Cablegate: Monitoring and Evaluation of Icmc Programs For

Published: Mon 11 Jul 2005 05:47 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
B. B) 03 AMMAN 1587
1. (U) Following is a monitoring and evaluation report for
PRM cooperative agreements SPRMCO04CA150 and SPRMCO04CA140
with the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC),
designed to secure medical care, primary and
non-formal/vocational education and basic humanitarian aid
for extremely vulnerable Iraqis (EVIs) residing in Jordan and
Lebanon under UNHCR's temporary protection regime. These
agreements, totaling USD 935,518 for Jordan-based activities
and USD 516,515 for Lebanon, maintain PRM-funded programs
that ICMC has been implementing in partnership with Caritas
International's Migrants Center in Lebanon and Caritas'
National Association in Jordan since September 2002.
2. (U) Amman-based regional refcoord reviewed implementation
of these two EVI programs with ICMC's Jordan and Lebanon
representatives, senior Caritas managers and local-hire EVI
project officers three times each between September 2004 and
July 2005:
-- Accompanied by PRM/ANE's visiting Iraq Program Officer,
refcoord met ICMC Jordan Representative Suzana Paklar on
February 28 at offices ICMC/Caritas Jordan specifically
established in downtown Amman to house its EVI program.
-- Refcoord also met Paklar and ICMC Lebanon
Representative/overall ICMC EVI Program Coordinator Jim Kelly
jointly in Amman on April 28.
-- Finally, refcoord met Kelly, EVI Lebanon Project Officer
Isabelle Saade and Najla Tabet Chahda, the Director of the
Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center on June 24. (The Center,
established in Beirut in 1994, now houses the EVI program.)
3. (U) In addition to these meetings, refcoord observed EVI
project caseworkers screening prospective beneficiaries at
ICMC/Caritas offices, and reviewed EVI project databases, in
Amman on March 20 and in Lebanon June 24. She also
accompanied ICMC/Caritas Jordan caseworker Gaby Daw on eight
home visits to beneficiaries living in seven different
neighborhoods in Amman on March 20, and also observed three
home visits that ICMC/Caritas Lebanon EVI Project Officer
Saade and caseworker Mirelle Chekrallah made to existing and
prospective beneficiaries living in the Fanar District of
Beirut on June 24. Because security conditions prohibit
refcoord from accompanying caseworkers to West Beirut
neighborhoods, ICMC/Caritas caseworkers Laurette Challita and
Majida El Joubeily videotaped three beneficiary families
living inside an UNRWA-run camp for Palestinian refugees and
surrounding West Beirut neighborhoods in June. (NOTE: This
video, along with EVI project data, has been pouched to
PRM/ANE, per ref A instructions. END NOTE.) Refcoord also
discussed how ICMC's EVI programming complements UNHCR aid
with UNHCR's Acting Jordan Head of Mission James Lynch and
UNHCR's Senior Regional Durable Solutions Officer for
Lebanon, Mohammed Hantosh, July 5.
4. (SBU) Cooperative agreements SPRMCO04CA150 and
SPRMCO04CA140 call for ICMC to identify and assist the most
vulnerable Iraqi asylum seekers in Jordan and Lebanon -- a
population that UNHCR, government sources and NGOs currently
estimate to number between 300,000-400,000 in Jordan and
20,000-25,000 in Lebanon. Although UNHCR placed all new
Iraqi asylum seekers under a temporary protection (TP) regime
in March 2003, comparatively few have registered for TP
status (15,000 in Jordan and 1,000 in Lebanon) due to the
limited assistance UNHCR's community service units in Amman
and Beirut can offer (see para. 9) and pervasive fears that
registering with UNHCR will actually facilitate deportation.
(COMMENT: These concerns may be credible in Lebanon as
UNHCR's September 2003 MOU with the GOL permits Lebanese
authorities to access UNHCR case files. END COMMENT.)
5. (SBU) ICMC/Caritas' target caseload continued to face
serious protection issues as a result of their quasi-legal
status, which forces them to live on the fringes of Lebanese
and Jordanian society (for example, most beneficiaries live
in unhygienic unheated and often unsafe housing never
designed for human habitation and work illegally as
construction workers, maids and street vendors where
unscrupulous employers often withhold their wages through
threats of deportation). In addition, the attitudes of host
authorities in Jordan also hardened this year, limiting
ICMC's access to government schools for the first time. As
para. 19 reports in greater detail, Jordanian authorities
expelled Iraqi children whose families do not possess a
one-year temporary residence permit from government schools
in late 2004, and are currently pressing UNHCR to refrain
from renewing temporary protection ID cards, which have a
validity of six months, and to limit the validity of any new
cards UNHCR issues to one month.
6. (SBU) ICMC program managers are reacting to this changing
operating environment, and are also modifying their EVI
implementing mechanisms to compensate for two other problems
affecting their targeting: the potential for old
beneficiaries to dominate assistance programs and the limited
local capacity of implementing partners in Jordan, where only
one university offers a degree in social work. In general,
ICMC/Caritas has done a solid job of overcoming these issues
and has met, or is on target to meet, all but one of the
three core objectives outlined in its cooperative agreements:
improve living conditions, improve access to comprehensive
medical care and improve access to primary education. The
exception is the Jordan EVI program's outpatient medical
care, which has reached only 40% of its target due to a
strict vetting procedure that Caritas introduced in late 2004
that limited outpatient services to procedures costing under
USD 30 per service. ICMC representatives discovered the low
outpatient approval rate when it stood up Jordan EVI
program's first project database five months into the program
and have asked Caritas to relax its guidelines. However,
they believe widespread familiarity with the earlier cutoff
is still suppressing demand within the Iraqi community, and
advise that they are unlikely to meet their original Jordan
outpatient target by August 31.
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7. (SBU) Because of their target population's irregular
status, ICMC/Caritas continues to find it impossible to
conduct outreach through media or other official means. Most
beneficiaries are old clientele from the first two years of
this program (22% in Jordan and 60% in Lebanon) or new
arrivals who find the EVI program through word of mouth or
informal referrals from UNHCR's community service program
staff. ICMC/Caritas program staff report that new arrivals
in Jordan and Lebanon are arriving with virtually no
possessions, unlike the previous two years of the program.
Prospective beneficiaries that refcoord observed in the Fanar
District of Beirut, for example, appeared to have fled Iraq
quickly after family members were the victims of kidnapping
or targeted attacks in Baghdad and Mosul. However, the
Jordan program has also seen an increase in "medical
tourists." As in previous years, EVI program caseworkers in
Lebanon and Jordan use a combination of interviews and home
visits -- documented using standard assessment forms -- to
determine the eligibility of clients. The majority of
prospective beneficiaries walk into ICMC/Caritas program
offices in Amman and Beirut but caseworkers also travel
approximately one day a month to assess the eligibility of
Iraqis living in other locations in Jordan and Lebanon.
8. (SBU) ICMC/Caritas staff continue to use the same nine
vulnerability criteria as in previous years (i.e. mental
disability/trauma, physical disability, chronic, acute or
terminal medical conditions, single parent or female head of
households, unaccompanied elderly or minors, elderly adults
in need of specialized care, families with children or
elderly in extreme poverty, female or child victims of
violence and persons with special protection concerns such as
ethnic minorities) but started excluding single males and
limiting their aid to new beneficiaries after discovering
that it had already achieved an extremely high rate of client
identification amongst its old caseload in the first four
months of its programming. For example, the Lebanon program
had identified 60% of its 500 family target by December. To
ensure it maintained a balance between its old caseload and
new applicants, the Jordan EVI program established its first
comprehensive database for its EVI caseload in February. In
general, the majority of Lebanese cases are families in
poverty or with chronic/terminal medical conditions. Jordan
has seen an increase in the number of female-headed
households, as they lose contact with male relatives who are
spontaneously returning to Iraq. Despite a significant
increase in the number of Christian families arriving in
Lebanon and Jordan, a trend also observed by UNHCR,
ICMC/Caritas staff continue to do a good job targeting all
religious communities. As reported by ICMC, its caseload is
59% Muslim and 41% Christian in Lebanon and 42% Muslim, 42%
Christian and 16% Sabian in Jordan.
9. (SBU) Because the needs of these vulnerable communities
are so great (ICMC estimates that at least 15,000 persons
would fit its criteria for vulnerability in Jordan), overlap
is not an issue. UNHCR's community service offices do
not/not provide aid to Iraqis in temporary protection status
in Lebanon. UNHCR does operate a USD 706,800 aid program for
vulnerable Iraqis in temporary protection status in Jordan,
working with four NGOs, including Caritas Jordan, to provide
financial/in-kind aid and medical, education, and legal
services, but its 2005-year caseload numbers less than 100
persons. UNHCR community service staff report that they do
informally refer Iraqis to ICMC/Caritas' EVI programs.
However, there is no coordination/communication between
senior ICMC program managers and UNHCR management, despite
the fact that UNHCR is currently considering increasing the
aid it provides to Iraqis in temporary protection status.
UNHCR Jordan's Acting Head of Mission readily admits that
this lack of coordination is due to the fact that UNHCR was
"overly focused on its border camp population," and has
offered to include ICMC staff in its urban Iraqi refugee
committee meetings.
10. (SBU) JORDAN EVI PROJECT: ICMC planned to assist 3,400
individuals/families in Jordan in its third-year of EVI
programming. In its first nine months of operations
(September 1, 2004-May 31, 2005), ICMC/Caritas reviewed 2,684
applications, primarily from Iraqis in Amman and nearby
cities. (NOTE: A small number of applicants are also residing
in Irbid, Jordan's second largest city, in the north. END
NOTE.). Of these, ICMC/Caritas accepted 1,962 cases,
rejected 295 cases and closed 217 cases involving
beneficiaries who could not be located following initial
screening. One hundred seventy nine applications were
pending. Jordan Caritas program managers estimate that 22%
of its current caseload (1,962) also received assistance in
the first two years of this program. However, ICMC country
representatives caution that this figure may be suspect,
given that ICMC/Caritas Jordan just established its first
comprehensive EVI database for its Jordan caseload in
============================================= =============
ICMC/Caritas had secured outpatient medical services,
including general and specialist physician consultations,
vaccinations, lab exams, medicine supply, x-rays and other
medical scans for 798 vulnerable Iraqis -- 40% of its
original target to provide outpatient services to 2,000
persons by August 31, 2005. ICMC Representative Kelly told
refcoord July 2, that he does not believe ICMC/Caritas Jordan
will meet its original target due to lower than anticipated
demand. As outlined in para. 5, demand may be suppressed by
the fact that EVI program managers were strictly limiting
outpatient services to procedures that cost USD 30 or less in
the first five months of the program.
inpatient services to 449 Iraqis at a combination of
government and private hospitals by June 1, which was 90% of
its target to assist 500 EVIs by August 31, 2005.
INDICATOR 1 - HUMANITARIAN AID: Using a voucher system with
local shopkeepers, ICMC/Caritas provided tailored aid
packages consisting of food, hygienic kits, pest control kits
and equipment to support vocational training, such as sewing
machines, to 739 Iraqi individuals/families by June 1,
exceeding its original target to provide 500 packages by
August 31, 2005.
exceeded its target to enroll 300 children in accredited
primary schools by August 31. As of June 1, it had provided
tuition/assisted enrollment for 319 children.
exceeded its target to secure non-formal primary education
for 100 children by August 31. As of June 1, it had assisted
117 children.
11. (SBU) LEBANON EVI PROJECT: ICMC estimated it would
assist 500 families (approximately 2,500 individuals) in its
third-year of EVI programming in Lebanon. Between September
1, 2004 and June 21, 2005 it reviewed applications from 580
families, primarily in Beirut, with a limited secondary
caseload in the south. Of these, it accepted 460 families,
with an average household size of 3.6 family members. The
majority qualified for assistance because they had children
living in extreme poverty (287 cases) or family members with
chronic or terminal medical conditions (141). Twenty-four
cases were pending as of June 6. ICMC/Caritas EVI program
managers estimate that 60% of its current caseload received
assistance in the first two years of this program, despite
concerted efforts to limit assistance to new arrivals after
the first four months of programming.
============================================= ==============
ICMC/Caritas had reached 93% of its target to provide
outpatient care to 700 Iraqis by August 31. It had provided
outpatient medical care (general and specialist physician
consultations, vaccinations, lab exams, medicine supply,
x-rays and other medical scans) at a combination of
government and private hospitals, medical centers, labs and
pharmacies to 613 individuals. Another 39 individuals had
been approved for treatment.
ICMC/Caritas had achieved 73% of its target to provide
inpatient care to 150 EVIs by August 31, 2005. Eighty one
beneficiaries received inpatient medical care in government
hospitals, with the exception of maternity care, which was
provided at a private hospital in Beirut at a reduced price
due to the fact that the maternity unit at ICMC's main
government hospital contractor was closed for renovations.
An additional 29 individuals had been approved and were
awaiting treatment.
INDICATOR 1 - HUMANITARIAN AID: ICMC/Caritas has exceeded its
target to provide 250 EVIs receive tailored humanitarian
packages by August 31, 2005. As of June 6 it had delivered
packages to 257 families that included mattresses and
blankets, food, clothes and diapers and/or had secured
alternative housing for families living in dangerous
conditions. An additional eight families had been approved
and were awaiting delivery of services.
also exceeded its target to enroll 200 children in accredited
primary schools by August 31, 2005. One hundred eighty-six
students had received tuition/enrollment aid as of June 6 an
additional 23 students had been approved and were awaiting
this aid.
exceeded its target to secure non-formal primary education
for 150 children by August 31, 2005. One hundred sixty-nine
children had been enrolled in courses, primarily to provide
remedial French and English-language instruction to children
to ensure they can participate in accredited schools in
Lebanon that teach a compulsory curricula in a combination of
French, Arabic and English, by June 6.
ICMC/Caritas also exceeded its target to provide two
additional services to EVIs in Lebanon. It originally
planned to provide vocational training to 50 young adults and
to offer seminars on health and social issues for 60 Iraqi
women. By June 6, it had provided English language and/or
vocational training (data processing, accounting, nail care,
cellular phone repair) to 53 individuals, and had approved
training for an additional 21. ICMC/Caritas has overcome the
initial delays starting up its women's seminars that it
reported in its interim narrative report. Sixty-eight women
had participated in EVI seminars as of June 6.
12. (SBU) MANAGEMENT: ICMC oversight has been excellent. Jim
Kelly, ICMC's Lebanon country representative/overall EVI
program coordinator is overseeing several projects in
Lebanon, but never at the expense of this program. He briefs
ICMC Geneva on EVI programming on a weekly basis and
maintains frequent and regular contact with ICMC's Jordan
country representative. Both country representatives have
been responsive to requests for information, and have been
open to refcoord's suggestions that ICMC establish contact
with UNHCR's heads of mission in Jordan and Lebanon given
that UNHCR is contemplating increasing the assistance it
provides to vulnerable Iraqi asylum seekers in the region.
Program implementation and day-to-day management is carried
out jointly by ICMC's country representative, the Director of
Caritas' Lebanon Migrant Center, who has 18 years of
experience with Caritas, and an EVI Project Officer,
recruited jointly by ICMC/Caritas two years ago. Day-to-day
program management in Jordan is carried out jointly by ICMC's
country representative and an EVI program manager hired by
Caritas. This manager resigned in mid-2004, and was replaced
in late 2004.
13. (SBU) STAFFING: ICMC/Caritas currently have six full-time
staff working on the EVI project in Lebanon (three
caseworkers, one administrative assistant, one receptionist
and one accountant) and eight in Jordan (seven caseworkers
and one secretary). (NOTE: EVI project staff also receive
regular support from interns who are pursuing social worker
degrees. A graduate student also assisted Jordan's EVI
project team to establish its first comprehensive database,
utilizing the Lebanon EVI database as a model. END NOTE.)
All appeared fully and gainfully employed during refcoord's
monitoring visits. EVI project staff work six days a week in
both fields. Caseworkers spend one day per week on required
paperwork, and divide their remaining days interviewing
potential beneficiaries in Caritas' offices and conducting
follow-up visits to prospective and current beneficiaries'
homes, schools and hospitals. EVI caseworkers in Lebanon are
highly qualified; all hold professional social worker
degrees, and are active in securing discounts from shops for
their clientele. Some have personally worked to pool funding
from UNHCR and local NGOs to pay for expensive operations
such as open-heart surgery that ICMC program funds cannot
cover. EVI caseworkers in Jordan appeared hard-working and
have earned the trust of beneficiaries (an important
attribute given their quasi-legal status) but they are
unquestionably overstreteched. During refcoord's home
visits, EVI caseworkers averaged less than 10 minutes with
each beneficiary, as opposed to 30 minutes in Lebanon. The
tension associated with reviewing the high number of
applicants and modest pay has resulted in high caseworker
turnover in both fields. ICMC admits its staffing levels are
inadequate; they would like to hire one additional caseworker
in each of its EVI fields if PRM continues to fund its EVI
14. (U) OFFICES AND EQUIPMENT: ICMC/Caritas' EVI program
offices in Lebanon are located within the Caritas Lebanon
Migrant Center, a clearly signposted center that Caritas
established in 1994 to serve refugees and migrant workers,
primarily from Africa and Asia. Office equipment provided
under previous PRM agreements (desks, laser printers,
switchboard) were in use and ICMC/Caritas managers readily
provided an equipment inventory. In Jordan, ICMC/Caritas
Jordan is continuing to rent commercial office space in
downtown Amman to operate its EVI programs, which may be
inadequate for its current caseload. ICMC/Caritas'
receptionist, for example, shares her work space with waiting
applicants, which spill out onto the adjacent stairwell.
Caseworkers conduct beneficiary interviews in one single
room. Signage could also be improved. PRM-funded equipment
(file cabinets, phones) is in good working order.
15. (SBU) FINANCIAL CONTROLS: Caritas Lebanon and Jordan both
maintain appropriate financial reporting and inventory
controls. In addition to visiting hospital inpatients,
caseworkers now regularly inspect the gradebooks of primary
students they are assisting to counter a fraud problem the
program faced in its first two years, when some school
administrators were colluding with parents to share the cost
of tuition without actually enrolling children.
16. (SBU) SECURITY PROTOCOL: ICMC/Caritas Jordan caseworkers
continue to operate in pairs which are always comprised of a
male and female caseworker. In Lebanon, security protocols
appear more lax. Caseworkers often conduct home visits on
their own, even in UNRWA-run refugee camps. However, no
security incidents have occurred to date and caseworkers told
visiting refcoord that they have never felt at risk.
17. (U) ICMC/Caritas' EVI programs in Jordan and Lebanon are
addressing sub-standard housing conditions for urban Iraqi
asylum seekers, but project managers are not using SPHERE
standards directly to design and evaluate these programs.
ICMC/Caritas' EVI program staff seemed aware of ICMC's Code
of Conduct and established reporting procedures.
18. (SBU) Caritas' Lebanon Migrants Center currently has the
technical capacity to maintain ICMC's EVI programs: it has a
strong management team and a staff of professionally-trained
social workers. Caritas' Migrant Center has also developed a
positive working relationship with Lebanese authorities, even
securing GOL agreement to establish a Caritas office within
the GOL's main Beirut detention center as a condition of
Caritas' agreement to finance the renovation of that
facility. That said, it is unlikely that Caritas Lebanon
could sustain EVI program activities without external funding
from ICMC. Likewise, it seems unlikely that Jordan Caritas
would be in a position to maintain its existing EVI
programming without ICMC's financial and managerial support.
ICMC has found that Caritas Jordan has limited managerial
capacity and difficulty recruiting staff given that only one
university in Jordan currently offers a degree in social
work. ICMC's Jordan Representative Paklar is providing
social worker training for Caritas' caseworkers to respond to
this problem and proposes building a formal local-capacity
building element into its existing EVI program if PRM
maintains EVI program funding in Jordan for another year.
19. (SBU) ICMC is also debating whether it should diversify
its implementing partners in Jordan to address Caritas'
capacity problems. In May, it registered as a local NGO to
facilitate the search for a local partner that could assume
control of its education activities. In addition to
experiencing difficulties with its local partners,
ICMC/Caritas' operations are also being affected by recent
Jordanian Government initiatives. In late 2004, the Ministry
of Interior required government schools to expel Iraqi
children whose families do not possess an annual residency
permit. (NOTE: To qualify for such a permit, an Iraqi family
must deposit a minimum of JD 50,000 in a Jordanian bank in an
account that cannot be accessed during their stay in Jordan.
END NOTE.) On July 1, the Minister of Interior rejected a
joint appeal from UNHCR, UNICEF and UNESCO to exempt children
of refugees and asylum seekers from this directive, noting
that such a decision would "practically accept refugees for
local integration."
20. (SBU) In addition, the Jordanian Ministry of Interior is
currently asking UNHCR to refrain from renewing temporary
protection identification cards for Iraqis and to limit the
validity of any new cards for Iraqis it issues to one month,
citing the March 2001 MOU that UNHCR signed with the GOJ that
requires UNHCR to seek durable solutions for refugees within
six months. Political developments in Lebanon have not
affected ICMC's operations to date, and are unlikely to do
so. However, EVI programming in Lebanon could be temporarily
disrupted in late 2005 as rising commercial rents will likely
force Caritas to re-locate at the end of 2005; the manager of
Caritas' Lebanon Migrant Center told refcoord June 24 that
she hopes to remain close to the green line to ensure the
center continues to serve all religious communities.
21. (SBU) Refcoord supports continuing funding ICMC to
maintain both of its EVI programs in Jordan and Lebanon, and
to provide additional social worker training in Jordan to
improve local capacity building. However, it would
scrutinize ICMC/Caritas Lebanon's request for significant new
equipment (i.e., vehicles). Based on first-hand observation
of program beneficiaries, elements of the Iraqi community in
Jordan and Lebanon are facing serious protection concerns,
and will remain vulnerable as long as their quasi-legal
status makes them vulnerable to exploitation and closes
access to government services. Given that UNHCR's community
services programs for Iraqis in temporary protection status
are extremely limited in Jordan and non-existent in Lebanon,
ICMC/Caritas is filling a critical gap in protection aid.
However, UNHCR's Jordan and Iraq Heads of Mission advise that
UNHCR Geneva may be contemplating increasing the aid it
provides vulnerable asylum seekers under its temporary
protection regime. If that occurs, refcoord recommends that
UNHCR and ICMC conduct a stock-taking session to improve
coordination. Once UNHCR organizes assisted returns, unused
program funds should be shifted to support voluntary
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