The Rural Finance Project/West Africa Rural Foundation Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) workshop continues. The second day of the workshop has been interactive and lively even though it coincides with two national holidays, President Jammeh's Birthday - to whom will all wish a Happy Birthday - and African Liberation Day.
Participants were able to identify the key stakeholders and actors of the projects in The Gambia (project staff, beneficiaries and their organisations, government - national and local - service providers and the like) and reflected on their roles, responsibilities, rights, relationships and return in terms of project implementation and objectives. These actors were then placed into a power versus interest matrix. Much interesting debate sprung from this analysis especially regarding the roles and responsibilities and the power relationships that were identified.
The facilitators underlined how important these exercises are and insisted on the value added for projects in design phase, as these matrices clearly map out institutional arrangements and linkages and are a valid tool for later implementation.
More specifically, the matrices, if analysis is undertaken correctly, identify key partners in project execution (high on both the interest and power scales) and those in most need of capacity building to protect their interests (those high on the interest scale but low on the power scale).
The theme of the day was the importance of having clear and simple objectives, indicators and criteria and being able to communicate those to all of the actors involved in PM&E.
We then broke up into groups and engaged in role playing to identify objectives, indicators and criteria for projects. It was becoming quite obvious at this stage that agreeing on clear and simple objectives is not an easy task, especially when this is activity is undertaken with a participatory approach, and this was only a simulation!