Third Party Monitoring

THIRD PARTY MONITORING

Regions: Africa AsiaEurope and EurasiaLatin America and the CaribbeanMiddle East and North Africa

Today organizations delivering humanitarian and longer-term development aid inevitably have to comply with donor requirements for outside assessments of the effectiveness of their programs. Through our Third-Party Monitoring (TPM) services, i-APS independently monitors project performance using an approach designed to be flexible, and which is driven by your specific technical, analytic or advisory, needs.

i-APS provides your programs with the key external capabilities you need for gathering objective information on program progress, for use by managers and your stakeholders. i-APS aids the transparency of investments through a streamlined approach to data collection and analysis, delivering high-quality, technically-valid and timely reports, that give firm grounds for your management decisions. We always apply a consistent approach, so that results can be compared across time. By effectively measuring your performance, our Third Party Monitoring (TPM) outputs then contribute to new project designs, sector strategies, and to broader strategic revisions that maximize your development effectiveness.

01 Reporting on quantitative indicators by collection of key on-site data that verifies activity completion, achievement of targets, and the delivery of results

Quantitative Third Party Monitoring (TPM) practices explore clearly-defined questions intended to examine relationships between contexts, project features, major events and other variables of interest. Responding to the need to know ‘what’ and ‘how much’, i-APS teams use robust sampling protocols to gather quantitative data, through surveys and questionnaires that are carefully-structured to provide numerical data that can be explored statistically, and that yields results that can be generalized. Our Third Party Monitoring (TPM) processes ensure that the information collected is robust, and provides a clear picture of the state of the assessed issues on the ground.

02 Assessment of the key qualitative aspects involved in program delivery, especially risks and mitigation measures

The qualitative approach to Third Party Monitoring seeks to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ a particular change, impact or other phenomenon occurs as it does. i-APS assessments are designed to understand local understandings of an issue; points of views about a key problem, or perceptions of the benefits of a program; and to unravel the relationships between people, impacts, social processes and their contexts. Our tools reliably collect non-numerical data that participants express, usually gathered through interviews and group discussions using semi-structured topic guides.

03 Understanding local perspectives and tracking the quality of stakeholder participation. Assessment of participant complaints and feedback mechanisms, and of levels of satisfaction with delivered outputs

Program managers need to understand stakeholders’ opinions about program or project activities, and their benefits, so as to better adjust these to effectively serve local needs. i-APS integrates qualitative and quantitative methods by sequencing tools, triangulating findings, and by combining the information that is collected, to provide a full assessment of local points of view. We have found that gaining a proper understanding of different experiences requires methodological rigor to ensure that M&E systems allow for diverse voices, and avoid bias and extractive processes. As far as needed, our processes foster beneficiary feedback by organizing the information flows between informants and M&E system operators, throughout data management and validation. By doing this, i-APS effectively supports learning about participants’ main concerns, so that your programing adjustments lead to better targeting, and go on to increase your impacts.

04 Addressing the needs of different genders and vulnerable groups in M&E processes through sensitivity in data management strategies, aimed at improving the access to program benefits

Most national governments and international donors consider gender relationships and roles, and social vulnerability, to be cross-cutting issues. Almost no intervention is gender-neutral. In response, i-APS methods seek to ensure, through gender-sensitive M&E, that effective assessments are made of how far a project is achieving goals related to vulnerability reduction and to the improved distribution of benefits according to gender. Our data collection tools account for gender dimensions to provide feedback on how activities affect various groups of beneficiaries, in order to help identify the necessary adjustments to project activities.

05 Description of lessons-learned for improved planning; human-interest stories to put a face on impacts; and of best-practices for wider replication

Capturing lessons and best-practices in field-settings through the MEAL approach is vital for increasing the effectiveness of any intervention. i-APS uses advanced methods to describe a best-practice method, technology or tool, by working out how it functions in a particular context, what processes are used, the benefits of the practice, and how it could be replicable to other situations. To describe a given best-practice, we use a systematic set of criteria: relevance to problems; level of community and stakeholder participation and ownership; ethical soundness; technical operation and innovation; effectiveness compared to any other solutions (including cost-effectiveness analysis); adoptability and replicability; and sustainability. Similarly, the i-APS MEAL approach effectively describes the lessons learned through the lifecycle of a program/project by setting out what went, well, why and for whom. As well, our toolbox includes methods to gather up high-impact cases of significant human interest, including stories and images. Our capacity-building support enables your personnel to implement lesson-learning, to characterize best-practices that develop through a project lifecycle, and to convincingly profile your most significant changes, as well as aiding the dissemination of these and their wider application.

To learn more about i-APS’s Third Party Monitoring and Evaluation services, please contact our Director of International Services and Operations Ted Tuthill at ttuthill@i-aps.com