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Deadline for application: 1st July

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is a pioneering project to boost the talent pool of African women in the agricultural sciences. AWARD delivers career development fellowships to hundreds of women in agricultural institutions throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  These fellowships include mentoring by senior professionals, as well as far-reaching support and training to strengthen science and leadership skills.

Based in Nairobi (Kenya), AWARD works in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the 15 research Centers of the CGIAR, and an extensive network of national, regional and international implementation partners. See: http://www.genderdiversity.cgiar.org/resource/award.asp

AWARD seeks to appoint an experienced Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Coordinator, to work with  fellows, mentors, and partners to track project progress, outcomes and impacts at individual and institutional levels. Given the specific nature of AWARD, AWARD is looking for someone with knowledge of African agricultural science systems, and an interest in the professional development of women.

For further information: AWARD_M&ECOORDINATOR

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I was facilitating a session on “Introduction to Managing for Impact” on a training workshop organized from September 15 to 25, 2008 at Haramaya University. The session dealt on issues related to impact and the need for programmes or projects to organize themselves to put together a framework that will enable them achieve impact.

In the middle of the session a participant raised an issue; we in programmes and project are accountable to the activities, outputs and the programme outcome, however, we also believe that with what we do to realize out come we influence impact. Therefore, as project managers, we shouldn’t be asked or be accountable for impact. This remark reminded me an article titled “M&E as learning: Rethinking the dominant paradigm “by JIM WOODHILL which I read a day before when preparing to facilitate the session I mention above.

The article mentioned, (more…)

It’s 23h00 at night and I’m sitting in a room far from home, about 500 km away from home, in Midrand, South Africa. I’m reflecting on whether the work that we do in Managing for Impact is all worth it. Today and tomorrow (09-10 June 2008) we’re facilitating a workshop on the Theory of Change and Logframes, and the purpose of the workshop is to facilitate a process where Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) working in the area of water, sanitation, and natural resource, all to improve people’s livelihoods, develop their Theory of Change.

In going through the Theory of Change today one of the particpants said, “Yes this is another tool among many, but what is lacking with us as “Craftsmen”, is that we have not yet mastered our craftsmanship. It does not matter how many tools we have or are introduced to, if we don’t know how to craft then all these tools are useless”.

In reflecting on the statement said, I then reflected on the recent Xenophobic attacks in my beloved country, South Africa, and instead of looking for someone to blame for what happened. I started thinking about whether MfI would play a meaningful role in making sure that this does not happen again, or whether this is a futile exercise, because maybe we don’t have truly committed and dedicated craftsmen and women, who are willing to give their lives to ensure that development (their craftsmanship) is a success.

What this specific individual said has a lot of truth in it, because how do you monitor and evaluate something you don’t know how to “craft”. How will you know that you have done an excellent work, and if you don’t know what impact you want to make, then what purpose does monitoring and evaluation process serve if you don’t know why you do what you are doing?

I truly miss the days when  South Africans were fighting for democracy, because then we had “craftsmen/women”, who knew and understood the change that they want to see, and the Theory of Change from apartheid to a democratic country that is a home for all who live in it, was understood and truly accepted by all involved. I am not saying I want to go back to apartheid, what I’m saying is that Africa needs committed development practitioners, who understand development and development process, and are willing to commit to this Theory of Change, and maybe it’s time that as development workers/practitioners, we have our own Theory of Change. So that we sharpen our craftsmanship, and as we continue working, we all understand, accept, and commit to this change that we want to see in Africa.

Is it all worth it , that I am sitting in a lonely hotel room, in a cold winter night, trying to do my best to make a difference, so that we don’t have another attack of one African by African? My answer to that is, no matter how small my contribution is to this process, YES this is all worth it!!!! 

Since my post on “Logic beyond the Logical framework“, we’ve now almost finished consolidating the work of the 4 different groups and putting it altogether into one MandE matrix.

The first step was bringing together the theories of change as viewed by the different stakeholder groups into one Programme theory. This is what it looked like (different colors represent changes related to different stakeholder groups and the arrows illustrate linkages/relationships between changes – both within stakeholder groups and between them).

ASSP ToC

From this – the Prog. was then also able to revise their logframe by clustering the outputs, outcomes (changes in behavior) and overall impacts from the diagram – which feed into the first column of the logframe. The items in red are internal/external factors that may influence the success of this theory. These feed into the 4th column of the logframe (risks/assumptions). However, they are also used to identify ways in which to strengthen the logic and reduce the probability of the risks (the green boxes are recommendations for changes to the theory). **Remember – this wasn’t a planning workshop ..if it was – we would have started from the top (impacts) and worked our way down. Instead, we were simply trying to ensure that everyone had a clear understanding of the strategy already designed and, if necessary, identify areas in which it needed to be strengthened. 

As I mentioned before – we also used this to develop the M&E matrix. Each step in the theory of change needs to be monitored, as does the relationships between them as well as the internal/external factors.  So – when thinking about information required for performance questions such as “To what extent were the intended impacts contributed to, why, why not?” – the programme stakeholders referred to the theory of change they mapped out (e.g. changes in % of income originating from sales of agricultural products in households participating directly in the Prog.). This part of the M&E matrix looks something like this: 

Information needsThe next step is to think through & plan for actual data collection. At impact level, it was felt that the data/information should be collected through both participatory impact assessments & externally conducted impact assessments. Here’s an example of the part of the matrix that relates to this: 

 

 

Data collection methods

 

Last, but far from least,  will be information use – defining and planning for the forums & other mechanisms that will be put in place in order to enable critical reflection on and the use of the data/information collected for decision making.