End-Term Performance Evaluation of the Mitigating Xenophobic Violence Activity in South Africa (2018)
Zumrat Salmorbekova, Elaine Venter, Mathias Kjaer Patala, Nokulunga
The “Mitigating Xenophobic Violence” (MXV) activity was a 23 month (January 2016-November 2017), $4.2 million activity to identify local conflict drivers and improve accountability for government social service delivery to mitigate the outbreak of violence. It was supported by USAID Southern Africa (USAID/SA) with Complex Crisis Fund (CCF) funding and implemented by Freedom House. It worked in 16 “hotspot” communities, selected based on their history of and continued potential for the outbreak of xenophobic violence.
In December 2017, USAID/SA commissioned Democracy International (DI) to conduct an end-of-project performance evaluation of the activity. The evaluation utilized a mixed methods approach comprised of several rapid appraisal techniques, including: desk review and secondary data mining, key stakeholder and small group interviews, roundtable discussions, and a brief electronic survey. The primary audience of the evaluation was USAID/Southern Africa, USAID/Washington, CCF managers, Freedom House. Secondary audiences include other practitioners and scholars working on combating xenophobic violence.
Overall, the Activity made a number of notable achievements on challenging issues with limited resources and timeframe. It completed 16 in-depth community conflict assessments, which were then used to design subsequent activities. This included establishing and developing capacity of Peacebuilding Teams (PBTs), developing community action plans, forming civic education circles, and providing service delivery monitoring training. However, while changes in behaviors and attitudes could be seen at individual levels, the evaluation struggled to identify community-wide results given the lack of baseline data, as well as the activity’s limited timeframe and financial resources. The activity also struggled to identify explicit linkages between gender and xenophobic violence, despite an extensive effort to do so. While the sustainability of the PBTs looks promising given the personal commitment and dedication of the PBT members and the strong level of community support for their work, other aspects of the program, such as the service delivery and civic education training, look less likely to continue without additional outside support.