BIDPA was commissioned by the government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Local Government (MLG), and the United Nations Children‟s Fund (UNICEF- Botswana) to conduct an evaluative study on the Public Works Programme commonly known as Ipelegeng. The objectives of the evaluation were to: make recommendations on measures that will ensure viability and sustainability of the programme; to put together a report outlining the effectiveness and efficiency, relevance, success and draw backs of the Ipelegeng activities with regards to poverty alleviation; provide an outline of strategies to determine future manpower needs; and to make recommendations on the way forward for Ipelegeng within the context of a broader social development framework. The BIDPA team consisted of Dr. N. H. Fidzani (Team Leader), Dr K. Nthomang (Social Policy specialist), Mr Khaufelo R. Lekobane (Statistician) and Ms. Motshabi L. Tebape (Economist). Dr Tebogo B. Seleka (BIDPA Executive Director) provided technical advice, particularly during conceptualization of the research approach.
In a consultative workshop held in Gaborone on 8th May 2012 Dr Fidzani presented the findings and recommendations of the study to stakeholders who included cabinet ministers, members of parliament, permanent secretaries, other senior government officials, and UNICEF representatives. The following were some of the findings established by this BIDPA study:
· The Ipelegeng Programme is relevant to addressing the plight of the poor. An overwhelming 82 per cent of the respondents felt that the programme had assisted them improve their welfare.
· Ipelegeng is weak as an Entrepreneurial vehicle. The notion that Ipelegeng could be used as a vehicle for entrepreneurial skills and small business development was rejected by 62.6 per cent of the respondents and endorsed by only 37.4 per cent.
· The stated objectives of Ipelegeng are not consistent with the current Government policy pronouncement on poverty eradication.
· The answer to the question on whether Ipelegeng has effectively addressed the objective of poverty eradication and relief is that there has been more relief than poverty eradication
· The sustainability of the benefits so far derived from the Ipelegeng Programme is highly questionable especially if Government support for the programme was to decline.
In line with the findings of the study a number of recommendations were advanced by the BIDPA research team. The recommendations included the following: Ipelegeng objectives must be revised and be aligned to the national objective of poverty eradication; Ipelegeng must be redesigned to be result-based to introduce flexible working schedules where beneficiaries will be assigned work and will work at their own time and pace and be paid on work done instead of time spent at work; Ipelegeng must introduce a well-structured capacity building component that arms participants with production skills as well as survival skill; Ipelegeng should be redesigned to take on board gender, age, health status and different group specific issues; Government must undertake a cost benefit analysis of engaging the Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations to supervise the design and implementation of some Ipelegeng projects; New comprehensive guidelines for the programme should be formulated in consultation with all stakeholders, including Ipelegeng beneficiaries; Re-design Ipelegeng in a manner that enhances complementarity between this programme and other programmes and other Economic Activities; Government should consider involving the private sector in the funding and execution of the IP.