Summary of Section G: Project Management
Earlier sections in BGP’s lessons learnt report have consistently demonstrated how the project concept evolved from complementary interventions in community organisation, water security, agriculture and markets into an integrated approach aimed to drive local economic development, inclusiveness and sustainability in the 22 coastal polders where the project operates. The evolution of the approach required the project management to adapt and refine the organisational structure of the team to meet the changing priorities, and a willingness of team members to operate in multi-disciplinary teams and to refocus on delivering tools for community leadership in agricultural water management with relevant information and access to resources. Mechanisms for project coordination were employed and augmented. Planning evolved from a one-off effort at the project’s onset to a recurrent field of attention. Monitoring and evaluation moved towards a position of analysing and reflecting on project survey data to inform project management on implementation progress and impact, with lessons on ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’. And finally, the project’s fresh outlook on local economic development changed its communications with beneficiaries and stakeholder; a change that is reflected in training and extension approaches.
Project coordination – a point of attention[edit | edit source]
The design of Blue Gold, as set down in the GoN Program Document and the BWDB and DAE Development Project Proformas (DPPs), sets out arrangements for Implementation through complementary interventions by BWDB, DAE and the TA team, with mechanisms for coordination to ensure coherence. In addition to dedicated management teams for each implementation unit, a program coordinating director was assigned; steering committees for the BWDB and DAE activities were put in place; and the project performance was externally reviewed each year. Recognising the benefits of working-level coordination of activities, regular meetings were instituted between the BWDB Project Coordinating Director, the DAE Project Director, the TA management team and the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Mechanisms were proposed for coordination at zonal and polder levels, but in practice, this continued largely through ad hoc meetings.
Future project interventions in the coastal zone would be well-advised to incorporate arrangements for strong cross-sectoral coordination. This would include a close association with existing coordination structures – especially with government line agencies, Union and Upazila Parishads and local private sector and NGO representatives – complemented by agile structures for strategic coordination at national level.
Planning – sustainability from the start[edit | edit source]
The two separate Development Project Proforma (DPPs) – one with BWDB for investments in flood control and drainage infrastructure, and the other with DAE for the transfer of agricultural technology – were complemented by a substantial Technical Assistance (TA) team with workplan and budget.
The TA team had a budget and organisation structure that could adapt with more flexibility to the changes in the project concept. While the two separate plans for the main implementing agencies existed throughout the project duration; the TA team was able to do away with its component structure and to plan its work in a more integrated way.
A future integrated ‘water management for development’-project should seek to maximise the flexibility of the DPPs of the line agencies (e.g. through block allocations) and should explicitly use technical assistance resources to strengthen coherence between local ambitions expressed by WMOs and LGIs; and line agency plans.
Monitoring & Evaluation – An evolving Theory of Change[edit | edit source]
The M&E system derives from the project plan, and more specifically from its Logical Framework. The indicators of the M&E system had to be adjusted in keeping with the changing project approach. While output indicators were largely unchanged and reported in a monthly Tracker Report, outcome indicators had to be adjusted to the changed view on WMG performance. More emphasis was given to self-monitoring by the WMGs, complemented with in-depth surveys on their performance. Triangulation between data sources provides a deeper understanding of processes – and weaknesses – and helped move the M&E function from ‘recording’ to ‘reflection’.
The impacts of some changes in the project concept can only be partially reviewed, as no baseline is available for these changes. Thus, impacts on inclusiveness and sustainability – which are seen as important by-products of the integrated approach to local economic development – could not be fully captured by BGP’s M&E products.
Future projects are advised to use M&E from the onset as a key management tool for reflection by using diverse data and information sources and by a focussed and strongly independent analytical function.
Communication – new perspectives on training and extension[edit | edit source]
The change in project concept pursued local initiatives with respect to water management and agricultural change. Rather than having a central message and disseminating this as efficiently as possible; the project stimulates its intended beneficiaries to use opportunities in water and agriculture in ways appropriate to their specific locality.
Centrally purchased capacity building courses (for leadership, gender and accounting) were replaced by facilitated local planning processes for water management. Such plans develop from an initial replication of a standard WMG plan, to a cascading planning process from sub-catchment, to catchment to polder with particular emphasis on mobilising own resources and obtaining additional support through association with local governments, departments and private sector.
The approach for agricultural extension broadened: in addition to farmer field schools for field crops and for homestead production; use was made of horizontal learning between communities and local resource farmers were mobilised and trained. The field crops FFSs were reviewed to include attention to opportunities in the year-round cropping cycle, to the potential of improved water management in sub-catchments and to farming as a business. Homestead FFSs were split into short and specific courses.
To support a change from dependency on external project-support to local initiative for economic development; future projects must employ a diverse set of communication interventions, which help people take action; rather than simply telling them to take action.
See more[edit | edit source]
|Blue Gold Wiki|