The empirical basis for the project was the 2013 Ford Foundation report, Mapping Early Marriage in West Africa which recommended that child marriage interventions be carried out by coalitions of civil society organizations working in partnership with government departments. The report also pointed to the importance of developing NGO capacity to monitor and evaluate interventions to end early marriage. Against the background of these findings, the consortium project, anchored by Action Aid Nigeria set out three key objectives, one of which was to establish a strong and effective consortium of civil society organizations working to delay marriage in the northwestern states of Kaduna and Kano. Developing the capacity of the consortium to monitor and evaluate the project was a key scope of work which was assigned to the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC). In this regard, the dRPC was engaged to:
• Support the partners to conduct Baseline in Project Locations
• Support the partners to carry out monitoring of Project implementation Activities and evaluate project outcomes
• Monitoring & Evaluation and capacity building for consortium partners in M&E
• Knowledge management and dissemination of project successes
Best practices to build NGO capacity for M&E
The dRPC’s strategy was that of collective workshop based training for project and M&E staff of the consortium followed on-site mentoring of individual NGOs. The dRPC convened four M&E capacity building workshops for the consortium partners. Each of the capacity building was conducted in each quarter of the two years life of project.
M&E Challenges, Achievements and Outcomes
As at August 2013 the baseline assessment of all implementing partners’ M&E capacity revealed only one NGO had a designated M&E Officer and none had undergone any formal training on monitoring and evaluation of projects. By July 2015, however, the midline assessment of the implementing partners’ capacity showed that they all had a designated M&E Officer with a written scope of works.
In each of the four M&E capacity building workshops, the most significant area of learning was in the area of workplan and indicator development.
Over the life of the project, the most valued topics were: Analyzing data to track project performance; How to write a success story; Simple data analysis using SPSS; Visual documentation of projects When changes in Knowledge, skills and practices were measured between the baseline in August 2013 and the endline in October 2015, the project found changes in knowledge to be the area of most significant increases.
Knowledge gained increased by 23.8% between the baseline and endline. However, changes in skills and practice were found to be less significant ranging in 15% and less as M&E Officers continued to struggle with data analysis and report writing.
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