Rwanda: Democracy and Governance Threshold Program Evaluation

Prepared for
Millennium Challenge Corporation

The Millennium Challenge Corporation sponsored the Rwanda Threshold Program (RTP), which was intended to strengthen the rule of law, civil society, civic participation, media, and the inspectorate services of the national police. The RTP sought to improve the country’s judicial and legislative capacity; deliver training and technical assistance to the Rwandan National Police to enhance transparency and professionalism; train Rwanda’s journalists and media organizations to enhance their professionalism and skills; and provide training, technical support, and grants to civil society organizations and government officials at both the local and national levels to expand civic engagement.

Mathematica designed a rigorous evaluation of the RTP’s key activities. The evaluation included a comparison group design for the national police program, pre-post surveys assessing the reach of new community radio stations created by the media program, a pairwise random selection design for the local civic participation program (where training activities were randomly assigned to half of Rwanda’s 30 districts in the program’s first year), and qualitative designs for several additional program components.

To carry out the study, we conducted an independent data collection surveying households nationwide on civic participation issues and perceptions of the police, media, and other relevant institutions. The evaluation’s baseline survey (in 2011) and follow-up survey (in 2012) each had a sample size of approximately 10,000 households. In addition, Mathematica implemented a series of qualitative data collection activities related to the RTP initiatives. These activities included program reviews and document analyses; interviews with RNP officials, district government leaders, and members of civic society organizations; and the scoring of supreme and high court judicial decisions using a standardized rubric.

The evaluation's final report was released in 2014. Overall, the study found evidence that the RTP produced a mixed set of results within the timeframe of the evaluation. Some activities, such as funding community radio stations, appear to have succeeded in improving citizen trust in local media institutions. Likewise, the random assignment evaluation of the Strengthening Civic Participation component found evidence that the program increased citizens’ willingness to voice criticism about local government policies and services. Other activities, such as training judges to improve the quality of decision-writing or encouraging citizen feedback to police, did not show evidence of positive impacts on the governance indicators the RTP was ultimately designed to influence.

For a recap of evaluation findings, see the Rwanda Threshold Program graphic.

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