Integrity takes part in a panel at the New Frontiers in International Development Monitoring conference
On the 23rd May 2019, Integrity attended an event, hosted by MSI, a Tetra Tech company, titled: New Frontiers in International Development Monitoring. The aim of the event was to discuss how to elevate the practice of monitoring and promote improved cohesion between the monitoring, evaluation, and learning in international development.
Monitoring in international development is widespread, but often ill-defined and has rarely been subject to intellectual inquiry. Transparency, adaptability, and data-driven decision making are increasing priorities for international development donors, implementers, and third-party monitoring firms. The management, technological, and political realities require and deserve collaborative scrutiny to improve the state of the field.
The event was opened by Keith Brown, president of MSI, who discussed the evolution of Monitoring and Evaluation within USAID since the 1980s, detailing that Evaluation had the ‘top perch’ within USAID programming, but over this period the focus has shifted to performance monitoring and evidence building. In recent times the attention has been moved back towards a reengagement with evaluations, with the ultimate goal of finding a balance.
The event also welcomed guest speaker, USAID Inspector General, Ann Calvaresi Barr who spoke of the recent top management challenges affecting USAID programming and what Third-Party Monitoring can do to address these issues.
Discussion Panel: Frontiers in International Development Monitoring – Elevating the Discipline
Kathryn Rzeszut, Senior Expert MEL of Integrity, was invited to take part in the discussion panel titled: Frontiers in Data Collection and Management: Elevating the Discipline of Monitoring. Kathryn gave input into the utilization of new technologies within monitoring, and the challenges and risks that arise with the use of new digital systems, notably the risk of reduced human-to-human interaction.
A lot has changed in the last ten years. We have bene able to utilize new technologies to expand the scale and reach of our monitoring activities beyond anything we could accomplish with a team of enumerators conducting household surveys/ things that wouldn’t have been possible or practical ten years ago are now standard practice and help to make monitoring more reliable, rigorous, and efficient. For example, in Integrity’s third party monitoring for DFID in Somalia, we use mobile data collection and a bespoke data platform for verifications that has really streamlined the reporting and feedback process.
However, with the increased use of technology in the sector, I see the risk of losing sight of what is ultimately at the center of good monitoring practice: people and rigor. Because while technology can help us monitor with greater accuracy, it often decreases the human-to-human interaction that is essential in getting answers to the ‘why?’ and ‘so what?’ questions. – Kathyrn Rzeszut, Senior Expert MEL
Find out more about the day’s agenda and discussion points at the MSI website here.