Name: Evaluation of the 7 Learning Districts Strategy
Year: 2011/12
Client: UNICEF Tanzania
Country: Tanzania
Background: UNICEF supports the implementation of health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education, HIV and AIDS and child protection programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania, the UNICEF Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) (2007-10 extended up to June 2011) is based on the need for more concentrated ‘upstream’ policy and advocacy work to support the scaling up of evidence-based programmes which demonstrate potential for reducing child vulnerability, in line with the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2007-10 (extended up to June 2011) and National PRSs (MKUKUTA / MKUZA).

The CPAP established that its four programme components will work at national, regional, district and community levels to influence policy design and implementation, to leverage resources to reduce child mortality and vulnerability, and to ensure that sectoral strategies and annual plans are in place, resourced and made operational. The four components comprised of Young Child Survival and Development (Health, Nutrition, and WASH), Basic Education and Life Skills, Child Protection and Participation, and Policy Advocacy and Analysis. The number of ‘special focus’ districts were reduced from sixteen to six (one district was later administratively divided by the GoT – thus seven learning districts), to support the scaling-up of evidence-based programmes which demonstrate a potential for reducing child vulnerability. All programme components have a policy element in their work and increasingly focus on evidence-based, ‘upstream’ support for policy analysis and development. In addition to the seven learning districts, the Country Programme also has a special focus on Zanzibar and four districts in north-western Tanzania (NWT) which plays host to refugees.

The expected results from the Government of Tanzania (GoT)/UNICEF interventions in the 7 LDs are embedded in the 30 Country Programme results, often indicating the importance of the 7 LDs results to the overall Country Programme results.

In order to achieve long term impact of improving child well-being by reducing mortality and vulnerability, UNICEF broadly supports the 7 LDs in building capacity to plan, budget, implement and monitor service delivery, complemented by Behaviour Change Communication strategies.

Objectives: The overall objective of the assignment was to assess the effectiveness of the area based programming approach, the ‘theoretical model’ of the 7LDs strategy, and draw lessons learned for future programming internally and other countries.
Activities: As the managing agent JIMAT was responsible for managing and providing overall leadership and direction in the evaluation and end line survey. JIMAT worked with a local health research institute, which was responsible for conducting the end line survey to facilitate impact analysis based on a set of key indicators established during the baseline survey

A total of 42 research assistants, 10 senior researchers and 6 district supervisors were supervised by JIMAT in collecting data on child protection services, basic education and life-skills, maternal and child health, nutrition and early childhood development, youth participation, PMTCT, HIV prevention and water, sanitation and hygiene from 13 districts spread across Tanzania.

Countrywide a total of 40 different types of questionnaires were used and Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs) were used to collect household and health facility data.

Special Recognition: