freetown. “This is sign that African solidarity and determination to socialize and integrate is a very important step to implementing the Agenda 2063′. She noted that the focal persons responsible for communication and Editors in chief of African media will use the platform to exchange views on how to popularize the Agenda 2063 for the “Africa We Want”. Mrs Tankou also noted that the venue of the workshop hosted the Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1980 and now the same venue is hosting the representatives of AU Member States to discuss how to shape the future of the continent so that Africa should continue to play its rightful role in the world arena with the view to enhance the socio-economic and political development of the continent. “Our presence in Freetown today represents a symbolic gesture and it will send a strong message from the AU Commission as this will raise awareness through the local and social media to inform African citizens at national, regional, continental and international levels about the activities of the Union.” Noted the AU Ag. Director of the DIC while reiterating the commitment of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to narrow the gap between the African citizens and the AU through a robust communication strategy for a people centered Organisation. “Dr. Dlamini Zuma has placed communication as one of her eight priorities in the Strategic Plan of the AU”, stressed Mrs. Tankou. She concluded by thanking the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Addis Ababa for facilitating the smooth organization of the workshop.

Honorable Cornelius Deveaux Sierra Leonean Deputy Minister of Information and Communication welcomed the hosting of the Press Attaches and editors in chief of Africa Media meeting which he said comes at the right time when the AU people of Sierra Leone needed to recognize and be reminded of the important role the AU Commission played in mobilizing AU countries to stand as one in support of the Ebola affected countries. He commended the Directorate of Information and Communication of the AU for engaging with AU Member State Press Attaches in a bid to broaden outreach of the AU and expand knowledge about the African Union in view of Agenda 2063. He highlighted the relevance of information, communication and dissemination to the realization of Agenda 2063 as a way to impact the lives of Africans. Hon. Cornelius called for a proactive disclosure of information and accountability to spread the word to the youth, the women, educated and non-educated, farmers civil society, people from all walks of life noting that it is only then that these groups of people can be active participants in quest for a sustainable continent with people inclusive growth ensuring ownership of the process of Unionism. (See complete speech of Minister Deveaux on the AU website: www.au.int ).

The two day workshop concluded with a guided tour to the Ebola centers and sites on Tuesday 7th June 2016.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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IMF Executive Board Approves US$204 Million Stand-by Credit Facility for Rwanda and Completes Fifth PSI Review

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On June 8, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the fifth review of Rwanda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI)[1] and approved an 18-month arrangement under the Standby Credit Facility (SCF)[2] for SDR 144.18 million (about US$204 million or 90 percent of Rwanda’s quota). In completing the review, the Board granted a waiver for a minor and temporary nonobservance of an assessment criteria on the non-accumulation of external arrears. The Board also approved the extension of the current PSI up to the end of 2017.

The SCF will complement the authorities’ efforts to address growing external imbalances, by boosting reserves, with a first SDR 72.09 million disbursement (about US$102 million) available immediately. Both near and medium term adjustment policies to position Rwanda’s external position on a sustainable basis will form part of an overall strategy to support growth, support poverty reduction and improve the country’s resilience to future uncertainties in the global economy.

The Executive Board approved the PSI for Rwanda on December 2, 2013 (see Press Release No.13/483).

Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the following statement:

“Rwanda’s continued strong performance under the Policy Support Instrument has created a platform for high growth and steady poverty reduction. Growth in 2015 was buoyed by strong construction and services activity, while inflation remained contained.

“Nevertheless, the situation has grown more challenging in recent months due to external shocks related to commodity prices and tighter conditions for private inflows. Combined with the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, these have reduced export receipts and put downward pressure on the exchange rate and official reserves.

“Accordingly, the authorities are taking decisive steps to address external imbalances; first and foremost, through using continued exchange rate flexibility as the principal adjustment tool. This will be supported by tighter fiscal and monetary policies to help curb demand for imports. Implementation of these policies should maintain GDP growth of around 6 percent in both 2016 and 2017, while IMF financing under the Standby Credit Facility will help bolster reserves. The authorities are also accelerating policies to diversify and promote higher value exports, which should help strengthen the country’s medium-term growth prospects and its resilience to future shocks.

“Downside risks to growth and the program remain: for example, should further shocks to commodity prices or regional and weather-related developments materialize, additional adjustment policies would need to be put in place rapidly.”

Annex

Recent economic developments

Despite the drop in global commodity prices, Rwanda’s growth remained strong in 2015, with a GDP rate of 6.9 percent. Mining exports dropped by almost half in 2015, leading to a significant loss in foreign exchange earnings. As such, the current account deficit has also worsened, from a deficit of 16.4 percent in 2014 to a deficit of 18.1 percent in 2015. The growth outlook for 2016–17 has also become more uncertain.

Consumer price inflation remained contained, averaging 2.5 percent for the year, though it increased in the second half of 2015 due to higher food prices and administrative increases in utility prices. Monetary policy remained largely accommodative through end-2015 but was tightened in the first quarter of 2016.

Despite these developments, macroeconomic policy performance through December 2015 remained in line with the PSI program objectives. Most targets were met and were also supported by structural reforms, notably changes to boost domestic revenue collection, reduce liquidity overhangs, strengthen financial market supervision and functioning, and improve domestic revenue collection. Planned measures to revise the property tax law and improve the timeliness of public reporting on budget execution are taking longer than anticipated.

Program summary

The existing PSI and new SCF arrangement will support the country’s efforts to address growing external imbalances, thereby supporting continued strong growth and durable poverty reduction. The SCF arrangement adds a financing component to the existing PSI-supported program, which aims to promote private-sector led growth through safeguarding macroeconomic stability, including through external sustainability, fiscal sustainability based on continued improvements in domestic resource collection, low and stable inflation, and enhancing access to credit and deepening the financial sector.

Rwanda: Selected Economic Indicators, 2014 – 2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Acct.

Est.

Proj.

Proj.

Proj.

Output, prices, and exchange rate

Real GDP

7.0

6.9

6.0

6.0

7.0

GDP deflator

3.7

1.2

4.4

4.6

4.8

CPI (period average)

1.8

2.5

4.6

4.9

5.0

CPI (end of period)

2.1

4.5

4.7

5.0

5.0

Core inflation (end of period)1

2.9

Terms of trade (deterioration, -)

1.9

2.2

-1.1

-0.9

-0.7

Money and credit

Broad money (M3)

19.0

21.1

15.4

15.6

15.1

Credit to non-government sector

19.6

26.8

16.0

16.0

19.5

Policy Rate (end of period)

6.5

6.5

M3/GDP (percent)

22.7

25.4

26.5

27.6

28.3

NPLs (percent of total loans)

6.0

General government budget

Revenue and grants

24.0

25.0

23.8

23.3

23.5

of which: tax revenue

15.0

15.9

16.0

16.1

16.3

of which: grants

7.4

6.4

5.6

5.2

5.2

Expenditure

27.6

28.1

26.8

25.0

25.0

Current

15.0

14.8

14.3

14.8

14.1

Capital

12.6

13.3

12.5

10.2

10.9

Primary balance

-4.2

-4.1

-3.8

-2.4

-2.0

Overall balance

-4.9

-5.0

-4.7

-3.3

-3.0

Public debt

Total public debt

29.3

35.4

44.5

48.5

49.4

of which: external public debt

23.6

28.5

37.5

41.4

44.4

Investment and savings

Investment

25.2

25.7

28.9

25.4

25.6

Public

12.6

13.3

12.5

10.2

10.9

Private

12.6

12.4

16.4

15.2

14.7

Savings2

8.9

7.6

7.7

9.2

11.5

External sector

Exports (goods and services)

16.9

17.3

16.7

17.6

18.4

Imports (goods and services)3

33.5

34.9

37.3

33.3

32.2

Current account balance (including grants)

-10.5

-13.5

-16.5

-12.0

-10.2

Current account balance (excluding grants)

-16.4

-18.1

-21.2

-16.1

-14.1

Gross international reserves

In billions of US$

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.6

0.7

In months of next year’s imports

4.2

3.6

3.2

2.5

2.9

Memorandum items:

GDP at current market prices

Rwanda francs (billion)

5,394

5,837

6,459

7,164

8,031

US$ (billion)

7.9

8.1

GDP per capita (US$)

719

718

Population (million)

11.0

11.3

11.5

11.8

12.1

Sources: Rwandan authorities and IMF staff estimates.

1 Defined as excluding food and fuel.

2 The savings rate excludes grants.

3 Imports for 2016 reflect purchases of two aircrafts.


[1] The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Rwanda’s current PSI are available at www.imf.org/rwanda.

[2] The SCF provides financing to low-income countries on concessional terms. For more details, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/scf.htm.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Expression of Interest: Nigeria: EPC and O&M Contractors for Gas-Fired Power Plant

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Background:

In 2014, USTDA funded the Royal Power Gas-Fired IPP Feasibility Study for the Royal Power Integrated and General Services Limited Company (RPIS), a private sector independent power producer and energy advisory company in Nigeria. The objective of the feasibility study was to assist RPIS in completing the technical and financial feasibility analyses that are required to obtain a power generation license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as obtaining a license is a prerequisite to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Study also helped the grantee prepare the necessary documentation to secure financing support for implementing and operating a 275 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas-fired power plant based in Badagry, Lagos State, Nigeria. The contractor for this project was NOVI Energy, Inc. The Final Report was submitted in February 2016 and approved by RPIS in April 2016.

RPIS invites interested EPC Contractors to submit Expressions of Interest in providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services necessary for turnkey implementation of its power plant.

Interested EPC and O&M contractors are requested to submit via email an Expression of Interest with a detailed background including the company’s profile and information regarding past and current projects.

Key criterion for shortlisting will be:

– Overall contractor experience for similar power plants;

– Experience in African terrain;

– Ability to provide both EPC as well as O&M services; and

– Track record of completing such projects in a timely manner.

Based on an evaluation of the Expressions of Interest received, successful applicants will be issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) and other bidding documents. RPIS is expected to complete the evaluation process by the end of August.

Proposal Deadline: July 15, 2016

Point of Contact:

Project Director

Royal Power Integrated & General Services Limited,

1218/B, Sam Adegbite Close,

Off Amodu Ojikutu Street,

Victoria Island, Lagos

Nigeria

E- Mail: [email protected]

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

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Background:

In 2014, USTDA funded the Royal Power Gas-Fired IPP Feasibility Study for the Royal Power Integrated and General Services Limited Company (RPIS), a private sector independent power producer and energy advisory company in Nigeria. The objective of the feasibility study was to assist RPIS in completing the technical and financial feasibility analyses that are required to obtain a power generation license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as obtaining a license is a prerequisite to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Study also helped the grantee prepare the necessary documentation to secure financing support for implementing and operating a 275 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas-fired power plant based in Badagry, Lagos State, Nigeria. The contractor for this project was NOVI Energy, Inc. The Final Report was submitted in February 2016 and approved by RPIS in April 2016.

RPIS invites interested EPC Contractors to submit Expressions of Interest in providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services necessary for turnkey implementation of its power plant.

Interested EPC and O&M contractors are requested to submit via email an Expression of Interest with a detailed background including the company’s profile and information regarding past and current projects.

Key criterion for shortlisting will be:

– Overall contractor experience for similar power plants;

– Experience in African terrain;

– Ability to provide both EPC as well as O&M services; and

– Track record of completing such projects in a timely manner.

Based on an evaluation of the Expressions of Interest received, successful applicants will be issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) and other bidding documents. RPIS is expected to complete the evaluation process by the end of August.

Proposal Deadline: July 15, 2016

Point of Contact:

Project Director

Royal Power Integrated & General Services Limited,

1218/B, Sam Adegbite Close,

Off Amodu Ojikutu Street,

Victoria Island, Lagos

Nigeria

E- Mail: [email protected]

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

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Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Evaluation Purpose and Questions

This performance evaluation examines the appropriateness and effectiveness of livelihoods programs for refugee returnees in Burundi funded by DOS/PRM (PRM) during fiscal years 2009-2013 and implemented by three implementing partners (IPs). The purpose of this evaluation is to provide PRM with guidance and learning to improve PRM’s livelihoods programming strategy as well as its capacity to support the design and implementation of livelihoods projects that contribute to helping refugees and returned refugees become self-reliant.

The evaluation seeks to answer the following overarching questions, each of which included several sub-questions that have been thoroughly addressed in the body of this report.

1. What types of assistance/programs were provided?

2. Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

3. Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

4. What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

PRM Livelihoods Strategy

Building sustainable livelihoods is believed to facilitate achievement of PRM’s goal of durable solutions and supporting self-reliance for refugees. In May 2014, PRM adopted an internal livelihoods strategy, which outlines the following three goals:

1. Improve design and implementation of livelihoods programming;

2. Develop and disseminate tools and guidance for program officers and refugee coordinators; and

3. Exert diplomatic efforts to improve livelihoods prospects for populations of concern.

Program Response

World Relief (WR) began programming in the Makamba and Rutana Provinces of Burundi in 2005 however, the projects for which it received PRM funding and that were evaluated as part of this contract began in 2009. WR’s livelihood activities included the distribution of seeds and chickens as well as the establishment of village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). Christian Outreach for Relief and Development (CORD) has worked with PRM funding in Burundi since 2009 with a focus on peacebuilding. CORD’s livelihoods activities targeted HHs with assistance including seeds, tools, animals, and cuttings as well as training in animal husbandry, agricultural production, and composting. Food for the Hungry (FH) also began implementing livelihoods activities with PRM funding in 2009. FH’s main activities included seed and tool distribution, goat distribution, and training in animal husbandry, stable construction, and improved agriculture techniques.

Evaluation Design, Data Collection Methods, and Limitations

This mixed-methods evaluation employed the standard rapid appraisal methods of document review, preliminary interviews, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits within Ruyigi, Rutana, and Makamba provinces. The two-person evaluation team interviewed various stakeholders, including PRM staff members, IP staff members, UNHCR, communal authorities, program beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries, and local partner organizations. Several limitations affected the data collection and analysis, including lack of baseline and monitoring data, selection and response bias, restricted fieldwork timeframe, and the absence of baseline and robust monitoring data, among others.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Evaluation Question 1: What types of assistance/programs were provided?

IPs in Burundi included livelihoods activities as part of a larger package of interventions for returned refugees, IDPs, and “stayees” (individuals who remained in Burundi during the conflicts). In most cases, livelihoods activities constituted the smallest component of IPs’ annual budgets. Most livelihoods activities were designed as a one-time distribution of goods rather than a long-term intervention with on-going services. A small number of activities included training components for certain participants, while other activities focused on the creation of income-generating and savings and loans activities. It was difficult for the team to assess the extent to which IPs’ activities were able to meet beneficiary needs and preferences due to the lack of useful baseline data. Needs assessment data, as well as systematic information gathered on individual and HH situations, community and market contexts, as well as ethnic and gender dynamics would have greatly facilitated this evaluation and enabled the team to feasibly answer this evaluation question. The substantial time lapse between the end of the programs and the evaluation made it very problematic for participants to recall their experiences; identify changes over the course of the programming; and differentiate between the inputs and activities they received from FH, CORD, or WR in light of the many other organizations also providing nearly identical support, distributions, and training.

Evaluation Question 2: Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

All IPs discussed targeting criteria in the implementation of their livelihoods activities, however criteria were loosely defined and clear policies and procedures for applying and following the criteria were lacking. Feedback from village leaders and association members underscores the ad-hoc nature in which many activities were targeted and participants were selected. The team found a range among interviewed participants regarding levels of vulnerability, with some participants in need of assistance to meet basic needs and others who appeared well off and not in need of assistance. Several activities were not designed to assist the most vulnerable due to requirements of either a financial or asset-based contribution such as land, while the targeting and selection processes of other activities were not accessible to all eligible community members due to the way in which the process was executed at the village level.

The team found an overwhelming lack of sustainability due to the one-time nature of activities and the absence of sufficient, on-going support, particularly for individuals who are more vulnerable.

Evaluation Question 3: Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

The team found the activities to be poorly designed and poorly implemented with minimal sustainability and few tangible outcomes. In addition to the weaknesses in activity design and implementation, the team found a widespread deficiency of technical knowledge and experience among IP program staff about livelihoods and livelihoods interventions. Moreover, the evaluation team found that IPs were not engaged in routine, systematic monitoring of their activities during the period of implementation. In some cases where monitoring data was collected by the IPs, this data was found to be quite accurate, although insufficient for the purposes of determining if a livelihoods program effected a change in the self-sufficiency of the beneficiaries. In particular, the absence of outcome-level indicators limits the depth of learning about these programs that can be achieved.

Evaluation Question 4: What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

Due to the lack of baseline data, the team is not able to determine the impact of the activities or attribute changes in beneficiaries’ livelihoods to the IPs’ interventions. All aspects of the activities for which the team was able to collect information are discussed in the other sections of this report.

SELECTED RECOMMENDATIONS

For IPs

IPs need to ensure that their field-based staff members in charge of implementing and overseeing livelihoods programs are properly trained and skilled in the field/discipline of livelihoods. HQ staff need to develop systems and tools to provide their field-based colleagues with stronger technical guidance and support to do their jobs, as field-based staff lack education and training in livelihoods.

IPs should include, at a minimum, one full staff position dedicated to monitoring livelihoods programs. Requiring existing staff members and refugee social worker assistants to undertake program monitoring is not feasible. Including M&E directly in budgets, both in terms of staff time and additional, needed resources, will help to ensure that program monitoring is given the necessary attention and dedication. While having a staff person for each project may not be feasible or necessary, a country-level or regional coordinator may be well-suited for such work.

IPs need to place more importance on developing livelihoods activities that are appealing to the needs of women and girls. Activities should be based on sound evidence as collected through a gender analysis with a focus on livelihoods capacities and gaps. Activities should not only demonstrate a nuanced and informed design, but also an implementation approach that considers how best to recruit and support women and girls to maintain their participation in activities as well as to find success following the termination and/or completion of activities.

For PRM

PRM should consider its capacity for supporting IPs working on livelihoods assistance. This includes the presence of a clear strategy with well-articulated priorities and operational procedures. This framework should be used as the basis for how awards are made and how IPs are monitored and evaluated over time.

PRM should ensure that needs assessments are conducted by each IP prior to program design and implementation. Needs assessments should also seek to understand the community context in terms of land ownership and use, markets, politics, ethnicity, gender, social structures and networks, wealth, and religion, among others.

PRM should insist on proper M&E of its programs and should require sufficient M&E budget lines in all proposals for livelihoods programs. Specifically, PRM should require all IPs to develop project logical frameworks that clearly state their program or activity objectives and the series of activities that will produce the required outputs, outcomes, and intermediate results to those objectives. The project logical framework should include the necessary custom and standard indicators (as offered by PRM) to monitor program or activity implementation over time. Indicator targets can also be set where necessary. The logical framework should be designed in a way that demonstrates careful consideration of the pre-design and implementation assessments that have been conducted of the needs and context.

PRM should review its vulnerability criteria for livelihoods programs vis-à-vis the types of activities IPs are proposing to implement. This review should be made in consideration that program participants will be well-placed to find success and ultimately to benefit from the activity or program being implemented and that proposed activities are appropriately designed for inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Evaluation Purpose and Questions

This performance evaluation examines the appropriateness and effectiveness of livelihoods programs for refugee returnees in Burundi funded by DOS/PRM (PRM) during fiscal years 2009-2013 and implemented by three implementing partners (IPs). The purpose of this evaluation is to provide PRM with guidance and learning to improve PRM’s livelihoods programming strategy as well as its capacity to support the design and implementation of livelihoods projects that contribute to helping refugees and returned refugees become self-reliant.

The evaluation seeks to answer the following overarching questions, each of which included several sub-questions that have been thoroughly addressed in the body of this report.

1. What types of assistance/programs were provided?

2. Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

3. Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

4. What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

PRM Livelihoods Strategy

Building sustainable livelihoods is believed to facilitate achievement of PRM’s goal of durable solutions and supporting self-reliance for refugees. In May 2014, PRM adopted an internal livelihoods strategy, which outlines the following three goals:

1. Improve design and implementation of livelihoods programming;

2. Develop and disseminate tools and guidance for program officers and refugee coordinators; and

3. Exert diplomatic efforts to improve livelihoods prospects for populations of concern.

Program Response

World Relief (WR) began programming in the Makamba and Rutana Provinces of Burundi in 2005 however, the projects for which it received PRM funding and that were evaluated as part of this contract began in 2009. WR’s livelihood activities included the distribution of seeds and chickens as well as the establishment of village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). Christian Outreach for Relief and Development (CORD) has worked with PRM funding in Burundi since 2009 with a focus on peacebuilding. CORD’s livelihoods activities targeted HHs with assistance including seeds, tools, animals, and cuttings as well as training in animal husbandry, agricultural production, and composting. Food for the Hungry (FH) also began implementing livelihoods activities with PRM funding in 2009. FH’s main activities included seed and tool distribution, goat distribution, and training in animal husbandry, stable construction, and improved agriculture techniques.

Evaluation Design, Data Collection Methods, and Limitations

This mixed-methods evaluation employed the standard rapid appraisal methods of document review, preliminary interviews, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits within Ruyigi, Rutana, and Makamba provinces. The two-person evaluation team interviewed various stakeholders, including PRM staff members, IP staff members, UNHCR, communal authorities, program beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries, and local partner organizations. Several limitations affected the data collection and analysis, including lack of baseline and monitoring data, selection and response bias, restricted fieldwork timeframe, and the absence of baseline and robust monitoring data, among others.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Evaluation Question 1: What types of assistance/programs were provided?

IPs in Burundi included livelihoods activities as part of a larger package of interventions for returned refugees, IDPs, and “stayees” (individuals who remained in Burundi during the conflicts). In most cases, livelihoods activities constituted the smallest component of IPs’ annual budgets. Most livelihoods activities were designed as a one-time distribution of goods rather than a long-term intervention with on-going services. A small number of activities included training components for certain participants, while other activities focused on the creation of income-generating and savings and loans activities. It was difficult for the team to assess the extent to which IPs’ activities were able to meet beneficiary needs and preferences due to the lack of useful baseline data. Needs assessment data, as well as systematic information gathered on individual and HH situations, community and market contexts, as well as ethnic and gender dynamics would have greatly facilitated this evaluation and enabled the team to feasibly answer this evaluation question. The substantial time lapse between the end of the programs and the evaluation made it very problematic for participants to recall their experiences; identify changes over the course of the programming; and differentiate between the inputs and activities they received from FH, CORD, or WR in light of the many other organizations also providing nearly identical support, distributions, and training.

Evaluation Question 2: Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

All IPs discussed targeting criteria in the implementation of their livelihoods activities, however criteria were loosely defined and clear policies and procedures for applying and following the criteria were lacking. Feedback from village leaders and association members underscores the ad-hoc nature in which many activities were targeted and participants were selected. The team found a range among interviewed participants regarding levels of vulnerability, with some participants in need of assistance to meet basic needs and others who appeared well off and not in need of assistance. Several activities were not designed to assist the most vulnerable due to requirements of either a financial or asset-based contribution such as land, while the targeting and selection processes of other activities were not accessible to all eligible community members due to the way in which the process was executed at the village level.

The team found an overwhelming lack of sustainability due to the one-time nature of activities and the absence of sufficient, on-going support, particularly for individuals who are more vulnerable.

Evaluation Question 3: Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

The team found the activities to be poorly designed and poorly implemented with minimal sustainability and few tangible outcomes. In addition to the weaknesses in activity design and implementation, the team found a widespread deficiency of technical knowledge and experience among IP program staff about livelihoods and livelihoods interventions. Moreover, the evaluation team found that IPs were not engaged in routine, systematic monitoring of their activities during the period of implementation. In some cases where monitoring data was collected by the IPs, this data was found to be quite accurate, although insufficient for the purposes of determining if a livelihoods program effected a change in the self-sufficiency of the beneficiaries. In particular, the absence of outcome-level indicators limits the depth of learning about these programs that can be achieved.

Evaluation Question 4: What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

Due to the lack of baseline data, the team is not able to determine the impact of the activities or attribute changes in beneficiaries’ livelihoods to the IPs’ interventions. All aspects of the activities for which the team was able to collect information are discussed in the other sections of this report.

SELECTED RECOMMENDATIONS

For IPs

IPs need to ensure that their field-based staff members in charge of implementing and overseeing livelihoods programs are properly trained and skilled in the field/discipline of livelihoods. HQ staff need to develop systems and tools to provide their field-based colleagues with stronger technical guidance and support to do their jobs, as field-based staff lack education and training in livelihoods.

IPs should include, at a minimum, one full staff position dedicated to monitoring livelihoods programs. Requiring existing staff members and refugee social worker assistants to undertake program monitoring is not feasible. Including M&E directly in budgets, both in terms of staff time and additional, needed resources, will help to ensure that program monitoring is given the necessary attention and dedication. While having a staff person for each project may not be feasible or necessary, a country-level or regional coordinator may be well-suited for such work.

IPs need to place more importance on developing livelihoods activities that are appealing to the needs of women and girls. Activities should be based on sound evidence as collected through a gender analysis with a focus on livelihoods capacities and gaps. Activities should not only demonstrate a nuanced and informed design, but also an implementation approach that considers how best to recruit and support women and girls to maintain their participation in activities as well as to find success following the termination and/or completion of activities.

For PRM

PRM should consider its capacity for supporting IPs working on livelihoods assistance. This includes the presence of a clear strategy with well-articulated priorities and operational procedures. This framework should be used as the basis for how awards are made and how IPs are monitored and evaluated over time.

PRM should ensure that needs assessments are conducted by each IP prior to program design and implementation. Needs assessments should also seek to understand the community context in terms of land ownership and use, markets, politics, ethnicity, gender, social structures and networks, wealth, and religion, among others.

PRM should insist on proper M&E of its programs and should require sufficient M&E budget lines in all proposals for livelihoods programs. Specifically, PRM should require all IPs to develop project logical frameworks that clearly state their program or activity objectives and the series of activities that will produce the required outputs, outcomes, and intermediate results to those objectives. The project logical framework should include the necessary custom and standard indicators (as offered by PRM) to monitor program or activity implementation over time. Indicator targets can also be set where necessary. The logical framework should be designed in a way that demonstrates careful consideration of the pre-design and implementation assessments that have been conducted of the needs and context.

PRM should review its vulnerability criteria for livelihoods programs vis-à-vis the types of activities IPs are proposing to implement. This review should be made in consideration that program participants will be well-placed to find success and ultimately to benefit from the activity or program being implemented and that proposed activities are appropriately designed for inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015