This midterm performance evaluation of the Community Health and Improved Nutrition (CHAIN) Project was conducted to provide USAID stakeholders and the Government of Rwanda (GOR) with an assessment of how CHAIN’s multi-sectoral design and coordination and collaboration (C&C) model have functioned to date and recommend ways to improve them.
Data for the evaluation was collected through document reviews, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, social network analysis, and secondary data analysis. It was not possible to assign levels of collaboration to each implementing partner, so only a qualitative assessment of the contribution of collaboration to project results could be made.
A unique addition to CHAIN’s design is support for implementing partner collaboration, but there are gaps in the intervention package. Working closely with other development partners on future project designs — coordinated by the GOR’s Early Childhood Development Agency — can help ensure that the full package of necessary interventions reaches beneficiary households. The recently instituted district collaboration platform has been most effective in promoting C&C. IPs are enthusiastic, but the real costs of collaboration need to be addressed. Adding several indicators of collaboration can help to incentivize IPs, institutionalize collaboration, and measure the contribution of C&C to CHAIN results.
IPs in the field can see definite advantages of C&C, and collaboration among partners in the field has resulted in expanded coverage, unexpected synergies and greater efficiency in service delivery, and more coherent implementation. Greater flexibility working with local officials where CHAIN operates seems called for and would extend the benefits of project collaboration to GOR in districts.