The Jordan Program’s clear focus—concentrated in one location (Zarqa) and in a single sector (Water)—made the works easier to manage, more impactful, and increased the likelihood of sustainability: Concentrating on a single sector improved program management as it allowed for the recruitment of a highly trained water sector management team at MCA-Jordan with ready access to works at site. The program was highly visible in Zarqa due to its large-scale civil works that demonstrably improved water and wastewater infrastructure while also promoting awareness of issues regarding water availability and use in Jordan. This gave the program appreciable name recognition among the Jordanian people and may have promoted positive association with the United States. Finally, the program reinforced sustainability through multiple improvements to the water utility and its staff, policy changes, personnel training, equipment modernization and infrastructure improvements. These efforts are expected to enhance the operating structure and efficiency of the utility making it more cost effective and sustainable.
Participating in a public private partnership (PPP) can prolong the compact development timeline: While the As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project was successfully completed in advance of the five year compact implementation period, participating in a PPP slowed the compact development process. To ensure full commitment to the As-Samra PPP expansion, MCC required that all parties to the PPP agreement complete their negotiations and reach financial close prior to implementation. The negotiation period of any PPP is difficult to anticipate as project risks need to be addressed, allocated and agreed upon by the parties at this stage. As a result of protracted negotiations and a large number of signed agreements, the Jordan Compact development process lasted months longer than initially anticipated. However, the final result was an expansion of a world class wastewater treatment facility, guaranteed to sustainably operate for 25 years. If MCC pursues a similar arrangement in the future, it should anticipate the need to allow flexibility in the compact development timeline.
Meeting the MCC’s five year implementation period remains challenging: Final project results can, as in Jordan’s case, meet or exceed its initial compact design, but a smoother implementation can be achieved through better planning during the compact development process and flexibility during the implementation period. In major construction projects, a number of activities can be unplanned, and not having sufficient time to account for them can lead to many challenges. As an example, after awarding the wastewater contracts, it became clear that some of the technical designs were incorrect and needed to be revised. As there was no time to re-tender for new designs, MCA-Jordan mitigated this challenge by instructing its contractors to carefully commence limited works in parallel with finalizing the newly revised designs. While the approach was ultimately successful, the risk assumed required additional oversight which was conducted under a compressed time period.
Lessons Learned from the Evaluations
Details on these lessons can be found in the “MCC Learning” document in the Final Evaluation Report packages on MCC’s Evaluation Catalog.
- Assess data quality early.
- Engagement in the M&E Plan drafting process and the Evaluation Management Process is critical to ensuring relevant and accurate results measurement:
- Performance indicator definitions should be reviewed in detail to ensure that they are measuring the right thing at the right time and to confirm that baselines and targets are accurate.
- Ensure that a project’s stated outcomes and objective can be measured. If necessary, incorporate elements in the project design that make these measurements possible.
- When agreeing to an evaluation design, particularly impact evaluation, the team must adequately consider tradeoffs and agree to rules of implementation.
- Data collection methods, particularly for technical measures requiring engineering expertise, should be reviewed closely in the Evaluation Design Report.
- Once an evaluation methodology is agreed on in an Evaluation Design Report, the full Evaluation Management Committee must communicate continuously to ensure the design is preserved.
- Ensure the compact objectives (Section 1.2 & Section 1.3 of the compact agreement), logic diagrams, economic models and other communications about what the compact intends to do all align.
- Learning for Future MCC Economic Models: Primary Substitution Effect Takes Longer, and Secondary Substitution Effect Did Not Occur.
- Key Personnel Changes May Need Evaluation Management Committee Review.
- Investment objectives and the corresponding investment design need to be agreed and documented in the compact agreement.
- Be sure project designs are based on thorough due diligence.
- Consult a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the theory of change is feasible.
- Ensure a logical link between gender-focused investments and the objective of the project.