Hi All, I’m Abdul Majeed, an M&E consultant based in Kabul with a track record in establishing M&E department at Free & Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) organization. I share insights about evaluation practice based on my own experience and strive to increase awareness on this (comparatively) new notion.
Creating a culture where M&E is considered a necessary tool for performance improvement, not an option (or imposed by outsiders-especially Donors) is not an easy task. Some employees would resist due to a lack of awareness of value of M&E (or what M&E is all about) and others may resist due to a fear of accountability and transparency ensured by implementation of a robust M&E system or culture. Based on my experience, at first, staff weren’t aware of M&E and its value. After working hard for two years, they now believe in M&E and the positive changes made by following and using M&E information and recommendations. One thing I have observed is that fear arises due to the transparency and accountability culture in the organization. Now it is hard to engage those who fear (sometimes it is quite tough to distinguish them explicitly from those who are resistant), because of the increase in transparency and accountability, but this is a major achievement for the organization and could lead to opening new doors by funders (trust would be built significantly). They may deny or minimize levels of resistance but, in reality, may be creating obstacles.
- Board of directors and/or Funding agencies’ support is highly needed to help the M&E department in ensuring transparency and accountability in the organization.
- M&E staff shouldn’t fear losing their jobs or any other kind of pressure to disclose information that reflects the exact level of transparency (or any corruption that takes place). Telling the truth is the responsibility of evaluators.
- M&E staff should have a good networking and relationships with staff that will help them in achieving their goal and building trust among them.
- Coordination meetings between M&E and donor agencies would enhance the process and encourage the team to continue their work for increased transparency and accountability.
- M&E should not be solely focused on what worked or not – the real picture of what this process will eventually lead to should be clear to all staff.
- Provide incentives to those who adhere to M&E recommendations. I think it will help in promoting a strong M&E culture.
- M&E should be strict and honest in disclosing the information on accountability and transparency. There shouldn’t be compromise on telling the truth; otherwise all efforts would be useless. The team can work together with senior staff and let them know what how increased transparency and accountability would have on the sustainability of organization.
Author’s Note: Thanks to all who commented on my previous articles especially to Phil Nickel and Jenn Heettner. These are my insights based on my own experience and would highly appreciate readers’ comments.
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