USAID/Guatemala peacebuilding project impact evaluation (2020)
Alex D. Hughes, Micah Gell-Redman, Luis A. Camacho; USAID
USAID/Guatemala’s Peacebuilding Project (locally branded as Proyecto Tejiendo Paz, hereafter TP) seeks to reduce social conflict and violence, increase social cohesion and trust, and contribute to peacebuilding in the Western Highlands Region. The project relies on inclusive, community-led engagement, dialogue, and mapping to: (1) identify, prioritize, and develop action plans addressing sources of and increasing resilience to social conflict; (2) build partnerships between communities and external entities to implement plans prioritized by communities; and (3) strengthen local capacity to participate in managing, responding to, and mitigating local conflicts.
In partnership with USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG), USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, USAID/Guatemala, and the project implementer, Creative Associates International, NORC at the University of Chicago is conducting an impact evaluation (IE) to assess the overall effectiveness of project activities at the community level. The IE tests the key hypothesis that underpins the project’s theory of change, namely that community-based initiatives to address conflict drivers can reduce social conflict and increase social cohesion. In addition, the IE assesses whether promoting increased women’s participation in community deliberations can further contribute to reducing conflict and increasing cohesion.
To achieve these objectives, NORC’s IE team randomly assigns 195 communities eligible to receive programming into one of three arms in equal numbers (65 communities each):
- TP, where communities receive the core project’s programming as designed by USAID/Guatemala and the implementer;
- TP+DD, where communities receive the core project’s programming plus an additional diverse decision makers intervention promoting increased women’s participation; and
- Control, where communities do not receive any programming.
Randomization allows us to measure the impact of TP as designed, as well as the marginal effects of the diverse decision makers intervention. Diverse decision makers focuses on reducing the barriers to participation for women through a training program called women peace promoters (asesoras de cambio). The asesoras de cambio intervention is based on the premise that to create sustainable gender equality and lasting peace, women need to have increased capacity for civic participation and political mobilization.
As designed by TP’s implementer, the asesoras de cambio will be identified through a rapid stakeholder assessment to be undertaken in all TP communities. Selected women will include community leaders, COCODE members, mothers and grandmothers, youth, midwives (comadronas), and ancestral authorities (Ajq’ij). TP will build their capacity to lead so that they can take on more active roles in community decision making and in supporting the resolution of social conflict. The asesoras de cambio will receive training on topics such as leadership, decision making, effective communication, conflict transformation, negotiation, critical reflection and dialogue, political expression and participation, and women’s legal rights.
In the short term, we expect the diverse decision makers intervention to change decision-making processes and outcomes above and beyond core TP programming. We also expect to observe some changes in individuals’ attitudes and beliefs, especially those related to the role of women in decisionmaking processes and the legitimacy of TP deliberation fora. In the long term, we expect the diverse CONTRACT NO. GS-10F-0033M / ORDER NO. AID-OAA-M-13-00013 / DRG-LER I TASKING N066 USAID.GOV USAID/GUATEMALA PEACEBUILDING PROJECT IE: BASELINE REPORT | 2 decisions makers intervention will contribute to a decrease in social conflict and an increase in social cohesion above and beyond core TP programming.
Data collection consists of a three-wave (baseline, midline, and endline) panel survey of individuals 16 years old and over. Our survey aims to capture the opinions and perspectives of youth—one of the key focus population of TP. Recognizing the challenges associated with obtaining informed consent from minors, we decided to limit the underage population included in the survey to 16-yearolds and 17-year-olds. The primary purpose of these surveys is to measure the incidence of conflict and the level of cohesion within communities, in a way that is identical between treatment and control. The questionnaire includes modules related to conflict, social cohesion and trust, integration across genders, responses to disasters, development and poverty, migration, views about community and regional leadership, women’s leadership, youth’s leadership, other political attitudes and behaviors, and personal and household socioeconomic characteristics.
Baseline fieldwork took place between September 10 and October 27, 2019. According to the evaluation design, midline measurement will take place immediately after the completion of community vision development activities in each community, and endline measurement will occur near the end of the project in 2023.
At baseline, teams attempted to conduct interviews in all 195 communities, but they did not receive authorization to carry out work in 11 communities in the Quiché Department. In most cases community authorities were unwilling to participate because participation did not entail any material benefits to the community. Another reason authorities gave was that their participation in past studies had not yielded any results for them. In addition, the authorities of two communities— Pocohil Primero and Mactzul Sexto in the Chichicastenango Municipality—asked enumerators to immediately leave their communities, threatening them with violence if they failed to do so. The data collection effort resulted in a dataset containing 3,866 valid cases. The most challenging aspect of fieldwork activities was scheduling, as several authorities changed the dates in which they would allow visits to their communities with little advance notice.