Where We Work : Sierra Leone : Monitoring, Research and Evaluation
BRAC established a regional Research and Evaluation Unit for West Africa in Sierra Leone in July 2009. The unit provides analytical support to BRAC’s operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia and is responsible for small scale operational research for the improvement of the various programmes in West Africa, such as microfinance, health, agriculture and livestock by giving quick feedback.
It also assesses the impact of BRAC’s programmes in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The unit comprises five researchers and four data-entry operators who are responsible for storing all primary data into the computer following specific guidelines.
Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have poor statistical data as a consequence of the civil war. All information is outdated, whereas the programmes require recent information to serve the communities best. The Research and Evaluation Unit assists the programmes in collecting census data from the community to identify the programmes’ target population and ensure that it is systemic and reliable. The unit also stores all primary data electronically and provides necessary information to the respective programmes.
In 2009, we completed four research studies and BRAC continues to monitor and evaluate its programmes in the region. Additionally, the Research and Evaluation unit has planned an evaluation study both in Sierra Leone and Liberia to assess the impact after one year of programme activities.
Examples of current research
1. Process Documentation Research
Process Documentation Research (PDR) is a tool to help development organisations learn from their experiences. PDR takes a dynamic view of project implementation and helps to make projects respond to context-specific requirements. The Research and Evaluation Unit undertook PDR on microfinance, agriculture, livestock and health projects.
In-depth interviews, observation and informal discussions were carried out amongst branch managers, credit officers and microfinance groups to document strengths and challenges of the Microfinance Programme in West Africa.
3. Agriculture and Livestock
In-depth interviews with branch agriculture extension supervisors and agriculture extension workers, observations, field notes and informal interviews with our agriculturalists, agronomists and area agriculture extension officers were used to evaluate BRAC’s Agriculture Programme. In-depth interviews with livestock volunteers and model poultry rearers and focus group discussion with livestock volunteers were conducted, as well as informal interviews with the livestock manager and area livestock extension officer to evaluate the Livestock Programme.
Interviews with Community Health Workers and Community Health Volunteers, microfinance groups and individuals were carried out to identify constraints and strengths of the Health Programme. Based on the results of this study, health commodities were given to CHVs through a revolving fund as soon as their basic training was completed to increase the retention of CHVs in the long run.
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