Collaborate, Create, Communicate

Process monitoring of the Learning Alliance of the IWMI WASPA project in Bangladesh

The IWMI Knowledge Sharing in Research Pilot project- IWMI WASPA LA is using and monitoring and evaluating the Learning Alliance approach within the “Wastewater, Agriculture and Sanitation for Poverty Alleviation” (WASPA) project in both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Project is piloting a Learning Alliance approach within which to embed the research on wastewater, agriculture and poverty alleviation in order to foster more collaborative planning, research, dissemination, and adoption of research results and proposed actions.

The project is designing, using and promoting a M&E system for better charting and understanding the value of this multi-stakeholder oriented approach. The system being developed and tested is known as process monitoring, which will provide better understanding of the approach and lessons for future Learning Alliances. To find out more check out the IWMI WASPA LA Pilot webpage.

The main IWMI project team-consisting of Alexandra Clemett and Samyuktha Varma- recently made a trip to the project site in Bangladesh between 26 May and 6 June 2008.

The objectives of the trip were:

  • To undertake the process monitoring for WASPA LA.
  • To review and update the progress of the project in relation to the Participatory Action Plans (PAPs) and project work plan.
  • To plan the next LA meeting.

The trip consisted in the carrying out the following main activities:

Conducting monitoring for WASPA LA in Bangladesh using new process monitoring method

The methodology of process monitoring uses a defined monitoring framework which includes change processes to be monitored, indicators and data collection methods. One major part of the process monitoring is structured interviews with Learning Alliance members to assess the change process including changes in awareness of the issues and changes in mindset. The community interview questions were therefore reviewed with the team in both English and Bangla and some changes were made. The interview was tested on 28th May and adapted accordingly. A further six interviews were conducted and written up.

Project Planning and Review

One of the key components of the WASPA project is the development of Participatory Action Plans (PAPs) whose implementation is aimed at improving livelihoods of wastewater farmers. The PAPs are co-developed and funded by the WASPA project as well as stakeholders involved in the Learning Alliances.

The logframe and work plan of the project were updated to now reflect the Participatory Action Plan (PAP) activities that have been identified and to try to tie the activities more closely with the results proposed in the original logical framework

Local Level LA Development

It was also clear from the review that the LA was not self-sufficient and that although many stakeholders had become aware of the project thanks to the efforts of the project team, they were not yet ready to take responsibility for this. The project team therefore discussed further the structure and responsibilities of the LA, and how to get the stakeholders to agree on a structure and start taking some responsibility. A structure and activities has been proposed, but this will have to be decided on at a meeting held with the key stakeholders in June for them to decide what they want to do.

Another issue that arose was that the farmers attending the LA did not really represent all the farmers or the community members, but this is largely because there is currently no form of organization at the local level. However it means that they do not necessarily present the interests of the wider group or report back to LA members. This issue was discussed and a plan to address it was devised.

PAP Development

Since the Participatory Action Plans have bene identified, it was necessary to now look into operatioanlising them. During this trip, planning for the farmers training programme(PAP) took place. Another PAP was initiatied throught eh contracting of a Rajshahi University Professor of Law to write a paper on the laws relating to wastewater management and use in agriculture. The Terms of Reference was completed and discussed with RUET regarding a study on water quality and options to improve the treatment capacity of Bashuar Beel. Overall the Project team reviewed the PAP activities and prepared a detailed plan to continue the work.

Follow-up activities

On return from the trip the key follow-up activities will be:

  • To analyze the review and process monitoring findings
  • Collect meeting minutes and other documents from stakeholder organizations and analyze according to the outline
  • Share and review revised work plan and logframe with entire project team
  • Undertake agricultural data collection and write an article on the findings in Bangla
  • Hire a LA facilitator to develop the national level platform
  • Prepare for the LA meeting
  • Prepare the first newsletter
  • PNGOs to work with farmers in Bashuar and Silinda village to set up a system of representation in the LA.