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Date: 2021-04-11 Page is: DBtxt001.php L0700-PP-OG-Project

... for a PROJECT

Monitoring and Evaluation GO TOP
The Purpose of Monitoring and Evaluation
More than anything else the 'PURPOSE' of monitoring and evaluation seems to be to show 'funders' that their money has been used well. The reason for this is to help in obtaining more funds for either the continuation of the project under review, or to justify further funding for similar projects.
The methodology for project monitoring and evaluation that has been the norm for several decades seems to have little relevance for stakeholders other than those directly involved with the project.
Drawing attention to weaknesses in any aspect of the project is often unwelcome, even though the performance of the project could be significantly improved if these weaknesses were to be addressed.
Some experience of Monitoring and Evaluation / Supervisions
TPB Note: I was involved more than anything else in 'monitoring and evaluation' missions and 'supervision' missions where the funding agencies were already concerned about performance issues. I was probably involved in more than a thousand studies that varied in scope from mere desk review to in depth investigation and analysis of everything related to the project.
There were many lessons learned from this work. Some of the takeaway from this work was:
(1) Many ... indeed most but not all ... of the people involved in project work at the field level were very highly motivated and worked very hard often in very difficult conditions.
(2) There were fairly onerous reporting requirements, with very little meaningful value associated with the data being provided. TPB Note: On multiple occasions I was warned not to use the data for analysis because the data was completely made up ... the staff did not have enough time to do essential work (like helping to keep people alive) and the paper reports were filled in with numbers that essentially came straight out of the ether!
(3) The systems for project management was very primitive compare to the corporate world. The techniques mainly originated with government administrative procedures rather than with corporate management methods.
Some experience related to Accounting in the Official Development Assistance sector
TPB Note: In the UN system the accounting data flows were many months behind the transaction dates with multiple reconciliations required before any results were visible. In the case of UNDP one of the last adjustments made in the project accounting was for the original approved budget estimate to be adjusted to equal the final expenditure for the project. Looking back, it then appeared that ALL the projects were completed at the budget cost. A perfect example of management insanity ... but this system lasted for years if not decades!
In the World Bank, accountancy had a very low profile. During the 1980s and 1990s most of the accountants had government and public sector experience but very little exposure to the accountancy profession either with respect to audit / assurance, systems, or management accounting. For years the main metric about project performance was the timeliness of disbursements. There was very little accounting for the performance of the projects along the lines that would be normal in any private sector corporate operation.
A TPB note from the 1980s:
It has become apparent that projects being funded by the World Bank, the United Nations and others are not having significant long term impact ... in fact many are simply failing to deliver on the goals that were used to justify their funding. When I researched this in the field, it became apparent that many of the projects were not failing because of an inherent problem with the project, but because there was an assumption that other things would be working, when in fact, these other things were not working very well or completely missing.
The community development projects that worked where ones that had a multi-sector approach and were relevant to the issues in a particular place.
Every place is different. This meant that considerable flexibility needed to be available in order for the project to implement successfully. Most projects lacked much flexibility, and most of the funding institutions made it difficult if not impossible to change the project design after negotiation and during implementation.
Many projects lacked mechanisms to inform decisions makers about performance until it was too late. I did many project evaluations long after the project had been completed ... and no matter what the outcome of my analysis, it was essentially a waste of time. One could argue that the evaluations would be used to improve project design in the future, but any such feedback was minuscule.
For many years the UN system adjusted the budget for the project to equal the actual expenditures for the project so that ALL projects came in 'on budget'. This was common practice for years and suggests that the UN system had little or no understanding of how management oversight and budget control should work! This was one of many examples of how the UN adminsitrative system was dysfunctional

The World Bank Project Cycle GO TOP
The World Bank project cycle has the following stages:
(1) Identification
(2) Preparation
(3) Appraisal
(4) Negotiation
(5) Mobilization
(6) Implementation
(7) Supervision / Monitoring and Evaluation
(8) Completion / Termination
Impact of the Keynsian multiplier
Many World Bank projects are large and well funded compared to the surrounding economy in the beneficiary country. This means that the Keynsian multiplier has a significant role in the economic impact of the project, though this is rarely discussed in a meaningful way.
The following graphic gives an indication of how this Keynsian multiplier produces both positive and negative multiplier impacts.
There are project costs associated with identification, preparation, appraisal, mobilization and implementation all of which give rise to more or less multiplier impact.
The multiplier is the maximum during the start-up / mobilization phase which is largely offset at a later stage when the project ends.
The ongoing value of the project depends on many factors ... including whether or not the local economy has the resources to continue to run the project after its external funding ends.
The above graphic was prepared by Peter Burgess in the early 1990s

Performance of Development Projects GO TOP
TPB Note: Over several decades travelling through more than 50 developing countries areound the world it became clear that projects that had a high profile in donor countries were insignificant in the beneficiary communities. The question was why this was so, given that most of the projects had been considered successful according to the monitoring and evaluation process being used.
Office review / desk studies
These studies are little more than a 'cop-out' and relatively easy to make a project look good as long as the project accounting and project reporting is dysfunctional. This is where my training as a Chartered Accountant became a problem because I do know ways in which performance can be determined even where there are poor transaction records.
Very weak management systems
Organizations like the World Bank keep very good records of how much they disburse, and this also applies to other development organizations like for example USAID and the United Nations. Some of the expenses of the project are obvious because the result of the expenditure can be observed ... people employed, space occupied, vehicles used and fuel sonsumed, for example. How the state of affairs has changed as a result of the project is rarely documented in an easy useful way. When the project terminates, there is nothing to show that the project ever existed.
Management by walking around
Even if there is very poor documentation of financial transactions, a lot of information can be discerned simply by walking around with eyes open and brain functioning.
... is inventory disappearing?
... what are vehicles being used for?
... do the scale of activities being observed match what seems to be being paid for? Common sense is very powerful!
When large amounts of money do not seem to be resulting in any progress, the accounting will often give hints about where the money has gone. In most cases, there will not be enough information to satisfy a court of law, but the information is usually quite good enough to show that it is corruption that is getting funded and not project activities.

UNDP/FAO Shenge Project in Sierra Leone
A TPB note from the 1980s:
In 1985 (??) I had an assignment to monitor the performance of the Shenge Project in Sierra Leone. The project was funded by UNDP and implemented by FAO. Most of the projects where I did the monitoring were more or less unsuccessful, but in this case my assessment was that the project was achieving way more than rather modest goals for the project.
The Shenge Project (UNDP/FAO ) Open L0700-BMA-PJ-Shenge-Project
The Integrated-Malaria-Management-Consortium (IMMC)
During the Bush (Bush 43)administration the US made a major commitment to world health with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President's Malaria Initiatve (PMI). For some time between 1995 and 2010 I assisted with the work of the Integrated Malaria Management Consortium that was addressing the malaria problem in a number of countries around the world.
More about the Integrated-Malaria-Management-Consortium Open L0700-BMA-PJ-Integrated-Malaria-Management-Consortium

TO DO ... BUILD A FILE to navigate to the individual project: L0200-PROJECTS

The text being discussed is available at

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TrueValueMetrics (TVM) is an Open Source / Open Knowledge initiative. It has been funded by family and friends plus donations from well wishers who understand the importance of accountability and getting the management metrics right. TVM is a 'big idea' that has the potential to be a game changer leveling the playing field so the wealth and power is shared on a more reasonable basis between people who work for a living and those that own the economy and the levers of power. In order to be effective, it cannot be funded in the conventional way with a for profit business plan, but absolutely must remain an open access initiative.

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