REPORT OF PROJECT EVALUATION
ENTERPRISE FACILITATION PROJECT IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Peak Line Consulting Lt
This report presents results of the Enterprise Facilitation (EF) project evaluation. The EF project was implemented by Kamina Friends Inc. USA, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with support from The Sirolli Institute and The Waterloo Foundation. This review was done at the end of a two-year funding period by The Waterloo Foundation. The overall objective of the EF project is to promote entrepreneurship and support small enterprise development for self-employment, income generation and enhancing living standards in the community. The main objective of the project evaluation was to review the performance of Enterprise Facilitation project, identify key lessons learned and recommend adjustment to systems and structures as may be found appropriate in order to achieve growth and sustainability.The EF project started in January 2009 and was implemented in Kamina, Bukama and Kalemie. The project evaluation utilized descriptive research design where the researcher went to the population of interest. The population utilized in this research was the 193 clients who received training for business start-up or improvement and actually opened or improved business. Data was collected from all stakeholders in the project and their sentiments, feelings and expectations have been considered in this report.
The overall finding of the evaluation is that the enterprise facilitation project has been effective and successful in the facilitation process for business start-up and expansion. Some 193 people have benefited from the project by either opening new business or improving existing business, while 775 new jobs were generated. Many other people have also benefited from training even though they did not proceed to open businesses. Kamina, as the oldest project site, is leading in performance with 104 clients that include 56 who, after training, opened new business and 48 who improved or expanded business. In Bukama there were 56 clients that include 30 new businesses opened and 26 existing businesses expanded. Kalemie had 33 clients and out of this figure, 20 new businesses were opened and 13 existing businesses improved. This level of success is perhaps attributable to commitment, determination and passion exhibited by Kamina Friends Inc., board members to respond to a call to help the communities in DRC to lift themselves out of poverty through enterprise development. The EF project was implemented in Kamina first and later to Bukama and Kalemie with the support of The Sirolli Institute who provided the Enterprise Facilitation model and The Waterloo Foundation who provided grant funding. The Sirolli Institute Enterprise Facilitation model proved quite practical in helping people start and expand businesses while The Waterloo funding was highly useful for project implementation. The project leadership structures of facilitator, board of leaders and volunteers also played a key role in the success of the project.
The project evaluation revealed other findings as follows: First, Clients are generally satisfied with customer service and business training offered by the project. What they like most about the project is that facilitators are calm, patient, listening and effective as teachers of business management. The clients are also happy that the project is receptive of people from all religions and socio-economic backgrounds and the training has also helped them open new businesses or expand existing businesses. Second, the project beneficiaries had not received business management training before the EF project intervention. The training has opened their eyes and they have learned how to open, run and grow business. Three, the EF project has succeeded in convincing local people to accept a new way to economic development through training for business start-up and expansion. This is a big achievement especially in Africa where the traditional approach to development includes communities being supplied with money or materials in order to start business Four, the biggest challenge facing project beneficiaries is lack of access to credit and banking services. Other challenges include high cost of transport, irregular supply of electricity and unstable supply of raw materials.
Fifth, Kamina Friends Inc., spearheaded enormous effort towards connecting EF project beneficiaries to sources of credit. The result is that Trust Merchant Bank (TMB) agreed to open a bank branch in Kamina and this will most likely happen in October 2012. Six, the project leadership structure has proved effective. The Enterprise Facilitators are well trained, have sufficient capacity and motivated to their job. The management boards (BoL and BoL) understand their role; were trained and have enough capacity; and are motivated to work for the project free of charge. Seven, Kalemie presented the best project leadership structure and practices – with strong board of leaders made up of strong characters who understand their leadership role that provides oversight on the work of facilitator. Eight, the vision for growth and expansion of the EF project is shared by all stakeholders including beneficiaries, facilitators, management boards, Kamina Friends and Sirolli Institute. Organic and exponential growth that is modest and paced up is preferred by many. Nine, the state of union between the various partners in the EF project is strong and solid. There is trust, honesty and openness within the partnership. Partners appreciate the role and the contribution of each party towards the success of the project. The Sirolli Institute has not visited the project in DRC and the general feeling is that they need to visit soon. Ten, fundraising is a strategic function for the success of the EF project in DRC. The team that was trained in fundraising in USA in May 2012 should commence work immediately to procure funds within Congo and abroad. Eleven, mentoring for Master Facilitator in Kamina has been less than effective thereby denying Fabrice the opportunity to take advantage and learn from the enormous wealth of experience in enterprise facilitation possessed by The Sirolli Institute. Twelve, the EF project has created indirect benefits for the communities in DRC – including promotion of religious harmony, creating social capital, sense of belonging and raising standards of living in the communities. Thirteen, the marketing of EF project is insufficient. Other than a few t-shirt with Kamina Friends Inc. logo, there are no publicity materials such as signboards, brochures, flyers or business cards.