Evaluating Victim Empowerment Projects
Nobi recently successfully tendered for an impact analysis of the Department of Social Development's (Socdev) Victim Empowerment Projects (VEP). This significant initiative by Socdev was born out of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), first implemented in 1996. The VEPs have been implemented in all nine provinces, all of which aimed to address the diverse needs of the victims of violence and crime.
The focus of the VEPs were primarily provincial, even though funding was managed at a national level. Thus provincial projects first submitted proposals for funding to the provincial departments of social development. Those projects deemed appropriate by the provincial co-ordinators for the VEP were then submitted to the national Department of Social Development.
The impact analysis has three specific objectives, namely, to:
- identify and evaluate whether the needs of the victims were met through the implementation of each business plan
- identify the constraints to effective implementation,
- make recommendations for better implementation or for the replication of the identified best practice models.
In order to meet these objectives S&T will first need to establish whether the projects exist; then consolidate a database to draw a sample frame of respondents from the projects.
The challenges facing S&T are particularly daunting, especially since most projects had applied for funding as far back as 1999. Experience has taught us that there is typically a high turnover in these types of projects. When funding is uncertain it comes as no surprise to discover that when we do follow-up studies most people had left the project to explore other employment opportunities.
The first phase of the evaluation saw Nobi conducting interviews with project managers or co-coordinators to establish how well the projects were functioning, to obtain their biographical data as well as the type of services that they offer.
In the second phase, Nobi will visit a random sample of 16 projects nationwide. The stratified sample was selected based on the amount of funding each project had received. The purpose of the second phase is to conduct interviews with those involved in the actual running of the projects and to also observe the projects in action. A full report on this study will be available by the end of 2003.