PARTICIPATION IN PROJECT MONITORING
The Roles of Stakeholders
by Phil Bartle, PhD
All stake holders have a stake in knowing how well things are going
Monitoring is a vital management and implementaion role that cannot be left to only one stake holder.
As many individuals and institutions as possible that have any interest in the project, at all levels, should participate in monitoring. As with community participation and participatory management, participation in monitoring does not happen spontaneously. The persons whom you want to participate must be encouraged and trained to participate.
Advantages of Participation:
The advantages of participation in monitoring include: (a) a common undertaking, (b) enhancing accountability, (c) better decisions, (d) performance improvement, (e) improved design, and (f) more information.
Common Understanding of Problems and Identification of Solutions: Participative monitoring helps stake holders to get a shared understanding of the problems facing the community or project (their causes, magnitude, effects and implications).
This facilitates the identification of solutions. These solutions are more likely to be appropriate because they are derived from a current situation.
Benefits the Target Groups and Enhances Accountability: Participation in monitoring ensures that the people to which the project was intended are the ones benefiting from it.
It increases the awareness of people's rights, which elicits their participation in guarding against project resource misappropriation. Guarding against resource misappropriation makes project implementation less expensive.
Making Appropriate Decisions: Monitoring provides information necessary in making management decisions.
When many people participate in monitoring it means that they have participated in providing management information and contributed to decision making. The decisions from this are more likely to be acceptable and relevant to the majority of the population. This makes human and resource mobilization for project implementation easier.
Performance Improvement During Monitoring, if a performance deviation is discovered solutions can be devised. To find appropriate decisions that can be implemented requires the participation of those people who will put the solution into practice.
Therefore participation in monitoring can help improve project performance.
Design of Projects: The information generated during project monitoring helps in re-designing projects in that locality to make them more acceptable.
The lessons learned can also be used in the design of similar projects elsewhere.
Collection of Information: If many people participate in monitoring they are more likely to come up with more accurate information. This is because, information that is omitted by one party, can be collected by the other.
Each stake holder is putting varying emphasis on the different aspects of the project using different methods. Alternatively, one party knowing that the information they are collecting will be verified, forestalls deliberate wrong reporting.
Challenges of Participation in Monitoring:
Whereas participation in monitoring has a number of virtues, it is likely to face a number of challenges. The challenges include: (a) high costs, (b) variations in information, and (c) inaccuracies.
High Initial Costs: Participation in monitoring requires many resources (eg time, transport and performance-related allowances). It is a demanding process that can over-stretch volunteer spirit at community level and financial resources at district and national levels. Therefore it must be simple and focussed to vital elements.
Quantity and Variety of Information: Monitoring requires collection, documentation and sharing of a wide range of information. This requires many skills that are lacking in the communities. It therefore necessitates much time and resources for capacity building. It also risks wrong reporting.
Inaccuracy of Information: Some stake holders, from the community to the national level, may intentionally provide wrong information to depict better performance and outputs or because of community or project differences. To counteract wrong or incorrect reporting needs sensitization and consensus building that is difficult to attain.
The advantages of participation in monitoring are evidently more than the challenges. It is therefore necessary to encourage and support participatory monitoring as we devise means to counteract the challenges.
A Visit to the Community Project Site:
© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Monitoring and Evaluation