A Process evaluation of the community gardens project in ward three of Umzingwane District
Project evaluation is one aspect which is crucial in the project cycle. Results from evaluations are used for many purposes. The evaluation results are used to make judgments on whether the program went on as planned. Process evaluation identify the strengths and weakness of the program and adjustments can be done on the running project. The information generated through process evaluation helps to improve quality of the project and effective management of the project. The objective of this study was to find out how well the programme is working and whether it is reaching the intended people. Process evaluations allows for program modification in terms of materials, resource or any area of weakness. Besides accountability process evaluations tells whether or not programs are moving in the right direction. The evaluation used both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study has shown that, some program elements were, not implemented as planned. The project adhered to some components of the project and it did not adhere to some components documented in the proposal. The inclusion or exclusion criteria for the beneficiaries was not adhered to as the project ended up filling spaces left by the targeted people who dropped out due to a variety of reasons. The project did not have a full time project coordinator hence the monitoring and evaluation information was not systematically collected, most of the monitoring information was from the beneficiaries. Training and implement distribution were not done as per plan. Process evaluations help demystify the black box of projects as it can show areas of strength and weakness during the running of the project. At this project some of the post training forms were not fully completed while others were completed but people did not comprehend what was asked by the question. Records of those trained in vegetable crop production, natural pest and disease control, agribusiness management, marketing strategies and basic record keeping were not available for the evaluator. On the contribution of the project, information gathered during focused group discussion revealed that the project has contributed to a significant improvement in household food sources amongst the beneficiaries. The sale of vegetables and crops from then gardens has provided people with a new source of income for use in other basic necessities. The study concluded that the project needs to be strengthened in areas where weaknesses are apparent, like documentation of monitoring and evaluation information, adherence to proposal plans and operational procedures as well as having full time program coordinator for the project.