Monitoring and Evaluation: WCA/ESA Learning Event

by Adriane Del Torto

West and East have joined efforts once again for an important learning event, this time providing a platform to share experiences in Monitoring and Evaluation for Francophone Countries in West and Central Africa (WCA) and East and Southern Africa (ESA).  This morning (2 December), IFAD had the honour of His Excellency Mr Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire opening the Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop held in Grand Bassam (suburb of Abidjan, Historical City of Côte d’Ivoire and UNESCO Heritage site) at the N’SA Hotel.

In his opening statement, the Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD underlined the importance of M&E for results based management to for a “ better chance at reaching development objectives” while assuring us that “there is a direct link between good management and project performance.” His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture was very proud to personally open an IFAD workshop as IFAD has always had quality activities in Côte d’Ivoire, but most importantly because “IFAD never left our sides even during the most difficult we have gone through. IFAD continued to save lives by  continuing to support agricultural production in areas where even nationals would no longer set foot.”

In his welcoming words, Mr de Willebois underlined the importance of M&E in projects so as to better report on real impact on the field, learn from mistakes and design better agriculture development programmes, truly aimed and helping the rural poor.

The objective of a workshop with a cross-cutting theme such as M&E is to ensure that there is a common understand of M&E, its concepts and requirements of IFAD in terms of RIMS (Results and Impact Monitoring System), by giving projects time and space to discuss and share experiences to build on to improve M&E systems, tools, reporting and in the longer term improve results and impact of development projects.

After setting the scene with our M&E specialists and facilitators from WCA’s 3SL Grant with IED Afrique, the participants approximately 120 from some 20 countries in Sub-Saharan African (coordinators, M&E officers, CPMs, CPOs etc)  broke up into groups to discuss their logical frameworks and results chains.
The day was filled with heated but cordial and sometimes funny debates on this apparently passionate topic. At the end of the day, it was clear, however, that concepts are not always as straight forward  as we believe and that there is plenty of room for interpretation…So we will continue discussions in the coming 4 days, with emphasis on exchanges  of experiences among practitioners .

Do feel free to comment on this post to contribute to this discussion. You can also follow the workshop on Twitter #ifadme @adeltorto or through @IFADnews, your opinions and contributions are most welcome in the debate.

The workshop will be running until Friday 6 December 2013. Please stay tuned for some interesting material on workshop content and discussions in the days to come.