Evaluation of Finnish-funded health sector projects in Nicaragua
Sistematización Programa VozJoven (PDF, in Spanish)
The health care sector projects funded by Finland in Nicaragua were evaluated in summer 2013. Finland has funded the Nicaragua Health Fund (FONSALUD), and a civil society fund FED supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting equality and reproductive rights, and also the project "Sexual and reproductive health for young people" (VOZJOVEN). Individual evaluation reports are available for both projects. The projects were evaluated by the Finnish Consulting Group International, chosen through a bidding process.
According to the evaluation, the health sector basket fund FONSALUD is a well-functioning financing mechanism that has supported the implementation of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's multi-year plan. The evaluation considers the fund to have enhanced donor coordination and effort harmonization in the health sector. The fund has functioned cost-effectively, and the supply and usage rate of public health services has improved. FONSALUD has turned out to be a flexible funding mechanism through which funds have been allocated according to the priorities set by the Ministry of Health. Therefore the evalution recommends the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to continue seeking for new financiers for the fund. However, in the future more emphasis should be added to facilitating a more active dialogue between the Ministry of Health and donor countries. Finland supported the fund in 2005-2012.
The evaluation results indicate that the FED civil society fund has functioned effectively. The fund managed to disseminate information on women's rights, as well as sexual and reproductive rights, and the activities reached also traditionally marginalized groups. The financial support given through the fund to the NGOs was multifaceted, and the NGOs' institutional capacity was strengthened. The evaluation recommends continuing the fund, and in the future integrating also the youth and men more to its activities. As the majority of the NGOs are dependent on external funding, more emphasis should also be added to developing their fundraising strategies and self-sustainability. Finland supported the FED fund during its pilot phase in 2006-2009, and during the Phase I in 2010-2013. (The evaluation studied the Phase I.)
According to the evaluation, the project "Sexual and reproductive health for young people" (VOZJOVEN) succeeded in enhancing young people's understanding and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health rights. The evaluation verified empowerment and changes in behavior among the youth. Moreover, it proved that youth politics was better taken into account in communities that participated in the project. The evaluation recommends to step up cost-effectiveness and to ensure that even youth in remote areas have access to the project. The evaluation estimates that the sustainability of the project depends on young people's commitment to activities of the project and the communities' willingness to invest in the implementation of youth politics. Finland supported the project in 2008-2012. In addition to the evaluation, systematization was conducted in order to study in detail different stages of implementation of the project, its results and best practices.