| Boiling Point No. 21 - April 1990 |
by Emma Crewe, Social Scientist, Fuel For Food Programme, ITDG
Intermediate Technology Development Group (UK) and GATEIGTZ (Germany) are planning to initiate a research project on the monitoring and evaluation of stove programmer. It is hoped that FWD (Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination, now based in Kenya) will work closely with ITDG and GTZ in this area of research. We are concerned to assess the level of interest in the proposal amongst stove agencies working in the field.
Summary of A Research Project Proposal
1. Existing Methodologies and Weaknesses
Information collected during monitoring provides the basis for measuring the success of projects, and offers programme management an opportunity to respond to changing needs and circumstances. Despite the increase in the number of improved stove programmer, evaluations of their impact have not given rise to comparable results. The absence of effective systems of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is partly to blame.
Until recently the primary objective of most stove programmes was to promote fuel-efficient cookstoves with the aim of reducing fuel consumption. Consequently, measuring fuel conservation has continued to dominate the M&E of stove programmer. Reports on stove programmer reveal that the shortcomings of methodologies have led to piecemeal, unreliable, inappropriate and/or insufficient data collection.
This has arisen partly because M&E has been:
• Ingoing behind changing objectives;
• failing to implement existing methods systematically;
• carrying out large, undirected and inadequately pre-tested surveys;
• given insufficient attention, funds and qualified personnel.
2. Project Proposal
This planned research aims to address the need for cost-effective and flexible tools for M&E. The primary outputs will be a matrix of modules (with indicators and techniques), each relating to different programme objectives, and a training manual for implementing these tools in the field. The manual will be published and distributed to stove agencies worldwide. 1TDG, in collaboration with GTZ and FOOD, will co-ordinate the research. A participatory approach will ensure the involvement of stove field workers, technologists, social scientists, researchers, and beneficiaries in developing countries during all stages of the project. Thus, in addition to the benefits accrued to stove users, producers and retailers through more effective programme management, this project aims to enhance the research capacity of institutions and individuals in developing countries.
Initially, the project intends to review grassroots initiatives for M&E systems by small local agencies, which have proved effective in the past. The literature on methodologies for M&E, and action research in general, will be studied with special attention to rapid rural appraisal and participant observation methods. New techniques which can be appropriately applied in stove programme M&E will be field tested by local agencies in at least six countries. Guidelines will then be developed with optimum potential for integration within programme management.
It is recognised that a single standardised M&E methodology, which is universally applicable, is not feasible; the different scale, objectives, interests, and socio-economic, political and cultural environments of stove programmer, and actors within them, must be taken into account. For example, a national scale programme will require different, and more numerous, criteria and indicators for M&E and should have more resources available, than a pilot project at the district lever
Nevertheless, at the least a matrix of M&E tools should generate information which can be used for comparing different programmer, in order to identify the relative successes and failures. It is proposed that these M&E tools are grouped into modules, which relate to the various objectives, issues and rationales. Thus, it will be possible for each user of the matrix to focus on those modules which are perceived to have particular relevance.
The first draft modules could include:
• income generation;
• employment opportunities;
• enterprise development;
• household fuel saving;
• household time saving;
• improved health and safety;
• stove acceptability;
• gender equity;
• community development;
• environmental protection:
• technology development;
• programme management;
• institutional capacity building.
The modules, in addition to suggesting criteria and indicators, will recommend appropriate techniques for approaching each activity involved.
(Copies of the full project proposal are available from MS T Flavell, Fuel for Food Programme, ITDG, Dyson House, Railway Ten-ace, Rugby CVt 31 f T. UK).