National M&E Stakeholders’ Assessment in Afghanistan by Samandar Mahmodi

This presentation, submitted by Samandar Mahmodi, provides a good example of how the principles of monitoring and evaluation are being applied in Afghanistan to improve the effectiveness of government programs and policies. It gives you a taste of the broad scope of contexts that will be highlighted during the conference. Samandar is Founder of the Afghan Evaluation Society and co-authored the National RBME Policy Framework for Afghanistan.  We are looking forward to welcoming him and all our other international guests to the Vancouver Conference! 

Twitter: @SamandarMahmodi

An assessment was carried out to appraise the current M&E capacity of the key stakeholders so that findings of the assessment can be used in the development of a National Monitoring & Evaluation Policy (NMEP) for the Government of Afghanistan. A commonly used tool, the “12 Components M&E Systems Strengthening Tool”, was used to assess the performance of M&E systems within the selected entities. Fifteen governmental and eight non-governmental entities were selected; the assessment consisted of primary data collection from the selected entities and an in-depth review of the relevant literature. Data across the following 10 performance domains were collected:

(1) Organizational Structures with M&E functions;
(2) M&E Human Capacity;
(3) M&E Plans;
(4) M&E Advocacy, communications and culture;
(5) Routine Program Monitoring;
(6) Surveys and Surveillance;
(7) M&E Databases;
(8) Supervision and Data Auditing;
(9) Evaluation and Research; and
(10) Data Dissemination and Use.

A scale of 4 is used to assess the performance of each domain, on the scale of 4: 1 represents a “No” or zero performance; 2 represents less than 50% performance; 3 represents more than 75% performance; while 4 represents 100% performance.

M&E principles, practices and standards can be used in all public institutions to improve the effectiveness and impact of government programs and policies. M&E is an integral part of the results-oriented public sector management. An efficient and effective public sector management is structured around National Development Goals and has four main features:

(1) presence of core result attributes,
(2) focus on common results,
(3) interdependency among the components and
(4) effective vertical and horizontal linkages.

Therefore, it is critical to have an integrated national M&E system, which covers all aspects of public sector management, i.e. measurement of performance (efficiency and effectiveness) at national, ministerial, and program levels to assist public sector managers, decision-makers and the country in moving to achieve its national goals.

Overall, data from 23 entities (government and non-governmental) were collected; data shows that 73% (n=11) of the government entities had a unit to undertake M&E related tasks. While 27% (n=4) of the government and 12% (n=1) of the non-government entities did not have a unit to carry out the M&E related tasks.

Data shows that on average there are 19 posts within a governmental entity to carry out M&E functions (excluding MoI). About 47% of the M&E posts were vacant at time of data collection, which shows that about half of the human resource was not available to undertake the M&E tasks within governmental entities.

The highest performing domain (mean score =2.59) of the M&E system is “organizational structure with M&E functions” which means that most of governmental entities (73%) have a unit to carry out M&E functions and the units have a written mandate to execute its functions.