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Evaluation of the monitoring systems included in humanitarian programmes funded by DFID in the Sahel

Between October 2013 and March 2014, Groupe URD will be analysing the context and project monitoring systems implemented as part of humanitarian programmes funded by DFID in 5 countries in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad). The evaluation will analyse the quality of the monitoring systems put in place by looking at how they were designed (type of data collected, collection methods, tools and mechanisms for storing, processing and analyzing the data) and the different ways the monitoring products are used.

As the performance of programmes is also affected by the quality of monitoring systems, this meta-evaluation [1] will also analyse certain performance indicators (such as appropriateness and achievement of objectives, expected and unexpected impacts, the participation of the population and key stakeholders, etc.) and the extent to which these help to re-orientate or adjust planned activities. This will allow suggestions to be made for ways of improving the monitoring systems in place, both at the level of individual programmes and at a general level for all of DFID’s partners.

The evaluation process will be carried out during the intervention (“real-time evaluation”) by external evaluators, with the aim of providing the implementing agencies with constructive support and to allow re-adjustments, if necessary. It will allow information from similar contexts to be shared and will encourage reflection about exit and handover strategies.

In contrast to classic “internal control” exercises, this type of (external) approach allows operational teams to take a step back from the implementation of their activities. This includes continuous discussion with field teams, as well as mini-seminars to provide feedback and debate findings at the end of each field visit in the countries visited. In this way, the main constraints, themes and preoccupations are identified more effectively, and the headquarters of organisations are encouraged to provide appropriate responses. These mini-seminars increase the potential for creativity and the identification of original solutions.

At the end of each field trip, the results are also presented to the different people concerned (operational staff, headquarters staff and donors), thus contributing to the institutional learning process.

[1] A meta-evaluation is a form of evaluation of evaluation(s).