Ex-ante evaluation of activities to reduce material deprivation eligible for funding in 2021-2027 programming period
For the programming period 2014-2020, the support from the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) was one of the European Commission's (EC) initiatives to contribute to improving the quality of life of the most deprived and reducing social exclusion in the Member States. The main objective of ex-ante evaluation was to prepare for the implementation of support measures that would help to reduce material deprivation in Lithuania during the 2021-2027 programming period. Evaluation provides conclusions on the most effective ways of providing material support to end recipients and implementation of accompanying measures. Moreover, the evaluation includes analysis on reduction and elimination of stigmatisation of the target group. The study assessed:
1) whether FEAD support used to purchase products and hygiene goods could be transferred to electronic cards in the new programming period;
2) accompanying measures carried out by the partner organisations between 2014 and 2020 in order to draw conclusions on the prospects to focus accompanying measures on activities of social innovation or social experiment type.
As many as 73.2% of survey respondents identified the use of electronic cards as a better alternative compared to direct material support with food and hygiene items. The evaluation has shown that depending on the model chosen for the implementation of electronic cards, the administrative costs of FEAD support would decrease significantly. A significant number (62.2% of survey respondents) of municipalities already have experience transferring social support and/or pupil support to electronic cards. Therefore, the majority of municipalities are already experienced in cooperation with supermarkets and stores and are able to select, contract and administer work with both large supermarkets and small local stores.
The study also showed that partner organizations carried out various types of accompanying measures related to employment and social inclusion to strengthen the social integration of FEAD end recipients: individual counselling on employment or referral, excursions, camps and educational programmes (e. g. first aid training and swimming lessons), cooking and health nutrition lessons, various other courses and training (e. g. health programmes for women and motivational seminars), psychological counselling, personal hygiene lessons, and budget accompanying measures. It is also sought to involve end recipients in voluntary activities with elderly people, local community and various NGOs. Taking into account the experience of partner organizations who are well informed of the needs of the end recipients and actual opportunities to implement activities, it is recommended to continue implementing of accompanying measures at the municipal.
To date, the logic of the project cycle and assessment have been used in a fragmented or non-existent way during the implementation of accompanying measures. To implement the accompanying measures more effectively in 2021-2027, it is proposed to apply the logic of the project cycle and to implement pilot interventions - social experiments and / or social innovations. The implementation and organization of accompanying measures should preferably be based on a logic scheme of the project cycle.