home
the team
newsletters
about
cape town
stnews
downloads
links
 
   

This article is taken from the June 1999 Phatlalatsa newsletter

 

Monitoring anti-poverty programmes: the cornerstone of S&T

S&T is involved in the design and implementation of monitoring systems for three key government anti-poverty programmes, below the challenges of social monitoring are explored.

S&T is involved in a wide range of activities, but designing efficient and effective monitoring systems has emerged as our key activity for the next couple of years. In the eight months that S&T has been in existence, we have won contracts for monitoring the following anti-poverty programmes:

  • National monitoring analysis for the Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP);
  • National monitoring analysis for the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Fund; and
  • Designing and implementing the monitoring system for the Department of Welfare's 'War on Poverty' which is managed by the Independent Development Trust.

What is monitoring?

Monitoring plays an integral part in performance evaluation, establishing in an ongoing way how projects are being implemented by the institution or agency concerned. Although methods are similar, monitoring and evaluation have very different functions.

Monitoring allows managers to determine project costs, the value projects have added to recipients and participants, and the efficiency of the project. Through a data gathering system, an essential component of monitoring, participants have a tool with which to document the progress made towards achieving self-set goals. When data analysis is workshopped with project managers and workers, it allows for participative decision-making.

This is important, because some decisions are hard to take. For example, following the 1997 evaluation of the CBPWP, the Department of Public Works set quota ranges for the employment of women and youth. The monitoring system will measure the extent to which these targets are being met. If they are not, different recruitment methods may be needed. This is preferable to a summative evaluation finding that too few women and youths had been employed, once it is too late to do anything about it.

With a monitoring system providing on-going information, project workers can be involved in discussion and decision-making, as the system shows them what they and others like them are doing. The need to change direction comes from their own assessment of whether their targets are being met.

Cost effectiveness?

In any large-scale programme, a key indicator for efficiency is the size of the administrative overhead. Internationally, a figure of around 10% is regarded as acceptable.

Achieving a balance between delivery and administrative costs is not a simple matter. S&T has to balance effectiveness and cost when, for example, we are asked to monitor not just employment and expenditure figures, but, as with the 'War on Poverty", to monitor the impact of programmes. This requires multiple methods, with the system having to absorb and synthesise qualitative as well as quantitative data.

Anti-poverty programmes must be efficient in directing the majority of resources directly to the targeted beneficiaries. But to do so the monitoring system must be sufficient to measure whether intended beneficiaries are actual beneficiaries, and inform management decisions.

The challenge

Very few South African agencies have succeeded in designing monitoring systems that are affordable, accurate, and useful to both workers and managers. S&T is looking forward to pioneering cost-effective and replicable development monitoring systems.

 

[top] [to ] [Previous page]
     
home
the team
newsletters
about
contact
stnews
downloads
links