Understanding what we’re good at (and not-so-good at)

Posted on: June 19, 2012 Posted by: Manin Oem Comments: 0

Understanding what we’re good at (and not-so-good at)

Recently we have been spending time discussing the ‘How’ of what we do here at PEPY. How do we know our program designs are suitable for our beneficiaries? How do we measure their impacts? Questions like these are integral to PEPY’s work and with our commitment to continue improving, we’d like to share some of these new developments with you.

To help us answer some of these questions, PEPY has hired a consultant, Mr. Suon Sokheng, to assist us with assessing the impact of our programs. Sokheng has had experience in this area since 2000, and has worked for organizations including UNDP, WFP and IFAD.

In the past, we have mainly used observation and qualitative evaluation to understand our impact and more quantitative and comprehensive monitoring procedures have not been one of our strongest points. With efforts now to develop a structured evaluation procedure, the aim is to identify areas of weaknesses and strengths for the purpose of making program designs in line with our new vision of expanding educational opportunities for Cambodian youth. Sokheng and the Project Management team review what PEPY programs have accomplished in the past, assess the effectiveness of these programs in meeting the current needs of beneficiaries, analyse PEPY’s partnerships with the Ministry of Education, and evaluate PEPY’s human resource capacity in programming. Activities throughout this process include a review of PEPY documentation (including quarterly and annual reports, monthly program reports, newsletters and PEPY’s website), program visits in Chanleas Dai, and interviews with staff and beneficiaries (including parents, teachers, students, educators and board members). Throughout the interview process, one-on-one interviews as well as focus group discussions take place. The team is currently in the middle of the evaluation process and once this is complete, the next step for PEPY will be to look at program design. In this phase, programs will be created or restructured to optimize the results we hope to achieve in our efforts. Monitoring techniques will be implemented within the program design to ensure the measurement of results is more efficient.

Although it may sound like a long and daunting task ahead, PEPY is committed to laying these foundations to ensure future success of our programs. Lout and Sarakk, PEPY Project Managers, have embraced trainings with lots of zest, helping to contribute to our exciting developments. In addition enthusiasm from the team, helps make our goals possible and also ensures that we have fun along the way!

While we are excited for the outcome of this process in the coming months, we also recognize that this is just the first step in an ongoing process. To make the most out of this concentrated period of evaluation we need to ensure that the tools we develop are used with real understanding and consistency by our team, and that effective evaluation and analysis becomes a routine part of our daily work. We ask you, our friends and supporters, to continually challenge our commitment in this area and hold us to the highest standards as we learn and develop.