Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Analysis of Problems and Solutions, Monitoring and Evaluation at Planning

Problems and Solutions, What are they?

Its that time again when your organization has the task of developing a 5 year programme or project. But then in as much as you know how vital it is to plan your programme or project well you should also realize that this stage is actually very critical for the Monitoring and Evaluation processes. When beginning to plan for your programme or project, you have to spend a whole lot of time understanding exactly what your problems are and what the possible solutions could be. But then lets dig deeper and understand what exactly is the problem and what exactly are the solutions.

Analysis of Problems and Solutions, Make it Work!!!

Monitoring and Evaluation depends on good planning and as programme or project coordinator you have to realize that you have to get it right from the very beginning. There is no room for mistakes because you are at the genesis phase which requires utmost seriousness and dedication.....Make it work. What is a problem? Well a problem is simply a adverse situation that requires immediate intervention. Sounds like a definition which isn't so accurate HUH? Well the truth is we all know what a problem really is, here are a few examples of problems which can really clear up the air.
  • High poverty levels in Country A
  • High illieracy levels in Continent B
  • High Birth Mortality levels in Region C 
  • High levels of Injustices among the rural poor
Isnt so hard to understand when you come to think of it because these are the kind of problems you hear on the news, read on the internet and watch on the T.V. But the point is, there are people out there you have donated millions of dollars to reduce these problems and as organizations implementing activities you have to hold yourself accountable. Since we understand the problems it wouldn't be so hard to understand the solutions. A solution is simply the answer to reducing or eradicating these problems. So I guess we understand why programmes or projects become really important in the whole equation.

In the analysis of the problem and finding of solutions its a very extensive process because it involves a number of key stakeholders such as the government agencies, implementing partner organizations, taget groups and other important entities. It is important that there is gender balance in the participation of both men and women. Always include the Monitoring and Evaluation staff as well.

Conceptual and Methodological Approaches in the Planning

You definitely have to stage a workshop were you can invite all the necessary participants to brainstorm on the problems and solutions to those problems. There is a very common approach that is widely used when trying to understand the problem, and that is the problem tree. The problem tree methodology is basically a process that involves a number of people in identifying a set of problems and also taking into account the cause and effect relationship.The reason it is called a problem tree is because in its pictorial form it actually looks like one :)

Anyway, basically the fun really begins when everybody in the workshop begins to participate and collectively discover solutions to the various sets of problems. When the problem and solutions are identified then can you begin to seriously discuss about formulating your own developmental programme. This is the stage were Monitoring and Evaluation application of principles learnt from the University actually gets interesting. Lets begin the process folks!!


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