Thursday, June 13, 2013

Harmonization of Developmental Indicators, Why not?

Aligning your programme Indicators with others, Good or Bad?

You got to admit that the world as we know it today demands a lot of reliable information especially when it comes to developmental work. You see, as has been mentioned a couple of times stakeholders want to see results. We are not just talking about any kind of results but good reliable results that can be verified. Now, in the world of developmental work there are many players such as the government, civil society and other agencies all running similar programmes. In Africa for instance, most of the programmes and projects that are run are purely trying to uplift the lives of the poor. But that's where the fun part begins because since all these are sort of working towards the same direction, that also means that there developmental indicators are also the same to some extent. This could be a good thing but before we even explain Harmonization, what exactly are we talking about?

Harmonization in the world of Monitoring and Evaluation

Lets say that the government of your country has an already in place Monitoring and Evaluation System with a couple of different developmental indicators that they want to measure at the end of the day, then all of a sudden they approach all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with an idea. They say they want your indicators from your programmes to be aligned to their programmes or projects. So in effect what you will Monitoring and Evaluating will also at some stage be Monitored and Evaluated by the government themselves. So why does harmonization become so important especially if you are collaborating with the government...Here is a brief list;

1) This allows civil society to Monitor and Evaluate relevant indicators that allows for the possibility to generate data/information that are consistent.

2)Allows for the possibility to compare results and impacts from different programmes or projects within the region thus allowing for experience sharing

3) Allows for improved collaboration between different actors in the developmental support rendered to a region and thus exchange in Monitoring and Evaluation data.

4) Cost reduction in Monitoring and Evaluation and thus strengthened capacity in Monitoring and Evaluation knowledge

Is that something or what?

Being part of the Harmonization process, Make it happen

Basically initiating the process of harmonizing indicators could be one thing, but also attempting to harmonize systems and structures between organizations could be another. In theory the idea is just totally, totally great but in practice the whole harmonization process might fail because every programme or project has its own agenda. In some cases there might even be a conflict of interest. 

However, even if that is so you can still be part of the process. It is always good to plan effectively with other stakeholders and try to anticipate the challenges and opportunities of taking such a bold step. It has always been mentioned that Monitoring and Evaluation Officers should always be present for such kind of meeting to really put their input in such matters (and not just the programme coordinators). At the end of the day a memorandum of understanding should be prepared which will clearly outline what will be achieved from this harmonization process. Agreeing with each other and working towards the right direction will truly make the harmonization process a success. Take Monitoring and Evaluation to a whole different level folks!!

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