|Monitoring and Evaluation|
When discussing M&E for OVC it is important to keep in mind that there is a high risk that stronger interest groups will try to use OVC projects as a vehicle to serve their own interest. Careful, and partially participatory monitoring is a way to reduce unintended leaks to other interest groups and ensure that the needs of the OVC are well understood and, therefore, served as intended. Participatory monitoring in OVC programs should not only be a way to “police” intermediaries implementing OVC projects; it should also serve to build and strengthen community buy-in and co-ownership for the intervention, and, thereby, support project sustainability.
In the following section, basic knowledge of Monitoring and & Evaluation (M&E) is an assumption. If you would like more on the basics of M&E, start by reviewing some of the documents in the “Relevant Reading” list for this section (see left column).
What are good M&E indicators for OVC interventions?
As in other projects, you need to define measurable input, output, outcome and impact indicators rooted in your project objectives. These indicators should be based on (i) the OVC indicators that are already available and regularly recorded, and (ii) indicators that can reasonably be recorded and monitored locally in terms of cost, time and ease of collection. The aim is to make data collection as simple (and as cheap) as possible, by using what is already available and collecting only the minimum amount of additional information needed to make project-related decisions.
The Background Data section of this toolkit provides links to some OVC-related indicators that are currently collected by large- scale household surveys carried out in most African countries. The Background section also has links to some major on-line data resources. UNAIDS is currently supporting the development of Country Response Information Systems (CRIS) on HIV/AIDS, and CRIS will potentially become a major national resource in M&E efforts for OVC (for more information on CRIS in your country, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org ).
As you review these data sources, keep in mind that existing household surveys fail to include children who do not live in households. Therefore, figures provided on, say, orphans, child laborers, street children, and children with disabilities may be less accurate since many live outside of the family context. Macro International and UNICEF are currently addressing this challenge by developing sampling strategies for recording information on children living in institutions and the street. The method has so far been piloted in Malawi, but will be more widely integrated in surveys in other African countries. Once these methods have been further tested, the toolkit will provide a link to the findings. (For a brief description of so-called “spot” sampling, see the section on targeting, under the headline ”What about children outside family care?”)
For indicators useful for monitoring child labor, the National Academy of Sciences has proposed a set of indicators covering legal framework, government performance and outcomes. UNICEF, USAID, and the Futures Group have developed the OVC Programme Effort Index to measure effort in the response to the needs of the increasing numbers of orphans and children made vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The index, made up of a diverse set of indicators, is designed to provide a current profile of national effort and a measure of change over time. The OVC-Index was applied to 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in 2004 (see OVC Index draft report)
The World Bank is supporting the collaboration of UNICEF, UNAIDS and USAID to develop a standardized set of indicators for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. The joint report "Children of the Brink" 2004 suggests a set of Proposed Indicators for Monitoring the National Response for Children Orphaned and Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, developed through consultation with international data collection institutes, local stakeholders and international organizations. While the household survey indicators mainly serve to monitor general development trends, the list also includes indicators well suited to monitor local projects.
A Guide to monitoring and evaluation of the national response for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS has been developed by UNICEF. Based on the inter-institutional collaboration, the guide proposes core standard M&E indicators related to 5 common project objectives:
When defining indicators for your intervention, be aware that simply counting beneficiaries is probably not enough. The quality of care also matters greatly. The GTZ guide on can provide some useful tips on participatory identification of local indicators to measure quality.