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Overview evaluation of MRG’s work in Africa 2009 – 2011

This evaluation was commissioned to assess MRG’s Africa programme generally and specifically the use of the Irish Aid block grant for work in Africa. It was also intended to provide suggestions and ideas for future project planning.

Aim of the programme

The overall aim of the Africa programme was to reduce the poverty and discrimination faced by minority and indigenous communities in these regions through capacity building of minority and indigenous organizations; the improvement of laws, policies and practices; raising awareness of the consequences of discrimination; and enhancing opportunities for minorities and indigenous communities.

The outcomes

The following is a summary of the evaluator’s findings:

The evaluator stressed the importance of MRG’s creation of a capacity-building officer role in the Uganda office, noting that MRG is not only ‘helping communities to help themselves’ but is supporting them to achieve what they themselves want as communities. In this regard, MRG is a pioneer in an improved consultative and culturally sensitive approach to community development. This, the evaluator notes, should be a major attraction for donors to MRG. Though there is much work to do in terms of implementation, the biggest and most obvious success in respect of institutional change is the success of the Endorois case at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Additionally, the evaluator also recognized concrete change in Somalia as a result of MRG’s pioneering research into minority marginalization and the work of MRG’s partner SOMRAF; as well as Uganda, in terms of national-level advocacy. Finally, the MRG-supported Soit Sambu court case in Tanzania is set to become a highly significant element of MRG’s legal work in coming months and years.

The Peace and Conflict Resolution pilot programmes were found to be very active in Uganda. As pilot projects, these are intended to have a limited scope but the evaluator noted promising possibilities for future project development. Finally, MRG’s education programmes for current and future NGO and community leaders were deemed important elements in increasing the civil and political penetration of the most marginalized minorities.

Overall, the evaluator found that MRG’s fundamental approach is consistent and genuine: to support minority community initiatives and movements; to help communities find their own voice. MRG’s success and influence in Africa also consistently reaches beyond what might be expected of a relatively small INGO. Its projects were found to have a real and important impact and, from a donor point of view, MRG’s innovative and cost-efficient programmes should be viewed as excellent ‘value for money’.