What reviews have been undertaken assessing the effectiveness of working through a Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) in fragile contexts, specifically focusing on health and education SWAps and decentralised contexts?
There is no consistently strong evidence that sector-wide approaches
(SWAps) have been effective at achieving development outcomes in fragile
contexts. Available evidence is mixed, partly because of the uniqueness
of each country’s context. This report presents brief summaries of a
selection of health and education sector reviews completed within the
last four years, covering a range of fragile and conflict-affected
states in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
The reviews of health and education SWAps included in this report
consistently find that:
- Evidence of the effectiveness of SWAps in achieving development
outcomes is limited, and what evidence exists is mixed, partly due to
differences in country context and problems of measurement and
- SWAps can lead to improvements in aid harmonisation, in relationships
among development actors, and in processes for coordinating and
- There is a significant risk of focusing too heavily on developing
coordination and planning processes and not enough on development
- SWAps can help build national capacities for financial management.
- It is common for donor agencies to continue to fund projects in the
same sector outside a SWAp rather than being fully committed to the
- SWAps do not reduce transaction costs for country governments, and in
some cases transaction costs have been observed to increase.
Lucas, B. Effectiveness of sector-wide approaches in fragile contexts (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1031). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 11 pp.