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September 2002

ZIVUSENI - S & T involved in Gauteng's major Poverty Alleviation Programme

ZIVUSENI - S & T involved in GautengMoagi Ntsime describes S&T's role in Gauteng's leading anti-poverty programme.

The Gauteng Executive Council, in response to the need to provide short, medium and long-term job creation opportunities in the province, initiated a major poverty alleviation programme. The programme is to be implemented over a five-year period and is called Zivuseni, a Zulu word for uplift, develop or improve yourself

In order to implement, manage and monitor the programme, the Provincial Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works (responsible for overseeing the programme) contracted the Independent Development Trust (IDT) to manage the implementation of the programme. In order to carry out this mandate the IDT in turn contracted service providers to assist with implementation. Strategy and Tactics was contracted by the IDT firstly to develop and targeting expenditure formula to spread the budget allocated equitably, and secondly to provide on-going monitoring and evaluation services during the implementation process.

What is Zivuseni?

Zivuseni has two main objectives 
  1. To alleviate poverty by promoting self-reliance through activities that emphasise renewal and maintenance of community assets

  2. Building or developing local capacity through transferring skills by training local communities

Zivuseni is aimed at addressing poverty in Gauteng. The programme aims to achieve this by mobilizing the public and private sectors alongside community-based resources. Furthermore, the programme aims to develop small and emerging contractors who have the potential to grow into viable and sustainable businesses with potential to generate long-term job opportunities.
Gauteng province is predominantly urban with many poverty pockets.

The programme is also targeting some of these poverty pockets as focal areas that require special intervention strategies in order to address unemployment. The geographic target areas in Gauteng includes three Metropolitan areas and six municipalities: Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, Tshwane Metropolitan Council, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council, Sedibeng District Municipality, Metsweding District Municipality and West Rand District Municipality.

The poverty pockets prioritized for the programme are:

  • COSMO CITY,
  • WEST RAND (IN PARTICULAR KAGISO),
  • SEDIBENG (IN PARTICULAR HEIDELBERG; HEIDELBERG FARMS; AND SEBOKENG),
  • JOHANNESBURG (IN PARTICULAR SOWETO, ORANGE FARM, ELDORADO PARK AND PARTS OF JOHANNESBURG WEST),
  • TSHWANE METROPOLITAN AREA (SOSHANGUVE AND PRETORIA NORTH),
  • EDUCATION ACTION ZONES (GAUTENG ON-LINE SCHOOLS), AND
  • NEW AND INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS IN THE PROVINCE.

S&T's role in Zivuseni

As already indicated, S & T was commissioned to develop a poverty index to profile the level of poverty in the six municipalities listed above. Secondly, on the basis of the poverty index and population figures for each municipality, we were asked to develop a budget allocation model to guide budget allocation to each municipality for the implementation of the programme.

Programme/policy design

Parallel to the process of developing an expenditure model for the programme, S &T partners Moagi Ntsime and Ross Jennings assisted the programme manager with developing some of the implementation policy guidelines. A number of research design inputs were needed during the planning phase of the programme, which drew on local and international experience and practice.

For example, before decisions were taken regarding employment targets, project types, the number of women to be employed and so on, specific desk top studies and face-to-face discussions with relevant stakeholders were undertaken to ensure that appropriate policy decisions were made with regard to Zivuseni.

Baseline data

Zivuseni's focus is on poverty alleviation and most of the strategies are based on the status of current poverty pockets. In order to effectively evaluate the programme, it was important that appropriate data were collected and analysed as the basis of the implementation strategy. One of S&T's deliverables is to conduct a brief and focused baseline study for the programme.

Currently, existing (baseline-relevant) data are being analysed, including October Household Survey data, as well as in-depth interviews with key policy makers involved in the programme. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the province and poverty pockets are profiled in terms of poverty indicators.

Designing a monitoring system

The programme has identified certain areas of focus, finalised organisatioinal arrangements and reporting lines during implementation. These include indicators to be monitored during implementation. In order to report consistently about the progress and performance of the programme at each level, it is important that monitoring arrangements are designed and maintained.

Another of S&T's deliverables in the programme is to ensure that there is a monitoring system in place and that it is maintained. Also, as part of on going reporting monitoring data would have to be analysed regularly and where problems are identified through the system we have to ensure that managers can implement corrective measures immediately.

Case studies and diagnostic evaluations

The role of M&E is central to the efficient and effective implementation of the programme. With an effectively functioning monitoring system the programme team will be better equipped to monitor activities related to the programme. It is for this reason that some short turn -round evaluation exercises, for example, case studies and diagnostic evaluation exercises, are planned for the implementation phase. However, it is important to note that these rapid evaluative activities will not necessarily be representative. Quick turn-around exercises are normally focused around emerging key development trends and challenges facing the programme.

Programme management and support function

The Programme Management Team (PMT) within the programme office was established to manage the implementation of the programme. The Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works and the IDT constitutes the PMT. Representatives of outside service providers contracted by the IDT to render on-going support and assistance to the Programme Manager are also represented in the PMT (those responsible for social facilitation and so on).

As one of these service providers, S & T serves on the PMT. This is to ensure that there is close linkage and synergy between implementation and policy. It is important that the role of monitoring of the activities of the programme is part of all levels of programme management. For example, when there is a need to steer the implementation process in a certain direction, this will be better understood if the ongoing analysis of monitoring data were factored into all key operational discussions within the programme.

Furthermore, S&T (represented by Moagi Ntsime) serves in the Programme Steering Committee. The PMS is responsible for broad strategic issues within the programme. It is within the PMS monthly meetings that key policy issues and frameworks are discussed and where appropriate corrective actions are suggested. As such, members of the PMS are expected to advise the programme on critical issues that impact on implementation. This role is an important part of the programme support and guidance.

S&T has consistently worked both sides of the line - undertaking applied, policy and other research as well as evaluations on the one hand, and serving on implementing teams for development programmes on the other. It is by getting our hands dirty in this way that we can fuse our different functions and stop either from losing focus.

 

Measuring debt and helping rehabilitation

S&T partner Ross Jennings managed a fast turn-around project for Mongi Mali Solutions, in which S&T measured levels of debt, the impact it has on workers, and how to help tackle the problem.

Measuring debt and helping rehabilitation image

Researching indebtedness among formal sector workers

Mongi Mali Solutions, a company that is independent of any financial services, are involved in the development of a employee debt rehabilitation strategy for an Eskom Power Station. In their multi-pronged approach to combat employee debt including research, awareness, education and debt counselling, one of the first steps in this exercise was to conduct a survey among the employees. Mongi Mali Solutions contracted Strategy & Tactics to undertake this survey.

The objective of the survey was to gather as much information as possible on the financial situation of workers, with emphasis on the various types and levels of debt they may be servicing. To develop our understanding of the situation of workers, we explored their general attitudes to life and money.

The graph shows the preoccupation that many respondents have with money and their financial situation. While the majority of workers seemed happy with their life, a far larger proportion spent a lot of time worrying about money. Furthermore, half of all workers interviewed said that all they seem to do is struggle to get money to pay those that they owe.

Our survey sought to establish what proportion of workers' gross salaries is being deducted to service debt and including hire purchase policies. We found that the majority of workers had more than two thirds of their gross salary deducted before they even start paying for food, rent and so on - in fact, the mean proportion of gross salary deducted for all workers was 72%! Furthermore, those workers who earned less money had higher proportionate deductions.

Reasons behind these deductions varied - however, we found high levels of borrowing from micro-lenders as well as large numbers of hire purchase agreements for furniture, electrical appliances and so on. These loans and contracts (underpinned by exorbitant interest rates) were often not fully understood by workers.

The findings are being used to tailor the education and training initiatives that Mongi Mali Solutions are currently developing and customising - importantly, while our survey reflected the real need for a debt rehabilitation strategy, it also found workers to be very receptive toward such a strategy and its intended initiatives.

Mongi Mali Solutions offers customised employee debt rehabilitation programmes in government departments, parastatal and private sector workplaces and can be contacted on 011 646 0954

 

Assessing and strengthening church-based responses to HIV/AIDS

Assessing and strengthening church-based responses to HIV/AIDS imageThe Gauteng Department of Social Services & Population Development has commissioned S&T and the Interfaith Community Development Association to map and evaluate church responses to HIV/AIDS in the province. S&T partner Nobayethi Dube is project manager and describes the project.

The Interfaith Community Development Association (ICDA) together with Strategy & Tactics (S&T) have secured funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Services & Population Development to conduct a study on the role of churches regarding HIV/AIDS. The project was an initiative of the ICDA & S&T, who jointly drafted the proposal.

Initially, we proposed working in three provinces (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal & Limpopo), allowing urban/rural as well as provincial analysis. Since this had not been a call for proposals from any particular institution, the proposal was submitted to several 'potential funders' including the Gauteng Department of Social Services & Population Development. The latter showed interest in the proposal but - reflecting their position - wanted the focus to be on Gauteng.

In the proposal, we set out two phases:

PHASE 1

Step 1 - to conduct a mapping exercise to see what churches/denominations are involved in programmes that deal with HIV/AIDS for their members and from the information develop a sample frame;
Step 2 - selecting sites from the sample frame and conducting focus groups with church members and a survey with priests or pastors;
Step 3 - analysing results and reporting; and
Step 4 - the ICDA gives out results to relevant stakeholders regarding findings.

PHASE 2

We proposed to facilitate a series of workshops where findings of the study would be given and strategies for future responses would be developed.

The Gauteng Department of Social Services & Population Development could only fund part of
Phase 1. As indicated above, the mapping exercise will include identifying churches that are currently involved in programmes that are aimed at assisting HIV/AIDS affected members. The output for this step is developing a sample frame from which step 2 to 4 can be conducted. It is envisaged that once Step 1 is complete we will then approach other funders to see if they can fund the rest of the research project.

 

The quiet revolution in a hidden market

The quiet revolution in a hidden market imageSpaza shops are everywhere, but have you ever stopped to think what that must mean in financial terms? Matthew Smith is heading a study to help answer this and other questions, and describes the project below.

The Triple Trust organisation (TTO), a Not For Profit organisation based in Cape Town, recently commissioned S&T to conduct a market assessment of the spaza sector so that they could better understand key questions concerning the spaza shop market in Cape Town.

A GROWTH SECTOR

A conservative estimate is that there are at least 14000 spaza shops in Greater Cape Town, with a weekly turnover of on average about R1500 per week. This equates to an annual turnover of more than R2 billion a year! Compare with World Bank study which estimated that 10 years ago annual turnover in the spaza market in the whole of SA was anywhere between R3-7 bllion.

Spaza - "hidden" or "informal", "quazi" - shops, as many readers know, are informal retail micro enterprises operating from the owner's dwelling.

Many of those who start such enterprises do so as a way to make a living when there are few options available to them. Most owners have little direct link to the manufacturing industry; like you and I, they shop at a mixture of retailers and wholesalers.

PROBLEMS...

Obviously this sector provides considerable difficulties for anyone operating in it. Owners spoke of a range of challenges ranging from infrastructural issues (e.g. storage), environmental (rain & rats), security & insurance, finance (to buy stock/ invest in expanding their business) and theft to insufficient stock and transport .

…AND RESPONSES

Innovative ways owners tend to deal with these problems include,

  • organising "group" transport to suppliers use of catalogues to compare prices and find suppliers who package goods for selling goods in small quantities
  • accessing bridging finance from friends and family
  • introducing security measures to deal with theft
  • enlarging and decreasing stock based on demand

Whilst nearly every township resident might use such a shop at some point due to their convenient location (75% use them almost every day), many consumers find spazas expensive. On average, women spend about R30 per visit, whereas men spend only about R8 per visit. This is not surprising bearing in mind that owners cited transport to suppliers as one of their biggest challenges.
Add to this the fact that owners seldom receive a discount from these suppliers it is no wonder that these goods are so expensive to the spaza shops' customers. Whilst price and convenience were critical factors that influenced consumer use of these shops, a number of other factors also played a role including client satisfaction, the fact that people could purchase goods in small quantities (e.g. one cigarette or one disprin), and to a lesser degree the issue of buying on credit.

REGISTRATION

A surprisingly number of owners (57%), would consider registering their business. Reasons for not registering included concern about the future of the business, the fact that registering is complex business and owners were unsure how to go about it. Moreover many owners were not convinced that registering their business would be of any benefit to them.

TTO commissioned this study to assist the organisation to design appropriate interventions that would assist in the development of the spaza shop market. This project follows TTO's shift to facilitating the delivery of effective market-based business development services (BDS) to SMMEs. This shift, away from the more traditional approach of offering free training and other business development services to build capacity, has come about as there is now a growing realisation that the traditional approach has distorted the market as they tend to be short lived, expensive and have little long-term effect.

Recent research shows that if donors and practitioners learn to develop market based or commercial solutions to business problems and constraints they can intervene more effectively into the SMME sector. This market development approach to delivering BDS will see TTO facilitate linkages between SMMEs and service providers particularly in weaker markets and previously disadvantaged communities.

The BDS market development approach is rooted in a fundamental faith in private sector markets as engines of growth and efficient suppliers of goods and services. Despite this, there are obvious distortions in the market for SMMEs - these might include suppliers ignoring SMMEs (particularly in the poorer areas, suppliers preferring to work with medium size enterprises but not small or micro ones, suppliers offering inappropriate services. Therefore, to ensure that the needs of the SMMEs are fully understand and that those operating in the SMME sector are fully conversant with the environment an adequate understanding of the market is required. This is precisely what TTO have now done.

The research project conducted by S&T is the first phase of TTO's strategy. S&T has provided TTO with a comprehensive report on its findings in the spaza shop market in greater Cape Town. With this information TTO will now embark on a wide range of strategies within the spaza shop market, based on an informed understanding of the sector provided by S&T.

 

Public Perceptions of higher education

S&T partner Matthew Smith is one of South Africa's leading education researchers, and reports here on some recent research projects he has been involved in.

Higher Education institutions are seldom out of the news at present. If it isn't one camp within an institution suing another camp, then it is certain groups within the sector decrying the Minister of Education's latest plans for the system. Those not directly involved in these skirmishes may well be wondering what is happening to higher education in this country and what effect this will have on South Africa's ability to continue to produce quality graduates?

In order to begin to get a sense of what the public really think about the system at present, S&T was commissioned to conduct 5 Focus Groups for the Washington-based American Council of Education and the Pretoria-based Centre for Higher Education Transformation.

ATTITUDES TO THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

South African society, as suggested by the focus groups, clearly values higher education and feels strongly that the system should be given more support than it currently receives. Indeed, the focus group findings suggest that South Africans are not as unhappy with universities and technikons as the popular press would have one believe. The discussion below focuses on what participants feel about the value of higher education, explores some of the perceived weaknesses of higher education and what the participants feel government should do about these problems, and finally summarises what participants had to say about the Minister of Education's proposed plans to restructure higher education in this country.

Olsen argues that globally there is a growing disenchantment amongst the public with regards to higher education. In particular he has noted that public support for higher education (in terms of both political and financial support) has declined, largely as the result of a perception within society that the quality of the outputs produced by the higher education system are not what they used to be. All in all Olsen paints a grim picture of how relations between higher education and society have soured to such an extent that the system should not be left to its own devices. Higher education is no longer seen by society as autonomous and is now seen as playing an important role in providing services to contribute to economic growth in this country.

Whilst there is no denying that restructuring of higher education in this country is a reality, and significant changes have happened in the system since 1994, to this long-time observer of South African education, there has been a significant decline in support for education over the last five years. The focus groups support what Olsen and Gumport (cited in Cloete 2002) have found internationally, namely that higher education is perceived by much of the public as an industry; one which sells products which customers are either satisfied with or not.

VALUE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Higher education is perceived by many, especially the community, as the solution to a number of social problems: job provision, the eradication of poverty and ultimately of crime, and a preventative method against the spread of AIDS. Business people maintain that tertiary education undoubtedly enables people to think and approach things 'differently' and equips people with the tools to develop themselves further. Despite this, there is a concern that higher education is unaffordable to the majority of South Africans.

Students feel very positive about the quality of the education they are getting in South Africa, pointing out that the quality is as good as anywhere else in the world: 'if you draw comparisons, we are using the same textbooks as the Ivy League Universities in America'. They also feel confident that they are well-equipped to take up employment anywhere else in the world.

PERCEIVED WEAKNESSES

Major weaknesses in the system, according to participants, revolve around the poor school system, and the failure of the system to prepare students adequately for the 'world of work'.Lecturers feel that it is becoming increasingly difficult to teach, as school-leavers do not have the skills that lecturers expect they will have.This is partly because many institutions are now committed to catering to previously disadvantaged students and thus are allowing access to increasingly weaker students. Business people concurred with this view, and believe that efforts should be made to improve the overall quality of education at school level in order to better equip students for tertiary education.
Many felt that because studying further was all about acquiring market related skills, university degrees are regarded as too theoretical, with not enough emphasis placed on the practical side, whereas technikons are perceived to be more 'balanced'. Some community members were of the opinion that technikons are more specific to a particular vocation (e.g. plumber or electrician) whereas at university (BA degree for example) you 'focus on sitting behind a desk'.

Social problems were also seen to have impacted on higher education. Students do not always feel safe on campus, describing it as 'dangerous' and mentioning theft (particularly of cell phones) as a problem. Community members made a direct link between poor quality education and kids turning to crime. Parents feel that if they were somehow more directly involved in the running of higher education institutions they could exert more control over rebellious students, and that the social life of students should be more closely monitored.

Business people, who maintain that they have developed close ties with tertiary institutions, feel that the quality of graduates is poor and that many of them are not equipped with skills that industry requires. It was suggested that universities be more selective and stringent about entrance requirements in order to address this problem.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

There is a strong sentiment (particularly amongst the community and business people) that the government is not doing enough to educate the people of South Africa. It is regarded as the responsibility of government to firstly, spend more money on education and secondly, create the jobs so that people can utilise their qualifications. Government corruption was identified as a major obstacle to the provision of education to all.

Another policy issue that the groups focused on was the role of HDIs in the system. Many were of the opinion that it is the responsibility of government to ensure that HDIs "catch up" with the more "reputable institutions". The community were also of the opinion that HDIs served a useful purpose, primarily because 'a number of black professionals, such as teachers, doctors and lecturers, have emerged from such institutions, hence promoting the image of black people as competent professionals'. Business people were more sceptical about the role of HDIs, being concerned about the 'quality' and 'calibre' of graduates form HDIs, they felt that graduates from these institutions are in no way comparable to other more established and better resourced universities. On this particular issue, council members felt that this perception of poor quality has come about as a result of a government that has not fulfilled the expectation that HDIs would be supported as part of the broader transformation process currently ongoing in South African society.

RESTRUCTURING HIGHER EDUCATION

Not surprisingly, the Minister of Education's proposed plans to restructure higher education generated much debate. Students and the community understand the motivation for wanting to merge (efficiency and cost-effectiveness) but, because people do not know enough about exactly what the mergers will entail, they are sceptical about the outcome. There is an enormous amount of uncertainty generally surrounding mergers as people do not know what to expect.
In summary, arguments against restructuring were as follows:

  • Rationale for mergers unclear
  • Institutional identity and academic quality will suffer, which will ultimately lead to "Academic drift"
  • Human costs (e.g. job losses) will be high
  • Financial costs to merge multiple institutions into a single school will be high
  • Mergers should only happen when everyone agrees, otherwise 'one is really talking about a hostile takeover not a merger'

And summarising arguments for restructuring were as follows:

  • Brings resources together
  • Mergers will lead to a better balance between the practical and the theory
  • Mergers will result in improved qualifications and a standardised approach to qualifications
  • Merger between institutions will lead to a "cross-pollination of ideas"
  • Merger institutions will be more efficient
  • Mergers will lead to more funds available for fewer institutions

CONCLUSION

The above supports the global view put forward by both Olsen and Gumport that many in society view higher education as offering an important service to industry. Whilst participants, were generally satisfied with the delivery of the services by the system, they felt there were several areas that the system could improve. In most people's eyes they felt that these improvements could come about if government were to drive these improvements. Interestingly, a healthy higher education system was seen by participants as important for contributing to the alleviation of many of the current problems in South Africa including both HIV/AIDs and poverty. Higher Education, whilst often maligned in the popular press, is clearly still seen to be of enormous value to society in this country.

 

Integrated development planning versus national programmes?

S&T partner Jowie Mulaudzi reflects on what threatens to be a key area of tension, namely the functional value and efficacy of IDPs and their relationship with centralised targeting and delivery mechanisms.

The legislative revolution

Integrated Development Planning (IDP) is at the heart of the business of local government. This is true for municipalities in all three categories: Metropolitan (Category A), District (category B) and Local Municipality (Category C). The Municipal Systems Act (32 of 2000) requires each municipal council to develop an IDP to guide short and long term development and implementation within their area of jurisdiction.

The Municipal Structures Act of 1998 makes provision for the creation of executive structures which, varying by category of municipality, are responsible for amongst others the development of IDPs, resourcing, implementation and alignment with and integration of these with higher level IDPs.
The legislative revolution managed by the Department of Provincial & Local Government (DPLG) is seeking to place local authorities at the centre of development. They have to become central actors in the development arena, using IDPs to source provision from existing government programmes, and thereby transforming development into a demand-driven process.

With the end of the local government transition period, heralded by the last local election, IDPs are potentially powerful planning tools with their own process and other requirements. Their effective utilisation is of course the critical challenge: but they are merely another complicating aspect of the management and delivery systems and frameworks currently being established at local level; and which seems to be taking place in an ad hoc and distinctly un-co-ordinated fashion.

National funding of local programmes

During the transition period, District Municipalities received some infrastructure and/or poverty alleviation funding from the following national departments and programmes, among others:
In these programmes, implementation was commonly managed by District Municipalities but financial management and controls remained the responsibility of national departments. Each of them, in turn, had its own approach and institutional arrangements.

In successive evaluations of the Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP) for example, we found that at District Municipality level the same staff members were responsible for local anti-poverty projects as well as these national programmes, viewed as special programmes. However, internal planning was still done in a fragmented way with very little interaction across the various national departments' programmes.

National departments - most of them, anyway - have been slow to identify which of their own requirements need to give way before those of local government. Local government is still viewed as a desperately weak and uncapacitated arena, and one that lacks the political clout to oblige national departments to change their preferred way of working. Bottlenecks and disputes seem unavoidable.

Institutional arrangements and IDPs within DMs

As schematically represented below, national departments and District Municipality (DM) councils decide on the projects to be implemented. On the side of national departments, the choice of projects is influenced by local needs but mainly by the overall programme objectives. Provincial co-ordinators and managers play a significant role in the identification of projects in order to meet these objectives.

On the side of the District Municipalities, officials play a role in the co-ordinating structures that identify projects and are meant to push the DM agenda regarding identified IDP projects. Of course not all DMs and local municipalities have completed their IDPs, a further challenge. But the point at issue here is that where IDPs are completed, there is a potential for major problems where there is no synergy between IDP-identified projects and those preferred by a National Department as per programme objectives.

The Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme (ISRDP) is meant to provide a mechanism - and policy imperative - that resolves this in favour of DMs and their IDPs. But the ISRDP is far from universally understood or available. In the interim, a co-ordinating structure within council should address the question of integration by looking at both DM and national departments' programmes as a whole with component parts rather than similar but separate programmes. Poverty alleviation programmes need to reinforce DM objectives so that various departments are able to work towards developing a specific cluster of projects with each delivering services as per its mandate and programme objectives and complementing - not competing with - each other.

Similar mechanisms will be required at local municipality level. Given that there are still immense capacity problems in the emergent local government structures which require a lot of resourcing, there might be a need for an integrated fund to be set aside for this purpose within the context of the ISRDP. Effective synergies can be achieved by merging local and national - but this will not be easily or rapidly achieved.

 

Evaluation for Development

Evaluation for Development imageS&T partner Nobayethi Dube recently attended an evaluation training workshop conducted by Prof Patton, which she describes.

Evalnet, a South African evaluation company, facilitated a training workshop conducted by the well-known Professor MQ Patton. The training workshop was aimed at programme developers, government officials and evaluators. The training took three days and was attended by about 180 people.

Day 1 (Basic evaluation concepts)

Day one of the workshop was spent discussing basic evaluation concepts. The focus was on evaluators and how to ensure that they maintain focus when conducting evaluations. It was stressed that evaluators should understand and always keep in mind what the evaluation is trying to accomplish - the importance of keeping their eyes on the main prize.
The point is that evaluators cannot do or look at everything, and must resist the temptation to do so - even where clients want you to find out everything. Also stressed was the importance for those involved in the evaluation to do 'reality testing' - identifying the key lessons from the evaluation and they can be used in future evaluations. This included the importance of selecting indicators that inform you when things go wrong and when you can take action.

Day 2 (Reflective patterns)

On the second day participants were grouped into sectors and areas of interest. Prof Patton gave assignments to the groups. One of the assignments was for participants to discuss personal or professional encounters, draw out common patterns, and identify lessons learned from those encounters.

The exercise sought to emphasise the importance of reflection as evaluators progress with an evaluation. Reflection can help draw conclusions based on experiential data and patterns in it. The evaluators can then determine the lessons learned and test lessons in future evaluations. Reflective patterns also ensure ongoing lesson-learning during evaluations.

Day 3 (Indicators)

Day three was spent discussing the usefulness of indicators in informing action. If robust indicators are in place, it is easy to find out why the indicator suddenly changed. It is however important to note that it is sometimes difficult to put useful indicators in place and these may be adjusted as time goes on.

Establishing a South African Evaluation Network

One highlight of the workshop was when participants were given a questionnaire to find out if they would be interested in helping establish a South African Evaluation Network. Most respondents mentioned that they were interested, and thus far it looks like the SA network will be in place by the end of 2002.

 

HIV/AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop

UNAIDS and the World Bank hosted a workshop aimed at "Building a Sustainable Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Resource Network in Eastern and Southern Africa"; S&T partner Jowie Mulaudzi attended and filed this report.

Held from May 6th to 10th at the Piggs Peak Hotel in Swaziland, the workshop drew attendance from monitoring and evaluation specialists, HIV/AIDS practitioners, members of the "Telling the Story" project and World Bank's Multi-Country AIDS Programme (MAP). Participants came from Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Norway, Swaziland, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, United States and Zambia.

The three objectives of the workshop were to:

  • identify regional priorities in Monitoring and Evaluation;
  • create a Technical Resource Network of M&E in the region; and
  • devise a plan of action detailing a way forward in M&E for both Telling The Story (TTS) and MAP.

Telling the Story is an umbrella organ for co-ordination of HIV/AIDS projects undertaken by the various UN organs in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland. Each of these countries has a minimum of three UN-funded country-specific HIV/AIDS programme falling within TTS.
Each of the sub-Saharan countries mentioned above was either in the process of finalising their country-specific projects or developing indicators (M&E) for proposed HIV/AIDS projects. TTS's main function in this regard is to develop a common M&E framework for the region and the workshop was designed to explore how this could be achieved.

TTS is the vehicle for co-ordinating similar projects of the various UN organs in the region and is geared towards synergising UN programmes and activities. Synergy and co-ordination of activities is part of the transformation of the UN system supported by Ted Turner's $100billion performance-based funding over a period of 10 years.

ROLE OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The first two days of the workshop comprised lively debates and discussion instigated by presentations and discussions on the use of monitoring and evaluation data/information as well organisation's experiences in bidding for and/or implementing monitoring and evaluation projects. The workshop engendered an appreciation of the role of monitoring and evaluation amongst project planners and practitioners and how M&E can be used to improve/strengthen, adapt and/or re-direct projects.

More specifically, the workshop brought into sharp focus the importance of projects developing and maintaining a 'culture of monitoring' - of collecting relevant information about/for projects at all levels including planning, budgeting and implementation review - instead of undertaking monitoring activities as donor-driven add-ons to projects. Despite the importance of M&E primarily as a management tool, it was clear that organisations utilising donor funds did not have a choice on whether or not to undertake M&E. The result is that monitoring continues to be seen (not necessarily incorrectly in this instance) as a policing tool.

The workshop itself was necessitated by the need for UNAIDS and MAP programmes to develop a common M&E framework rather requests from organisations involved in programme delivery. This is because the two responsible organisations require performance based reporting, necessitating M&E activities to be set up for the projects.

A trend emerging from the Ted Turner's funding and the MAP programme suggests that donors are moving away from simple humanitarian funding to outcomes based programme funding. Both require that funded programmes demonstrate impact and or tangible outcomes encouraging the monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes.

Discussions regarding programme experiences showed that it was both possible and affordable for organisations to develop M&E activities that would yield important information in the implementation and management of projects, which would to a greater extent be useful in undertaking the donor required impact assessment and evaluations.

Whilst it was not possible for participants to develop M&E activities for each of the projects, the practitioners (projects) spent two thirds of the time in Swaziland developing M&E frameworks for their country programmes and will be continuing with the process in their respective countries.

AN M&E TECHNICAL RESOURCE NETWORK FOR HIV/AIDS

M&E specialists and practitioners together with funders spent much of the time exploring funding criteria and marketing strategies. It was clear that there was a need for a technical resource or network where M&E practitioners involved in HIV/AIDS could engage with each other and with donors to strengthen capacities of countries to undertake effective M&E.

The decision to establish a network was unanimously agreed to albeit with reservation about amongst other things the type of network, its operational scope and mandate, and the benefits members would get. UNAIDS headquarters (in Geneva) was given responsibility for turning the discussion points of this group into a business plan for the network which would be adopted by members at a later stage.

To a large extent the workshop raised a lot more questions than it answered especially for HIV/AIDS practitioners. Two things stood out: the seeming futility of developing countries having to borrow money for life-saving HIV/AIDS work and the seeming eagerness of the World Bank to give (supposedly) reduced interest loans that commit endless generations of developing countries populations to the Bank. Whilst I am sure the issues are not as simple as that, still it felt good to know that the South African government is not a recipient of such loans and our efforts in dealing with HIV/AIDS - conflictual as they are - are not at the expense of fiscal freedom for coming generations.

 

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