Monitoring and Evaluation is a subject of fundamental importance to development organisations, but one that people so often find boring. So how to make it Magical & Exciting?
Our training starts with a dive into bias, one of our favourite topics and probably the most important in M&E (for a delve into bias, check out our blog). We use an activity based on the current work of those being trained for them to look at the different biases at play, from both the assessor and interviewee. It was great to see the International Refugee Trust (IRT) and Organsiation for Community Action (OCA) team considering so many different factors, and to see the interest and realisation of the biases at play grow as they looked at their work from different angles.
Due to the stigma around Petal and Roots, some of the questions in the assessment can be very personal. As such, it is important for the assessor to understand what it is like to be asked difficult questions and build an empathy towards the interviewee. Working in pairs, the team had to ask each other the most personal questions they could think of and answer with 100% honesty. An exercise that starts with a lot of laughs but quickly becomes more serious as they realise how difficult it can be to be asked, and even to ask, really personal questions.
The area that most interested the team was our multi-layered M&E approach that measures the impact on multiple areas of the community; customers, the school, the wider community. And, that uses the entrepreneurs themselves to gather large amounts of information about the outputs, and even some outcomes, they are generating.
To finish the section, we allowed the team to see the behemoth spreadsheets that were the business financial models and the M&E review, which both automatically analyse the information put into them to hopefully say “Yes” this business will work; allowing the OCA team to see how the M&E affects everything else.
We ended an amazing day of laughs and high emotions, with selecting the entrepreneurs. It was captivating to see how OCA intends to integrate our social franchises into their Step Up programme, having the Step Up communities suggest potential entrepreneurs before interviews.
We are getting close to finishing the training! Next week starts with training the entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to pretending to be a very slow learning, hard of hearing, short attention span entrepreneur whilst the OCA team trains us!