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Impact of benefits of People and Parks project evaluated

The Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) is managed by the Environmental Programmes (EP) branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). EPIP focuses on infrastructure-related projects that contribute towards environmental protection, conservation and sustainability, while creating work opportunities and providing skills development.

EPIP-funded People and Parks projects are aimed at building partnerships between conservation authorities and local communities through the investment in infrastructure to allow adequate benefit sharing from protected areas.

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Genesis was contracted by the DEA to conduct a socio-economic and environmental impact evaluation of the People and Parks projects within the EPIP between 2005/06 and 2015/16.

Specifically, the evaluation aimed to:

• Assess the projects’ results, implementation, and impact;
• Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the People and Parks focus area with respect to its overall objectives; and,
• Provide recommendations on how to improve the focus area to strengthen its impact.

The team employed a range of data-collection methods, including a desktop review of international literature, programme documentation and project data; key informant interviews at the national, provincial and project levels; and 37 site visits to selected projects across the country. A rubric methodology was employed to assess the sites in a consistent way and to draw lessons from across the project sample.

The results of the evaluation and the recommendations regarding the objectives were presented to the EPIP team. Monitoring and measurement of progress; enabling environment for project identification, prioritisation and design; operationalisation; and sustainability of the People and Parks projects will be incorporated into future strategy and implementation of the focus area.

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