Monitoring & Evaluation

Are national WASH M&E system important for accountability and transparency?

When policy and the roles and responsibilities of service providers and government are unclear, it is difficult for civil society to advocate  and tackle issues of accountability. Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring basic and safely managed WASH services, in rural areas and small towns were clear contractual arrangements are not necessarily well defined or sustainable? When these are clear, are there agreed measures of service performance and who is measuring and communicating results? It is crucial to hold parties accountable for their actions and promises.

Sometimes civil society may fill the evidence gap but then the agreed level of performance becomes a moving target. Government and service providers may choose to discount the methods used and results on the basis that they are not ‘approved’ or even ‘wrong’.

Establishing a national WASH M&E system is complex  and it requires clarifying a matrix of roles and responsibilities so that it is clear who is reporting what and why. Using and communicating results is an important step in holding sector stakeholders accountable .

Indeed, for change and improvement at all levels, there is a need to engage in dialogue around sector performance in WASH service delivery.

One workshop to cover everything we ever complained about

This blog is co-written by Abdul Hafiz Koroma, Coordinator at the national WASH Secretariat, Ministry of Public Works, Liberia. The blog post has originally been posted on ircwash.org.

In December 2017, over 60 participants joined a workshop to validate an assessment of the national Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system in Liberia. During the workshop, the participants from national and sub-national level institutions became more and more engaged with Country-Led Monitoring (CLM) and seized the opportunity to influence the national M&E system.

The event by all measures was an eye-opener to many who had consistently framed monitoring through the reductive lenses of routine field visits alone. Monitoring both within central and local government coordination platforms has been subjected to weak regimes of “evaluation” and “reporting”. It appears that M&E has been reduced to isolated field visits that are not part of any programme evaluation. In the absence of “evaluation” reports, the goal of improving programme performance and achieving results remains elusive both at the project implementation level and the policy review and formulation strata. Monitoring should be seen as integral and a precursor to evaluation. It is a step towards project and programme appraisal and not an end in itself.

Country-Led Monitoring

In 2017, the Ministry of Public Works in Liberia led an assessment to make a snapshot of the current M&E system for rural water and sanitation. The process known as “Country-Led Monitoring” essentially charts a process that enables the Ministry and its partners to discuss and plan for an improved system for routine monitoring of services, thereby pushing better resource planning and coordination to improve WASH services.