AU and UN Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) are funded from the peace operations’ budget, and are intended to provide a flexible disbursement facility to support, at short notice, local-level, non-recurrent activities in the areas of health, education, public infrastructure and social services, that are designed to promote and facilitate the UN peace support effort in the given country.

In some missions CIMIC Officers are responsible for managing some of the QIPs, while in others CIMIC Officers will work closely with Civil Affairs or Humanitarian Affairs Officers to implement these projects. It is thus important that CIMIC Officers understand what QIPs are, and how they work.

This chapter will explain what QIPs are and how they work. The operating procedures for the approval and implementation of QIPs differs slightly from mission to mission, but the process will be explained by way of examples from one specific mission. The chapter will conclude with some examples of actual projects that have been undertaken in Sierra Leone.

What are QiPs?

The UN developed the QIP concept when it realised that there was often a need in peace operations to support short-term, local-level, small-scale projects. QIPs are not unique to peace operations and were in fact first introduced by UN agencies such as UNHCR. In the peace operations context, however, it was shown that, by supporting these small projects, the peace operation could make an impact on the ability of communities to cope with the immediate post-conflict transition, thus contributing greatly to the overall momentum of the peace process.

However, in the past such initiatives could only be funded if they were part of a larger humanitarian or development programme, and such programmes typically took months between the original proposal and eventual implementation. DPKO then obtained approval to include an amount for QIPs in the peacekeeping budget of most new missions for the first year, and in some cases DPKO has facilitated the creation of trust funds that are open to voluntary contributions. As a result, the Special Representative in most AU and UN peace operations now has at his or her disposal an amount of money that can be used to support small deserving projects.

Aim of QIPS

QIPs are aimed at supporting small, but strategically selected projects that could have a multiplier effect on the ability of communities to cope with the challenges of the post-conflict transition process.

Some QIPs include school renovation, medical care; awareness programmes, specialized trainings and workshops, provision of water and sanitation facilities, construction of water wells and other necessary infrastructures, etc. These projects are aimed at Winning the Hearts and Minds (WHAM) of the locals by enhancing the image of the mission forces and addressing the basic needs of the local population for an effective peace process.

Picture Highlights of QIPS in UNAMID Mission Area

Ongoing Construction of a Fence Wall around Elhamra Girls Basic School at Kutum.
Rehabilitation of fence in Tulus Secondary School in 2012.

Funding for QIPs is not intended to provide for large infrastructure projects. The focus is rather on low-level, non-recurrent improvements that can be completed in a couple of months and make an easily identifiable difference in the standard of living at village or local level. On average, a peace operation may have between US$300,000 and US$1.5 million available for this purpose per year. In 2005 UNMIL had a QIP budget of approximately US$1.3 million, ONUCI approximately US$1 million, and UNMEE about US$1.2 million. In the case of the latter the source is trust funds as opposed to the assessed budget in the two former examples. Such projects include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • provision of potable water, sanitation, shelter and health services in areas that may not be covered by humanitarian agencies;
  • assisting with repairing medical facilities (such as local clinics) and schools, and provision and maintenance of critical equipment and supplies;
  • modest refurbishment of local police stations and government buildings, and provision of critical equipment (such as a generator for the Ministry of Justice in Liberia);
  • support for small-scale agriculture and animal husbandry;
  • urgent repairs to bridges and roads;
  • restoration of electricity supply in critical areas;
  • activities that promote women’s rights and other gender-related goals;
  • activities that promote HIV/Aids awareness;
  • emergency repairs to domestic shelters where residents are exposed to the elements – thereby preventing illness; and
  • publication of mine and UXO awareness posters/leaflets.

Procedures for identifying, approving and implementing QIPs

Military contingents are encouraged to identify potential projects in their Area of Operations (AO), in close consultation with the beneficiaries, community leaders and their Civil Affairs and/or Humanitarian Affairs colleagues. Any mission component or section, (e.g. military units, military observers, police, political affairs, civil affairs, human rights, public information, humanitarian affairs, DDR, or electoral affairs) may identify and propose QIPs, and such proposals should ideally be the result of a multifunctional team effort. Once such a project has been identified, a project proposal should be prepared and submitted for approval. In some missions, QIPs are managed by the Civil Affairs sections on behalf of the Special Representative. In some case CIMIC Officers may be involved in assisting with the identification, facilitation and monitoring of QIPs.

Generic QIPs procedures

1. PAC recommends, SRSG authorises
2. CAO/DOA acts as Certifying Officer
3. HA or CA Officers, with assistance from CIMIC Officers in some cases, are responsible for identification of projects
4. HA or CA Officers prepare project proposals and submit them to the Secretary of the PAC
5. Secretary of PAC/QIP Unit distributes proposals to members of the PAC
6. PAC meets and makes recommendations to the SRSG
7. Minutes of the PAC meeting to be endorsed by the SRSG for authorisation
8. MOUs entered into with implementing partners, where applicable
9. Finance to distribute start-up funds as per QIP SOPs and approved project documents and MOU
10. HA or CA Officers prepare progress reports and request additional payments when due
11. Projects to be monitored by QIP Unit
12. QIP Unit to report and CAO/DOA to certify completion

CIMIC officers could face challenges if QIPs are not well-thought out or well-distributed thereby raising discontent among those who are not direct beneficiaries. In the same vein, locals could harbour high expectations from the services of the mission in terms of availability of funds and capacity to develop the infrastructures of the region through projects such as QIPs. It becomes quintessential to devise nuanced strategies to minimize such expectations.

The procedures for submission and implementation of QIPs differ slightly from mission to mission, thus the procedures, as they applied to the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, are given here as an example of how the process works:

  1. All projects will be implemented under the authority of the SRSG. The SRSG may approve and subsequently authorise expenditures for such projects, up to US$15,000 per project, on the basis of a written recommendation made by the UNAMSIL Project Approval Committee (PAC).
  2. The Director of Administration (DoA) shall be the only Certifying Officer for all projects being implemented, unless he or she decides to delegate the responsibility in writing to one of the approved Certifying Officers in the mission.
  3. The SRSG delegates the responsibility for the management of the QIPs to an office within the mission and, in the case of UNAMSIL, this was the Civil Affairs branch. Civil Affairs Field Officers assist the contingents in the identification of projects, ensuring that the proposed projects are in line with the priorities of the communities concerned, and that they have been identified as such by the local community or District Councils. In a bid to avoid duplication and enhance the streamlining of resources, Civil Affairs Field Officers also consult with the relevant Line Ministries or government agencies, other donors and NGOs, to ascertain that the proposed project has not been earmarked for funding by these institutions. In the case of educational, health or agricultural projects, Civil Affairs Field Officers should ensure that an explicit letter of support is obtained from the relevant line ministry. Civil Affairs Field Officers should also ensure that the relevant UNAMSIL Engineering Section reviews all project proposals from an engineering/construction perspective.
  4. Once the project is identified, Civil Affairs Field Officers, in cooperation with the contingent’s team, take on the responsibility of formulating the proposal and putting it in the requisite project format. It should then be sent it to the Trust Fund Secretariat in Freetown for review and presentation to PAC for consideration.
  5. The Trust Fund Unit will ensure that all project proposals presented to PAC are accompanied by the relevant supporting documents and are made available to all members of the committee at least two days prior to the PAC session charged with considering these project proposals.
  6. PAC will deliberate on the project proposals and make recommendations for the improvement thereof, or provision of further information, if necessary, before approval of the project.
  7. Once projects are approved, the minutes of PAC meetings approving the projects will be sent to the SRSG under whose authority QIPs are implemented.
  8. Since all projects are to be implemented by UNAMSIL contingents in their entirety, there will be no memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be signed.
  9. Once the SRSG approves the minutes of PAC, the Trust Fund Unit shall, in writing and attaching the relevant project documentation, request the finance section to disburse funds to a Civil Affairs Officer-in-Charge of the area where the project is to be implemented. The Officer-in-Charge will work hand-in-hand with the contingent commander to ensure that the project is implemented as scheduled.
  10. In line with the terms of reference for implementation of QIPs – as established by the controller – an amount equivalent to 80% of the total cost of the project shall, as a rule, be paid as an advance to the Civil Affairs Officer-in-Charge of the area where the project is to be implemented. The Civil Affairs Officer will take full responsibility for the money advanced, and failure to account for the money advanced will result in recovery of the money from the Officer. The balance of 20% shall be paid following the submission of a progress report on the project. The Civil Affairs Officer shall be responsible for preparing all reports, which shall include a statement of income and related expenditure.
  11. The Trust Fund Unit, in conjunction with the Assistant Chief of Staff-Logistics, shall ensure that the implementation of the substantive and financial aspects of the projects are adequately monitored and that periodic visits to such projects are undertaken, as appropriate.
  12. The UNAMSIL Trust Fund Unit, together with Assistant Chief of Staff-Logistics, will certify that the project has been completed as planned.

Examples of QIPs in Siearra Leone

The following QIPs are examples of the type of projects that have been undertaken through this mechanism in Sierra Leone.

Support to self-help skills training initiative for abductee girls

The project sought to train 300 girls and young women affected by the war in soap making, batik making, gara tie-dye and tailoring. In addition to skills training, the programme also offers adult literacy, child care and health education, as well as a women’s rights sensitisation session. The project received an allotment of US$11,982.

The project was completed and 139 trainees graduated in February 2002. The project became fully self-sustaining from March 2002. The project has been highly successful – training more people than projected and has therefore been expanded to include carpentry for youths that have expressed an interest. It is also being replicated in Magburaka, in Tonkolili District, Northern Province, where the graduation ceremony for the first batch of students took place on 15th February 2003.

Employment creation and job opportunities for ex–combatants

The aim of the project was to enhance the restoration of civil authority and the rule of law in the Tonkolili, Bombali, Kono and Koinadugu districts, through the rehabilitation of magistrate’s courts for the effective and efficient dispensation of justice. The project also provided employment opportunities for ex-combatants with the required skills. The project received an allotment of US$75,000.

All finances have now been disbursed to the contractor for completion of the project. The magistrate’s courts in Tonkolili, Bombali and Kono districts have been completed and are now functional. The Koinadugu Court project has also been completed, and has been handed over to the UNDP.

Construction of police station in Koindu

This project was geared towards enhancing the extension of state authority and the rule of law to the district – thus assisting in returning the district to normalcy. The primary objective of this project was to enable the Sierra Leone Police to provide a professional and efficient service to the people of the district. The project was also designed to equip ex-combatants with construction skills that will make them self-sufficient in the long term. The amount allotted was US$14,528.

The project has been completed. The police station is strategically located in Koindu, on the border with Liberia. It has had a great impact on the community, especially with the ongoing security problems on Sierra Leone/Liberia boarder.

Women capacity building project

This project sought to provide training opportunities in vocational training, agriculture, trauma healing, literacy and numerical literacy for the women of Kailahun. The amount approved was US$9,843.

The project is completed and is self-sustaining, and has had a tremendous impact in the community. The DDR unit is building upon the success of the project as they are using the centre for further training of ex-combatants. The farms have been extended and are all doing well.

Installation of wells with hand pumps for four villages project

This project sought to assist four communities in their effort to provide potable water for their domestic needs. In addition it provides job opportunities for community members, and also furthered the reintegration process of ex-combatants. The amount approved was US$14,329.

The first disbursement has been effected and the project is in progress. Three of the four wells have already been built, while the fourth has been delayed by the onset of the rains.

Example of CIMIC Report for MINUSMA

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo (left), his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki (right), and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara (not pictured) arrive at the South African presidential guesthouse in Pretoria ahead of peace talks in April 2005 aimed at bringing peace to war-torn Côte d’Ivoire. The talks started on the eve of expiry of the mandate of 10,000 French and UN peacekeepers in the west African country.