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Jul/11

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Bikash Kumar Koirala on The Importance of Effective Communication in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

Hi, my name is Bikash Kumar Koirala. I work as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in the NGO Equal Access Nepal, which is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.  I have been practicing monitoring and evaluation work for over five years, which is focused on development communication programs.  A research project that EAN has collaborated on Assessing Communication for Social Change (AC4SC) developed a participatory M&E toolkit based on our experiences.  One of the modules in this toolkit is the Communication Module, which is summarized as follows.

As a result of AC4SC, the communication systems in our organization improved a lot and became more participatory. We began to understand that effective communication and continuous feedback is essential to the success of participatory M&E. Communication inside organizations and outside can be quite challenging sometimes because different people have different perspectives and experiences.

Lessons Learned

Community Involvement: After the AC4SC project, the level of engagement with communities by the M&E team increased considerably. Their involvement in ongoing participatory research activities and providing critical feedback has proved very useful to our radio program development. This has increased community ownership of our programs. As well as work undertaken by the M&E team, this research is conducted by network of embedded community researchers (CRs).  These activities have produced research data, which is analyzed and triangulated with the other sources of data (such as listeners’ letters) to produce more rigorous results.

Internal Communication: Regular constructive feedback related to program impact and improvement is given to content teams by the M&E team.  This has increased dialogue and cooperation between the M&E and content team members.  Before the AC4SC project, content team members didn’t usually take M&E findings into account because they felt that they already knew the value of the program content through positive feedback from listener letters. The value of M&E has now been recognized by the content teams. They now ask for more in-depth data to generalize feedback they receive. The M&E team addresses this through research and analysis using many different forms of data from varied sources.

Use of New Communication Technology: The M&E team has been analyzing SMS polls, text messages, and letter responses, and triangulating these with the CRs research data and short questionnaire responses to present more rigorous results to program team members, donors and other stakeholders.

Some Challenges: In participatory M&E it is important to understand the roles of everyone involved in the process. Effectively presenting results for better communication and the utilization of M&E findings among different stakeholders is an ongoing challenge. Time to effectively undertake participatory M&E and is also an ongoing challenge.

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3 comments

  • Gemma Ferguson · February 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Great to see the lessons learnt of the AC4SC project presented here so clearly. I’d be interested to follow any updates or progress on the challenge of utilising the M&E findings among different stakeholders as this is an important next step following the success of internal communication and feedback loops.

    Reply

  • Rajani Humagain · July 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Thank you Bikash for posting such useful article. Indeed the proper communication between content team and M&E will lead to a good impact and achieve the goal: behavioral change in community. Likewise using tools for M&E purpose like new media, Internet , SMS, IVR should come in practice time and again.

    Reply

  • Binaya Guragain · July 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Bikash is right that the efforts made by M & E team has proved as significant support in the getting in-depth-feedback on the radio program. thanks for posting the debate.

    Reply

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