Policy Influence in Vietnam: Evaluation of participatory poverty monitoring | Evaluation | Poverty

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This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2013/14, selected for review under the citizen voice thematic area. This report documents the findings of a qualitative impact evaluation, carried out in August 2014. The evaluation used process tracing to assess the effectiveness of the Participatory Poverty Monitoring (PPM) project in Vietnam.  The project was designed in 2006 in response to a perceived need among non-government organizations to better understand and be able to regularly monitor effects of national policies at the grassroots level on marginalized groups. Implemented from 2007-13 by Oxfam GB and ActionAid Vietnam (AAV), the main activity was to conduct ongoing participatory poverty monitoring in selected communities which could provide a solid evidence-base for Oxfam and AAV in the formulation of campaigns and public outreach efforts. The evaluation considered 'the extent and quality of participation in poverty monitoring' and 'the credibility of resarch findings.' Read more about the Oxfam Effectiveness Reviews. 
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  EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW SERIES ‘enhancing effectiveness through evidence-based learning’  EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW SERIES 2013/14: ARMENIA BOLIVIA COLOMBIA DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGOENGLAND ETHIOPIA GEORGIA HAITI HONDURAS INDONESIA JORDAN LEBANON MALAWI MALI   NEPAL NIGER PAKISTAN RUSSIA RWANDA SCOTLAND VIETNAM ZAMBIA ZIMBABWE Poverty reduction policies, tools and research used by government agencies increasingly draw on evidence and issues arising from qualitative PPM monitoring Key Assumption 1: The process of working with provincial/local ofcials and representatives in Core Monitoring Teams lead to quality participation and credible ndings Key Assumption 2: Oxfam/AAV can use its presence and track record in Vietnam to coordinate and disseminate research Rationale & underlying assumption: Oxfam/AAV’s PPM products (annual monitoring reports and in-depth reports) are produced and disseminated in a way that ensures uptake of methods and ndings at different levels Key drivers / intermediate outcomes: Stakeholders are able to use PPM methods and act on ndings Key Driver 2: Members of Core Monitoring Teams are enabled to replicate methods and use information in their work Key Driver 3: Oxfam makes Technical  Assistance available and makes strategic alliances (donors, government) for use of methods & ndings Key Driver 1: People and their representatives engage in the PPM in a way that is genuinely reecting their views, and lead to policy recommendations and action at different levels OUTPUTS = PROJECT’S DIRECT CONTROLPROJECT’S INDIRECT INFLUENCE / POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTION = FINAL OUTCOMESPROJECT’S DIRECT INFLUENCE = INTERMEDIARY OUTCOMES The project was designed in 2006 with its rst phase running from 2007-13 as a joint Oxfam GB and ActionAid Vietnam (AAV) initiative, funded by DFID. The main activity was to conduct on-going, participatory monitoring of poverty in selected communities in either Oxfam or ActionAid project areas. This was in response to a perceived need among NGOs to better understand and be able to regularly monitor effects of national policies at the grassroots level. During this phase, the project focused on gathering qualitative information from sampled ‘social monitoring checkpoints’ in 10 rural communes in 9 provinces as well as in 3 urban sites. It had a dual purpose of (i) conducting high quality participatory poverty monitoring that could inform grassroots level feedback about poverty into national policy discussions about poverty reduction, and (ii) building capacities of local stakeholders to use and apply the skills learned and the information gathered. In addition, the project aimed to provide a solid evidence-base for Oxfam and  AAV in formulating campaigns and public outreach efforts by having access to instant data to feed into dialogue. At the time of project design, monitoring the effects on the poor after Vietnam’s World Trade Organisation accession, and providing more qualitative inputs into national debates about poverty targeting were seen as particularly relevant.Project date: August 2007 - March 2013Evaluation: February 2014Publication: March 2015 This diagram presents the re-created theory of how this project was expected to achieve change, outlining key assumptions and drivers of change Participatory poverty monitoring Policy Inuence Vietnam 2013/14  Full version of this report and more information can be found at Oxfam’s Policy and Practice website: www.oxfam.org.uk/effectiveness For more information, contact Oxfam’s Programme Quality Team - ppat@oxfam.org.uk Going forward The evaulation identied and sought the effectiveness of specic outcomes the project sought to achieve. Areas of improvement or approaches that can be replicated in other projects were also identied. For details on evaluation design, see the ‘How are effectiveness reviews carried out?’ document, and the full report for how these designs were tailored by individual reviews. Results Evaluation Design Rating key : - Outcome realised in full; evidence that intervention made a crucial contribution; - Outcome realised in part & evidence that intervention made a crucial contribution; Outcome realised in full & evidence that intervention made an important contribution;   - Outcome realised in part & evidence that intervention made an important contribution;   -   Outcome realised in part & evidence that intervention made some contribution; Outcome realised to a small degree & evidence that intervention made an important contribution; - Outcome realised, to any degree, but no evidence that the intervention made any contribution  As the project entered a second phase, almost all the recommendations from the effectiveness review have been taken into account in its design and during implementation. In particular, with a credible research process established, the project has been able to shift its focus to strategically disseminate research ndings in order to inuence/set the agenda and support selected provinces to develop follow up action plans. In the second phase, improved data coding will ensure anonymity of respondents and minimise reporting bias. Critical analysis of potential biases and limitations are now more consistently included in published reports. Finally, the Oxfam in Vietnam team have been exploring opportunities with other NGOs to make research processes more inclusive. Photo credit: Oxfam. Image is from the photo contest “Land and People” held under GROW campaign in Vietnam Other outcomes were also investigated, only those outcomes related to policy inuence have been included in the table above.    RatingOutcome The project contributed to an increased level of participation in poverty monitoring, particularly focusing on vulnerable groups and emerging poverty issues  Outcome Area The process of involving a wide range of government (and some non-governmental) actors in poverty monitoring widened their awareness and understanding of poverty issues and ways to monitor effects of poverty reduction interventions The project produces credible ndings, using rigorous and sound methodologiesSampled individuals and households are increasingly heard in poverty monitoring as they articulate their own issues Internal participation by Oxfam/AAV staff enabled ndings to feed into wider learning, to be put to use internally and in collaboration with other NGO actors for programming and campaigningDissemination of research leads to uptake of ndings among relevant actors with an ability to inuence policy making and implementation   There is a perceived credibility of research ndings among targeted user groups (primarily stakeholders at national level and the international community)Perceived credibility is well supported by solid methods of implementation in conducting and quality assuring the monitoring process on the groundDissemination of research leads to extensive use of ndings among target groups at national and provincial levels leading to the uptake of ndings and ideas in national policy discussions and decisions The project has been able to inuence national policy discussions and decisions The project has been strategically positioned in relation to national policy inuenceUptake of research by national actors indicate some indirect inuence on policy discussions and decisionsPPM ndings have been used by donor agencies to inform their strategies and positions
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