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SAHA Madagascar – a rural development programme

Country:

Madagascar, Sub-Saharan Africa  Show on interactive map

Active from:

Jan 2001 to Dec 2012

Implementing organisation(s):

Intercooperation, Swiss Foundation for Development and International Cooperation (IC) through its Madagascar office; the SAHA team comprises some 60 national staff (thematic experts, staff responsible for programme management and support staff).

Donor(s):

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Contact persons:

ONY RASOLOARISON RAKOTOARISOA

Summary:

The programme began by facilitating self-driven grassroots development, working with small farmers’ groups. They were supported in determining their own development priorities, and in planning, managing and evaluating the work then undertaken. A particularly notable feature was that the farmer’s groups did not have to fit their ideas to specific project topics (such as forestry, agriculture or education) – they could decide themselves.

In phase II, a degree of thematic guidance was introduced in the form of two transversal topics: local governance and risk management linked to food security and vulnerability. The idea behind the first theme was to link the project directly with local decision-making in the communes, whilst the food security and vulnerability focus ensured emphasis on the poorest and most marginalised households and communities.

Towards the end of SAHA II, a number of studies on project impacts were conducted, and an external consultant was contracted by SDC to make a programme evaluation. His recommendations, combined with internal discussions amongst project staff and Bern-based Inter-cooperation and SDC staff, led to a re-thinking of the programme’s approach. SAHA was recognised to be highly successful in its grassroots. However, it lacked a concerted regional impact, and the system of individual contracts with each of the numerous partner organisations was administratively cumbersome.

It was thus a logical evolution to shift programme intervention to regional level, and to develop new partnerships with meso level organisations. Empowering such organisations to undertake development initiatives was perceived as having greater potential to drive political and economic change, and thus sustainable regional development.

Objectives of the intervention:

1- poverty reduction and livelihoods improvements in 3 regions of Madagascar
2- Works with grassroots organisation in 2 areas: Governance and Economics
3 - Capacity building and financial support of PALIs

Why was OM chosen?

Those responsible for designing the resulting SAHA phase III realised that the most important aspect to monitor would be the development of the meso-level partner organisations in terms of their internal operations, activities, and external linkages. This fits closely with the logic of OM that is, placing focus on monitoring and evaluating changes in the behaviour of the people involved in a given development intervention.

At the time, OM was eliciting considerable interest in SDC headquarters. SDC therefore decided that SAHA’s earlier monitoring system, of monitoring outputs and conducting detailed inquiries at household and community level, should be replaced by OM. An external consultant specialised in the method provided considerable support in this pr

How was OM used?

The application of OM in this case was led by Ony Rasoloarison, responsible in SAHA for the
monitoring system, in close collaboration with the external consultant. The team was
directed through the Intentional Design steps of OM, sticking closely to the manual. The only
deviations made were the omission of the Strategy Maps tool. It was felt that, because of
the confusion between strategies and activities presented in this tool, it didn’t have a clear
benefit to the team. Instead, the team elaborated clear strategies which included logistics
such as action plans and budgets.

The Intentional Design focused on setting up strategies to work with 6 distinct groups of boundary partners, rather than trying to deal with each partner separately. Additionally, the participants of the workshop elaborated clear “E” strategies, for influencing the environment of each category of boundary partners.

They diverted from OM for the M&E steps as they felt that the OM manual didn’t give
enough guidance on how to plan and implement the M&E system. They developed their own
M&E manual to outline the M&E process, team member responsibilities and use of the
monitoring tools. The manual also included guidance on analysing, synthesising and reintegrating the information into the new planning processes. It was from this that a number
of journals were developed; on strategy, outcomes, organisational practices, context and
‘impact’, with matrices being sent to each region for them to fill in and send back to the
centre. An important question that had to be answered was what information is needed at
what level? The regional teams needed information for operational planning and
adjustments, while the central project director was more concerned with strategic planning
and the donating agencies needed information to support their accountability concerns. The
M&E system had to respond to each of these uses and users.

What was the experience of using OM?

1- OM helped the SAHA team in shifting their focus from managing grants to building partnerships and building capacities.

2- OM helped to develop a culture of ‘questioning’, teamwork, reflection and exchange which wasn’t so prevalent before. These principles were made explicit through OM and a number of
practices were standardized throughout the programme.

3- It is important to familiarise the implementation team in the OM process before the
planning process. Attempting to train team members in the OM methodology during
the planning workshop proved challenging and time consuming for SAHA.



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