Enhancing monitoring and evaluation skills

Effective monitoring and evaluation will help HSAD partners to measure progress against stated aims and goals. A four-day workshop, held in Erbil, focused on training the leaders of component activities in HSAD’s new work plan – equipping them with the skills and knowledge to measure and evaluate the performance of their farm activities using the USAID performance monitoring and evaluation (PME) system. The leaders also looked at how to identify measurable indicators for the four activity components in the work plan to guide a HSAD baseline survey on seeds and seed technology, focusing on wheat.
Initially, participants were introduced to the concept of the monitoring and evaluation framework, including performance management, the definition of monitoring and evaluation, and the difference between monitoring and evaluation. This was followed by an outline of the development and use of the logical framework method.
Participants then discussed the main problems involved in buying seed from farmers, dealing with the companies who buy and sell seed, and monitoring seed supply. They also considered variability in the performance of different groups of farmers. The following session took a closer look at monitoring, including, guidelines for indicators and data quality, and the performance management toolkit.
Looking at the use of facts in evaluating performance, the workshop highlighted how to identify data sources and data collection, collect baseline data, and establish performance targets. This session also included a case study of a local village.
Moving on to conducting evaluations, participants learned about the steps involved in planning, assessing evaluability, selecting evaluation questions, and preparing an evaluation design. They were then introduced to the ‘evaluation scope of work’. The workshop closed with a look at managing data collection, whether by secondary analysis, statistical survey, direct observation, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, or community interviews.