The Australian Aid (AusAID) has been helping Papua New Guina (PNG) for long years. In 2000, the AusAID has started an aid program in PNG in the coordination with the PNG government. The program has aimed at fighting against the HIV and AIDS cases in PNG. PNG is a less developed country and suffers from corruptions and weak institutions which cause weak supply of health, education, and social services. The AusAID, after defining these weaknesses in PNG, has decided to implement the programs through the institutions in PNG to develop their institutional capacities and improve their services they provide for people (AusAID Evaluation Report, 2012).
AusAID has a long history with PNG since 1975 which has started with annual aid of 359.9 million AUD$. The aids has been given to PNG through the PNG institutions and the Australian companies were doing the projects in the country. However, the political unstability and corruptions and less developed institutional structure of the country caused inefficiencies in allocation of the aids; the Australian companies and some bureucrats in PNG has benefited more than the citizens has done (Shek, 2007).
In this essay, we will examine the aid allocation approach of AusAID through the PNG institutions parallel to the PNG policies instead of implementing direct projects run by the AusAID in the country.
Allocating Aids through the Institutions in PNG
AusAID has aimed building structures inside the government system of the country to create a sustainable environment for fulfilling the objectives. National AIDS Council, Provincial AIDS Councils, and the HIV and AIDS Management and Prevention Act 2003 are the examples of this. Before making this decision, AusAID has made a stakeholder analysis to create the institutions in the government. It is important to comprehend how the PNG governmental institutions work and how people react to this system. By researching the structure, AusAID could prepare an action plan.
The analysis conducted by the AusAID has shown that the governmental institutions were not performing well, and each year the country was getting worse . The situation of the country was much further than a situation of being less developed. The citizens were not receiving health, education and social services properly and the PNG economy was losing power everyday. The people did not have any clue how to survive and develop their situations, and the institutions for which these helpless and hopeless people were working were not performing well (AusAid Evaluation Report, 2012).
The central governmental was not able to do much for their people, and there have been a big corruption problem. Upon this analysis, AusAID has tried to create an aid approach to create a financially, socially and economically sustainable system and spread this institutional system all around the country. After completing this task, the aids are expected to stimulate the economy and help the people develop their economical, financial and social status (UNU-Wider, 2012).
The institutions built with the aids have taken place in the centre of the government and als they have been spread to all the provinces to enable the effects of the implemented policies reach everybody in the country. Building a system in the central government and in all the provinces is like creating a heart and vessels/veins system to make the body survive. The aids provided annually is similar to pumping blood to body. AusAID, instead of creating a shocking effect on the country, have preferred creating a system inside the PNG governmental system which is expected to influence the country in the long term (Shek, 2007).
The Short Term Results of the AusAID Approach in PNG
The HIV/AIDS program has started in 2006, because of that, it is impossible to talk about the long term results of the program; however, in short term, it is expected to build an institutional capacity with its leaders and somehow developed human capital in the country. In the middle term, it is expected that the country will develop its own resources to continue this program and in the long run, a sustainable system with developed human capital and institutional structure is expected (AusAID Evaluation Report, 2012).
The evaluation of the program claims that there is no certain evidence that the program has reached its short and middle term goals. According to the evaluation, the program has provided some information, however, there is no detailed information to evaluate the results. There are clear improvements in testing HIV and some other health issues, but there is no data or not enough information how well the institutional structure and human capital developed. The program management, depending on their observation and experience in the country, decides how to manage the relations with the governmental institutions.
The program management is promoting the PNG government to create and develop a data collection. That is one of the areas that the program has truly contributed to the country. The available data sets indicate that there is not much improvement occurred in the health status of people which is one of the success indicators.
There are thirteen recommendations have been made to the HIV/AIDS Program management, and most of them are about some specific parts of the program; Suspend support the NACHS, improve gender equality, etc. However, there is no total approach. Each recommendation might contribute to the program positively, but no approach developed to check the system as an entity.
An important missing thing in the program which is not mentioned in the evaluation is how to develop a monitoring system to follow and adjust the results. For instance, this evaluation report has been prepared, however, how will the evaluation system work in the future? or How has it been working in the past? There is no clue given about this. A reader, instinctly, might feel that the program management has tried to build a capacity in the PNG Governmental system, but no detailed information is given in the evaluation report.
Evidence & Argument
The arguments in the evaluation report are giving a sense how the program is going, however, we need more details to analyze the effects of the program. A basic stakeholder analysis has been implemented. The AIDS/HIV prevention program aims at decreasing the incidence of these sicknesses, and this requires a sociological and an institutional change in the country. There is not much evidence provided for this. The report mentions that there are institutional problems for implementing this program and people cannot adapt themselves to the institutional changes easily which causes an inefficiency.
Importance of Findings
The findings of the report are generally satisfactory, however, if a further research to understand the sociological structure might give us more valuable information to make amendments to the program. The report makes some assumptions on the social structure, but a more developed study is still required.
Improving the Evaluation Report
More social studies' data set and results shoul be included in the report. Thus, the report can give more precise results on the efficiency of the program.
Recommendations to the Aids Program
A strategy has been developed in this program and the main goal has beed defined as to develop the institutional structure of the country. The existing govermental structure has been utilized to implement the policies. However, a data and information collection strategy has not been well developed. The results for many things are not clear due to the missing data and information (Clements, 2010).
Another thing, a data collection strategy has been suggested in the program, but, because this task has been assigned to the PNG Government with the weaknesses of the institutional structure and human capital, the aim has not been succeeded.
There has to be developed a dynamic monitoring system in the program. It might play very critical role to develop and adjust the program (Adam, 2002). After completing each strategy implementation, the governing body of the program should be able to evaluate the results and do the necessary changes accordingly (Cordessman, 2007).
There are many examples of programs ending up with a failure because of lack of a monitoring system in the world (Frese et al., 2003). There might occur many misunderstandings of incentives that individuals have or other disorganization or disharmony problems (Davies, 2004). The program management should be able to follow and get informed of the failures in the system and the reactions of the people to the program, thus they can develop a sustainable dynamic program. Missing any of these failure information will give unexpected and undesired results (Korten, 1980).
For example in the evaluation report, there are certain points that evaluation team has critisized like NACS is not functioning well and it is recommended to suspend the support to NACS. At this point, the program should be able to replace NACS, or should find ways to make it function. To be able to succeed this, the program management will need some detailed information about why NACS is not functioning well. To understand this, they will need to know about the manegement team's thoughts and they need to create a responsive action to make them active in a desired way.
Another suggestion, further than creating a dynamic monitoring system, the participation of the citizens to the decision making processes in the program (Uphoff, 1996). The evaluation report does give some clues about that mostly the PNG Government is making decisions and there is no certain information how their decision making process works. If the govermental is not using a participatory way in its decision making process, the program might be creating wrong decisions that people refuse to follow.
Consequently, developing a dynamic monitoring system and a more participatory environment will help the program management make better decisions and better implementations. According to the evaluation report, it seems like that the govermental cannot manage this by itself. At this point, AusAID in cooperation with the international institutions can create a technical support mechanism to the government.
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