The Steering Committee has an important function for the governance and quality assurance of SDP implementation. It approves the yearly plans of operation of the Programme as well as its progress reports. The committee thus assures that the Programme is aligned with the government policies, the Swiss Cooperation Strategy and the needs of the country.
The main objectives of the December meeting were to validate the recent annual report and to discuss conclusions and lessons learnt for the next year. The SDP Team Leader, Michael Mechthold-Jin reported how the project team has put the agreements from the previous meeting into practice. In a presentation he highlighted the Programme’s achievements to date as well as suggestions for the next year.
The participating members appreciated the accelerating progress of the Programme but also noted a still relatively low employment rate for some of the courses. They suggested that more occupations should be added which provide attractive income opportunities for women in the target provinces. NEA research will help to identify suitable occupations and skills to be trained. The importance of providing healthy food to the training participants during the courses was also discussed. In this respect, cooperation with CHAIN will be beneficial – this is a SDC-funded project on horticulture, which is implemented by SNV and Swisscontact. The members agreed that coordination with other development projects will further help to create synergies and to avoid duplication.
Mr. Junker took the opportunity to announce the organisation of a Mid Term Review for the Programme, scheduled for March 2019. Two experts will assess SDP and develop ideas for the second phase, which is expected to start in mid-2020.