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The Business Opportunities and Support Services programme (BOSS) was a 5-year Private Sector Development project funded by Irish Aid and the New Zealand Aid Programme. BOSS aimed to support the underdeveloped private sector in Timor-Leste in selected value chains; cattle, horticulture and tourism. Whilst BOSS acted as a facilitator and “catalyst for change”, rather than an interventionist, across all three of its components, only the first component was designed using the M4P approach. This report is the midterm evaluation of the BOSS Project, which was conducted by two independent consultants and administered by the ILO.
The evaluation assessed the project against five criteria: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact. The evaluation confirmed the relevance of the project, particularly regarding the future economic potential of the selected value chains, as well as the achievements of the project to promote female entrepreneurship. The performance of the project was found to be in line, and sometimes even beyond, the performance plan, while the effectiveness increased through cooperation with other development projects and organisations. While the evaluation reported the project seemed to be on track in meeting its end targets, the report comments that these targets were potentially not sufficiently challenging, compared to the project's budget deployed. However, farmers already noted a significant increase in income from 50 USD per year to 100 USD per week. Reasons for this increase include increased production, access to transport, access to markets and innovation in the production processes.
BOSS supported its selected value chains through three components: (1) Increasing business opportunities for MSEs in target sectors and districts (which was designed using an M4P approach); (2) Creating access to enhanced and innovative market-orientated business development services; and (3) Increasing the State Secretary for Private Sector Support and Promotion (SEAPRI) commitment and capacity to mainstream gender throughout all of its policies, programs and activities.
The evaluation team conducted a review of secondary data, including country development plans, donor reports, monitoring and evaluation reports and statistics. They conducted interviews and consultations with stakeholders at the national, district and village levels, including the project team, government officials, the employer organisations, donors, implementation partners and beneficiaries. Before completing the evaluation, the main preliminary findings were presented in a stakeholder workshop to obtain feedback.
This report is particularly useful for donor organisations and development practitioners that work in Timor Leste or other thin markets and/or the cattle, horticulture and tourism sectors.