The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nation’s oldest specialised agency, recently celebrated its 100-year centenary, and has been operating in Sri Lanka since 1948. The ILO is the only international organisation which is tripartite, where workers and employers enjoy equal standing with governments in representation and decision making. The ILO’s main aim in Sri Lanka is to foster ‘Decent Work’, and this forms the organisation’s country strategy until 2022.
LEED+ has been a successful project implemented by ILO for more than 7 years, and in that time has evolved and constantly adapted operations to meet the needs of its stakeholders. Due to this flexibility, there had not been a rigorous monitoring mechanism in place. While there were many stories of success and vast implicit knowledge within the core project team, it was difficult to find the time and the process to ensure this was shared within the wider network and with donors.
MDF took a participatory and appreciative inquiry approach aimed at creating a collective understanding on outcome level changes. A Theory of Change was then formulated to develop a more holistic Results Framework and monitoring plan.
The full process included document review, interviews and focus group discussions with key personnel from the ILO, such as the project team, field and M&E staff, management and technical advisors. We also consulted with strategic project partners and donors, and facilitated focus group discussion on visioning, storytelling and outcome mapping with project target groups: cooperatives members in conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka. Through these interactions we explored project successes and challenges, and formed ideas towards possible methodologies for the monitoring framework.
Through a series of mini-workshops with the project team, a common understanding was facilitated of how change happens (by developing a Theory of Change), assumptions, and critically investigating which changes can be attributed to LEED+ interventions. Final tools included a revised ToC and logframe including indicators, progress markers, plan for outcome harvesting, and an M&E plan with agreed roles and responsibilities.
The project team was equipped with a practical set of tools and processes, which were developed using the DCED standard to capture observations of changes in economies and social systems. The M&E plan was designed to integrate with busy schedules, to become part of routine work and not an ‘additional task’. Since the logframe and metrics, ToC, and monitoring tools were developed in a participatory manner, the project team has a high degree of ownership and understanding of relevant details.