|Sustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)|
|Section II: Building economic self-reliance|
|Chapter 8: Monitoring and evaluation: Measuring the success of IGPs|
Asante Shoe Repairs
This is a hypothetical case. Ndege, Elinasi and Sinamacho set up a shoe-repairing shop called Asante Shoe Repairs. Ndege and Elinasi were physically impaired and Sinamacho was blind. Ndege had all the necessary skills for shoe repairing, and he took on Elinasi and Sinamacho as apprentices. They managed to get a loan from a bank to buy the necessary tools, leather, strings, glue and other items, and they hired a shop.
For the first year things were going well. But suddenly, the relations between them began to go sour. Ndege took all the decisions, and this was sometimes resented by Elinasi and Sinamacho. But they did not complain because they were apprentices. Elinasi used to repair women's shoes, but she developed skills for designing shoes that could be useful to diversify the business from simply repairing to making new shoes for women. But this required further investment. Ndege would not listen.
Sinamacho, too, was getting frustrated. He would sometimes not turn up for work at all. Business began to suffer. In the meantime, the price of leather shot up. But they could not pass on the increased cost to the customers for fear of losing them. On account of inflation, even the bank raised the interest on their loan. Because of these changed circumstances, the profits of Asante Shoe Repairs went down, and the three partners could not even draw their monthly salaries.
Let us now analyse what happened. There are two important things to notice about the story.
a) One is that Ndege was taking all the decisions. This was all right as long as he was training the other two as apprentices. But as the two acquired skills they felt they had something to contribute by way of making decisions.
b) The second is that circumstances changed. The price of leather went up. So did the interest rate. On the other hand, Elinasi proved to be quite a genius. Her designing potential came to the fore, and she had bright ideas on how to diversify the business into designing as well as repairing.
What is the moral of the story? It is this, that even if all the planning is done correctly, and a project put on the ground on a firm basis, this does not ensure its success. You need to continuously MONITOR the progress, or lack of progress, of the project. Why? Because things change. Things develop. And they can develop both on the negative as well as on the positive side. You have got to take into account the changed circumstances, and adapt accordingly: take advantage of positive developments, and try to resolve problems that might have arisen.
In the case of Asante Shoe Repairs, a weekly monitoring system should have been set up right from the start. Had they done so, Ndege would have realised that his partners were not going to remain "apprentices" forever. Also, the reason for Sinamacho absenting himself from work would have been analyzed, and Elinasi's ideas would have had a fair chance of being considered. Also, they would have looked into the implications for business of the rise in the price of the loan and the leather.
This is what we know as monitoring. You keep a periodic, but continuous, watch over the progress and the changed circumstances of your business (or project), and you make the necessary changes to accommodate the new situation.