A contract has been signed to begin a Monitoring and Evaluation System (MES) project within the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development.
The project, valued at US$120,000, is a collaborative effort between the Government of Barbados and the Organization of American States (OAS).
Its aim is to measure and appraise social service programmes and projects delivered by the Ministry by 2017, and subsequently improve the Ministry’s current and future programmes and initiatives.
Following an orientation session on the MES, which was attended by Minister of Social Care, Community Development and Constituency Empowerment, Steve Blackett; OAS Country Representative, Francis McBarnette; and other key members of staff, the official agreement was signed by Permanent Secretary, Janet Phillips; and the project’s principal consultant, Dr. André Vincent Henry, of the Trinidad and Tobago-based company, ibiz – Ideas To Business.
Mr. Blackett extended his thanks to the OAS and the consultant team on behalf of the Government and the people of Barbados, stating: “Without this type of hardcore information, we cannot deliver the level of service we hope to… and though the situation is what it is, we hope you can still afford us the financial circumstances by which we can adopt this particular assistance in helping us to get to where, I’m sure at the end of this consultancy, we will be.”
Dr. Henry noted that for countries in the region experiencing financial constraints, it was critical value for money was delivered. “It is very important that you be assured that the efforts that you are exerting are having the impact that you want,” he affirmed.
He added that his team was anxious to make a contribution as it would help to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable persons in society. Commenting on the engagements he had thus far with key persons in the Ministry, he noted that what he has found particularly gratifying was that all of the directors of the programmes have “enthusiastically embraced” the process.
OAS Country Representative, Francis McBarnette, said his agency was happy a project was being done on monitoring and evaluation because there was usually a “knee-jerk” reaction to the topic. “We say ‘we’re going to do monitoring and evaluation’ without knowing what it means and without using it as a tool and as a facility to measure what you do,” he remarked.
Commenting on its usefulness, Mr. McBarnette explained that it would aid the Ministry of Social Care in answering challenging questions regarding the impact and effectiveness of its programmes and services.
The MES comprises three components: the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework; the design and implementation of an Aid Information Management System; and staff capacity development in the Techniques of Monitoring and Evaluation and the use of Information Technology for these purposes.