The Implementation Challenge: Lessons From Five Citizen Security Projects

Jun 2013
Successful implementation is necessary for projects and programs to be effective. In this comparative project evaluation, OVE analyzes the effectiveness of the implementation strategy of five IDB-supported citizen security projects in Central America and the Caribbean. The evaluation uses evidence and best practices from implementation research, multisectoral work, and donor supervision as evaluative benchmarks. The findings reveal that projects showing the most successful implementation also included most of the elements identified in the specialized literature: participatory preparation leading to communities' buy-in, sensitive situational diagnostics, skills-based trained practitioners and protocols, presence of community officers to maintain motivation and ensure close follow-up of beneficiaries, and a relatively simpler project design involving a limited number of ministries and a more direct route for service delivery. However, the evaluation shows that in many of the projects, coordination arrangements and specific incentives and accountability mechanisms among participating entities were either ineffective or missing; thus projects that involved several line ministries and municipalities appeared too complex to be implemented as designed, in particular given the institutional constraints, resources, and timeframes available. Finally, IDB supervision facilitated implementation in some cases, but hindered it in others, suggesting that incentives, resources, and training were generally not adequate for Bank staff to supervise projects beyond the procurement and fiduciary aspects.