The AusAID funded Enterprise Challenge Fund (ECF) for the Asia-Pacific is a six-year AUS$20.5 million pilot programme that aims to promote economic opportunities and services for the poor by supporting innovative private sector projects. Grants were awarded to private businesses ranging from AUS$100,000 to AUS$1.5 million. Grants are awarded on a cost sharing, competitive basis to support projects that were:
- commercially sustainable;
- able to demonstrate that they will have a positive impact on the local businesses operating environment and/or help to transform key sectors;
- able to directly benefit the poor;
We were contracted to provide independent monitoring and evaluation of the Enterprise Challenge Fund's (ECF) in the following areas:
- impact on the business enabling environment;
- progress of individual projects receiving funding through ECF;
- annually review the Fund Manager's performance;
We worked with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to design and implement approaches that improved the management of the programme, contributed to understanding the performance of the projects and demonstrated the development impact and value for money for the programme.
Our specialist team worked to:
- support the Fund Manager in defining monitoring frameworks for each of the grantees to clarify the indicators, the means of verification and establishing the baselines;
- define the logic and attribution of the ECF funding to the anticipated outcomes, by improving the understanding of baselines and the “without project” scenarios;
- review the Fund Manager’s private sector development engagement strategy and assess how the Fund Manager should target the marketing and selection of projects and support the scaling up and replication of project activitie;s
- support the Fund Manager in developing result chains for each project and adoption of the Donor Committee in Enterprise Development approach to results measurement.
Working in partnership with ECF, we were able to contribute to the meeting of objectives and the overall success of this programme. This was achieved through a process of:
- making improvements to the process and selection criteria for projects in the ECF programme employing measurement systems for projects have been improved, in particular the analysis in understanding the attribution of the ECF project towards the measurable development impact;
- conducting cost-benefit analysis on 10 representative projects over a 7-year period contributing to the process of evaluating the overall development impact and public gain accrued by ECF and the estimates of the economic rate of return from each project;
- contributing to the learning from the ECF and preparing a key lesson-learning document for DFAT and the Australian National University.
"The managing contractor and AusAid weren't really pushing the programme in the direction it needed. The independent monitors of the programme, IPE Triple Line, picked that up and showed how it wasn't going to achieve objectives and how it needed to change to meet the objectives."
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