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RAC´s takeaways on how to monitor and evaluate policy influence: the importance of starting small

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Zoryana Kozak, co-founder and Senior Policy Expert of the Resource & Analysis Centre “Society and Environment”, UkraineIt  is part of a series of reflections from participants and facilitators of the Online training to strengthen M&E&L on policy influence in Central and Eastern Europe, supported by the Think Tank Fund.]RAC logo

 

I would like to say few words and share my experience of participation in the “Online training to strengthen Monitoring & Evaluation & Learning on policy influence in Central and Eastern Europe”, which I pleased to attend in autumn 2014.

I’m Zoryana Kozak, a co-founder and Senior Policy Expert of the Resource & Analysis Centre “Society and Environment”. Our centre is a non-profit organization founded 2006 and based in Lviv (Ukraine). We are a think-tank focusing on environmental policy research, capacity building and implementation of innovative initiatives in Ukraine and regionally (Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia).

Our two work programs are European Integration Processes and Human Rights & Environment. We work using three approaches: analysis, capacity-building, and innovation. We see independent research, assessment and study as our key methods that produce ground for changes through identification of a problem and its solutions. Centre is working on strengthening its impact on the environmental policy in Ukraine and regionally.

When assessing progress in achievement our goals and targets we discovered the lack of comprehensive and systematic information and monitoring of our activities impact on Ukrainian government bodies, self-governing authorities and other key stakeholders. We recognized that this is the vital knowledge to assess the success of our organization and that we needed additional professional skills for research, analysis and evaluation of the policy processes.

The course “Online training to strengthen Monitoring & Evaluation & Learning on policy influence in Central and Eastern Europe” was useful both for me personally as a professional and for my organisation. Indeed, it became a cornerstone for:

(1) Improving my professional research, analysis, evaluation and training skills.

The course was the first online training in my life, by the way. For me these were some interesting and helpful  aspects:

– training forms and methods used by trainers,

– balance between theoretical and practical parts of the training,

– combination of online and offline classes,

– advisory oriented and individual approach to participants and their needs, especial home tasks and exercises,

– participant freedom in using different models and elements of Monitoring & Evaluation & Learning on policy influence,

– intelligible, clear and understandable structure of each module,

– useful, accessible training resources/bibliography.

I learned and received step by step ideas related to the main theoretical and practical aspects of monitoring, evaluation and learning on policy influence – situation analysis, design, implementation, learning and reflection on M&E&L strategy and plan.

(2) Incorporating monitoring, evaluation and learning into the daily life of our organization.

As a start, we at Resource & Analysis Centre “Society and Environment” decided to apply the new skills to one specific initiative that we conduct: green growth monitoring in Ukraine. We are working to finalize the first monitoring progress with green growth in Ukraine, using OECD green growth indicators. This is the first ever attempt to measure green growth progress in Ukraine. Now we are on stage of refocusing our first draft of the M&E&L plan for the Green Growth Initiative. The reasoning why we find it important is complex: it’s a way to efficiently use scarce financial and human resources, it is in fact the basis for evaluation the success of our work and, finally, we hope it would be a useful tool for planning future initiatives.

After we pilot this first plan and learn about what works well and not we plan to refine it and incorporate the monitoring, evaluation and learning system into management of the organization as such. It could be well happen we will be pioneering such approaches in Ukraine.

In the end I would like to tell Vanesa Weyrauch, Dena Lomofsky, Kristie Evenson and Leandro Echt. Thanks a lot for your professional work and advice, help and support.

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