Indonesia Generasi Program: Long-term Impact Evaluation management response
The long-term impact evaluation of the Bright and Healthy Generation (Generasi) program was a priority evaluation highlighted in the 2017-18 Indonesia Aid Program Performance Report. Australia contributed USD 115 million to the program through the World Bank's Local Solutions to Poverty Trust Fund. Because the evaluation is prepared for the World Bank, it does not provide recommendations specifically for partners, such as DFAT. This response summarises lessons from the evaluation for DFAT.
The long-term impact evaluation of the Bright and Healthy Generation (Generasi) program comprised four waves of evaluation: June to August 2007; October 2008 to January 2009; October 2009 to January 2010; and October 2016 to February 2017. Implemented by the Government of Indonesia's Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Areas and Transmigration, Generasi is the largest activity under the Australian-supported World Bank multi-donor trust fund Local Solutions to Poverty (2008-2020, $191.5 million). The fourth and final wave of the evaluation was funded through Australian support to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL South East Asia).
The evaluation offered DFAT an unprecedented opportunity for a long-term study of this kind, representing one of the largest randomised social studies ever conducted. This was made possible by the program's long timeframe and wide geographical coverage. Generasi commenced in 2007 and its coverage grew from 264 subdistricts in 2009 across West Java, East Java, North Sulawesi, Gorontalo and East Nusa Tenggara provinces to 499 subdistricts in 11 provinces in 2018. The final evaluation focused on the original 264 subdistricts. With over 12,000 households sampled and over 1.8 million beneficiaries in the target areas, the study has contributed to global knowledge and evidence informing the design and delivery of health and education initiatives in other contexts.
A significant focus of Generasi was to improve basic services in poor and rural areas through provision of block grants to communities in rural villages for activities in maternal and child health, and education. The evaluation found that Generasi was effective in increasing attendance at monthly community-based health posts or Posyandu, and in increasing immunisations and vitamin A distribution. This sustained impact is associated with Generasi's unique model of facilitation where local facilitators were trained to advise communities on health and education issues and to encourage community participation. Generasi's contribution both to stunting reduction (particularly in East Nusa Tenggara province) and to improved education outcomes, such as school enrolment and participation rates of primary and secondary school students, was observed in many target areas until 2009.
According to the evaluation, beyond 2009, the specific positive impacts of Generasi or Wave III were diluted by improvements in the overall health and education environment across Indonesia. The report suggested that it was associated with the rise of social assistance programs since 2009 and the enactment of Indonesia's Village Law since 2014, where village-level governments have increased their ability to fund improvements in health and education services.
The evaluation found that Generasi was able to remain flexible and relevant over a long period characterised by significant changes in the national context for village governance and decentralised service delivery.
Key learnings from the study include that social accountability, guidance on targeting, rejuvenating Posyandu, and mobilising community were essential contributions to improved health-related performance indicators. To this extent, it is clear to DFAT that the impact evaluation has helped the World Bank and the GoI understand how community plays a role in accountability and in improving quality of nutrition services. The evaluation has also informed the design of National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Reduction (NatStrat) 2018-2024 launched in November 2018 that also encourages villages to adopt best practice in nutrition service delivery within the village law schemes, and a new World Bank program, supported by Australia, Investing in Nutrition and Early Years (INEY), to support that strategy.
Generasi's lessons learned, such as the role of facilitation in mobilising communities, performance-oriented community scorecards, and multi-sectoral coordination, have shaped the World Bank's Local Solutions to Poverty Trust Fund's support for the GoI's Human Development Worker pilot project under the NatStrat. Assisted by the World Bank's INEY, the GoI is also committing to institutionalising key tools from Generasi such as stunting length mats and village convergence scorecards. Generasi's lessons are also informing activities under our country-level partnership with the World Bank, and our bilateral investments such as the Governance for Growth (KOMPAK) program that are working to support Indonesia to continue to strengthen service delivery and human capital.
The evaluation of Generasi has also illustrated to DFAT the value of rigorous impact evaluations. This study has contributed to global knowledge on community-driven development approaches to incentivise better service delivery. DFAT sees value in funding evaluations that can help to build the global evidence base about what works in different contexts. This quantitatively-focussed impact evaluation helps policymakers to understand what interventions are effective, and is best read alongside qualitative studies that help to explain why they may be effective.
In the years since Australia funded Generasi through the World Bank, DFAT has adjusted its approach to an economic partnership model where Australia is able to provide technical expertise and innovations to support Indonesia's development agenda, rather than directly funding program implementation. As such, our partnership with the World Bank is transitioning from supporting large scale partner-implemented activities like Generasi to knowledge and analytical-focussed activities that help the Government of Indonesia to best target its own resources towards achieving inclusive economic growth and better service delivery.