• Reflecting on the use of logical frameworks and theories of change at the Midlands Evaluation Showcase

    14 February 2022
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    Head of CIDT Philip Dearden was recently invited to present at the UK Midlands Regional Evaluation Network Showcase celebrating evaluations and evaluators across the Midlands.

    In his session Phil shared some reflections on the use of Logical Frameworks and Theories of Change in International Development work.  His presentation can viewed below.

    The showcase sessions covered: evaluating social, economic and other benefits of initiatives in the Midlands region and evaluating national and international policies and programmes from the Midlands.

    Other speakers at the showcase event included:

    • Professor Nick Henry, Coventry University and James Brown, University of Warwick
    • Professor Laura Caulfield, Director of the Institute for Community Research and Development (ICRD), University of Wolverhampton.
    • Oliver Allies, Wavehill Social and Economic Research.
    • Professor Mike Thelwall, Professor of Data Science, Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton.

    Their presentations can be viewed in the full event recording. 

    Winning Moves’ Karl King and Michelle Hollier supported the sessions through hosting and chairing the event.

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  • So what is ‘Theory of Change’ anyway?

    10 January 2022
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    Staff of the Programming and Evaluation Support Unit of the Conflict Prevention Centre (PESU-CPC), in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) spent several days engaging with this question. PESU deliver regular project management training across the organisation and assure the quality of project design, so there was plenty of experience and lessons to share.

    Training on Theory of change or ‘ToC’ was facilitated by CIDT’s Ella Haruna. The ToC approach encourages stakeholders to debate how an initiative can best produce desirable outcomes by asking them to make explicit connections between the different components of how a programme works (Weiss.) There is no standard format for a ToC, it is no “magic bullet’ (Vogel) and has even been called ‘a logframe on steroids’ (Ortiz). However in the words of Patricia Rogers:

    Every programme is packed with beliefs, assumptions and hypotheses about how change happens… Theory of Change is about articulating these many underlying assumptions about how change will happen in a programme.

    Participants appreciated the tailored approach to training and the opportunities for interactive exchange between colleagues:

    • The training was tailor-made to reflect on the experience and knowledge of the participants with active engagement of the audience
    • Very tailored approach to the needs of the group; excellent facilitator; interactive course which used different tools to keep the Zoom setting not too tiring
    • Creating space for discussion on how we do things in our unit. Putting our methodological choices on the spot, learning how others do things.

    The OSCE is comprised of 57 participating States working together on politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects of security. Security relates to many aspects of the way we live and are governed, ranging from conflict prevention to fostering economic development, ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, and promoting the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. OSCE activities include arms control, security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities.

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  • CIDT helps facilitate a new Decent Work Country Strategy for the ILO in Albania

    29 November 2021
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    Head of CIDT Philip N. Dearden supported an intensive Results Based Management (RBM), Monitoring, and Evaluation (M&E) workshop held in Tirana, Albania from 17-18 November 2021 as an integral part of the formulation of a new International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP). Thirty-five representatives from the Albanian Government, Trade Unions, Employers Organisations, and the ILO attended the workshop.

    The workshop aimed to provide a refresher on RBM and M&E and practically apply key concepts as part of the formulation of a new Decent Work Country Programme for Albania.

    The workshop gathered ideas and built consensus around the national decent work programme, feeding into the draft e DWCP framework for the next four years. By design, this framework aligns well with the new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-26 for Albania.

    The first draft DWCP will be developed into a full and detailed strategic plan through a series of agreed participatory actions over the next three months.

    Specific topics covered in the intensive multi-stakeholder workshop were:

    • The rationale for results measurement and the ‘results chain’
    • Seven simple planning steps and seven key questions to ask
    • Key concepts of results measurement and its application to the formulation of a DWCP
    • Practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools

    Feedback on all major aspects of the workshop design and delivery was very positive. Many participants commented on how much they had enjoyed the face to face workshop and on the practical value to their work. Comments received included:

    • I appreciate all the concepts we learned about the step-by-step drafting of strategic documents, through defining in a concrete and detailed way the relevant outcomes and indicators under specific priorities.
    • The concepts around the green economy and green jobs are very new and we are interested to learn further on the green economy concept.
    • Very clear concepts on strategic planning which will assist us in our work.
    • Cooperation among the participants. Friendly and encouraging environment for critical thinking.
    • The whole process of active listening, respecting everyone’s ideas and reaching an agreement on issues of common interest should be highlighted.
    • Excellent efforts to agree decisions. All good things. The manual.
    • Very intensive and very useful seminar.
    • The seminar methodology was “Unique”.

    A few photographs of the workshop

    Markus Pilgrim, Director, ILO DWT Budapest opening the workshop

    Mr Ardit Kaja, Director General, State Labour and Social Services Inspectorate, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ms Zhulieta Harasani, ILO National Coordinator for Albania, Ms Fiona McCluney UNRC, UN and Ms Bora Muzhaqi, Minister, Ministry of Youth all spoke at the opening ceremony before Philip Dearden, the facilitator, started the practical activities of the workshop.

     

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  • The Serbian Trade Union movement is at a crossroads – CIDT facilitates strategic planning through an intensive virtual support

    16 June 2021
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    The trade union movement in Serbia is currently at a crossroads. It faces declining memberships, challenges in securing trade union rights, and technological and economic changes which affect the nature and type of jobs. For the unions to become stronger and more representative, the old ways of working need to change.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has led to further change in the external environment in which trade unions operate, and the movement needs to revisit how to support members and adapt their operations in order to be efficient and fit for purpose.

    Working through a virtual delivery mode, Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden supported a Results Based Management (RBM) workshop as an integral part of the development of a new strategy by the CATUS Forestry Trade Union in Serbia. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and brought together 25 key Trade Union members, in Belgrade alongside ILO staff members and several key speakers.

    Workshop approach

    The key learning objective of the workshop was to examine the key concepts of RBM and apply these in the development of a new strategy for the Autonomous Trade Union of Forestry and Wood-Processing Industry Workers of Serbia. As a result of the workshop, the longer term strategic impact, outcome and outputs were developed as   a results framework. Key indicators were also developed so that the essential monitoring of strategic progress can be undertaken over the next few years.

    The framework will be further developed into a full and detailed strategy entitled “A Trade Union equipped for the Future” by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

    The recently published ILO working paper Trade Unions in the Balance presented by Rafeel Peels of the ILO proved to be a good starting point for this discussion. This paper authored by Jelle Visser describes the current situation of the trade union movement, its key challenges, and four possible scenarios for the future of trade unions:  “marginalization”, “dualization”, “replacement”, or “revitalization”. The paper discusses ways trade unions can achieve revitalization, the preferred strategy that the Serbian forestry trade union.

    International experience on the recent modernization of Trade Unions in Austria, was shared by Christian Folzer and Martina Schneller, illuminating suggestions for further positive action.

    Specific topics covered in the intensive workshop were:

    • Current concepts of results based management and their relevance to the Union,
    • A strategic planning framework structured around seven simple planning steps,
    • Undertaking a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis,
    • The development of a clear short and long term objective for the Forestry Union using the Results Chain
    • The development of relevant key indicators to measure strategic change and practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools.

    The workshop was  opened and closed by Jovan Protic, National Coordinator, ILO Serbia; Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe; and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union.

    Video from the workshop

    Screen shots of some of the participants and presenters:

    The workshop being closed by Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Action learning engages stakeholders in Suriname’s Energy sector

    28 April 2021
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    Global goals

    CIDT is facilitating a one-year action learning process within the Suriname Electricity Company (EBS) to introduce tools and methods for a structured stakeholder engagement process. The project is part of a Caribbean Development Bank-supported drive to strengthen social and environmental safeguards and contribute to quality service delivery.

    Project managers at EBS are familiar with dealing with internal government stakeholders. However stakeholder engagement as a structural approach to results-based project management is a different ball game for this state-owned private company.

    Power sector planning decisions are complex. They cannot be solved by a single government agency, institution, or interest group. Stakeholders can directly affect the successful outcome of power-sector projects when proactively engaged via transparent and regular communications. Addressing stakeholder concerns early in the project cycle can help avoid obstacles and save valuable time and money.

    Mr Eyndhoven, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) has said:

    “at EBS we recognise that our decisions and actions in conducting our work impact a wide variety of individuals, companies, and organisations. Consultation and feedback from our stakeholders will help us make better decisions, improve our operations and processes’ transparency and predictability, and build widespread societal and customer confidence in our business.”

    Wouter Hijweege

    Wouter Hijweege

    Due to Covid restrictions, CIDT’s Dutch associate Mr Wouter Hijweege used online training and coaching methods, developing a bespoke EBS guideline and handbook on stakeholder engagement.

    As the CTO explained:

    “Increasingly, effective and meaningful stakeholder engagement is essential to fulfilling EBS’ role to provide clean energy to all Suriname citizens. It allows our citizens and customers to become informed and also influence what we do”.

    Such engagement also forms part of Suriname’s ambitions in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this way, EBS is also contributing to achieving goal no 7: Affordable and clean energy.

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  • Online workshop supports development of the Moldova Decent Work Country Programme

    12 January 2021
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    In December 2020, Philip Dearden supported an online workshop in Results Based Management (RBM) and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) as an integral part of the formulation of a new Decent Work Country Programme for Moldova. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and in attendance were 23 key representatives from the Government of Moldova, Trade Unions, Employers Organisations and the ILO.

    One key aspect of the workshop was to link the DWCP ‘upwards’ to the United Nations Partnership Framework (PFSD). This medium-term strategy and planning document articulates the collective vision and response of the United Nations system to national development priorities and details activities to be implemented in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Moldova, in close cooperation with international and national partners and civil society.

    Following the online workshop, results frameworks for the three key priority areas of the DWCP for the next three years in Moldova were developed. These were:

    • Inclusive and Productive Employment for Youth
    • Better Protection at Work
    • Improved Social Dialogue

    These frameworks will be further developed into a full and detailed DWCP by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

    Keeping virtual workshops engaging

    CIDT employs a participatory, practical approach in our workshops. Despite the challenges of working virtually, we are still able to be effective in this approach. Feedback on the workshop design and delivery was very positive with many participants commenting on how valuable the practical nature of the work was to their work in developing the DWCP:

    “Good friendly approach and many useful explanations.”

    “Positive interactive discussions.”

    “The active involvement really helps our understanding.”

    “The 7 key steps outlined are very useful.”

    “The problem definition and problem trees were really helpful in clarifying what we need to do.”

    “My understanding of how to develop indicators has improved dramatically.”

    The learning objectives of the ILO sponsored workshop were to provide a refresher on key concepts of RBM and M&E and practice their practical application as part of the formulation of a new Decent Work Country Programme for Moldova. Specific topics covered in the intensive multi-stakeholder workshop were:

    • The rationale for results measurement and the ‘results chain’
    • Seven simple planning steps and seven key questions to ask
    • Key concepts of results measurement and its application to key areas of intervention
    • Practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools

    Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) promote decent work as both a key component of development policies and as a national policy objective of governments and social partners. The Moldova DWCP represents a medium-term planning framework that guides the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a country in accordance with priorities and objectives agreed upon with its tripartite constituents.

    Below you can view some screenshots of some of the work undertaken.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Facilitating strategic planning for the American Forest Foundation, online!

    30 November 2020
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    Video conferencing

    For more than three-quarters of a century, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) has helped family forest owners care for their land. Following this long history as a grant-making industry association the American Forest Foundation is currently in transition towards ways of working which are financially sustainable and achieve impact at scale. CIDT supported with a results-based planning approach leading to a simple, coherent and consistent analytical framework to underpin the planning of each work-stream.

    Pre-Covid19, such support may have been provided via a facilitated face-to-face workshop. However, in this new era of virtual engagement, thirty hours of planning workshops were facilitated online with the use of virtual flipcharts, polling and breakout rooms.

    CIDT’s Ella Haruna supported this series of facilitated collaborative workshops to support two AFF teams to develop their value proposition. The Biodiversity team is working to increase the number of landowners across the South actively and sustainably managing their forests, and the Western team is working to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the West.

    The US South’s forests rank at the top of the world in terms of biodiversity and number of wildlife species. More than 500 wildlife species are at-risk due to years of conversion of forests to non-forest uses, fragmented waterways, and an influx of invasive species.

    In the West, frequent droughts and over grown forests are causing catastrophic wildfires, which strain forested watersheds and the water supply that comes from them. Protecting clean water is an urgent and pressing issue, with healthy forests acting as a natural water filter and storage system.

    By the end of the facilitated suite of workshops, the Biodiveristy and Western teams of AFF had:

    • been introduced to a suite of simple tools for results-oriented product design
    • identified the stakeholders in product design and the core focal problem to be addressed
    • analysed the root causes and effects of the focal problem and reframed these as solutions
    • used a range of objective criteria to scope out and prioritise strategic options
    • scoped out the ‘results chain’ and identified the risks to success and how these can be mitigated
    • identify success criteria (performance indicators) and independent sources of evidence (means of verification)

    Faced with growing threats to US forests, it is more important than ever that family woodland owners actively steward their land and protect our nation’s forest heritage. In collaboration with partners, AFF employs a number of strategies, programs and tools that help overcome the barriers to forest stewardship and engage more forest owners in conservation impact on the ground.

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  • Supporting the RNLI to chart a course for results

    30 November 2020
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    Most people are unaware that drowning causes the death of over 320,000 people globally every year (World Health Organisation 2017) leading WHO to label drowning as a ‘silent epidemic’. The RNLI International Department seeks to ensure that drowning prevention becomes a higher priority and better resourced in areas of the world with the greatest drowning burden.  Responding to this objective, they have developed two country programme strategies for engagement in Tanzania, Bangladesh and a third programme working towards global influence.

    CIDT has a long-term agreement with the RNLI International Department to strengthen capacity and CIDT’s Ella Haruna has been supporting the team to embed Project Cycle Management and Results-Based Management approaches in a number of ways.

    Over several months, we have provided technical assistance to firstly, develop the results framework for each programme and secondly, develop supporting frameworks for programme Monitoring Evaluation and Learning.

    • A results framework clearly articulates programme objectives at different levels, identifies risks and assumptions and explains how to measure and seek evidence for change.
    • A MEL framework is a very practical tool that elaborates what data will be collected, by who, when and the costs involved to support this.

    We also worked closely with the team to revise and review the International theory of change, to ensure that it articulates logic behind RNLI’s programme approach and that it reflects the theories of change in each programme. A results framework was also developed to measure the strategic outcomes at the Department level, with key performance indicators drawn up from the programme level in a technique known as ‘nesting’ of results.

    • A theory of change explores how we expect change to happen, through our project activities, in an existing situation. It shows the big picture with all possible, and complex, pathways.
    • Nested results is when results interlock or mesh at different levels, like ‘Russian dolls’ aligning results for the individual, team, project, programme, institution etc.

    Russian dolls

    Image: Matryoshka doll or babushka dolls, stacking dolls, are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another

    If you would like to learn more about Theory of Change, Results Frameworks or Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Frameworks then you may be interested in CIDT’s self-paced online learning courses.

    CIDT elearning portal

     

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  • Online course to bring Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning capabilities to Transparency International staff

    29 May 2020
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    Online course in monitoring, evaluation and learning

    In 2019 CIDT was commissioned to create an elearning course in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) by Transparency International (TI), a global organisation combatting corruption. The course, which has been implemented in English, French and Spanish, will be taken by TI staff working on projects in over 100 countries to standardise their approach and improve practices around MEL.

    Whilst monitoring and evaluation is not everyone’s favourite topic, it is a crucial practice for being able to plan, track and report on activities. Lessons learned can be pulled into future projects making them more effective and efficient in terms of reaching the project goals, as well as being able to better utilise finances.

    This is especially important in an organisation such as TI whose teams of 1800 staff, advocacy and project managers have varying levels of experience and specialisms and work on projects in a wide range of sectors. The challenge of unifying the approach to MEL, and also the challenge of delivering that information, is a great match for online learning.

    Online course in monitoring, evaluation and learning

    CIDT has created online learning for several organisations, as well as developing our own online training in Results-Based Management. Our approach to elearning, much like our approach to face to face training, is participatory. Learning content is interactive. In the MEL course for TI, participants can progress at their own pace and have many opportunities to interact with the information, rather than simply reading or watching. Each module contains sections for them to reflect on how MEL applies to their work specifically.

    The course breaks down the content of MEL into five modules with specific focuses, from frameworks and indicators to data analysis and evaluation. It is demonstrated how MEL works around the full cycle of a project and how it can account for diversity and gender issues. Course participants will learn the major techniques for monitoring and evaluation, such as Logical Framework Analysis and Theory of Change, whilst also seeing how these are relevant to anti-corruption work and specific models used by TI, such as their Impact Matrix. Through the accompanying resource library, they also have downloadable resources for further information in key areas, as well as a custom templates for use in their work.

    Online course in monitoring, evaluation and learning

    Ms Dilara Mehrab Arif, the MEL Coordinator said:

    “Developing the MEL E-learning course with CIDT was a very pleasing experience. The team was highly skilled, very cooperative, sincere and adaptive to various circumstances. The team analysed all the existing materials, filled in necessary information to enrich the course and ensured that the e-learning course is enjoyable.”

    E-learning has become a very effective way for organisations to train dispersed teams, as well as for individuals to pursue their own professional development in a cost-effective way. CIDT’s extensive face-to-face training experience in a wide range of international development sectors has helped us to create very highly rated courses for our own learners, as well as for the staff of our clients, including organisations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and the NDC Partnership.

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  • Workshop on Effective Communications gives new skills to African Union staff

    27 April 2020
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    Just before most of the world’s population was put under lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, CIDT’s Rufsana Begum and Richard Nyirenda facilitated a 3-day training workshop on Effective Communication for the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 26-28 February 2020.

    The workshop was driven as part of institutional reform in the African Union (AU) positioning itself as a global player, capable of delivering Agenda 2063, the continent’s strategic framework to bring about inclusive and sustainable development. The AUC understands the need to invest in men and women, giving them the communication and interpersonal skills needed to deliver positive and persuasive oral communications.

    The workforce require the necessary skills to communicate with impact and diplomacy, in ways that strengthen their professional relationships. This means being equipped with the awareness, confidence and energy to communicate verbally and non-verbally.

    CIDT has been instrumental in strengthening internal capacity for the delivery of the AU’s Agenda 2063, through the development and provision of tailored capacity strengthening workshops. This latest workshop bought together 17 participants from various roles and departments within the AU headquarters. Some positive participant feedback included:

    “The presentations conducted were more of practical in nature and that helped us learn by doing… mostly I like how you include real life examples… how something that we don’t consider important [such as body language] actually affects the whole communication.”

    The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. The vision of the African Union is for “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” This vision is being driven by the Agenda 2063 blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. Agenda 2063 is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

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