PART II by tyndale

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 8

									            PROGRAMMES FOR JOB CREATION:
       THE CASE OF "BEAUTIFUL BULGARIA" PROJECT

                            Vyara Gancheva, Sofia

1. Introduction
   The focus of the present article is on the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project, which
is the first large-scale effort for job creation after the financial stabilisation of
1997. The aim of the analysis is to assess the effectiveness of the project. The
intention is to implement the assessment by comparing the initial and the
achieved goals. Another subject for assessment is the contribution of the
programme to the job creation in the municipalities as well as the comparison of
the short-term and long-term, the direct and indirect effects of the programme1.
   The analysis of the project and its results is based on the conceptual model of
partnership building. “Partnership” here stands for the mutually favourable and
sustainable exchange of resources, including skills, knowledge and experience
among others. The principle of partnership here means that the project is
supported by all the partners and they take part in it in accordance with their
positions and goals.
   The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the main executor
of the project and an active mediator, who links the potential partners and
facilitates the dialogue among them. The goal of UNDP is to start the
partnership, to strengthen and support it, respecting the principle requirements
for openness, equal worth and mutual profit.
   The founding elements of the partnership model are:
    clear goals and expectations;
    co-operative planning and problem resolution;
    flexible programmes designed according to the choices of the
       participants;
    education, consulting-methodical help and follow-ups;
    development and realisation of the mediator’s skills to facilitate problem
       resolution among the partners;
    provision of support by the whole system.
   The partnership is built upon the basis of two major prerequisites. First, it is
assumed that actions which aim at change through partnership are more
successful than actions which aim at change through other methods of
intervention. Second, it is also assumed that actions where the agent of change is
directly engaged are more successful than efforts for change where the agent is
not engaged with participation in the process (Walters, 1998).
2. General Characteristics and Time Span of the Project
   According to the memorandum for agreement between the Commission of
the European Union and UNDP, the immediate goal of the project is to provide
financial support for job creation and for vocational training in the course of
renewing the infrastructure in several selected municipalities. An amount of
nearly 4 million ECU (80 per cent of which is a contribution of EU and UNDP,

208
and 20 percent of the municipalities) has been allocated in sub-projects for the
renovation of the town infrastructure and the historical sites in Sofia, Plovdiv,
Varna, Rousse and Veliko Tarnovo. With few exceptions the projects have
started in May 1998 and have been completed by the end of October, 1998.
   The Job Creation Component (JCC) is part of the second Emergency Social
Assistance Programme (ESAP II) for Bulgaria. For this programme the
European Commission (the PHARE Programme) granted Bulgaria a funding of
20 million ECU, 16 million of which for the Social Assistance Component and
3.3 million for the Job Creation Component. The financial contribution of
UNDP is nearly $ 415,000, that of the municipalities is $ 590, 000.
3. Institutional Framework of the “Beautiful Bulgaria” Project
    On the governmental level - EU PHARE (Birks Sinclair & Associates) is
     the main contracting side with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
     (MLSP), which is the representative of the Bulgarian government.
    On the national level - the National Employment Service is the partner of
     UNDP which is the initiator and organising party of the project.
    On the municipal level - the partners are the regional employment services,
     the regional offices of UNDP, and the local authorities (mayors).
   Apart from that, the National Institute for Cultural Monuments together with
its local subdivisions, the contractors - public and private firms, and the
unemployed as a target group are also participants in the project.
   Thus, a number of considerable results have been achieved through the
established partnership system.
   - Around 800 institutions have worked on the project in the five towns. This
has created unique institutional ties. The co-ordination among the three
institutions, bearing the basic responsibilities for the project in different ways
(the EU Commission, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, and UNDP)
have been especially complex. All of them admit difficulties, misunderstandings
and tensions on the basic level.
   - Various forms of horizontal co-operation have been established in the
course of the implementation of the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project. They include
co-operation between international institutions - EU and UNDP, and among
national institutions - Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the National
Employment Service, the National Institute of Cultural Monuments, and the
national media. Regional inter-institutional co-operation on the horizontal level
can also be observed, e. g. among the regional employment services, the local
media and the public and private firms, who were contractors for the project in
the municipalities.
   - Vertical forms of partnership have also been established among
international and national institutions (EU/PHARE-UNDP-MLSP), or among
national and regional institutions (UNDP central office and UNDP regional
offices, MLSP and the regional employment services). These partnerships have
been established in order to serve the interests of the beneficiaries - the
unemployed enrolled in vocational training courses and in programmes for
temporary employment in the five big towns.
4. Juxtaposing Goals and Results
   The goal of the project is the provision of temporary employment for 18, 000
man/months in the five towns. By the end of November 1998 the project has
provided 16,410 man/months. An amount of 2,183 man/months have been
indirectly provided by employment of experts and professionals. Thus the total
employment provided by the project is 18,593 man/months (Beautiful Bulgaria
Project, 1997).
   Another goal of the project is to develop the capability of the central and
local administration to run projects of the type under scrutiny. From the point of
view of partnership, the participating institutions have been stimulated to build
new institutional links and to improve the already existing ones. In all cases,
respecting the founding principles of partnership has been the main goal.
Nevertheless, they have not been respected in an equal degree for all the
partners and at all stages of the project. Weak points have been detected in the
joint planning and problem resolution, as well as regarding the opportunities for
flexible programmes based on participant choice. For example, the local
authorities have not participated in the preparation of the project. That is why
the employment programme has not been co-ordinated with the investment
programmes of the municipalities. The main reason for this was the lack of
time, because job creation is a part of a programme for emergency assistance.
However, the achievements are encouraging. The experience shared by the
experts from EU-PHARE and UNDP with the partners on the central and local
level has considerably enhanced their knowledge and skills, and thus improved
their opportunities for work on projects with international financing. Nearly
86% of the contracts have been signed after tenders with small and medium-size
private firms, which has improved the co-operation of the municipalities with
the private sector. The course of the project has been given publicity in the
media with a vast scope and variety of materials. The relations between the
participating institutions and the public have been strengthened by means of
special audio- and video-materials, a film, thousands of articles, interviews in
the local and national media, 100 000 leaflets, and 5 000 posters.
5. From Support to Development - the Evolution of the Project
   In the beginning the, “Beautiful Bulgaria” project was a UNDP initiative. Its
prototype is the “Beautiful Sofia” project, realised by Sofia Great Municipality,
MLSP and UNDP in 1997. The main goal of “Beautiful Bulgaria” is the
renovation and the improvements of the central city part of several Bulgarian
towns. Only after this initial idea, a new component was added, namely the
creation of short-term employment. ESAP is a programme for emergency
assistance, therefore sustainability of the created employment is not sought for.
The main criterion for the selection of the five municipalities - Sofia, Plovdiv,
Varna, Rousse and Veliko Tarnovo - is their significance from the point of view
of architecture and tourism (esthetisation and reconstruction of buildings) and
only later the job-creation component was added. Thus, towns with low level of
unemployment and alternative employment opportunities have been selected. At
the start of the programme in 1997, 6,5 % of the Plovdiv residents in working
age were actually unemployed (while the general unemployment in the country
was 14%). In Sofia this figure was 4%, in Varna - 7,4%, in Rousse 11,5%, and
in Veliko Tarnovo - 17,8%.
   Due to the selection of towns with a relatively low unemployment rate, the
possibility for long-term hiring of unemployed has been to a certain extent
discredited. The programme proves to be highly effective mainly regarding
short-term employment, and in this sense the goals have been achieved. Its
effectiveness is most visible in Veliko Tarnovo, where the unemployment rate is
the highest among the five towns. Moreover, Veliko Tarnovo is the town with
the greatest share of unemployed, enrolled in the programme - over 15% of the
unemployed. In Sofia - which is the town with the lowest unemployment - the
programme has its lowest effectiveness in terms of the share of participants
from the total number of unemployed.
   The conclusion drawn reads that the higher the unemployment rate, the more
effective the programme. Conclusively, the local unemployment rate should be
the basic criterion in forthcoming programmes of the same type.
   In the case of the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project, a "creaming" effect can be
observed. That is the way the selection which affects the results of the
employment programmes is called by the researchers of the labour market. The
aim of UNDP for a "visible" effect (beautification of buildings) is in
contradiction with the goal for achieving an “invisible” effect (job-creation),
because the big towns with interesting historical sites and desolate buildings are
usually characterised by low unemployment rates. In other cases the source of
the "creaming" effect are the research procedures of the programme
co-ordinators who select better qualified participants for the employment
programmes. The small number of young unemployed, enrolled in the project,
does not correspond to the large number of young unemployed registered at the
employment services.
   In order to avoid such selections, it is recommendable to use procedures with
control groups (juxtaposition of participants and non-participants in the
employment programmes). Comparisons between participating towns with
similar, though not participating ones, are also possible. The balance between
the “visible” and the “invisible” sides has to be embedded in the selection of
control towns, and the "creaming" must also be taken into consideration.
6. Problems and Disadvantages of Providing Temporary Employment
    In the period May-November 1998 when the project was realised, the level
     of unemployment was lower in comparison with the previous years. In the
     municipality of Varna it practically reached a zero-level in the summer.
     There, and also in other places, the problem was solved by gathering
     unemployed from the neighbouring municipalities thus increasing the costs
     of the project.
    A disadvantage of the programme are the fixed payment rates which are too
     low for the type of work. From another point of view, though, it is equal for
     all activities and for all the employed. The payment for unqualified labour
     in the construction industry is several times higher than the one fixed in the
     project. According to the researchers who have conducted the monitoring
     on the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project, the low payments have limited the
     incentives for participation in the programme. Due to its voluntary
     character, some people have preferred to work on the “black” labour
     market, or not to work at all. Besides, it is legally incorrect to give
     payments which are not differentiated according to the type of activity.
    A ratio of 4:1 of unqualified to qualified workers has been imposed.
     Because of this fact some of the skilled workers have been denied
     participation. Although this has rarely occurred; according to the experts
     from the Institute for Market Economy the result is a specific decrease of
     the immediate effect of the programme.
    A ratio of 28:72 price of materials to price of labour has been imposed.
     This, together with the 1:4 ratio for the workers, has negatively influenced
     the price and the quality of the work done.
   The conclusion is that the creation of temporary workplaces in emergency
conditions, as it is the case with the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project, is a big
challenge.. It requires quick and effective decisions. The results of the project
read about a state policy about unemployment, which is fragmented and
ineffective, which actually stimulates the development of the secondary labour
market.
7. Creation of Long-term Employment
   There is no data about the long-term effect on employment of the “Beautiful
Bulgaria” programme. The experts form the Institute for Market Economy
estimate that the relative number of unemployed who have continued working
with the same firms after the end of the project is 4% of the participants.
According to data from UNDP, 25% of the unemployed participating in the
project have been offered long-term employment.
   Whatever the reasons for these differences in the data, the discrepancies
between the necessities of the labour market and the offered job creation
programme are obvious. These discrepancies are due to the fact that the
qualification courses have been run before the tenders for sub-contractors. For
that reason, the requirements of the sub-contracting companies about the
qualification of the future employees have been unknown at the moment of
training. This has lead to random ratios of the number of participants in the
various courses. This is also the reason why the training programme has not
affected long-term employment. That is why there are no direct achievements,
such as entering the official labour market and establishing of communication
among the unemployed. However, the programme served as a pilot experiment
for other similar projects.
8. Training and Re-training Courses
   One of the goals of the project is to train 1,500 unqualified workers in basic
skills, used in building and construction. There are 2,173 unemployed trained in
the course of the project, that is to say, 673 more than the initially planned.
Apart from the courses in building and construction, courses on “How to
establish a private business” have also been organised.
   A delay of the financing, though, has curtailed the time for training and the
courses have proved to be too short (one month). Due to this reason, the
participants have not managed to get the necessary qualification and skills for
doing specialised work. That is why the unemployed are not given specialised
work, although they have completed qualification courses. According to the
Institute for Market Economy, only 61% of the participants in the qualification
courses have worked on the project.
   According to the experts, the disadvantages of the training courses have a
negative impact on job creation in a long-term perspective for several reasons:
   First, the participants do not comprehend that the qualification and
experience gained would be a competitive advantage in their further
job-seeking.
   Second, training courses on subjects with limited demand for labour have
been offered, for these branches are in a continual stagnation.
   The conclusion is that the emergency conditions have left their stamp over
the training and re-training courses. The expert advice suggests to organise and
realise courses with a duration of three months in the future, after which the
participants would get diplomas in accordance with the Bulgarian legislation. It
is also advisable to chose the institutions who will realise the training by
tenders.
9. Non-material and Side-effects
   According to experts from the Institute for Market Economy, the following
side-effects have been detected:
   First, as a result of the “Beautiful Bulgaria” programme, the
uninstitutionalised labour market has been limited.
   Second, the unqualified groups of unemployed have been psychologically
influenced.
   Both effects are positive and interrelated.
   Another side-effect is the additional incomes for the National Insurance
Institute (in the State Pensions Fund) which amount up to 311.3 million Levs
(290.5 million from the employer firms and 20.8 million from the workers).
This sum equals 6,200 average monthly pensions.
   An indirect effect from the project is the capacity-building on behalf of the
central and local administrations for the generation and realisation of similar
projects. A positive effect is realised through the partnerships between the
Bulgarian Government and the various international donors. The project is an
example of a working model of inter-institutional partnerships on different
levels - international, national and regional. Perhaps the successful combination
of resources from various sources is the most considerable result which has led
to the synergetic effects of the project and which characterises its stability.
   Another indirect effect is the integration of over 50% of minority
representatives, which has led to a change in their attitudes towards labour, and
to a change in the attitudes of the employers towards hiring minority
representatives.
10. General Conclusions
   The positive effects of the project can be summarised in the following way:
   First, “Beautiful Bulgaria” is the first wide-range programme for job
creation. Its most significant result is the achievement of good organisation and
co-ordination of over 800 institutions on different hierarchical levels. "Beautiful
Bulgaria" can be considered as a successful project for the establishment of
inter-institutional partnerships on several levels - international, national and
regional.
   Second, the programme is very effective regarding short-term employment.
The greatest effectiveness is reached in Veliko Tarnovo, where the
unemployment percentage was the highest. A total of 3,922 unemployed have
participated in the programme, covering 18,593 man/months. They have
achieved a certain level of qualification and skills in the sphere of planting and
grassing, paving, and dyeing. The skills gained through the programme can be
used for other initiatives for job-creation.
   Third, the centres of the towns have been renovated, improved and have
become more attractive. A total of 216 buildings, architectural sites and parks
have been reconstructed in the five towns. A considerable change has been
registered in the public attitude towards the urban environment and their
opportunities to actively participate in its improvement.
   Fourth, paying for any work is a better economic and social strategy than
allocating social aids. Thus, the job creation component has partially
compensated the demobilising influence of social aids.
   Fifth, although long-term effects have not been envisioned at the beginning
of the project, and in spite of its seasonal character, it has marked a slight, but
nevertheless recognisable positive long-term effect. Around 160 unemployed
who have participated in the project have signed long-term contracts with the
firms who have employed them for the project.
   Sixth, “Beautiful Bulgaria” is a large-scale example for joint financing and
information exchange, for commitment of the mediator (UNDP) and for
co-operation among the participants. References to the experience, gained in the
course of the Programme is an advantageous condition for the success of future
initiatives for job-creation.
   Negative points from the experience with partnership-building:
        the municipalities have not been included in the preparation and design
         of the Programme. That is why some logistic failures have occurred -
         delays and interruptions of the technological processes and problems
         with the inter-institutional links;
        due to inadequate co-ordination and lack of return link with the
         consumers, the ordering procedures have stayed underdeveloped and
         have hindered the implementation of optimal strategies;
       the insufficient co-ordination between MLSP and UNDP has left part of
         the huge amount of work done by the regional employment services in
         anonymity, and MLSP has not received the necessary publicity (EU
         Emergency Social Assistance Programme, 1998).
11. Suggestions
   First, specific research and practical actions for motivating the partners are
necessary. Preliminary and current studies of the participants in partnership
projects are recommended.
   Second, any similar project should be a joint venture of the certain ministry,
of the co-ordinator of the programme respectively, of the local employment
agencies, of the non-governmental organisations and of the sponsor.
   Third, a culture of co-operation should be developed by all partners.
Otherwise certain discrepancies might occur, which would negatively influence
all parties concerned and the results of the project as a whole.
   Fourth, a training programme for all the potential partners in
partnership-building and formation of communication skills is necessary.
   Fifth, the job-creation programme should be continued, but not in the
emergency conditions 2.
   Sixth, programmes of the “Beautiful Bulgaria” type should be implemented
through market mechanisms, and not through preliminary determined
administrative frameworks. This, by the way, means that the firms should be
able to select their future employees directly from the local employment
agencies.

                                      NOTES
1
    The materials used in the present study stem from the monitoring researches on
    the “Beautiful Sofia” and “Beautiful Bulgaria” projects, conducted by the
    non-governmental organisations “Economy 2 000” and “Institute for Market
    Economy”, as well as from documents kindly provided by UNDP, the Ministry
    of Labour and Social Policy and the Delegation of EU. The author would like
    to thank all of them for their kind co-operation.
2
     In the course of the preparation of this article it was announced that the
    “Beautiful Bulgaria” project is going to continue in 1999 in 6 more towns -
    Vidin, Vratsa, Razgrad, Silistra, Stara Zagora and Yambol. The towns are
    selected because of the existence of historical sites and the high levels of
    unemployment. The expected funding is around 7 million ECU.


                                  REFERENCES
ASSESSMENT OF THE “JOB CREATION COMPONENT” of the Emergency
Social Aid Programme (ESAP II) of the PHARE Programme. Final Report
(1998) Sofia: Institute for Market Economy.
EU PROGRAMME FOR EMERGENCY SOCIAL AID and Job-Creation. Final
Report (1998) Sofia: MLSP, Special Project Management Group
BEAUTFUL BULGARIA PROJECT. External Evaluation Report (1997) UNDP.
WALTERS, Peggy (1998) Characteristics of Successful Organizational
Development. Sofia: Democracy Network Programme

								
To top