| BASIN - News No 11. March 1996: BASIN and the city summit |
MEPI (monitoring, Evaluation, Planning, Implementation) is the name of a management tool developed by SKAT / RAS in close collaboration with its partners (ILO, SOFONIAS and INTEP). The following article presents the general outlines of the system and reports on first experiences of application.
General Outlines of the MEPI System
MEPI, developed within the frame of the Micro Concrete Roofing Tile project, was set-up to achieve the following objectives through a structured learning process:
short term: The system enables professional management at all levels of the project which includes international cost-benefit analyses of various ongoing MCR sub-projects and responses at RAS level to felt needs within the different sub-projects.
mid term: The private sector should be enabled to advise MCR workshops through profit oriented Support Service Providers
long term: Commercially sustainable SME (small and medium entrepreneurs) who are supported by local profit - oriented support service providers.
In each country where the MCR technology has been introduced one or several partner organisations have been enabled to assist workshops on the adoption of this technology. All "MCR - countries" of a continent or region are advised and represented by MEPI supervisors. These persons together with the responsible RAS officer facilitate the global learning process within the MEPI system.
The backbone of the MEPI is a reporting system. Data are collected from the workshop level. Country managers summarise these data in a country report which is then sent to the regional advisors who work up a regional report. The Global RAS Progress Report written by the RAS officer gives an overview and cross analyse of the world-wide situation of the project.
This information collected within the reporting system is the foundation on which all management and planning activities on different levels are based:
- Collecting data on the production provides the actors with a database which is essential for an proper management.
- The data from the entrepreneurs allows the country advisors to see how the workshops are proceeding and helps them to ensure that business is oriented towards profitability. He then gives a direct feedback to the entrepreneurs advising them on possible improvements.
- Country managers will be able to direct and formulate strategies considered necessary for the achievement of respective objectives in a businesslike manner
- RAS needs the information from all country projects and regions to learn through their comparison and through cross analysis on how to enable and build up local and regional capacities through which the decentralisation / regionalisation of the advisory services can be realised and a synergy created.
First experiences with the application of the system
While preparing the report experience was made that data collection at workshop level is a very difficult task. Numerous entrepreneurs are not yet convinced of the usefulness of the system or hesitate to provide information about business performance. Therefore it does not seem to be realistic that all entrepreneurs send their data to the country representatives. For the present report data were mainly collected from the country representatives.
The first issue of the International RAS Progress Report was presented recently.
The report is firstly an excellent information tool which offers an overview of all project activities and recognises trends and weaknesses. Secondly, the analysis part is an essential management tool since it provides useful information to take decisions about project directions, about coordinating activities, about necessity to create synergies etc. To fulfil this task reliability and completeness of data are essential.