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Title Improving Local Service Provision Delivery in Eastern Congo: An Impact Evaluation of the Tuungane 2+ Interventions
Post date 10/22/2017
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ranks 176th out of 188 in the UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Report, an annual ranking based on outcomes related to health, education, and income. Two decades of instability and conflict has led to the erosion of the state’s capacity to provide basic services. It has also weakened communities’ ability to be informed, to mobilize for collective action, and to monitor and influence frontline service providers. In Eastern Congo, the local governance system related to service delivery is thus largely unresponsive to the service delivery needs and priorities of the population.

It is against this backdrop that in 2007, funded by UK’s DFID, the IRC and CARE International implemented the Tuungane program (“Tuungane” means “let’s unite” in Swahili). A first phase was implemented between 2007 and 2012. A second phase took place between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, Tuungane implemented an extension called Tuungane 2+ (or T2+) to ensure sustainability of the second phase. T2+ is implemented in 485 communities in three provinces of Eastern Congo: South Kivu, Haut Katanga and Tanganyika, reaching approximately one million beneficiaries. The components of the T2+ program include (a) capacity building of recently decentralized government units (so-called “ETDs”), (b) radio-related activities to support accountability and citizen participation in local governance, (c) a gender pilot aimed to improve women’s possibilities for effectively participating in, and influencing, community decision-making, and (d) grant projects in communities with a grant sizes of $8,990 in the health and education sectors and $2,358 for water and sanitation sectors. The goal of the Tuungane 2+ program is “to contribute to a local governance system that is responsive to the service delivery needs and priorities of the population, beyond the end of the program (IRC, 2014:4)” by ensuring the sustainability of the investment of the second phase of Tuungane.

The Tuungane 2+ program takes the form of an experiment. The program’s grant projects component is implemented as a two-by-two factorial, in those communities that undertake projects in the health and education sector (339 communities). In Congo, day-to-day problem-solving and decision-making about local service delivery challenges are made by frontline service providers and user committee members during their monthly meetings. The interface space between these two actors is therefore of particular importance to local service delivery quality and related outcomes. However, this space may not be optimally utilized. Two sets of actors have access to and influence over the user committee and frontline service provider interface: service users (via their user committee) and line ministry staff (via frontline service providers). The interactions between these actors and user committees and frontline service providers are often irregular and of low quality. Thus, in addition to the main intervention that aims to strengthen ties between user committee members and frontline service providers, a randomly selected half of communities receive a set of additional activities to involve the users. Furthermore, a randomly selected half of communities receive a set of additional activities to involve the relevant line ministries in decision-making about service provision. This design thus allows us to causally test the impact of including users and/or the relevant line ministries in local service provision.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

H1: User involvement improves service provision environment
H2: Line ministry involvement improves service provision environment
H3: User and line ministry involvement leads to stronger outcomes than all other treatments

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

The Tuungane 2+ program takes the form of an experiment. The program’s grant projects component is implemented as a two-by-two factorial, in those communities that undertake projects in the health and education sector (339 communities). In addition to the main intervention that aims to strengthen ties between user committee members and frontline service providers, a randomly selected half of communities receive a set of additional activities to involve the users. Furthermore, a randomly selected half of communities receive a set of additional activities to involve the relevant line ministries in decision-making about service provision. This design thus allows us to causally test the impact of including users and/or the relevant line ministries in local service provision.

To measure "service provision" we make use of behavioral measures. For example, a set of enumerators will visit the user committee and service provider related to the sector that received the Tuungane project 10 days before the data collection. Enumerators will provide 22 brochures (11 to the user committee, 11 to the service provider) about the results of the Tuungane 2 impact evaluation. In addition, the user committee and service provider are given the task to draft a response to the international development community about the community’s needs and priorities. We leave the actors free how they want to write this document. We only provide a set of minimal guideline of what should be in the document. Importantly, in order not to raise expectations, we emphasize throughout that there is no future program planned for their village.

As part of this activity, we aim to collect information about the quality of service delivery in the village. Do the user committee and service providers actively undertake activities (e.g. a community meeting) to spread information related to the Tuungane 2 program? Are the brochures spread throughout the village? Will the user committee and service provider work together to draft the response? Do the user committee and service providers actively undertake activities (e.g. a community meeting) to learn about the opinion of the villagers? Do villagers meet with the user committee or service providers to present their opinion? Do the needs and priorities mentioned in the document reflect those of the population?

C4 Country The Democratic Republic of Congo
C5 Scale (# of Units) 339
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number NYU – Abu Dhabi (#057-2017)
C9 Date of IRB Approval October 18, 2017
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? International Rescue Committee
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? Yes
C13 JEL Classification(s) N47, C93, C83, D02