As I stepped to the front of the room, I had this inner voice that kept repeating my mentor’s words “…10 people trained…so what?” And these were my first words to the team of 14 people around me comprising of donors, partners and 6 beneficiaries of the Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) capacity building project. This Project seeks to promote EIA professionalism by providing a “learning by doing” environment for young indigenous African EIA professionals. The Project has three key strategic activities: i) EIA refresher training; ii) Placement with an organization undertaking an EIA on a major; and iii) Networking at national, regional and International forums.  This year, 2008, the Project is running its 4th batch of training. However, since its start, there has not been an impacts monitoring system. So I was given three hours to kick-start the discussion on establishing a monitoring system from the Project’s impacts. And we starting with what it was that we wanted to monitor.


After some discussion and agreement that we were to focus on impacts (afterall it was clear from document on the number of outputs – no of people trained, how many and which trainings), we debated on who was to change and how the change was to be observed in terms of attitude and behaviour. It was amazing how easy an-impacts monitoring discussion gets when all stakeholders are involved in identification of change expected from intervention! The beneficiaries narrated how they wanted to change, and how it was to be measured.  The team also felt that with the success of the Project, they expected the donor to change e.g. to increase or expand its funding on such an initiative. Someone mentioned that the local communities who are stakeholders in EIA processes would change. After lengthy debate, the team agreed that that cannot be linked to the Project.


In a nutshell, the discussion for identifying impact indicators drove itself.  The representation of all stakeholders involved in the Project helped a great deal. The approach of discussing expected change in terms of attitude and behaviour as a result of Project interventions made the discussion clear and easy!.