Impact Assessment

Outcome Monitoring Concept, SDC South Caucasus / Springfield Centre 2009

    Swiss development cooperation in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan is based on the Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2008-2011, elaborated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in 2007.

    Applying the instruments of Technical Cooperation, Humanitarian Assistance and Financial Cooperation, Swiss assistance to the region covers the following domains of intervention: (1) Recovery and Reconstruction, (2) Economic Development and Employment and (3) Macroeconomic Policy Support. Under the domain Economic Development and Employment, some 7-8 million CHF per year are allocated for the implementation of rural development projects in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Interventions in this portfolio apply the so called Making Markets Work for the Poor approach (M4P) and integrate value chain-based economic development at local level with key issues of local governance and relevant aspects of natural disaster risk management (DRR).

    The Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus stipulates that results on program level be measured and monitored with a view to enhance effectiveness and sustainability of the Swiss funded intervention and to report and communicate achievements to partners and stakeholders in the region and in Switzerland. To this end, in 2008, the present Outcome Monitoring Concept (OMC) has been developed, aiming at the following purpose:

    · To measure, in quantitative terms, the aggregated outcome of Swiss intervention under the Economic Development and Employment (EDE) portfolio
    · To assess and describe, in qualitative terms, the achievements of rural development projects applying the M4P approach and integrating elements of local governance and DRR
    · To clarify the scope, methodology and instruments of outcome monitoring in the field of poverty reduction and rural economic development
    · To clarify roles and responsibilities as well the terms of cooperation and specific procedures between the Swiss funded projects and the Swiss Cooperation Office South Caucasus (SCO) in the joint endeavor.

    The Outcome Monitoring Concept (OMC) has been elaborated by the SCO with the support of the UK-based Springfield Centre for Business in Development under a backstopping mandate geared at mainstreaming M4P in SDC's rural development portfolio in the South Caucasus. Under this mandate, experts of the Springfield Centre have participated in the meetings of the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) taskforce on impact assessment, the findings and recommendations of which have informed the present concept.

    The present concept has been preliminarily discussed on the occasion of the Annual Planning workshop in October 2008 and was introduced to core project partners in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in March 2009. It has been finalized based on presentation and discussion with the members of the SDC Employment + Income Network in May 2009.

    Methods for info gathering
    In implementing the Outcome Monitoring Concept, quantitatively comparable features of the different core projects in the EDE domain, as expressed by scalable indicators, will be measured. To this end, the SCO will provide guidance to its project partners so as to translate project logical frameworks into so called results chains, which will allow the identification of relevant common and scalable indicators as means of verification across the various projects.

    The SCO will also engage with its partners to clarify and streamline reporting format and procedures on project level. Chapters 2-5 as well as Annexes 1-2 of the present concept provide detailed information on the method of results chain as well as the projects' contributions in the field of outcome monitoring.

    To assess and describe development achievements and attributable results on domain level, the Outcome Monitoring Concept proposes a set of measures and instruments to be applied above project level. These products, provided by the SCO to complement the efforts on project level, include observatory reviews, case studies and success stories. They are described in Chapter 5 as well as Annex 3 of the present concept.

    Chapter 6 and Annex 5 provide an overview on all instruments and products proposed to implement this Outcome Monitoring Concept as well as an according timetable.

    The Outcome Monitoring Concept is accompanied by a compilation of practical Implementation Guidelines, which provide guidance for project partners on monitoring practice and reporting standards and clarification on the terms of reference for instruments on project and program level. These documents will be further developed jointly by the SCO and its project partners in the course of implementation of the present concept.

    Summary of results
    The implementation of the concept currently focuses on the coaching of core project partners in Armenia and Georgia with regard to results chains and measurement plans. A first observatory review will be commissioned for the livestock/dairy sector in Armenia in autumn 2009, a second is foreseen for the same sub-sector in Georgia in spring 2010.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Developing markets for dairy production in rural Armenia, SDC/Springfield Centre, 2008
    Impact Assessment
    »Results Measurement in Private Sector Development - Current Practice and Challenges ahead, SDC event, Bern, May 2009
    »DCED Results Measurement Initiative, 2011 (English/French/Spanish)