As a Task Order under the REPLACE IDIQ, Integra conducted a mid-term performance evaluation of the Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West Africa Regional Development Program (STEWARD III), implemented for USAID/West Africa by the US Forest Service International Program in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire. Objectives of this evaluation included:
- Review the progress made in achieving the STEWARD III objectives from its inception in 2011 to mid-2014
- Identify critical mid-course program changes necessary to ensure sustainability of the program; and
- Identify lessons for consideration in future programming.
STEWARD, implemented by the United States Forest Service, is a trans boundary approach intended to address several environmental challenges across an important and undervalued landscape, the Upper Guinea tropical forest ecosystem. The third iteration of the program, STEWARD III, is focused on the implementation of activities that enhance economic opportunity, peace building and well being through the sustainable management of forest landscapes in targeted priority zones.
Under the REPLACE IDIQ, the mid-term performance evaluation was conducted through the combination of a desktop review and participative diagnostic processes, involving key informant interviews and site visits to communities in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire. Over a one-month period, the Evaluation Team visited 36 communities in these three countries. A total of 13 focus group meetings were held, and 26 formal key informant interviews were conducted, covering local and regional authorities, program staff, and community members.
During the evaluation, Integra identified several mid-course program changes and corrections needed to ensure sustainability of the project. Integra provided a detailed list of specific recommendations, including a series of management reforms to improve the efficiency of the program. They also suggested a more focused approach to climate vulnerability across the region to prevent deforestation and conserve biodiversity. On behalf of USAID, Integra hopes the evaluation will help stakeholders better understand the initial results and contributions of the project, as well as refocus and strengthen STEWARD III’s implementation to achieve the planned goals and objectives sustainably.