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Bryony Norman – Project Coordinator, Tearfund

With the individual research interviews now completed, I have spent the last two weeks analysing the data collected and using it to draft an Interim Research Report. The report documents the detailed research that has been undertaken into current remote management approaches and project monitoring practices, as well as the specific issues that have been experienced and/or concerns that have been raised with regard to remote management operations. The research report has been circulated to each project stakeholder for their review and comment. I anticipate that the final version of the report should be available by the end of November 2011, and I will be posting it on the HIF website project profile page. I’ll post an update to let you know when this has been completed!

The majority of the report focuses on the individual issues and concerns that were highlighted by project stakeholders. As part of the data analysis, I was able to analyse which issues were most prevalent in current humanitarian and development practice (or were of the greatest concern to humanitarian and/or development practitioners). Eleven key issues were raised time and time again, as detailed below. Due to the prominence of these issues in the responses provided by project stakeholders, each has been given a specific section within the report.

 

1. Potential deterioration in programme quality (highlighted by fourteen different project stakeholders; 50%)
2. Deterioration in the potential to ensure effective and rigorous monitoring (46%)
3. Reduced regularity of visits and access to project implementation areas (39%)
3. Inaccuracy of data and reporting, due to limited opportunities for data triangulation and/or limited capacity of staff (39%)
3. Limited capacity of own and/or partner personnel (39%)
6. Weak technical oversight of project implementation, particularly for technical specialisms (36%)
6. Poor communication between primary organisational head office and field location – whether own local personnel or partner organisation (36%)
8. Increased security threat and risks to own local personnel, partner personnel, and/or communities and beneficiaries (29%)
9. Increased pressure and expectation (social and political) on local staff, in absence of senior national and expatriate staff (25%)
10. Increased risk of the occurrence of fraud and corruption; organisational liability increased (21%)
10. Fewer opportunities to build the capacity of own and partner personnel, including day-to-day mentoring (21%)

 

I thought that, whilst the research report is being finalised, it might be useful to give you a bit of a taster! The strongest concern that was highlighted by individual project stakeholders related to the potential deterioration in programme quality that is risked in projects which are remotely managed. As you can see above, 50% of all of the project stakeholders felt that this was a significant issue / concern. I have ‘cut and paste’ the section from the interim research report that relates to this and have posted it onto the HIF website. Take a look at it and let it be a taster of what is to come!

The research report is comprehensive. It seeks to look, in detail, at each of the issues raised; to highlight the difficulties of current practice, and; to highlight the concerns and experiences of research and good practice organisations and institutional funding agencies. What I hope that the report achieves is a thorough overview of trends in current remote management practice, as well as a detailed investigation of the issues faced by organisations that seek to implement programmes remotely (and the concerns of the agencies and organisations that support humanitarian and/or development practice).

The report does not seek to address any of the issues raised at this stage – that will be encapsulated in next phase of the project (innovation!) and will be documented in the final project report. For now – the report seeks only to highlight an overview of current trends in practice, as well as a detailed reflection on each of the key issues highlighted by project stakeholders.

Enjoy reading the preliminary instalment! I’ll get the full and final report up as soon as possible 🙂

Until next time,

Bryony

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