Please take 3 minutes to help us better meet your learning and knowledge needs. This survey will run until Friday the 31st July 2020. The results of this survey will allow Twende Mbele to improve on our key communications and knowledge production areas.
Nous vous invitons à prendre 3 minutes de votre temps pour répondre à ce sondage a fin de nous aider à mieux adresser vos besoin d’apprentisage et de savoir-faire. Le sondage sera disponible jusqu’au **vendredi 31 juillet 2020** pour vous laisser assez de temps pour y répondre. Les réponses permettront à Twende Mbele d’améliorer nos systèmes de communication.
Join us for a webinar titled, “Effective Collaboration Between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Government”. This webinar will bring together Government Officials, M&E practitioners, researchers and experts who work in/with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). It will focus on some of the work done by Twende Mbele through its partnership with (CLEAR-AA), and the work done by other organizations and institutions in various sectors across the African Continent.
This webinar will tap into the experiences of our partners working in/with CSOs in countries such as Ghana, South Africa and others, particularly on areas for enhanced collaboration between CSO’s and government in the national monitoring and evaluation systems (NMES), for the purposes of improving accountability and government performance.
Use the following link to register for the webinar: https://cutt.ly/zyxqwSe
With the ten-year countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals underway, Systems to evaluate the impact of policies and monitor their progress are more important than ever. To sustain the momentum of global efforts to promote monitoring and evaluation capacity the CLEAR Initiative will convene the second annual gLOCAL Evaluation Week from June 1nd to 5th of this year. To take part in this year’s gLOCAL Evaluation Week, simply register and submit your proposal. Applications close 6th March 2020. Click here to register….
Instituted in 2017, the Directorate of Monitoring, Evaluation and Inspection (DMEI), in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is mandated to monitor and evaluate government policies, programs and projects across Ministries, Departments and other Public Institutions. This mandate is ensured through generating evidence (eg. data) on government interventions, good practices, challenges, lessons learnt, and disseminating these to the relevant stakeholders.
However, to fully meet the objectives of DMEI a strategic communication function needs to be formulated. Therefore, DMEI realised a need to deliberately form a team of specialists to be in charge of reporting and disseminating the monitoring, evaluation and inspection results. The design of a country-level Communications Strategy was supported by Twende Mbele – a multi-country peer-learning initiative aiming at strengthening use of monitoring & evaluation systems, processes and results to improve performance and accountability of African governments.
A journey towards the communication strategy
Under the DMEI, the Evaluation Communications Team (ECT) has been working with Twende Mbele to discern different stakeholder needs, and strategies for engagement so as to best build this results-orientation. The first result of this work has been the development of a Communication Strategy that outlines;
- objectives of communication (broadly for the Directorate and for each campaign),
- target audience and key messages,
- channels of communication for effective delivery of the intended messages by each given audience,
- modes of communication,
- personnel responsible for implementing the communications strategy.
Further, we want to work with other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the public to;
- increase awareness of the evaluation process, the results and the actions being taken,
- gain support for government changes resulting from the evaluation
- facilitate stakeholder input into the evaluation process.
Achieving our objectives through implementing the Communications Strategy, we will be able to foster DMEI’s work guiding policy formulation and implementation, improving service delivery, and appropriate resource allocation.
Finding the Audience
The focus of communication actions depends on the nature of the targeted audience and their influence in bringing about the desired changes. The OPM has a wide-range of audiences to communicate information and results with, including citizens, policy makers, and legislators, institutions of learning, researchers, civil society organizations, and other partners. Messaging and communication channels/formats for the different types of stakeholders are tailored according to audience needs based on orientation, perception and influence towards government business.
Communications functions integral for improving engagement with non-traditional actors, for example, reaching out to CSOs to review the National Public Policy on M&E to ascertain its responsiveness to equity and capacity needs of non-government actors. Other, more participatory approaches are already underway, such as Baraza, which are community engagement fora which has been found to be effective in generating feedback on service delivery for improvement.
In the same custom, the audience is the basis for the decisions on the communication channels and tools used in the process of transmitting the intended messages. Again, the diversity of stakeholder requires the ECT to be flexible and adaptable to differing needs and to take a learning approach to communications.
The ECT takes lead in evaluation communication process and at the end of the year will embark on evaluating the communication approaches used. Evaluation of the communication strategy is done retrospectively by reflecting on the objectives that were set during the design of the strategy and measuring performance against them. For instance, OPM will assess the change in policy formulation, service delivery, political support, resource allocation among others, against the initial communication objectives.
Lessons for future success
It is central that the initiators of an effective communication strategy provide a better capacitated to further communication efforts. Additionally, building the capacity of multiple stakeholder groups (particularly working with the media on evaluation) to strengthen their understanding and skills, will also be required. It can be observed that the limited participation in capacity building activities has resulted in weak ownership on some interventions.
For more information on the work of the DMEI or communications in the OPM M&E please contact;
- Acting Director M&E-Mr. Timothy Lubanga
- Acting Assistant Commissioner M&E- Mr.Abdul Muwanika
- Information Scientist M&E Mr. Joseph Muserero
- Twende Mbele National Coordinator M&E-Ms. Doris Kembabazi
- Information Systems Officer M&E- Ms.Florence Mbabazi
The last decade has witnessed the growth in accountability, especially on the side of donors who demand to understand how their funds were utilized to deliver respective results. This has led to a precedent increase in the demand of employees with skills in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Expertise not only increases projects delivery, it also helps assess program performance, impact, results and its sustainability. At the continental level, the growing trend of results-oriented development, has led to the mushrooming of M&E programmes. This is also in response to the fact that both donors, and citizens are expecting their governments to be accountable. Despite the boom in M&E trainings offered both onsite and off-site learnings, less research focusing on soliciting participant’s perception in terms of what works in M&E training programmes have been undertaken. This blog documents the perceptions of participants of the Development Training Programme in Africa (DETPA) cohort delivered by the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR-AA). A mixed method approach which entailed semi-structured interviews and survey was used to solicit perceptions of the three cohorts for the period 2017 to 2019 who were enrolled in the programme. It is authored by Mokgophana Ramasobana (Programme Convener) and Nagnouma Nanou Kone (2019 participant).
Overall, the research questions were aimed at determining what worked, what did not work, what should be retained and what should not be retained in relation to the programme. In summary, the following constructs were documented as findings. Below the findings are presented.
1) Kindly enlist what was successful about the programme
(a) Top class coordination process and organisational ownership
A well-thought implementation process and organizational ownership was demonstrated throughout the delivery of the programme. For example, one of the respondent indicated that “the provision of the logistical note prior the commencement, and the entire coordination of the programme was professed to have been well executed by the programme team. Another respondent further corroborated this sentiment by stating that “I can’t emphasise the importance of how organized the programme was. It was really a highlight, the support of the entire CLEAR-AA “team work showed, and I was impressed”
“The two tracks (fundamentals and advanced) approach which catered for new entrants and experienced practitioners was a highlight for me”. This ensured that the modules were sequenced and structured appropriately and fit for purpose. One of the respondents alluded that “the use of case studies, site visits, peer learning and group work were some of the learning approaches that scaffolded her skills and knowledge during the delivery of the programme. Another respondent gave a similar response by stating that “the Department of Evaluation and Monitoring (DPME) site visit was a highlight because it entrenched the concepts discussed in the classroom with a practical National Evaluation System (NES). Most importantly, the Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE) module was highlighted as one of the key components of the programme.“This module gave account of Africa’s evolution and how M&E fits in the broader development” said one respondent. This is a particularly important aspect as its reflects the objective of the programme, which is “to build a community of M&E professionals equipped with skills, knowledge and tools, which are fit-for-purpose to address local and global development challenges”.
(c) The quality of facilitators
The use of experts with technical expertise in various fields of M&E provided enriching theoretical and practical knowledge to the participants, enriching the delivery of the programme. As an illustration, one of the respondent asserted that “facilitators presented concepts in-depth as well as provide relevant examples”. A different respondent further noted that “dual facilitation during sessions contributed to the success of the programme”. In addition, it was proposed that other institutions should consider applying this approach in delivering training programmes as such a mix approach responds more to the needs of participants from diverse backgrounds, skills and countries.
2) Kindly enlist what was not successful about the programme
Some of the concepts such as systems thinking remain complex and difficult to decipher. Therefore, one respondent recommended CLEAR-AA to “consider conducting a pre-survey in order to gauge the level of participant’s understandings prior the commencement of the programme.” This is envisaged to ensure that concepts are pitched on par with participant’s levels of understanding, expectations, as well as to ensure that the modules are tailored to cater for diverse different contexts.
The programme duration was considered short. One respondent argued that “in some cases lots of theories were covered with less time allocated for the application” Another participants mentioned that “there were time constraints witnessed during the site visit”. This was caused by traffic delays between Pretoria and Johannesburg.
(c) Standardize the facilitation style
A minority of the facilitators had poor facilitation skills. For example, “one of the facilitator was perceived to have not been eloquent and used traditional teaching style to lecturer”. It was therefore recommended that “CLEAR-AA standardize the facilitation style with all facilitators”. Standardization of the teaching style among facilitators will help to curb such minor occurrences.
3) Kindly enlist what should be retained about the programme
(a) Curriculum and learning approach
Majority of the respondents consented that the curriculum structure and the learning approach applied in the programme should be retained. For instance, one of the participants mentioned that “Learning how to package the evaluation reports especially how to report to various stakeholders. This includes steps on how to commission evaluations. The decolonisation seminar was useful therefore it should be retained. This will assist practitioners to adapt existing concepts and frameworks as well as empower them to navigate their practices. Most importantly, the site visit enlightened me because it illustrated how a complex M&E system works”.
The two streams offered by the programme should be retained. In emphasising this sentiment, one respondent cited that “I like the fact that there are two streams/track. One focuses on theoretical concepts whilst another pays attention to technical approaches”. Beyond the classroom, one of the respondent proposed that “CLEAR-AA should think about a platform that connects the alumni’s as well as avail space to learn from each other and beyond the programme”.
4) Kindly enlist what should not be retained about the programme
(a) Mixed reactions
In answering the question of what should not be retained, different responses were solicited from the respondents. Although most of the respondents mentioned that all components of the programme should be retained. As an illustration, one of the respondent mentioned that “the programme was well structured and learning occurred”. On the other hand, some of the respondents raised issues relating to the heavy curriculum content. For example, one respondent mentioned that “the programme was quite content heavy. A multiplicity of events such as lunchtime lectures, evening activities, and weekend tours etc., were overwhelming as they provided less time for processing the information taught. Based on the sentiments, recommendations such as “CLEAR-AA reducing the intensity of such activities. Rather explore more social activities after the classrooms so that people can relax and connect in a relaxed mode outside the formalities”, was proposed, in addition to extending the programme duration.
Although the findings of this study cannot be generalized. However, there are few conclusions that could be inferred as well contribute to the growing discourse of evaluation capacity building in the region. Firstly, the authors argue that these responses reinforce the importance of the evolving field of M&E, and the urgency to customize training initiatives which are in sync with the skills needs of African practitioners. Secondly, there is an increasing acknowledgment that M&E is an evolving field in Africa, therefore, suppliers of training are urged to be cognizant of the context in which they are operating in. Lastly, the key conclusion drawn from this blog is that the continent requires more skilled personnel trained in M&E in order to track implementation and outputs systematically, and measure the effectiveness of programmes. Therefore, it remains important that training programmes provided are fit for purpose and contextually relevant.
By: Mokgophana Ramasobana and Nagnouma Nanou Kone