From measuring activities to monitoring outcomes with Helvetas Guatemala
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation is a development organization working toward a just society in which human beings can live with dignity, exercise self-determination, and make sustainable use of natural resources. Based in Switzerland, Helvetas runs programs in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Helvetas began its work in Guatemala in 1972, with the aim of empowering local, regional, and national stakeholders in four closely related areas: the rural economy, natural resources and climate change, water, sanitation, and hygiene, and governance and peace.
Above (left to right): Silvia Castillo, project coordinator, WIP; Julio Boj, integrity advisor, WIP; Isabel Ventura, sanitation facilitator, SAHTOSO. Tejutla, San Marcos, Guatemala, 15 February 2017. Photo by J. Andrés Gálvez-Sobral.
Before partnering with Akvo, Helvetas Guatemala’s results framework was focused on tracking activities, such as the number of water pumps installed. The program managers wanted to move from an implementation-based approach to a results-based approach, in which the effects of those activities are monitored. By monitoring outcomes in addition to activities, program managers could more accurately evaluate progress and assess whether any adjustments should be made to ensure that their projects are contributing to the desired outcomes. This meant strengthening their teams' capacities for planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning and also addressing their need for new tools that could expedite the data collection process in the field.
Left to right: Julio Boj, integrity advisor, WIP; Silvia Castillo, project coordinator, WIP; Marcelo García, project coordinator, FORJA; Isabel Ventura, sanitation facilitator, SAHTOSO. Cuya, San Marcos, Guatemala, 15 February 2017. Photo by J. Andrés Gálvez-Sobral.
In early 2016, Akvo started working with Helvetas Guatemala as they embarked on a process to strengthen, from a results-based perspective, the monitoring, evaluation and learning within their projects. The process consisted of reviewing project planning documents as well as the monitoring and evaluation processes, training staff in monitoring, evaluation, and learning from a results-based perspective and integrating Akvo Flow into their program in order to expedite data collection.
Left to right: Silvia Castillo, project coordinator, WIP; Julio Boj, integrity advisor, WIP; Isabel Ventura, sanitation facilitator, SAHTOSO. Checamba, San Marcos, Guatemala, 15 February 2017. Photo by J. Andrés Gálvez-Sobral.
Today, the team continues to work using a results-based approach and Akvo Flow in their projects. Recently, they applied the Theory of Change methodology for planning the new Total and Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene Project, known as SAHTOSO. Akvo also facilitated this process, organizing workshops in order to create clarity and ownership for everyone involved. SAHTOSO joins WIP, PRODERT and FORJA in the list of Helvetas Guatemala’s projects that collected indicator data using Akvo Flow.These activities are evidence of Helvetas Guatemala’s commitment to continue growing into an organization that learns and seeks to be ever more effective in its work. Moreover, Helvetas Guatemala recognizes that as its team´s capacities become strengthened with new tools and know-how, they are able to innovate, do a better job, and attain better results.