At the end of 2019 the Citizen Voices for Change (CV4C) – led by CIDT and funded by the EU and DFID – was assessed by external independent reviewers from the Canadian firm Fokabs. The Mid-Term Review team found that significant progress has been made towards the objective of the project to build strong and effective Non-State Actors capable of monitoring forest governance and forest land-use change in five Congo Basin countries.
The review found that a wide series of results had been realised by the project:
- Some governments (for instance Cameroon) are better responding to the independent forest monitoring reports generated by NSAs.
- Significant improvements have been achieved in the quality of evidence generated by the project especially independent forest monitoring (IFM) reports.
- Support to indigenous peoples and local communities and women to access their rights to benefits from forest exploitation
- Publication of reports and briefs on the Open Timber Portal and development of FLEGT Watch have strengthened monitoring capability of NSAs
- At policy level, CV4C has been instrumental in informing national forest-related processes such as FLEGT and REDD+ in the project countries.
The review reported that CV4C has delivered a successful capacity strengthening programme for non-state and government actors including:
- Improving the organisational and institutional capacities of project partners through the elaboration of strategic documents (policies, plans and strategies).
- Organising regional exchanges to promote learning between countries in order to boost the performance of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other actors in tracking and combatting illegalities in the forest sector.
- Supporting ISO certification of the Standardized External Independent Monitoring System (SNOIE) in Cameroon and technical assistance on quality management systems in other project countries.
- Developing and piloting the satellite-based FLEGT WATCH tool allowing for improved efficiency and impact on the ground.
- Driving significant focus on gender and mainstreaming through the project
- Establishing a regional community of practice on IFM that shares best practices and fosters synergies culminating in the establishment of a Pan African Network of IFM organisations (PA-OI) the Congo Basin.
The evaluators, Prof Kalame Fobissie and Kevin Enongene, found that:
“CV4C has made considerable progress regarding the attainment of the four expected results set by the project and the majority of respondents rated the progress achieved towards the attainment of the project results as high to very high.”
“The project has been efficient towards the use of financial and human resources for the implementation of project activities.”
“Overall, the project is on track towards attaining its overall and specific objective by end date.”
The review report presented lessons relating to: IFM approaches and quality management, gender mainstreaming, capacity building and project implementation. The review was conducted through the review and synthesis of project reports, documents and online information. In addition, primary data was collected using interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with partners and other relevant project stakeholders.