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Civil society partnerships

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

Planning

The starting point in deciding whether or not to partner with a religious actor should be based on data that clearly highlight the particular value of working together to achieve desired results. Once a decision has been made to partner on an intervention, the jointly created programme design should reflect the value added as an integral and measurable component of the programme framework.

In order to measure progress and achievement, programme implementation would begin with a process to collect baseline information, the starting point of partner and community knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. This is usually done through surveys and individual and group interviews of a representative sample of the community. Once the information is collected and analysed it will help develop relevant and measurable indicators of accomplishment, including the contributions of partners to project outcomes and, possibly, impact. This information is then the reference point for monitoring and evaluation.

Information collected can answer questions such as:

  • What influence do religious leaders have on influencing decision-making at the individual, family and community levels? How many individuals, families and communities can they reach?
  • Are religious actors viewed as contributing positively or negatively to issues of importance in the community? What are their roles vis-à-vis social problems, conflicts or other concerns?
  • What is the role of faith in shaping social norms? Do religious leaders play a part in this?

Monitoring

Monitoring is the on-going and systematic collection and analysis of data related to specific indicators. An indicator is a quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a simple and reliable means to measure achievement or to reflect the changes connected with an intervention. Indicators are compared over time in order to assess change. Monitoring, allows for programmatic changes to be made immediately if a particular strategy is not working as initially intended.

The monitoring process usually focuses on outputs, or the most immediate results of activities; for example, did the training workshop occur as planned? Further on in the life of a programme, it will be possible to measure higher-level outcomes, or more substantial changes from implemented activities such as in behaviours, as a result of sustained programming and multiple activities.

Monitoring should be seen as a part of regular programming. Making site visits, checking reports and records, talking with staff, partners and community members are all monitoring activities.

Evaluation

Measurement of the longer-term impact of a programme (goal) and the achievements of its objectives is evaluation, which is carried out at the end or after the end of a programme cycle.

It is then that the overall outcome of the implementation strategy can be determined. Have attitudes and behaviours changed? Have attitudes changed but not behaviours?

By integrating partner relationships, capacity-building and interventions in the programme framework, it is possible to measure aspects of partnership that relate directly to programming. Beyond looking at the changes in partners’ knowledge and attitudes about the child rights issues inherent in the programme (outputs) and their actions in implementing the activities effectively (outcomes), an evaluation seeks to verify that their involvement actually contributed to the measurable impacts of the programme. This is not always straightforward, but with good data documented in the design phase of the programme, and rigorous monitoring and evaluation, trends will be much easier to detect and analyse.

Returning to the example of a corporal punishment programme, monitoring has been conducted on a regular basis. At the end of the programme, the initial baseline data collected should be reviewed in light of the indicators for the objectives and the goal of the programme. Questions asked could, for example, include:

 

  • Was there accurate dissemination of information on the negative effects of corporal punishment? 
  • Were there demonstrations of positive child protection actions and behaviours?
  • What were concrete outcomes of community discussions facilitated by religious leaders?
  • Were agreed upon actions followed up on and implemented?
     

 

 

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