Participatory Community-Based Monitoring and Evaluation
The livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities in the WIO largely depend on the integrity of their marine resources. The communities have therefore been perceived to have a great potential to become better stewards if empowered with the appropriate resources (knowledge, skills, tools, funding among others.
To this end, the project “Innovating and sharing knowledge for coastal resilience in Eastern Africa” has aimed at contributing to effective management and sustainable use of marine resources in the areas where local communities play a significant role in management, placing equal emphasis on having the very communities actively involved in the design and implementation of project activities, as well as assessing general contribution to envisioned outcomes and impact (i.e., Monitoring and Evaluation).
To facilitate the latter, a series of 1-day training events aimed at empowering the target communities on how to go about such a process and to ensure they can engage with the project team and other actors more effectively were conducted between 22nd February and 24 March 2021.
The capacity building was tailored around Component 3 of the project, which had three main outputs: Research of locally relevant climate-smart practices in community-based marine resource management (CBNRM); Strengthening capacities of coastal communities to implement climate-smart adaptive practices in CBNRM; Supporting selected communities to implement climate-smart CBNRM practices. Effectively implemented, activities under these outputs are expected to lead to increased adoption of climate-smart CBNRM practices in coastal communities in Kenya (Kwale and Kilifi counties) (Outcome) and ultimately contribute to an increase in the area of marine ecosystems under effective management and sustainable use in Kenya (Impact).
The training involved providing an in-depth understanding of the project and the Results Framework (funder, timeline, impact, outcomes, outputs, activities, and progress to date); unpacking participatory community-based M&E, and reviewing the tools to be used. Practical learning was facilitated through piloting one of the tools which focus on monitoring following a training and learning event. In particular, the participants were taken through determining the right tool to use; explaining the purpose of the session; guiding participants through the series of questions they need to respond to; assisting them in providing feedback while factoring mechanisms to ensure disaggregation of data by gender; analysing the responses; facilitating reflections on why and soliciting recommendations for improvement; filling out the diaries with the results.
The trainings for Msambweni BMUs (Mkunguni, Mwaembe, Munje) were conducted between 22nd and 26th February 2021. Joint training for Kilifi South Sub-county BMUS (Kanamai and Mtwapa) was conducted on 24th March 2021. Both trainings were led by CORDIO staff with support from County Fisheries Officers who also served as group facilitators and rapporteurs. Participants were drawn from Community (BMUs)-( 20 women, 23 men); Government (Kwale and Kilifi County Fisheries officers) – 5; Ward/Village administrators and village elders-5; and CORDIO staff – 5.
Project M&E is a relatively new concept to the community groups. The community members perceived M&E in the context of resource monitoring (e.g coral reef or fisheries monitoring). The communities were however open to learning about ways in which they can contribute to ensuring the intended outcomes and impacts of the project are achieved. Engagement of county fisheries officers and local leaders (administrators and village elders) helped with addressing underlying issues around challenges with resource management and to emphasize the importance of participatory M&E.
The community participants will act as the project monitoring teams at the community level in the respective sites and are expected to lead subsequent monitoring activities with support from the project team. The knowledge acquired by the participants on M&E and key elements of a results framework can be leveraged to develop concepts and to evaluate other projects. The participants lauded the need to be able to engage in project M&E hence need more support and tailored training on participatory project M&E.