We were on Day 5 of discussing and designing a participatory M&E system…with lots of positive feedback on this “new way of doing things”. Many individuals had come up to us, or said in plenary how excited they were to be involved in designing a system where the information would help the farmer, the researcher, the extension officer in making their own decisions. 

In the managing for impact approach; we recognize that it’s important to identify up-front what incentives need to be put in place to motivate people to get actively involved in M&E. 

So – we asked individuals to put on cards what incentives they thought would be important for them. Once they’d done so – we turned over blank flip charts with titles of different types of incentives; and asked everyone to walk around and place their cards where they thought they best fitted:

  • Financial
  • Material (new equipment etc)
  • Clear link to decision making
  • Recognition (e.g. being invited to give a presentation, or a pat on the back..)
  • Clear roles & responsibilities for M&E
  • Opportunities for training/skill-building
  • Others
I suppose you will not be too surprised to hear that the flip charts titled “financial” and “material” incentives were filled to the brim! 
Together, we reflected on this and the discussion gradually led us to development in general and the way we view it….
Now, it’s all very well for us to stand there looking down on people asking for more per diems/DSA…or a top-up on their salaries or any other form of “posho”! 
But…when I think about it a little – it makes a lot of sense. We’ve all read the endless criticism about development – and how it’s not making much of a difference. So – perhaps…over time – it’s gradually arrived at a point where the benefits of development aid projects are limited simply to “posho”.. make a quick buck while you can before the project ends! And honestly – when you think about the farmers listening to programme staff who’ve just driven up in their snazy 4-wheel drives or the “experts” flown in from abroad staying in posh(o) hotels….. you can see the message being given off right? Development project = posho! 

So, until we find ways to restore faith and belief in aid projects – that …with a little hard work & integrity…they can make a positive difference to people’s lives ..they can put a dent in this endless cycle of “poverty”…

Until we can find ways to restore faith & belief in M&E systems …that the information collected will really be used to help people make better decisions about their own lives – and influence the decisions of others…. I’m afraid “posho” will continue to be the stronger motivator!!