Civil society partnerships

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are critical to ensuring strong and effective partnerships. At the operational level, UNICEF and CSO staff involved in managing the partnership need to ensure that the relationship fulfils mutually agreed principles such as independence, respect, transparency and equality. Joint ownership also ensures that the partnership achieves the agreed results. For these reasons, regular monitoring of the partnership and its outputs is an important strategy for gauging the partnership process and determining what changes, if any, need to be made along the way.

Key steps for monitoring and evaluating the partnership during implementation include:

  • Agree on procedures for monitoring and evaluating the partnership;
  • Assess the impact of the partnership;
  • Identify and apply lessons learned;
  • Review the added value of the partnership from the perspective of each partner;
  • Make any necessary changes to the project or the partnership.

Monitoring and evaluation must address both the joint programming activities and the quality of the partnership itself.

Monitoring and evaluation addresses partnership results and partnership performance:

  • Partnership results address the extent to which a partnership adds value and contributes to the achievement of programme results. Monitoring and evaluation activities should therefore be conducted in the context of programme monitoring and evaluation.
  • Partnership performance addresses the extent to which the partnership process is effectively and efficiently managed. The guiding principles of partnership can provide a starting point for this monitoring and evaluation.

The two forms of monitoring and evaluation are equally important. Improving the quality of collaboration across organizations supports attainment of greater results for children and establishes the groundwork for stronger future collaboration.

Monitoring is an ongoing and systematic collection and analysis of data related to specific indicators. It provides the partners with evidence of the extent of progress and achievement with regard to expected results and the use of allocated funds. Monitoring provides initial information on progress towards intended objectives, outcomes and impacts. It also supports both proactive and reactive decision-making by the partners. Strong monitoring of a partnership therefore combines information at all levels of activity to provide a comprehensive picture of performance, allowing management to facilitate decision-making and learning.

Monitoring tracks progress towards the agreed results and checks whether the assumptions made and risks identified at the initial and design stages are still valid or need revision. Regular dialogue between partners is essential for identifying and addressing emerging challenges.

Evaluation of a partnership is an assessment, as systematic and impartial as possible, that focuses on the expected and achieved accomplishments of the partnership as well as the quality of the partnership itself. An evaluation should provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful, enabling the timely incorporation of findings, recommendations and lessons.

Monitoring and evaluating the partnership allows for:

  • Checking the progress of partnership development or implementation against agreed milestones as a way to plan next steps;
  • Raising awareness on issues and challenges to be addressed;
  • Enabling continuing learning and adaptation throughout the partnership to improve performance and replicate lessons learned for future collaboration;
  • Focusing on specific aspects of the partnership process, such as communication strategies, capacity development of partners, changes in internal institutional arrangements;
  • Measuring the impact of the partnership relative to the agreed objectives;
  • Measuring the added value of the partnership beyond the alternatives available to meet goals and objectives;
  • Maintaining a written record of activities and outcomes that can be used to strengthen future partnerships;
  • Providing accountability to funders and partners.

UNICEF addresses the strategic role and performance of CSO partnerships in annual reports and midterm reviews, noting results achieved as well as operational challenges and opportunities for future engagement. In addition, the portfolio of active PCAs and other partnership agreements is periodically reviewed by the UNICEF country or programme management team, in conjunction with the PCA Review Committee. This review considers the diversity of CSO partners, the results achieved by each partnership and the tangible and intangible contributions the partnerships have made towards the UNICEF strategic objectives for civil society engagement.


 

 

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