The CGIAR WorldFish Centre also has a Knowledge Sharing in Research Pilot Project. This Pilot is working on the “application of KS tools to impact monitoring and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in a community-based fish culture project in Vietnam”. The Pilot is part of a large multi-country Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) project known as CP35. For more information on this Pilot project-check out the WorldFish Pilot webpage. The main KS tools being piloted in the project are Outcome Mapping and Most Significant Change–for more information on these tools check out the KS toolkit.

As part of this Pilot a start-up workshop was held 19-22 of February 2008 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The workshop was organised and run by Tonya Schuetz who has alot of experience in applying Outcome Mapping to various research projects. The workshop involved two major activities:

  1. training of the CP35 project team in Vietnam in the use of Outcome Mapping and Most Significant Change methodologies using lecture-based training and practical exercises
  2. community meetings (2) at the project sites to initiate outcome mapping with project beneficiaries

The objective of the whole workshop was “to define and prepare the implementation of Knowledge Sharing tools- Outcome Mapping (OM) and Most Significant Change (MSC)- as a complementary project monitoring and evaluation component”.

Other objectives were also to :

  • build capacity of the project team in planning and using participatory M&E tools
  • develop the content of the relevant OM steps
  • develop the participatory impact monitoring system (journals), and also MSC approach to be used

Training the project team

The project team were introduced to and were lead through the Outcome Mapping steps of the intentional design stage and went through the monitoring stage, Outcome Journals and some of the Strategy journals.

The Most Significant Change approach was also introduced and titles of most significant change stories were collected from the CP35 team members, to be developed into full stories later.

One particular challenge that was experienced in the workshop was dealing with the diversity of the team’s level of English language command. Since the facilitator was not a Vietnamese-speaker it was decided that the team could develop the outcome mapping components in Vietnamese. This allowed the team to feel comfortable working in their own language and was used as an opportunity for certain staff with a good level of English to be trained in the role of co-trainers for their peers.

Community meetings to initiate methods

The meetings with the communities involved informing them of a new project review process-using OM- that the project will be using and which they want the communities to be involved in . The purpose of it was explained that the project team wants to get some feedback and recommendations from the community for further strategy and implementation of the project. In groups the participants:

  • formulated a vision (for 2013) for the project
  • formulated their contribution to the vision (outcome challenge)
  • the five partner categories produced a set of progress markers for timelines of 2009, 2001 and 2013

The progress markers were written directly into outcome journals and the next step-since the project has already started- was to do an evaluation (in percentage) of how much of the progress markers have already been realised.

Also in the community meetings, every participant was asked to capture a most significant change story- telling a story about a change that they think was brought about through project activities. Since all participants were literate, they wrote their stories into a provided format.

Follow-up steps

The immediate follow-up to the workshop was firstly to involve translation and documentation of all OM steps and MSC stories developed during the workshop since they were all done in Vietnamese. The CP 35 team also will develop progress markers for each community group to capture what changes the team itself expects from them. The two sets of progress markers for each boundary partner (those from themselves and those from team perspective) will be discussed, and agreement on one set will be made. Further follow-up will take place during the next trip to Vietnam in July and include:

  • using the Outcome Journals with each group for a next round of evaluation-using agreed set of progress markers
  • review of the progress markers developed
  • evaluate how the approach is working and what it is bringing to the project
  • consider possible modifications and adaptations to the methods to suit the project context and needs

Conclusion

The project team, now having been trained, needs to make a decision on how many communities they want to implement Outcome Mapping. It is also recognized that the OM method cannot be applied in the same way and to the same degree in all of the communities depending on their involvement in the project, their attitude towards the project and taking into account the individual situation and context of each community, e.g how used to participation they are.

A report on the workshop was prepared by Tonya Schuetz and Natasja Sheriff and is available on the KS website.

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