Evaluation of PACE Staff Competencies, the Management Structure, Management Systems and the Working Relations.
African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources
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(i) Through the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU/IBAR) the European Union has funded a five year Euro 72 million programme to support the livestock sector in 30 Sub Saharan countries from Mauritania in the west to the Horn of Africa in the east. Targeted is the control of Epizootics coupled to animal productivity. At the end of the project in October 2004 due to administrative and procedural delays few countries had completed their work plans with a corresponding amount of funds unspent. Thus an extension of the programme was granted up until February 2007 although the work programme had to be completed by October 2006. An additional Euro 5 million was included in the package primarily to fund the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) whose role has been to coordinate and support the programme in the 30 participating countries. (ii) Rider No. 1 to the original financing agreement No. 6125/REG in granting the extension included several pre conditions one of which was to carry out an independent evaluation of the contribution of PACE to IBAR capacity building, including an assessment of staff performance by December 31st2004. Due to events on the ground which delayed the in approval of PACE PCU work programmes this study has been delayed and has now been carried out by an international and a local consultant between the 6-20thMay 2005. (iii) Already the project is moving towards an exit strategy which influenced the consultants thinking and deliberations. Serious staff changes if required at this stage could perhaps only cause upheaval, destroy the corporate memory and result in more problems than they were intended to resolve. In any event the already ambitious global strategy till completion of PACE warrants the retention till at least mid 2006 of the existing cadre with a phased lay off to follow. Retiring work plans and cost estimates and closing the programme across 30 countries will require a major effort particularly from the finance staff and we were able to quickly agree that additional qualified staff were urgently needed. To help prepare AU/IBAR absorb the lessons and the knowledge of PACE and in particular transmit to the participating countries the need for continued vigilance and follow up after the conclusion of the PACE programme warrants in the consultants opinion an additional staff member attached to the proposed Information and Communications Unit. (iv) Whilst much of the benefits of PACE are identified at country level the PCU had a crucial role to play in the coordination of the programme and the technical support to national coordinators to follow the purpose and designated activities of the programme. Relationships could not be described as amicable between the professional staff during the early years of the PCU. Neither was the relationship between the donor, the EC and the RAO and PACE management. We hastily wish to add that most of these problems appear now to have been resolved and there is now a platform for mutual respect in place. It is opportune to note at this point that a second obligation of the rider, that of AU/IBAR absorbing two professional PACE staff members onto its permanent establishment, is now underway with the question of accompanying operational costs under discussion. The contribution that PACE has made to IBAR understanding of the needs and aspirations of the 30 countries is immense. The absorption of these two professional will strengthen the cord through which further technical information will flow to AU/IBAR before the conclusion of PACE. (v) To ensure the project fulfils its potential and achieves its targets over the coming 18 months will require an acceleration of effort. Programme implementation has not and will not continue to be easy. The complexity of dealing with 30 countries, many with different agendas has been difficult. For the EC lead delegation in Nairobi they also had to cope with the burden of a major commission reorganisation programme alongside changing procedures. They are to be complimented for sticking to the task. In the AU/IBAR PACE structure there has been a dichotomy of management which hopefully is now over. (vi) The majority of existing local staff have been at PACE PCU since inception. Perhaps this has introduced a level of complacency and we have stressed the need for strong centralised management and the need for the staff to rise to the challenge ahead as there is already severe time slippage in the extension phase. Technically we are convinced that the present staff are well capable of meeting this challenge but there is a need to reorganise and strengthen the finance and administration units. The recently appointed Financial Controller (we prefer Manager) has the situation well in hand but speedy management decisions are required to reorganise the administrative functions and role of the staff involved. (vii) Examples of past unsystematic management are slow decision making, absence of updated job descriptions and a manual of procedures left updated since the year 2000. There is also a need to prioritise tasks. After a work shop to discuss action plans urgently required for the balance of the extension phase on the 10 -11 May senior technical staff en masse left for a weeks international conferencing on the 19-20 May with the action plans still outstanding. There has to be a process of shared representation at these gatherings or we would understand and agree with the donor if they declined to meet the total costs. (viii) Our examination of the PACE staff conditions of service produced some disturbing results. Local staff are paid at rates and conditions of service set by AU in Addis Ababa. These rates are hugely disproportionate to local salary levels including those of other international agencies who divulged figures to us. It is not in our brief to comment on the salary scales applied to local Kenyan staff by AU/IBAR but the consultants feel justified in stating that there is a level up to which you can ask a donor to pay. In this instance we suggest that the RAO and PACE coordinator enter into discussions with EC officials on this issue before the next work plan can be agreed. (xi) We suggest that there is a need to reorganize the delivery structure and have presented an alternative organigramme. This is based on the premise that whilst the transfer of knowledge and skills to IBAR is a priority the success or failure of the programme will be judged at national level. (xii) Technical assistance has played a major role in the development of this project not always positive it has to be agreed. They present cadre are well experienced and their skills should be used to the full. We have made recommendations on maximising their inputs. The need for a proper exit strategy is clear and it must include a phased handover to IBAR where there has we understand been recent additions to the staff establishment. Close working relationships between the project and the IBAR staff are essential in the months ahead. Eighteen months is not a long time to go.
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