Project location: Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (including FATA), Northern Sindh, Southern Punjab
Project start and end dates: March 2008 – September 2019
BEFARe performed as an Independent Monitoring and Evaluation entity on behalf of USAID/OTI in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including erstwhile FATA), northern Sindh and southern Punjab. Due to numerous security challenges in accurately monitoring and evaluating projects, it became expedient for USAID-OTI to forge a partnership with a local Pakistani partner to provide M & E services to obtain accurate information on its projects through indigenous trained staff members. BEFARe thus remained part of the effort by USAID / OTI to verify, assess, monitor, evaluate and submit feedback of different grants / projects from all over the country. An Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) was established at BEFARe’s main office in Peshawar which extended support to country office in Islamabad and regional offices in Lahore, Multan and Karachi for monitoring and evaluating hundreds of quick impact projects for USAID/OTI. The nature of these projects varied depending on the time frame, scope, and nature of the project to be monitored and included, but not limited to infrastructure and non–infrastructure activities such as livelihoods support, skills training, and socio-cultural events. Monitoring and verification services of BEFARe team were thus tailored accordingly as per the needs of each project.
The projects covered under Monitoring and Evaluation services program by USAID/OTI were identified by the local community and were executed by the locally hired contractors with government support. Amongst the monitored grants, approx. 2,000 were infrastructure grants ranging from USD 100,000 to a maximum of USD 475,000 and included monitoring of schools, colleges, BHUs, overhead bridges, culverts, water supply schemes, hospitals etc. and approx. 1,000 socio-cultural grants covering sports competitions, students’ educational trips, poetry sessions on various issues, debate/painting/singing competitions, and awareness sessions on various issues, celebration of International days, vocational training, teachers’ capacity building, farming and media events etc.
BEFARe maintained a strict monitoring mechanism for grants monitoring. Prior to any visit, the staff developed Engineering Templates, BoQ’s, Social Proformas, asset verification, quality validation of the work through quality assurance mechanism, matching of physical features of the grant with project deliverables etc. Moreover, the quality of outputs, and applied specifications was also monitored. During the whole process of grants monitoring, BEFARe leveraged its established data base and mapping capabilities to assess the scope, nature and progression of different grants at different stages. These quick impact projects in areas recovering in post crisis situations were implemented with strong community participation. Community perception, participation, satisfaction as well as gender dimension was specifically gauged by BEFARe M&E officers apart from the technical aspect of the projects. All these projects were also monitored for technical compliance, process evaluation and impact assessment. Environmental impact assessment of these projects was also conducted to measure its impact on ecosystem, natural resources and specially on surrounding population. At all phases of grant cycle, BEFARe staff remained impartial and discarded any personal or departmental inclination / influence in the monitoring of assigned grants. Stringent practices were observed at BEFARe for grants monitoring.
For accountability purposes and transparency, Project Oversight Committees (POCs) were formed for each project by the Implementing Partners. BEFARe utilized the POCs by maintaining a hotline for these POCs for timely reporting of any discrepancy / deviation from the BoQ or the Grant document. Thus, an established mechanism was applied for investigation and reporting of such alerts to USAID/OTI as and when required.
Under the program, BEFARe executed a variety of quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques, including but not limited to, on-going verification of infrastructure projects, development and implementation of surveys, focus group discussions, case studies and assessments and key informant interviews. Monitoring reports were shared with USAID / OTI on weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Depending on the activity, OTI also asked BEFARe to collect data before the activity, during the activity and at the end of the activity. BEFARe reviewed compliance with donor’s environmental requirements and provided solutions where compliance was not met. BEFARe also surveyed stakeholders and hosted focus group discussions to understand the project’s social impacts and facility use, amongst other data. Detailed reports with analysis and recommendations were provided to USAID/OTI. Hence, the program was diversified both in nature as well as geographical spread.