Though it was really too early, with the Programme being just 6 months old, we decided to do a bottom-up and participatory Effects Monitoring exercise for the ADATS/SCNZ VASS Children’s Programme.
226 Balakendra Teachers, 8 Case Workers and 3 Extension Workers were involved in a bottom-up and participatory exercise where they recorded Baselines, explained the Activities and shared Results obtained.
This is the full document, 31 pages long, which gives the Baseline and Results against each Sub Effect. Activities are elaborated against each main Effect, and Results compared to Baselines and summarised to give a comprehensive overview of where we stand as on 31 December 2004.
In order to follow the methodology, organisational and other reflections, please download the 1st VASS Progress Report from the panel to your left. The Problem Tree, Objectives Tree and LogFrame can also be found on the panel to your left.
226 Balakendra Teachers recorded the Baseline and Results obtained in their respective villages for each of these 35 Sub Effects. 8 Case Workers did the same for Area level objectives.
We tried our best to obtain Census Data (i.e. covering all children/ Balakendras/ village CSUs/ government schools) as opposed to Sample Data but this did not uniformly happen. Over 80% of Balakendra Teachers participated to monitor 5 Effects, but only about 25% of them monitored 3 other Effects.
Balakendra Teachers and Case Workers provided Primary Data for this Effects Monitoring exercise. Additionally, we had a wealth of Secondary Data that datamined from our computerised databank. Very good triangulation was possible for some Sub Effects. For some others, secondary data was the sole source of information.
Once this exercise was completed, Baselines and Results were digitally collated and compiled for 3 respective Taluks. 3 Extension Workers fleshed out the numbers/ information with more analysis and elaboration.
Baseline and Results were agreed upon as “sounding true and valid” by all the secondary stakeholders (project delivery personnel/ groups). After that, it was back to the villages to collect details on the actual Activities that led to these Results.
Activities for each Project Output (now termed Effects in this exercise) are, once again, found in the LogFrame. A vital point to note that it is not each Output Indicator (now termed Sub Effects) which has Activities listed under it. That would make the LogFrame mechanical rather than logical.
(That was the problem we faced in May & June 2004, when we attempted an Effects Monitoring exercise. After weeks of struggle, we had to revisit the Problem Tree and retrofit the LogFrame for the then just completed 3rd Icco/ EED Consortium Programme.
Before that, in October 2003 we faced an identical problem when evaluating the then just completed VASS DLDP Programme for Chintamani Taluk.
This time around, the VASS LogFrame was not a rush job to merely communicate the project concept and design. As mentioned in para 16.b. this Report, we had made a big pre-project investment in Strategic Planning and thoroughly checked the logic.)
In the VASS Programme LogFrame, Project Output/Main Effect “A. Gender Equity Established...” has, for example, 6 Activities which should lead to 4 Sub Effects (Output Indicators). Main Effect “F. Children Retained...“, on the other hand, has a whopping 12 Activities which should lead to a mere 4 Sub Effects.
The minute details on How she actually managed to “admit” or “counsel” or “prevent” or “list” or “survey” or “arrange” or “solve” or “prevent” or “ensure” was really her own affair. Unless, of course, some other Balakendra Teacher wanted to know - Monitoring in its true sense!
Unlike with Baselines and Results, we could not digitally record or compile/ collate Activities. Instead we resorted to group discussions. Balakendra Teachers and Case Workers did that together in 8 full-day Area level meetings they organised for the purpose.
This was followed with tough editing work by the Project Director to put everything together into the Super Report for all 226 village Balakendras, 8 Areas, 3 Taluks. Nothing could be wasted. Every single piece of information had to be fitted in.
The final step in this exercise was to collate the recorded Activities into a single analytical paragraph that combined Baseline, Activities and Results for each of the 9 Effects.