In order to develop partnerships, strategic directions are to be developed for a project or organization. For one of our partners Development Connect helped formulate (four) goals to set out what the organisation is aiming for in Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation (MLE) and what it seeks to mobilize resources and partnerships for.

Goals

  1. Design MLE frameworks and evaluations as a solid foundation for interventions in the agricultural and rural sectors to inform and promote policies and programs that are gender equitable and inclusive.
  2. Collect, analyze, manage and secure quality data in a timely manner and in formats appropriate for learning, policy and programme development.
  3. Conduct baselines, evaluations, meta-analysis, customized assessments, and communicate findings in suitable means to policymakers, development agencies, researchers and practitioners and the private sector.
  4. Assess and develop MLE capacity, and facilitate learning to different types of stakeholders.

These goals indicate the areas of expertise the organisation has and form the overarching themes of the services offered to partners and clients as the basis for finding common interests and mutual benefits. The offerings specified under the goals provide an overview of services in more detail.

Offerings to policymakers, development agencies, researchers and practitioners and the private sector were formulated as below:

  1. Design MLE frameworks and evaluations as a solid foundation for interventions in the agricultural and rural sectors to inform and promote policies and programs that are gender equitable and inclusive.
  • Building agility and flexibility into design of Strategic Planning, Program and Evaluation. What is essential is that stakeholders agree on the ultimate changes they want to see and measure, and the broad (research for) development story. At this stage, it is critical to articulate the higher levels of the Theory of Change: the ultimate changes in the lives of people, which are brought about by certain behavioral changes, and the institutional performance improvements that would contribute to it.
  • Design at this stage focuses on assessing and identification of bottlenecks and barriers for improved performance, development of priority solutions and interventions to improve mechanisms for Measurement and Performance Management Systems.
  1. Collect, analyze, manage and secure quality data in a timely manner and in formats appropriate for learning, policy and programme development
  • Designing (quantitative, qualitative, participatory, etc.) data collection tools and methods.
  • Training, coordinating and supervising teams of skilled enumerators and/or field staff.
  • IT-enabled data entry and storage systems and running designed surveys to collect specific information from a target audience using mobile phones, tablets or PDAs and a special software application system.
  • Real-Time Monitoring Methodologies and Tools. Common features of real-time monitoring tools include use of non-traditional feedback channels and ICT to collect and analyse large amounts of data – quickly and efficiently.
  • Crowd-Sourcing: Large numbers of people actively and voluntarily reporting on a situation around them, often using mobile phones and open source software platforms.
  • Micro-Narrative: Collection and quantitative aggregation of thousands of short stories from citizens using special algorithms to gain insight into real-time issues.
  • Developing automated reporting systems, Data visualisation and Data quality assurance.
  1. Conduct baselines, evaluations, meta-analysis, customized assessments, and communicate findings in suitable means to policymakers, development agencies, researchers and practitioners and the private sector.
  • Designing quantitative, qualitative and mixed method baselines, evaluations and research and producing high quality analysis of evaluation and research results.
  • Leveraging technical and thematic expertise to meet specific needs.
  • Context analysis, stakeholder analysis, gender analysis, political economy analysis, risk analysis, organizational assessments.
  1. Assess and develop capacity in MLE, and facilitate learning to different types of stakeholders.

Managing and learning from the findings of monitoring and evaluation is just as important as designing and managing the processes itself. The process and findings can have many influences and consequences, some expected and explicit, but may be unknown and inexplicit. These influences or changes can be at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, partners, or collective level. Some of these influences and changes can be managed, but change processes are, in general, complex and most of the change is uncontrolled, influenced by the interaction of many different factors and actors.

  • Strengthening capacities in MLE through curricula design and conduct of trainings, technical backstopping and advisory services.
  • Designing and facilitating learning processes and events (Communities of Practice, reflection workshops).
  • Preparing evidence-based policy-briefs for advocacy and policy-influence.