End-of-Term Evaluation of the Joint Programme Support for Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation Systems in Malawi

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Evaluation Plan:
2012-2018, Malawi
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
04/2013
Completion Date:
04/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

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Title End-of-Term Evaluation of the Joint Programme Support for Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation Systems in Malawi
Atlas Project Number: 00060404
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2018, Malawi
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2013
Planned End Date: 04/2013
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Democratic Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Access to information policies support accountability and transparency
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding: Cost-sharing
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
William Chitwere chitwerew@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; line ministries; GIZ, EU, DFID, UN
Countries: MALAWI
Comments: The project colsing date has been extended to March, 2013. Hence the evaluation will be conducted during 1st quarter of 2013
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 The final evaluation recommends realistic planning. One reason why a good number of outputs were not delivered in full is that there was lack of focus and the program was over-ambitious with too many aspects to be addressed within the project period with limited staffing.
2 There is need to align and harmonise the sectoral systems to avoid duplication of efforts and resources. The district databank does not capture data from the education and health sectors since these are independently managed through the Education Management Information systems (EMIS) and Health Management Information System (HMIS) respectively. This alignment and harmonization would make the district databank a one stop centre.
3 To enhance coordination, the government needs to establish intermediary area coordination between the central government and local councils. This arrangement should ensure efficiency on logistical issues and communication would be better managed with an intermediary at regional level.
4 Design of a successor programme is necessary for the following reasons: a. The JPSME II has not achieved much because, in any environment, it takes a long time to introduce a new system and instill change. M&E is not yet rooted in the minds of Malawians; b. There is still lack of appreciation of M&E in sectors and councils which contributes towards the treatment of M&E as a non-essential function; c. As a reform, M&E should be supported for more years to come; d. Substantial investment has already been made in the sectors and districts, hence such noble interventions should be let to continue; e. M&E is dynamic which emphasizes the need for on-going capacity building in M&E for economists, M&E officers and data entry clerks.
5 MEPD as a central ministry responsible for M&E should strengthen its own M&E function so that it is able to backstop M&E activities across sectors and councils. Capacity should be enhanced especially in terms of staffing, the challenge, which is compounded by high staff turnover. The unit should also be adequately budgeted for.
6 Since there are no budgets in some sectors and districts, MEPD, MOF and other stakeholders should ensure that each ministry, department and local authority has a budget for M&E. This will be in the same layout as human resource management and development, internal audit or internal financial management are budgeted for in ministries and departments.
7 UNDP, as the managing agent of the basket fund, was responsible for ensuring that adequate financial resources were available in the basket fund for the implementation of activities as well as ensuring timely submission of regular progress and financial reports to all stakeholders. The evaluation recommends that in successor programmes, the agent should enhance its capacity for judicious reporting to programme stakeholders.
8 Since there is very little appreciation of M&E in the sector and councils, it would be useful to design awareness campaigns focusing on the importance of planning, budgeting and making decisions based on processed data. The scope of the sensitization should include all levels beginning with cabinet ministers going down to low as levels as industrial class staff in the civil service.
9 There is no M&E database at the central level which makes it difficult for the central ministries including MEPD to access district M&E databases on-line for control and backstopping purposes. This study recommends the establishment of databases at the central level which should eventually be linked to sector M&E frameworks, district databases and MASEDA.
1. Recommendation: The final evaluation recommends realistic planning. One reason why a good number of outputs were not delivered in full is that there was lack of focus and the program was over-ambitious with too many aspects to be addressed within the project period with limited staffing.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

The need for realistic planning in an environment of human resource constraint has been recognized. In future, when faced with similar situations UNDP will advocate for a review of the project implementation strategy such as outsourcing service to complement project personnel.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide for outsourcing services in future projects
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
Capacity Development Cluster 2014/01 Completed History
2. Recommendation: There is need to align and harmonise the sectoral systems to avoid duplication of efforts and resources. The district databank does not capture data from the education and health sectors since these are independently managed through the Education Management Information systems (EMIS) and Health Management Information System (HMIS) respectively. This alignment and harmonization would make the district databank a one stop centre.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

UNDP understands this recommendation to mean alignment and harmonization of data banks or management information systems of central ministries and agrees with the recommendation. UNDP has made a provision for harmonizing data banks in the Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Development Effectiveness and Accountability Project (DEAP). The initial efforts will focus on aligning and harmonizing development information systems in Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Planning and Development. DEAP will also support the functioning and harmonization of district data banks with line ministry information systems.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support linking of Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) data bank and Aid Management Platform (AMP)
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2015/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: This initiative is being considered under a successor project.]
History
Support harmonization of District Data Banks with data bases in selected line ministries.
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2016/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: This intervention is being implemented under the Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Development Effectiveness Project.]
History
3. Recommendation: To enhance coordination, the government needs to establish intermediary area coordination between the central government and local councils. This arrangement should ensure efficiency on logistical issues and communication would be better managed with an intermediary at regional level.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2014/01/10]

UNDP agrees with the principle of strengthening coordination between central government and local councils. However, UNDP does not concur with the view of establishing an intermediary arrangement. UNDP believes that a framework already exists to foster coordination between central government and local councils. Moreover, introducing an additional arrangement runs counter to the decentralization policy of the government which is seeking to devolve powers from the centre to districts.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthen coordination role of Ministry of Local Government to serve the need of central government and local councils
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD and Governance Clusters 2016/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: This initiative is being considered under a new project on strengthening local governance.]
History
4. Recommendation: Design of a successor programme is necessary for the following reasons: a. The JPSME II has not achieved much because, in any environment, it takes a long time to introduce a new system and instill change. M&E is not yet rooted in the minds of Malawians; b. There is still lack of appreciation of M&E in sectors and councils which contributes towards the treatment of M&E as a non-essential function; c. As a reform, M&E should be supported for more years to come; d. Substantial investment has already been made in the sectors and districts, hence such noble interventions should be let to continue; e. M&E is dynamic which emphasizes the need for on-going capacity building in M&E for economists, M&E officers and data entry clerks.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

UNDP shares the view that developing capacities for monitoring and evaluation at the national level is a long term process and therefore will advocate for continued support for improving M&E at all levels from Development Partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Include specific interventions to promote M&E activities during the 2012-2016 programming cycle
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
Capacity Development Cluster 2016/12 Completed History
5. Recommendation: MEPD as a central ministry responsible for M&E should strengthen its own M&E function so that it is able to backstop M&E activities across sectors and councils. Capacity should be enhanced especially in terms of staffing, the challenge, which is compounded by high staff turnover. The unit should also be adequately budgeted for.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

MEPD is mandated to monitoring the national development strategy and provide technical support on M&E activities in the public sector. It is imperative the MEPD has the requisite capacity to fulfill its mandate. UNDP will support an M&E capacity needs assessment at MEPD and support necessary steps to develop its capacity.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support an M&E capacity needs assessment of MEPD
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2016/09 Completed MEPD has capacity gaps in evaluation. Two staff training in RSA in January, 2014 History
Support capacity development interventions at MEPD
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2016/12 Completed History
6. Recommendation: Since there are no budgets in some sectors and districts, MEPD, MOF and other stakeholders should ensure that each ministry, department and local authority has a budget for M&E. This will be in the same layout as human resource management and development, internal audit or internal financial management are budgeted for in ministries and departments.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

While advocating for committing resources for M&E activities in ministries and district councils is important, UNDP will seek to promote the appreciation of M&E functions as part of the process of introducing results based management practices in selected line ministries and district councils.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support the orientation of senior managers in selected line ministries and district councils on the importance of the M&E functions as tools for improving programme management and achievement of results
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2015/12 Completed This is being done as part of the training of Results Based Management History
7. Recommendation: UNDP, as the managing agent of the basket fund, was responsible for ensuring that adequate financial resources were available in the basket fund for the implementation of activities as well as ensuring timely submission of regular progress and financial reports to all stakeholders. The evaluation recommends that in successor programmes, the agent should enhance its capacity for judicious reporting to programme stakeholders.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

The need to submit timely and regular progress and financial reports is noted. UNDP will ensure that factors which caused delayed in preparing acceptable reports are taken into account during finalization of financing agreements. Reporting formats will take into account UNDP capacity to meet the specific requirements.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure that reporting formats in agreements with donors are in line with UNDP?s systems capabilities.
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
All UNDP Clusters 2014/01 Completed History
8. Recommendation: Since there is very little appreciation of M&E in the sector and councils, it would be useful to design awareness campaigns focusing on the importance of planning, budgeting and making decisions based on processed data. The scope of the sensitization should include all levels beginning with cabinet ministers going down to low as levels as industrial class staff in the civil service.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

UNDP will support efforts to bring awareness of the role of M&E in improving planning , learning and decision-making improved programme management and achievement of results.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Facilitate Results Based Management (RBM) orientation training for managers and planners in line ministries and district councils
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2016/12 Completed Training session on RBM conducted in October, 2013 at Victoria Hotel; August, September and October, 2014 at Mwanza, Dedza, Mchinji and Karonga and Nkopola Lodge History
9. Recommendation: There is no M&E database at the central level which makes it difficult for the central ministries including MEPD to access district M&E databases on-line for control and backstopping purposes. This study recommends the establishment of databases at the central level which should eventually be linked to sector M&E frameworks, district databases and MASEDA.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/10]

UNDP agrees with the recommendation of establishing a data bank at central level in principle. However, it will be important the such a data base is harmonized with existing data bases at the central level. UNDP believes that there is a need to review current databases as a basis to determine the form of the new data base proposed for the central level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support the review of current data bases at central level and explore opportunities for linking and harmonizing them
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2014/12 Completed This is being done as part of the State of M&E Study being supported by UNDP History
Support the establishment of a databank of development programmes and their results targets in MEPD
[Added: 2014/01/10] [Last Updated: 2017/12/29]
CD Cluster 2015/12 Completed History

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