ToT Program participants gain skills in Monitoring and Evaluation
Since March 2011, RGD has been delivering a Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Program through the Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institutes. Our qualified team of expert instructors – many of whom have been engaged with the RGD project for many years – are training close to 80 civil servants, private entrepreneurs and NGO leaders in practical skills related to regional economic development. The training participants were competitively selected from 13 regions across Ukraine. Some of them will eventually become trainers with RGD’s National Training Program, set to be launched in the fall of 2011.
The ToT Program consists of 3 courses in project management, strategic planning, and alternative financing. While each has its unique focus, all courses incorporate a module on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The M&E module was delivered in July 2011, under the direction of RGD expert trainer Dr. Lyubov Palyvoda.
In keeping with RGD’s applied training methodology, Lyubov approached the topic by first asking trainees what they thought M&E referred to. Most assumed that M&E were actually the same thing. She then explained M&E as separate processes, and their value in designing and implementing infrastructure projects, or developing regional economic development programs. She explained that monitoring involves observing project activities and achievements; while evaluation refers to analyzing the results. To illustrate the difference between M&E more clearly, Lyubov provided the following metaphor: monitoring is when parents prepare their children for school and ask questions regarding their progress. Evaluation, on the other hand, happens at the end of the school year when the children present parents with their grades.
This module also included lessons on who may conduct M&E, possible evaluation criteria (e.g. productivity, effectiveness, impact, sustainability, etc.) as well as best practices and examples from local and international experience. M&E is extremely valuable in that it allows identifying whether a project is on track to achieve its targets and objectives, and then responding to deviations accordingly and in a timely fashion.