KSCHMA, PERL zoom online M&E workshop: Participants gain skills on tools, results framework
By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi
After scheduling and rescheduling following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged countries of the world, at last the virtual training programme organized by Kano State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (KSCHMA) in collaboration with the DFID-Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL-ARC) has become a success.
It was earlier scheduled to take place at Tahir Guest Palace in Kano metropolis with physical appearance of participants, but that was not possible since already the disease (Coronavirus) started spreading in the state from its first index case and that led the authorities in the state to take control measures against further spread of the pandemic.
Part of the control measures included banning of all gatherings (which affected hosting of the meeting as earlier scheduled) and observing social distancing in addition to paying attention to other COVID-19 protocols.
As these factors have affected the hosting of the ‘KSCHMA Training on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Tools and Results Framework’ as earlier scheduled, but with the new platform, the meeting went well.
Therefore, the organisers wisely opted for a virtual or a zoom meeting as an alternative to achieving the desired objective of the workshop and this alternative had really worked well as all the over 50 participants who were brought together from various places (far and near locations) of the country that included even those from the Northeastern and Northwestern parts of Northern Region of the nation.
Why was the workshop successful? This question was answered well by the participants during the event proper when they were asked by the anchor man or the presenter at the occasion, Malam Zakari M. Zakariya to share their experience on the workshop after he (Zakariya) received and answers so many questions from them regarding issues surrounding his presentations to which some of the questions were asked verbally and in text messages.
The numerous responses and questions asked by the participants were indication that they enjoyed the exercise which made everybody happier for being part and parcel of the zoom online meeting initiative.
Participants at the meeting included traditional title holders, community based and civil society organizations, people with special needs, journalists, stakeholders from relevant ministries, departments and agencies, development partners and officials of the host agency (KSCHMA) among others.
On day one of the four-day event, which started on Monday, June 1 and ended on Thursday, June 4, this year, Malam Auwalu Hamza, Reform Manager of PERL-ARC in Kano, opened the floor with some remarks, where intimated the participants that the DFID, a governance programme, was working with KSCHMA to provide framework on its monitoring and evaluation tools and results to which they (the participants) would not just be involved in just reading the M&E framework but in its work activities.
According to him, the training involves different perspectives and that it came up after the last one held sometime back in Kaduna State.
He said that it was intended to help improve the skills of the participants for them to add value to the processes of doing things in their various work places.
Malam Hamza hoped that at the end of the exercise, they would cart away key learning that was facilitated by PERL, urging them further to feel free to contact their officials always towards seeing how much they could render support to them for them to perform the function of adding the value needed to their respective organisations.
When it came to the turn of the consultant, Malam Zakari M. Zakariya, who took ample time to explain in detail what the framework is all about regarding its tools and results, he explained that results always assist in proper articulation of actions.
He pointed out that there used to be a situation when one needs to plan, execute and close out a project, but for agencies like KSCHMA, their own action, according to him, differs as they are always expected to review and continue to review their plan or project or programme, and not to close it, in view of the nature of the agency as a long term outfit.
Giving further details on why it should continue to review and review, Zakariya pointed out that KSCHMA is an agency not a project, adding that a project ideally has a life span, unlike an established agency, which does not have such a life span.
Other areas he elaborated on included power of measuring results, intervention to result based monitoring, reason to do result based monitoring and evaluation, results based monitoring itself, major activities where results are needed, new emphasis on both implementation and results based monitoring and designing good evaluations among others.
On day two, Malam Zakariya spoke extensively on more issues such as condition governing monitoring and evaluation, base line information, data sources – such as registers, surveys, with a highlight on two components of data sources, namely; primary and secondary.
He also spoke on designing data collection methods and developing a results plan to put down few of the issues among many he guided the participants on that day.
On day three, Malam Zakariya, after a recap of the previous day activities, was able to make a lot of revelations on monitoring and evaluation framework and performance indicators in addition to other areas around the monitoring and evaluation framework – which looks at inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes as well as overarching impact; while he said its conceptual framework looks at factors that are conceptual in nature such as demography, environmental and socio-economic factors, reiterating that the basis of monitoring under conceptual framework will help to explain results.
According to him, while choosing an indicator (as indicators, he said are key to learning progress), each indicator must be carefully defined, and that they must be objective in the results framework, stating that anything bias should be avoided and that the indicators should not be too small or too much, but moderate.
During the day four, which marked the last day of the zoom online meeting, after a recap of day three, data quality was extensively discussed by the consultant, who used the occasion to explain further that data is used to make important decision and that it can be used to address implementation problem or hold individuals accountable.
He suggested that KSCHMA should try as much as possible to develop data for quality services.
In her closing remarks, the Executive Secretary of KSCHMA, Dr, Halima Muhammad Mijinyawa, while using the opportunity to thank all those who participated in the meeting, especially those from ministries, departments and agencies as well as others from outside the state, stated that the already developed monitoring and evaluation plan for the agency has now become a living document.
She reminded the participants to take note that already a high level committee was formed during the Kaduna meeting aimed at ensuring that quality services are provided to the agency’s enrollees at their various facilities.
Dr. Mijinyawa then thanked PERL for its support to her agency as well as for making the programme a reality towards achieving universal health coverage.