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Strengthening partnerships for development through M&E in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan

Title: Strengthening partnerships for development through M&E in most harsh, fragile and complex environments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan

Presenter: Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) - Atif Zeeshan Rauf

Function lead author: Programme Manager

Abstract

This paper captures the transformation in approaches to professionalize Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) at Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) for developing viable/effective partnerships with national/ international partners to benefit poor and marginalized communities in the harsh, fragile and complex environments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and Tribal areas. During an initial period (1989-99), the organization (SRSP) was characterized by rudimentary M&E systems/procedures with limited capacity to produce quality information, which had serious implications specifically in terms of expansion & diversification of programme/programmatic interventions and strengthening existing/ developing new partnerships with potential development partners. This approach had led to limiting programme interventions in 2 out of total 25 districts besides threatening survival of SRSP.

The M&E system at SRSP, predominantly, was characterized by producing and sharing quantitative data (outputs), while important aspects of outcomes, impacts and sustainability tend to be missing. With timely support from UK-DfID in early 2000 and change in top management, a progressive approach was adopted geared to transform the system altogether. Series of measures including developing staff capacity, provision of gadgets and equipments, exposures, interaction at local, national and international levels, setting quality standards along-with regular review and follow ups and support from top management including Board of Directors had strategic bearings. In contrast to earlier days, M&E system started developing baselines, reviewing and analyzing physical and financial progress and performance, developed case studies and conducted rigorous impact assessments following requisite protocols using variety of quantitative and qualitative tools such as RCT, Institution Maturity Index, Appreciative Inquiry, Most Significant Change Stories. In addition, Third Party Evaluations for all major programmes and projects have also been facilitated in further developing credibility of the organization to be transparent and accountable. Elements of an online web-based M&E system and the use of GIS were also included to capture implementation data for the targeted areas.

Few projects/programmes were undertaken in sensitive areas, which were or had been either been affected by presence of radical elements or subject to frequent disasters (IDP crises). With continuous threats to development workers/NGOs, Innovative approaches were adopted to monitor and evaluate partnerships in these turbulent regions/areas. As they say ‘Difficulty is the mother of invention’ so considerable use was made of snapshots, videos, feedback through community meetings/gatherings organized in areas outside turbulent areas. In addition, views of key stakeholders were sought as a further source/check for authentication and validation of what has been reported. To further support M&E, selected local community members with basic requisite skills were first developed and then engaged meaningfully to support in monitoring and evaluation of partnerships in complex and fragile environments.