Indicators, indicators! They really get people talking!

Participatory M&E workshop towards the preparation of the Final Report on the EU Food Facility in West Africa

by Adriane Del Torto

Today, we opened the two day workhop on M&E for the EU Food Facility. Present at the worksessions were the M&E specialits and Production specialits from Benin, Mali, Senegal, Ghana and ICRISAT. The meetings took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso at 'Eau Vive" a local NGO on 26 and 27 January 2012.

The objective of the meeting is to take stock of the efforts already made in M&E at the project level and to come up with an action plan to enable to collect qualitative data for the final report to the EU. The idea of a participatory M&E workshop came from some brainstorming between myself and some CPMs and the M&E consultant who is part of the team producing the final report as a solution to the lack of time for a mission visiting all components of the Food Facility in less than one month. 

The first day of the workshop was mainly to discuss results achieved and activities which did not take place and why. Then the group went through all of the EU indicators and discussed the relevance of many of those requested by the programme. In many cases, it was pointed out that baseline data was missing and that it would be difficult to report on all of the indicators in both the Logframe and the EU table. Each indicator was discussed and put into context to ensure proper understanding of the mechianisms.

Thi step was not planned on the original agenda, however, when considering the complexity of the programme, made of 7 distinct grant agreements, it became quite relevant to discuss requirements in order to have a somewhat harmonious report.

One we had agreed on the quantitative indicators, the rest of the day was dedicated to the qualitative ones. Adding a qualitative dimension to the final report of the EU FF was suggested to the EU during my last mission in Brussels in December 2011. My proposal was very much appreciated by the Programme Manager at the EU, who is very much looking forward to reading our results.
The lead M&E consultant and the group identified a series of themes and specific questions to ask programme stakeholders in order to collect the qualitative type data sought. These were accompanied by a list of information sources and data verification documents.
This first day, was a bit long, however, the output was quite positive. The debates between participants were lively and engaging and the colleagues present were strongly motivated by others' comments and questions. Let's  hope the ambiance at its best tomorrow as well.