Fatigued Monitoring Eyes by Awab Sibtain

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Hi, this is Dr Awab. Currently, I am working in the M&E section of one of the UN agencies in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Fatigued monitoring eyes is a phenomenon that occurs when the monitoring staff observe an issue so repeatedly that they get fatigued (or used to it) and stop seeing the issue any further. I hope it resonates with many readers of this blog: while I spend most of my time as a paper-pusher in a central office, my job also demands taking care of the field monitoring. During my recent meta-monitoring field visit, I noted this phenomenon very conspicuously that I now have named fatigued monitoring eyes. I noticed that there were several obvious issues and gaps in implementation that the field monitors had missed to report. I know for a fact that I am neither a genius nor do I possess any superpowers to see what others can’t see. The field monitors with multi-year experience in the field are supposed to be more meticulous observers than a person spending most of his time pushing papers in the country office.

There had to be a justification why a field monitor would ignore the obvious things that are supposed to be noted and reported. Some deliberations and discussions led me to finally conclude that ignoring the obvious issues is due to the fatigued monitoring eyes. The monitoring eyes see an issue so repeatedly, get fatigued, become complacent, and stop seeing the issue anymore. I discussed the phenomenon with the management and was able to cope with the fatigued monitoring eyes to a great extent. What we learned from this experience is summarized below.

Lessons Learned

· Incentivise the field monitors to be critical rather than complacent. At least, appreciate them when they report an issue.

· Give the field monitors the assurance that they have been heard. Hold regular meetings with them to acknowledge every reported issue. Ask the field monitors about the remedial action and corrective measures they expect so that the issue is resolved and does not happen in future.

· Build the confidence of the field monitors by briefing them about the actions taken on the issues they had raised.

· Detach the field monitors from their usual milieu; rotate their monitoring beat and despatch them to a new field site where they get rid of the fatigued eyes and can see things with fresh eyes.

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2 thoughts on “Fatigued Monitoring Eyes by Awab Sibtain”

  1. Ann Del Vecchio

    Thank you for this post –it was eye opening and makes sense. Also a refreshing change from the posts of the past two years.

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