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ECB Project on TwitterRT @FdLdev: We love this simple guide to #impact measurement and #accountability in #humanitarian emergencies by the @ecbproject http://t.c… 3rd December
How do we measure our progress with capacity building?
Published on 16 November 2010
Any initiative – such as the ECB Project - that aims to build emergency capacity needs to engage with some difficult but important questions. How do we know what emergency capacity already exists in a country vulnerable to disasters and emergencies? What kinds of capacity, and how much? How can we measure it, and therefore track the progress of our capacity building efforts? Read on to find out how we’re progressing.
These questions have been around as long as the concept of capacity building itself, and many organisations and individuals have taken forward our understanding, both conceptual and practical, in this area. In designing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the ECB Project, we drew on several of these insights, not least that no single tool provides the answer, and a mix of methods, allowing for triangulation of findings from different approaches, is most likely to provide results which are at least a good approximation of reality.
In ECB’s case, this mix includes the reports on capacity building activities themselves, simulation exercises which allow observation of skills and knowledge in a controlled environment, and evaluations of actual disaster responses. But a crucial piece of the jigsaw is self-assessment: asking experienced emergency managers in the field to reach a consensus about where their teams and programs stand against a series of critical dimensions of emergency capacity. This is the role of the ECB Consortium Self-Assessment Survey (CSAS).
What is the CSAS?
The Consortium Self-Assessment Survey (CSAS) is a systematic self-assessment, using structured on-line questionnaires, completed annually by each member country program or office of each consortium. Each member of the consortium convenes a group of senior and technical staff within their country program or organisation with the knowledge required to respond authoritatively to the questions in the self-assessment. Typically this will be the country humanitarian leadership team, and the CSAS meeting typically takes about 2 hours. The content of the self-assessment questionnaire is based on the ECB Results Statements: the key capacity targets that the project is pursuing over this five year second phase. Input from the ECB technical Adviser groups has ensured that the questionnaire is consistent with the overarching conceptual frameworks for each of the core themes (Staff Capacity, AIM and DRR). A standard survey management tool (Survey Monkey) is used to capture and manage data from the self-assessment.
What are the outputs?
The primary role of the CSAS is to provide useful information to the consortia themselves, so that they can explore the insights into emergency capacity within their country/region that the findings reveal, monitor the progress of their capacity building plans and adjust both planning and implementation accordingly. A short report is generated for each consortium country, which in addition to background on the research methodology includes a summary of key findings for the country offices that are members of that consortium, benchmarked against findings across all five consortia. Where significant differences emerge, these are highlighted in the summary: however such differences should be expected and should not be over-interpreted, given the diversity of geographical, cultural and organizational contexts across the five consortia. For convenience, this summary also connects key findings with relevant ongoing or planned activities within each consortium’s capacity building plans.
2012 CSAS officially opened on July 15 and closed on August 12. Our Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Kwame Boate and Global Field Project Manager Dave Hockaday facilitated the process by liaising with the consortium member agencies, and socialising the survey and guidelines. Survey Monkey was used to capture and manage data from the self-assessment.
As with the other parts of the ECB M&E system, the CSAS is coordinated at global level by the ECB M&E Specialist, Dr. Kwame Boate, who will review the tool itself and the process of implementation, analysis and reporting following each iteration of the survey. Feedback and suggestions for improvement are very welcome: please contact Kwame at firstname.lastname@example.org
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