Learning About Social Accountability Monitoring Capacities and Action in Southern Africa

In August 2016, the Public Service Accountability Monitor’s (PSAM)’s Regional Learning Programme (RLP), along with partners implementing Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) in 4 countries (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania & Mozambique) identified the need for a needs-based diagnostic of the link between SAM practice and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) at the individual and community levels. One partner organisation in each country volunteered to take part in the learning pilot and share their SAM and MEL challenges.

Having gone through the reflective process, the RLP is now engaging with partners and other SAM stakeholders in sharing the insights from the learning pilot. Part of this process will be a series of webinars (find out more on the RLP webpage: http://psam.org.za/regional-learning/) and also sharing outputs from the learning journey process. See below country reports as well as the PSAM report detailing its reflection and learning:

Beyond Fundamentals – PSAM paper on learning journey

Beyond Fundamentals Executive Summary

Mozambique Learning Pilot Output Paper

Zambia Learning Pilot Output Paper

Tanzania Learning Pilot Output Paper

Zimbabwe Learning Pilot Output Paper

Webinar Schedules_2018

You can also find out more about engaging with the learning journey, upcoming webinars and how to stay in touch with others involved in the process by watching the videos below:

Gertrude Mugizi (Program Manager- RLP) gives an overview of the contents of the Webinar 1- Learning Pilot Overview & General Findings:

 

Fundamentals Alumni COPSAM Group: Eric Matambo (RLP Training Coorindator) explains some of the exciting developments in engaging with past FSAM course alumni:

If you missed the webinars, you may access the recordings, PowerPoint presentations as well as Narrative feedback containing questions asked by participants and responses from the presenters below.

Webinar 1- Overview of Findings

Recording Link: http://mconf-rec-01.sanren.ac.za/playback/presentation/0.9.0/playback.html?meetingId=6880b4da02a24bbd8d1bf58b391ab6c6a16356e8-1521023730904

PSAM Findings Overview and Beyond

Webinar 1 Q&A – 14th March 2018

Webinar 2- Mozambique- Concern Universal

Recording Link: http://mconf-rec-01.sanren.ac.za/playback/presentation/0.9.0/playback.html?meetingId=6880b4da02a24bbd8d1bf58b391ab6c6a16356e8-1522320658553

Concern Universal Learning Output – webinar 29 March 2018 (PSAM)

Webinar #2 Question and Answer- Mozambique Conceren Universal

Webinar 3- Tanzania- Policy Forum

Recording Link: http://mconf-rec-01.sanren.ac.za/playback/presentation/0.9.0/playback.html?meetingId=6880b4da02a24bbd8d1bf58b391ab6c6a16356e8-1522916420206

PF PRESENTATION PSAM WEBiNAR (001)

Webinar #3 Question and Answer – Tanzania Policy Forum

Webinar 4- Zimbabwe- SAPST

Recording Link: http://mconf-rec-01.sanren.ac.za/playback/presentation/0.9.0/playback.html?meetingId=6880b4da02a24bbd8d1bf58b391ab6c6a16356e8-1523525501420

Zimbabwe SAM Output Webinar Presentation

Webinar #4 Questions and Answers- Zimbabwe – SAPST

Webinar 5- Zambia – ZGF

Recording Link: http://mconf-rec-01.sanren.ac.za/playback/presentation/0.9.0/playback.html?meetingId=6880b4da02a24bbd8d1bf58b391ab6c6a16356e8-1524049635590

ZGF-Webinar-Presentation_PSAM-Learning-Pilot_18-April-2018

Webinar #5 Question and Answer- Zambia- ZGF

 

Learning about Learning

Coming into the position of MEL officer and learning about social accountability was not  my ‘forte,’ but since embarking on this learning journey there are few lessons that I have picked up that I wish to share.

In civil society we are constantly battling the tension between having a lot to learn and a limited amount of time in which to learn. Civil society schedules are packed full of activities and deadlines driven by one thing only – achieving results. By the time all is said and done, there is just too little time or energy left for learning.  Why set aside time to learn because others say we should when we could be using that time to achieve results? Time is precious, we need to put it to use wisely and no one can argue with that!

Being in civil society myself and having worked as an implementer before taking up a learning position, I remember being a worker bee, constantly on the go with my eye on the results. As I delve deeper into this Learning Pilot project, my job involves setting aside significant amounts of time with partners, helping them to reflect on all their hard work with the end of goal of improving social accountability practices for achieving results (note that the achieving results still remains central part of what we do). I have come to realize learning is by no means an academic exercise for those interested in developing pie-in-the-sky theories. Learning is an important exercise even more so for implementers because the barrier between them and the next level of achieving results may be the inability to value learning and setting aside insufficient time to learn.

Another obstacle to learning I have discovered is the risky thinking that as experts or implementers in our field we have learnt it all, so why keep learning? As we have discovered as a program, after a decade of training on social accountability and doing in country work on social accountability, we can’t stop learning. There is still so much to learn because contexts, times, people, policies are always changing and bringing with them new challenges. The only way to maintain the edge and expertise is to always be learning. By continuously seeing the value in learning and setting aside time and resources do so as an organization helps us.

I am also finding that academic learning is very different from learning in the real world. Learning in the real world need not be a complicated, time consuming, exhausting or confusing. There is also no need to fear failing a test or exam- the real world is there often is no right or wrong answers as nothing is ever black and white. We are dealing with diverse contexts and challenges, all we can do is experiment with strategies/activities, reflect on our actions, and adapt. You can achieve a whole lot in the real world by simply being observant and reflective or thoughtful.

In closing, here are some tips I have picked up about learning in the real world so far  pilot:

  • Value learning and make time to reflect on what you are doing and why as lessons emerging from doing sometimes contain the ‘secret sauce’ to moving to the next level.
  • We are never expert enough to stop learning, there is always something new to learn. Always be learning!
  • Don’t be afraid to learn from failure, there is often no right or wrong answers in the real world, even what we consider as failures can’t really be failures if we make note of them and learn from them.

Yeukai Mukorombindo

Events

WEBINAR SERIES: Learning about Social Accountability Monitoring Capacities and Action in Southern Africa

In August 2016, the Public Service Accountability Monitor’s (PSAM)’s Regional Learning Programme (RLP), along with partners implementing Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) in 4 countries (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania & Mozambique) identified the need for a needs-based diagnostic of the link between SAM practice and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) at the individual and community levels. One partner organisation in each country volunteered to take part in the learning pilot and share their SAM and MEL challenges.

Having gone through the reflective process, the RLP is now engaging with partners and other SAM stakeholders in sharing the insights from the learning pilot through a series of webinars. Here are the webinar dates:

Concern Universal from Mozambique share their journey – 29 March 2018

Policy Forum from Tanzania share their journey – 5 April 2018

SAPST from Zimbabwe share their journey – 12 April 2018

ZGF from Zambia share their journey – 18 April 2018

RLP wrap up the series – 25 April 2018

In preparation for the webinars, please see below country reports, as well as the PSAM report detailing its reflection and learning:

Beyond Fundamentals – PSAM paper on learning journey

Mozambique Learning Pilot Output Paper

Zambia Learning Pilot Output Paper

Tanzania Learning Pilot Output Paper

Zimbabwe Learning Pilot Output Paper


Fundamentals of Social Accountability Courses 2018

The Public Service Accountability Monitor’s Regional Learning Programme (RLP) offers the Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring course (a Rhodes University accredited course) twice a year. This course provides an introduction to a rights-based approach to social accountability and an integrated systemic approach to evidence-based social accountability monitoring of public resource management frameworks. It is suited for civil society decision-makers, trainers on social accountability monitoring and advocacy, government oversight bodies, media practitioners, and academics. The 2018 course dates are as follows:

9 – 20 July 2018. Application closing date: 25 May 2018

8 – 19 Oct 2018. Application closing date: 24 August 2018

For information on how to apply and costs, contact us at psam.training@ru.ac.za


GPSA Knowledge Platform – Upcoming Webinar

Evaluations, Learning and Keeping Calm: A conversation about resilience after an evaluation – AUGUST 15 10 – 11h30am EDT
With Semkae Kilonzo and Florencia Guerzovich

The monitoring, evaluation and learning environment for social accountability seems to be changing. There is a lot of discussion about the value of experimentation, failure, and course-correction. Many funders and practitioners, however, continue to manage their projects with systems that do not support adaptation.
In this webinar we will have a conversation about Policy Forum’s experience navigating “both worlds.” Speakers will share about a high-stakes evaluation that was disappointing to the implementer. They will then talk about how Policy Forum and its partners are rethinking its approach to learning, based on this experience. The webinar will be an opportunity to discuss what it takes to become a “learning organization”, identify challenges, and share some tricks of the trade.

Join the Webinar

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PSAM – Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring 2017

PSAM offers the Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring course (a Rhodes University accredited course) three times a year. This course provides an introduction to a rights-based approach to social accountability and an integrated systemic approach to evidence-based social accountability monitoring of public resource management frameworks. It is suited for civil society decision-makers, trainers on social accountability monitoring and advocacy, government oversight bodies, media practitioners, and academics. The 2016 course dates are as follows:

29 May – 9 June 2017. Application closing date: 13 April 2017
25 Sept – 6 Oct 2017. Application closing date: 11 August 2017
13 – 24 Nov 2017. Application closing date: 29 Sept 2017

For information on how to apply and costs, contact us at psam.training@ru.ac.za

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World Vision-PSAM Conference – “How does context affect social accountability outcomes?”

Pan African Social Accountability Learning Lab

Ezulwini, Swaziland,  17-21 October, 2016

How does context affect social accountability/civic engagement outcomes within and between countries? Why do certain social accountability (SA) interventions easily gain traction and demonstrate results in some settings and not in some others?

The proposed October 2016 learning event will attract participants (practitioners, researchers and donors) from over 15 countries within and outside Africa to honestly and collectively wrestle with some of the above questions and several others. The event will be co-organized by WV and the PSAM. WV Swaziland (WVS) has graciously accepted to host the learning lab.

Participants will learn about what SA interventions work and not work; where, by who, for who and under what conditions/circumstances.

Learning lab delegates will have the opportunity to seriously interrogate their own SA approaches and those of others in the pursuit of enhanced, robust and context-calibrated SA initiatives.

The 5-day event will be ideal for networking: creating new and/or consolidating existing relationships in order to promote peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and ongoing support.

To indicate your interest in attending the event or if you have any questions regarding the event, please email Moses_Ngulube@wvi.org or v.malila@ru.ac.za

A call for papers and further details will be distributed in April 2016.

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PSAM – Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring

PSAM offers the Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring course (a Rhodes University accredited course) three times a year. This course provides an introduction to a rights-based approach to social accountability and an integrated systemic approach to evidence-based social accountability monitoring of public resource management frameworks. It is suited for civil society decision-makers, trainers on social accountability monitoring and advocacy, government oversight bodies, media practitioners, and academics. The 2016 course dates are as follows:

7 – 18 March 2016. Application closing date: 29 January 2016

30 May – 10 June 2016. Application closing date: 22 April 2016

3 – 14 October 2016. Application closing date: 26 August 2016

For information on how to apply and costs, contact us at psam.training@ru.ac.za