Remotely-managed projects in volatile environments: monitoring and accountability
This year has seen me attempt (with varying degrees of success and ‘learning opportunities’!) to build the capacity of Tearfund’s programme and project staff in Afghanistan to understand the principles of effective project monitoring, as well as practical ways to carry this out. Watching staff interview beneficiaries, and the ‘West meets East’ clash of monitoring and accountability principles play out, I have seen, with some amusement and frustration, real gaps in the quality and effectiveness of project monitoring/ beneficiary accountability, as well as opportunities for peer learning.
After a year based in Kabul (with travel to the northern, central and southern regions); three internal evaluations; two mid-year review; one impact assessment; copious individual monitoring visits; and several dedicated trainings, I decided to embark on a new project that I hope will feed into improving not only Tearfund’s monitoring and accountability practice across our programmes, but also the practice of other humanitarian and/or development organisations.
In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan insecurity and incidents of violence have forced some NGOs and UN agencies to shift to remotely-managed project operating models. Here, local partner organisations have greater programme responsibility and non-local NGO staff coordinate from different locations. I wanted to know how this is impacting project quality, monitoring effectiveness and beneficiary accountability practice.
It is an issue that many organisations increasingly have to grapple with. There is excitement and strong interest in the project’s dedicated capacity to research the specific issues that remote-management throws up for projects, and how NGOs and other humanitarian and/or development organisations can innovatively address them.
After receiving funding from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), I’m pleased to blog today that the final project report - Monitoring and accountability practices for remotely managed projects implemented in volatile operating environments - is now available! It details the findings and good practice recommendations from the research. I wanted to focus not just on the issues and concerns related to project monitoring, but also existing good practice that are helping to address these issues.
The report is recommended as essential reading for any humanitarian and development practitioner dealing with issues related to monitoring and beneficiary accountability, especially for projects which are remotely-managed and implemented in insecure environments. I truly hope that it will be of interest and use to you as well and I am keen to hear your thoughts
While there is a focus on the issues and concerns related to project monitoring and beneficiary accountability there is also a substantial focus on the existing and innovative good practices that are recommended to address these issues. A section dedicated to each: remote project monitoring good practice and remote beneficiary accountability good practice, is included and also contains a practical checklist which summarises each individual recommendation. It is anticipated that the recommendations included in these sections can assist humanitarian and development practitioners, providing practical, realistic and tested means by which project monitoring and beneficiary accountability can be promoted and safeguarded in remote management settings.
To see previous project blogs and other supporting documents (project methodology and so on) visit our project page on the HIF.
For now – wishing you a happy and motivating read.
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