Monitoring and Evaluation – How to report to Outcome Challenge and Linking to Progress Markers

Sharron, Seyha, Kevin discussing MRO’s Five Outcome Challenges.

Seyha Khin and Sharron Catton caught the minibus at 8 am Monday, March 18, 2019 to travel to Battambang to join Kevin and Gillian Bird to try and thrash out a way of reporting to M’lup Russey Organizations’ Five Outcome Challenges.

As so often happens with these things, when you start on a task and unpack exactly what you are actually trying to do, the complexity of what you are trying to achieve becomes clearer and clearer and the job becomes bigger and bigger! It reminds me of doing a simple bit of DIY project a few years ago.  It started with wanting to put up a picture only to discover that as the nail was hammered in, the plaster cracked behind the wall paper and it wasn’t long before the realisation dawned that the whole wall was going to have to be deconstructed, reconstructed, replastered, repapered and then hammer in the picture hook!   So, it has been a week with looking for a method of collating data for monitoring and evaluation.

The team discussing opportunities to improve MRO’s monitoring and evaluations policies.

This is where we want to get to a beautiful picture of Outcome Challenges and Progress Indicators set out in pages of explanation, but how ultimately are we going to map all the activities and progress that we are undertaking and hoping to see to this framework or picture on the wall? Gathered round the table in the temporary office space created in Gillian and Kevin’s home each morning and dismantled each evening, we grappled with this objective all week. “We need a form” (that’s the nail.)  “Okay, what do we need to put in the form?” as we started to think about what we needed to put in the form, the ‘simple’ statement we need a form cracked open wider and wider.   We recognised we needed to completely deconstruct the form into its smaller and smaller component parts, till we were back to the various building blocks like location, participant types, activity, progress markers, ladder rungs, etc.   Then slowly, slowly, bit by bit we began to rebuild and understand the relationships between these component parts and started to try to link pieces of information together again.  All this takes much longer than just ‘knocking in a nail’ or simply producing the format or front end of a form.

This project remains a work in progress, perhaps we have our own set of mini challenges and markers as we seek to gradually build the wall on which we can hang our picture, but rest assured it is coming!  We will be publishing these findings online soon.

We expats take our hats off to Seyha who, for four solid days, had to listen and interpret our English for himself to follow our weaving thoughts and ideas, especially at the points when we were really excited or trying to animatedly get a point across and thus forgot our non-native speaker companion as the syllables we spoke increased in speed and form until something or other prompted us to check that Seyha was following! It is one thing to understand the complexity of concepts in your own mother tongue, quite another to do it in a second language.  He managed extremely well.

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