An assessment team of the Center for Research and Policy Making led by Marcela Natalicchio (independent consultant) undertook a Joint Assessment for Youth, Culture and Community Development Projects of the World Bank in Macedonia. The team met with representatives of the Agency of Youth and Sports (AYS), the Project Management Units (PMU’s) of the three projects, and several NGO representatives who implemented project activities. The team carried out field research and an evaluation of the projects in the following municipalities: Kumanovo, Struga, Bitola, Veles, Debar, Kriva Palanka, Sveti Nikole, Krushevo, Kratovo, Resen, Mavrovo and Rostushe, Chaska, Krivogashtani, and Gradsko.

The purpose of the assessment was a rapid assessment of lessons learned with respect to the decentralization process from the three local development projects, which were to feed into the 2007 World Bank’s approach to decentralization in the country. More specifically, the Joint Assessment closely looks into:

How the project activities directly supported municipalities in the decentralization process: handling new responsibilities and/or improving municipal capacity;

How the project activities influenced cooperation between civic society and local government and encouraged participation in setting local development policy agendas;

Sustainability of project activities (whether and how CDD activities have been institutionalized at the local level);

Compare the approaches of activities at the local level: when the activities are implemented through municipal government with engagement of civic society vs. implemented through civic society with light engagement of the municipal government vs. implementation of civic society with strong engagement of municipal government;

How can the lessons from the projects contribute to the EU integration and/or accession agenda;

Lessons learned when managing projects at the municipal level ‑ what worked and what did not work (without crediting or assigning blame to any particular project);

What mechanisms were used under the projects for empowerment, accountability, and capacity building and how did they contribute to strengthening partnership arrangements and local administrative capacity?

A brief description of the three projects (Youth, Culture and CDP Projects in Macedonia) is followed by an analytical part on the main findings of the evaluation and recommendations. The evaluation attempts in a rigorous manner to crystallize the ways in which the three projects affect the decentralization process and improve the municipal capacity.