DGSWAp to improve M & E systems in the governance sector in Malawi

Apr 9, 2014

Improved M & E systems in the country will, among other things, enable the country hold truly free and fair elections. Photo: Ennetie Mbuka, UNDP Malawi

The Coordinating Unit of the Democratic Governance Sector Wide Approach in Malawi which is operating under the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has started providing Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E) support to democratic governance institutions in the country, thanks to financial and technical support from UNDP.

This initiative follows an assessment of how institutions in the sector are collecting and managing M & E data as implementation of the Support to the Democratic Governance Sector project rolls out.

The assessment identified weak capacities of the institutions involved in collecting, managing and providing reliable, accurate, timely and relevant data that would help track progress in the sector against the milestones set in the Democratic Governance Sector Strategy. Most of the institutions involved in the assessment showed that they do not have detailed M & E strategies, and do not set aside resources for M & E and the maintenance of ICT materials since priority for funding is given to core activities.

Ms Fides Mboma is the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), a youth organisation which, among other things, aims at promoting human rights and democracy in Malawi. She explained that her organisation’s M & E challenges are intrinsic to their strategic plan.

“One of the challenges we have is that the way our strategic plan was developed, we have problems to clearly outline what we want to achieve in some of the result areas. As a result, it becomes a problem during reporting since it’s difficult to consolidate data from our district offices because people do not collect consistent data,” said Ms Mboma.

Other institutions that reported various M & E challenges that need immediate attention include the Legal Aid Department, the Registrar General’s office in Blantyre and the Malawi Prisons Department in Zomba.

The interventions that have been planned to address these challenges are very comprehensive and will see the Coordinating Unit develop M & E systems, conduct necessary trainings and procure various equipment for at least eight critical institutions in the Democratic Governance sector in 2014.

According to Mr. Terence Malamulo, Programme Analyst for the Support to the Democratic Governance Sector Project, “The Coordinating Unit will come up with a capacity development protocol on monitoring and reporting in the DG Sector. It has been agreed that the Secretariat will conduct training on M & E for Legal Aid Department Officers before the end of June.

“The trainings will cover both demand and supply sides of the M & E system. This is consistent with the DGSS which states that the Sector Secretariat should not only undertake the daily coordinating function for the sector, but also take lead building the planning, monitoring and evaluation capabilities of each of the sector institutions.”

These training are very important because as the sector strategy indicates, the Secretariat will merely co-ordinate M&E activities but actual performance measurement will takes place at the institutional level. Therefore, government will rely of the institutions to measure results against the baselines set for the Sector.

Some of the results expected over the next three years include strengthened rule of law; improved access to justice, public safety and security; improved promotion and protection of human rights; as well as free and credible elections.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) will provide most of the training support and systems development at no cost. However, the office advised against approaching the exercise as a project, where situations usually regress when the project ends, in favour of enabling the institutions involved to be able to maintain their systems and continue providing relevant data at least until the end of the current DGSS’ implementation period.

NSO will also provide yearly data on Governance, Peace and Security through the Strategy for the Harmonization of statistics in Africa (SHaSA) on Governance, Peace and Security (SHaSA-GPS) project which it is piloting this year.

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