Design, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Guidelines for Social Accountability Programs

Carlotta Fassiotti & Sedera Arnaud Rajoelison, Search for Common Ground

Created 01/28/2020

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This document presents general guidelines for design, monitoring and evaluation (DM&E) for social accountability (SA) programs and projects, with a focus on design, monitoring and evaluation practices and proce-
dures. These guidelines aim to be of practical use for M&E practitioners, staff involved in program design and other staff managing SA programming or involved in the implementation of SA activities. Developed from peacebuilding perspective, these guidelines aim to orient practitioners when designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating SA interventions. The idea of these guidelines was born from a need to establish good M&E practices and procedures for the SA activities of the Targeted Response for Agriculture, Income and Nutrition (TRAIN) project implemented in Ethiopia by Food for the Hungry (FH) and its implementing partners the Amhara Development Association (ADA) and Search for Common Ground (Search).

While SA has been growingly recognised as central for programming aiming to tackle governance issues in the development field, it is now also becoming increasingly relevant for peacebuilding and humanitarian pro-
gramming, involving a vast array of actors in service delivery, from public institutions to the private sector. The impact that SA programming can have and its scope often go beyond the mere technical provision of services,
holding service providers accountable for the quality of the services they provide. SA programs can enhance horizontal and vertical cohesion, transform relationships among service users and providers, improve the
quality and accountability of services provided, to eventually benefit society broadly and generate stability and enduring peace. The provision of adequate services and their fair distribution are a central concern for individuals across the globe. Whether those responsible for providing those services are business actors, non-profit organisation or governmental institutions, in contexts of fragility and conflicts, collaboration between these actors is essential, and the provision of basic services responding to citizens’ needs allow its society to recover and engage in the path for peace.

These guidelines have been organized in 4 main chapters. The first chapter guides the reader through how to design social accountability programming, including a description of SA program and its activities, how to develop a Theory of Change for SA activities, and how to design a SA program which make those changes enduring. The second chapter provides directions on how to monitor SA programming, this includes different levels of monitoring: from process monitoring to output and outcome monitoring; template tools are provided for each level of monitoring described. The third chapter gives guidance on how to evaluate SA programming, the different options and approaches available and how to choose among those. Finally, the last chapter provides guidelines on learning, it details how learning can be integrated within your SA program to improve its quality and to contribute to your organizational learning and broader learning on SA programming at the global level.

Although comprehensive and englobing the entire programme cycle, these guidelines are meant to be a dynamic tool, where each chapter is independent from the others, so that readers can skip through the chapters and read only the sections which are relevant to them.

The authors,
Carlotta Fassiotti & Sedera Arnaud Rajoelison


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