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This article is a contribution from Mr Lamin Fatajo, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Rural Finance Project in The Gambia.

Finally after 4 days of interaction with eachother the group went out to the field and visited the villages of Sukuta and Brufut in western region. Prior to the field visit, roles of each actor were defined as well as the activities to be conducted. The objective of the field visit was to define the objective of Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) with the communities and identify the indicators they deem necessary to monitor for learning and value addition. The planning includes what will be done, how it will be done, the resources required and a timeline.
The PM&E Committees comprise of VISACA representatives, The Village Development Committee, a mentoring kafoo and 3 influential community members who were sensitized on PM&E in 2009.

After the fruitful field work, we all returned to Banjul to share the experiences gained from the field and also to determine the readiness of the trainees to conduct the step down training intended for the PM&E Committees at the village level.

The first step in the process was to explain the purpose of the visit, which includes an explanation of what PM&E is all about. Then the community defined their own objectives of the PM&E. This was centered on improving the performance of the VISACAs in both communities.

Objectives formulated with the population
- Increase advocacy for the VISACA System

- Improve linkages with other groups in the village to mobilize savings and membership

- Increase the number of savings and credit groups strengthen or formed.

The indicators to track the progress of achievement of these objectives were identified as change in membership, number of sensitization meetings conducted, change in group registration, change in the amount of deposits from groups and individual members of the groups, change in the number of groups formed/strengthen.
Some of the most valuable lessons learned during this exercise are:
- The exercise was highly participatory
- The purpose and objective of PME was well received and accepted by the communities
- The communities were able to identify their own priorities
- The PME committee can be used as an instrument for saving and membership mobilization
- There is hope that when project activities to be conducted are fully explained to the PME committees they can identify what they what from those activities and be able to monitor them
- Target setting is not fully embraced by the committee as show by only increase in the indicators without the magnitude of change expected.
- The trainees have handled the situation satisfactorily therefore, ready to conduct satisfactory PM&E training to the communities.
- Due to the dominance of the VISACA Management committees in the PME committees there is reason to believe that the purpose/objective of the PM&E was mainly for improvement of the VISACA system.

Innovations suggested by the committees during the exercise include:

- Targeting village based institutions such as schools and osusu groups (solidarity group financing)
- daily cash collection from market vendors

- operation of consumer cooperatives to fight inflation for VISACA members

On Saturday, the training workshop closed with the remarks of the acting project coordinator Mr. Sam Ali Ashcroft who thanked all the participants and WARF facilitators for a well attended workshop as well as recognizing the efforts of the WARF facilitator in ensuring that the workshop was a success. He also dilated on the useful role of the Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation Team (MDFT) members in the whole process particularly in ensuring the dentification of synergies that exist between different projects at the grass root level.

1 Responses to Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop – Days 5 and 6 – Banjul, The Gambia

  1. LEWIS said:
  2. As we know that the Village Development Committee, a mentoring kafoo and 3 influential community members who were sensitized on PM&E in 2009 is more advanced. I would like to know more about this.

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