Evaluation of Finland's support for the Nicaragua Municipal Governance ICT project
The Finnish funded, 2006–2010 Nicaragua Municipal Governance ICT project was evaluated in 2011. The evaluation was conducted by the Finnish Consulting Group (FCG).
The evaluation assessed how the project operated in a challenging institutional environment. Institutional changes and uncertainty caused long periods of inactivity for the project, reducing the project's effectiveness. Some of the project's initiatives, like the cattle registry and public health intranet were successful, but other initiatives (e.g. population and land registries) could not be implemented.
The project, however, had a profound impact at the municipal level, as it has made data management more effective and improved public service delivery. But regarding the project's development objective of strengthening democracy, the results were not significant. This was partly due to the political situation in Nicaragua, and partly to the project's hurried implementation caused by initial delays, as well as the purely technical skill set of the project's staff.
In the long term, the sustainability of the technology and initiatives introduced by the project will depend on how useful the beneficiaries perceive them. Bigger municipalities seem to have discovered the benefits of the technology introduced by the project, whereas the risk of abandoning it is larger in smaller municipalities.
The evaluation recommends that Finland would continue its pioneering work in supporting democratization processes through ICT tools. However, it is essential that the political and institutional framework would be supportive of such initiatives. Finally, the evaluation gives recommendations to be considered when replicating the experience elsewhere.