Cambodian organizations are unlocking the power of data through better data collection and analysis.
Program M&E Manager Leakhena Ith delivering an M&E training.
In the digital era, the old saying ‘knowledge is power’ might better be rendered as ‘information is power.’ But as local NGOs in Cambodia are learning, even that is only partly correct. Accurate information is a first step to driving change. Data collection and data analysis, through effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E), are vital management tools for assessing organizational effectiveness and improving decision-making. For Cambodian NGOs, greater effectiveness and better decision-making lead to smart development interventions that yield greater impact.
The USAID-funded Capacity Building of Cambodia’s Local Organizations (CBCLO) Program is helping local organizations unlock the power of data through a series of M&E training courses designed to teach organizations how to set up M&E systems and utilize the information to improve their operations. The program has trained 54 local organizations on M&E topics to help them refine their data collection and analysis techniques.
Seang Set is responsible for the monthly collection and compilation of information from field staff at the Environmental Protection and Development Organization (EPDO). He observed that ‘most of the field staff do not know what is useful information and how to record information. They spend a lot of time writing narrative reports and I spend hours going through one report to find the needed data.’
“I am now able to quickly get the exact information that I need
. . .[allowing me] to work with the field staff on new strategies to improve implementing the activities.”
‘ Seang Set, Environmental Protection and Development Organization
Over the course of the training series, Set learned about general M&E principles, effective indicators, and how to generate an M&E plan. After the training, CBCLO provided direct assistance to Set’s organization to help them design an M&E data collection system that is tailored to their specific needs.
‘EPDO’s new reporting template is a good method of data collection. The field staff was trained on the new template and how to fill out the form. I can now spend less time on this task and am now able to quickly get the exact information I need,’ Set said. ‘It also allows me to work with the field staff on new strategies to improve implementing the activities.’
Empowered by improved M&E practices, EPDO now has better reports with more relevant data and information from the field. Set can now spend his time on data quality checks, increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of the process. And EPDO’and many other local organizations’can utilize better M&E processes to streamline and enhance their M&E activities and design creative solutions to meet Cambodia’s needs.
The five-year CBCLO Program (2014-2019) aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of local organizations in the areas of financial, administrative, procurement, M&E, and organizational management. The program’s ultimate objective is to improve the ability of local organizations to effectively implement USAID activities. Funded by USAID through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), the program is implemented by IESC with sub-partner Kanava International.