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Wednesday, 13 September


Improving elections in PNG Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

As I wrote in my previous post, the 2017 elections in Papua New Guinea fell far short of what the people of PNG deserve. In the previous post I also explained the central cause of electoral problems in PNG: a voter-politician relationship that provides little incentive for politicians to care about well-run elections.

This particular dynamic isnt likely to change soon. This isnt a counsel of despair though. The relationship isnt wholly deterministic. Papua New Guineas next elections can be better. Here are some suggestions for what can be done. They arent aimed at any one in particular. Some could be championed by donors, but others will be better driven by Papua New Guineas domestic reformers. Papua New Guinea has a strong and vibrant civil society, and it will have a crucial role to play in improving elections.

A crucial start will be to press the government to adequately fund the electoral processes. Good elections cant be run on the cheap. But PNGs political dynamics mean politicians wont focus on resourcing national electoral infrastructure unless theyre pushed. The government also needs to adequately resource the parts of the legal system that deal with electoral petitions and similar matters. If the courts arent functioning or are taking years to hear cases, dishonest candidates have a lot less to fear. If theyre running well, the consequences of electoral malfeasance will become a stronger deterrent.

Also, push for transparency in all aspects of electoral process itself. As I said in my previous blog, the least transparent parts of elections are often the worst. How was the roll compiled and cleaned? Your guess is as good as mine. It doesnt have to be this way. In the next election the entire roll (or at the very least ward totals) should be published online, and then republished at each stage of the modification or tidying process. No need for fancy widgets; simple PDF files will do. The same process should be repeated with ballot paper distribution. Lets know in advance exactly how many ballot papers are intended for each polling station. If illegal manipulation of the roll occurs, as...


SABL logger cheating Bewani locals Act Now! blogs

What little I get from my royalty payments I give back to the logging company because most business houses in Vanimo town, including the only supermarket are owned by the logging company. Moreover, the company cheats me by claiming money from my royalty payments

Thats from Emap Itep of Aimbai village in Bewani, West Sepik Province.

A Malaysian logging company has logged his forest and now has an oil palm plantation on his land under a Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL).

The company came and said they have a Special Agriculture Business Lease and so have the right to claim my land for oil palm. When I realized its getting my trees and exporting them overseas while clearing the forest for oil palm, it said it will develop my village in exchange for my trees. I regret believing them because now I cant get whatever Ive grown and cultivated for food and income within the areas that the company has claimed, a worried Emap said.

Like most of the people Act Now! has come across in Bewani, Emap was not aware that the government has ruled all Special Agriculture Business Leases illegal and void. To Emap, the government seems like a nightmare that he unknowingly took part in creating, a government thats now terrifying him by allowing the company to continue and not standing by him.

The Moresby Government says cancel the SABLs but the Vanimo government lets the logging and land theft continue in Bewani. I dont understand, whats the need for a government if it cant operate as one for the people? he stated.

Emap was told by the logging company that he would no longer have to travel long distances to access basic services like health and education etc. He needed the very things that the company promised and wanted to see them happen so he, along with others welcomed the company in and has since been suffering at its hands.

The company said it will build a school in my village, an aid post, permanent houses etc, but first I have to give him my trees. I gave it permission to only get the trees but its claimed my land and said the land is its for 99 years. The cost of services it promised to deliver for free as a trade for my trees, has since been deducted from my royalty payments.

Emap gave an example of how the company fooled him and takes back money paid as royalty payments to him.

If I tell the company I need a school to be built in my area, the company calculates the cost of getting the school up and tells me that that amount will be deducted from my royalty payments, except with a 100% interest. For instance, if it calculates a classroom to be K1000 to build, then it tel...

Tuesday, 12 September


Enhancing educational outcomes in conflict affected Muslim Mindanao what we learned Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

The program

The Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) was a significant education and peace initiative jointly implemented by the Government of the Philippines through the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It commenced in September 2012 and concluded in June 2017.

The program initially comprised four independent yet interrelated components in partnership with UNICEF, GIZ, BRAC and Cardno. Following an independent review in 2014, BEAM-ARMM shifted towards a programmatic approach with shared outcomes and outputs. The strategic shift to shared end outcomes triggered more effective implementation and management with DFAT, DepEd-ARMM and implementing partners agreeing on four end outcomes:

  • improve access by increasing completion rates;
  • improve quality of education and learning environment;
  • improve employability of Out of School Youth (OSY) completers, and
  • improve education governance to support Early Childhood Education, basic education and OSY.

The context

The operating context within Mindanao significantly influenced the program. The ARMM region is a fragile, conflict environment, which lags the rest of the country in terms of educational access and overall learning outcomes. Additionally, the installation of a new national and regional government heightened tensions in the final year of program implementation.

The evaluation

End of program reviews for DFAT programs are usually conducted by independent external evaluators. Given the complexity of BEAM-ARMM, the challenging environment and broad scope of work, DFAT agreed to a quasi-independent approach with the program partners self-evaluating, under the guidance of the international M&E Adviser (who is the author of this post). We employed a mixed-method methodology utilising a range of approaches to demonstrate progress towards end of program outcomes and practices of interest and uptake. The evaluation considered three major questions:

  • To what extent has the program achieved stated end of program outcomes?
  • How appropriate were BEAM-ARMMs institutional and governance approaches with DepEd-ARMM and other partners?
  • To what extent has the program demonstrated relevance, efficiency and effectiveness through a unified approach to implementation and management? What lessons can be learned?

All evaluations have limitations and BEAM-ARMM was no different. Major limitations were the large number of interventions and scopes of work implemented by partners across the five provinces of ARMM. There was insufficient time to cover all aspe...

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