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Evaluating Experiences of Researchers in Carrying out M&E of ICT Projects in Rural Areas: Evaluating Experiences of Researchers in Carrying out M&E of ICT Projects in Rural Areas: A CASE OF THE DIGITAL DOORWAY PROJECT Charles Phiri [Presenter] Thato Foko Nare Mahwai CSIR-Meraka Institute SAMEA Conference 2013 Sandton 19 September, 2013

1. Introduction • • • Background Motivation Problem Statement Literature review Theories Methodology Results 1. Introduction • • • Background Motivation Problem Statement Literature review Theories Methodology Results Analysis Conclusion © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

2. Motivation • This paper was motivated by a need to ascertain the lessons 2. Motivation • This paper was motivated by a need to ascertain the lessons learned by field researchers , who participated in the monitoring and evaluation of the Digital Doorway project, in order to : • Improve the CSIR internal processes for carrying out M&E; • Enhance researchers’ skills for carrying out M&E in future; • Utilise Knowledge gained and personal experiences of researchers in their interaction with the project participants, champions, learners, teachers • Self knowledge enrichment-capture the Lessons learnt by team due to lack of sufficient knowledge • Document the lessons learnt for better future M&E procedures © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

3. Background • The Digital Doorway is a joint initiative between DST and CSIR 3. Background • The Digital Doorway is a joint initiative between DST and CSIR Meraka Institute which has been inexistence for ten years with a vision of making a fundamental difference to computer literacy and associated skills in Africa • Robust Digital Doorway computer systems which are deployed in communities in an environment in which members can learn through experimentation • Therefore this paper build upon previous board of knowledge on long term Digital Doorway Project at CSIR. This is actually knowledge adding on existing Digital Doorway Project. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

4. Problem Statement As a CSIR Meraka group entrusted with carrying out M&E of 4. Problem Statement As a CSIR Meraka group entrusted with carrying out M&E of projects, it is important that we have a strong M&E team with skills to provide this service in-house and within the broader CSIR. We need to adequately prepare researchers to carryout M&E based on the experiences of researchers who participated in M&E of the DD project. Therefore, our research problem is to learn from the DD project how best to carry out M&E of ICT interventions in less developed areas, document these lessons and apply them to future projects. The study is intended mainly to upskill researchers involved in M&E of ICT projects using the case study of the DD project and to not necessarily investigate the quality of the DD project itself. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

5. Literature Review Definition of M&E Monitoring …is the systematic and routine collection of 5. Literature Review Definition of M&E Monitoring …is the systematic and routine collection of information from projects and programmes Evaluation. . . is assessing, as systematically and objectively as possible, a completed project or programme (or a phase of an ongoing project or programme that has been completed). Why M&E of ICT interventions • To learn from experiences to improve practices and activities in the future; • To have internal and external accountability of the resources used and the results obtained; • • • To take informed decisions on the future of the initiative; To promote empowerment of beneficiaries of the initiative M&E enable you to check the “bottom line” of development work (Olive, 2002). © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

5. 1 Literature Review Importance on M&E for ICT 4 D • Governments and 5. 1 Literature Review Importance on M&E for ICT 4 D • Governments and other interested parties want justification for huge capital investment involved in these endeavours. • Heeks (2008) gives a few reasons why we ‘should give priority to ICT application for the poor in developing countries’ and these include: (i) the moral argument of providing the benefits of ICTs to our world’s poor who ‘live on the frontline’ of major problems, ranging from climate change to conflict and poverty; (ii) assisting poor people to get rich and be able to buy goods and services provided by their rich counterparts; and (iii) bridging the digital divide by insuring that the poor in our societies will be able to have a good life in the 21 st century where economic, social and political life will be mainly digital. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

5. 2 Literature Review A combination of approaches was used: Outcome Mapping • Outcome 5. 2 Literature Review A combination of approaches was used: Outcome Mapping • Outcome mapping (OM) is a methodology for planning and assessing projects, It focuses on behavioural changes as an outcome Narrative Approach • The notion that people make meaning of their lives through the stories they hold about life, themselves and others © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

6. Grounded Theory is a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the discovery 6. Grounded Theory is a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the discovery of theory through the analysis of data GT is used here because it allows for flexibility. • Collect data – relates to use of qualitative or quantitative data or a mixture of the two • Open code – relates to the open coding and data collection as integrated activities • Write memos throughout the entire process. The development of your theory is captured in your memos Conduct selective coding and theoretical sampling – stop when the core category and main concern are recognised • Sort your memos and find the Theoretical Code(s) which best organises the substantive codes and reading of the literature and integrate with your theory through selective coding. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

7. Methodology Research Framework • Data collection methods was based on Grounded Theory. • 7. Methodology Research Framework • Data collection methods was based on Grounded Theory. • Employed interpretive methodology: the notion that individuals create meaning within a specific environment • Data collected was through: case study, questionnaire and interviews via the mobile phone application called Whats. App and one-on-one interviews with some of the researchers © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

8. Results when the monitoring and evaluation of the DD project started the following 8. Results when the monitoring and evaluation of the DD project started the following problems emerged with regard to the performance of some of the project champions: • • • Consent forms Prior arrangements Importance of initial introductions Teachers’ bias: choosing best learners Researchers and champions would sometimes arrive at school to only find DDs not working and teachers would send them to a nearby school where the equipment was in working condition. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

8. 1 Results • In other schools learners were informed of the purpose of 8. 1 Results • In other schools learners were informed of the purpose of our visit particularly where champions did not distribute the consent forms. • • Language Barriers • • Learners unwilling to participate Need for incentives: Some learners refused to participate in the M&E where there were no tangible incentives and Stakeholder Involvement of Departments of Education © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

9. Analysis • Stakeholders Involvement: In the Digital Doorway project engagements were smooth were 9. Analysis • Stakeholders Involvement: In the Digital Doorway project engagements were smooth were the departments introduced researchers to schools. • Language: In some cases field researchers did not understand communicate with DD users in the home language and interpreters were used • Incentives are a big motivation for participation by these learners and learners have to be made aware of what these entail to avoid disgruntlement later on. • Learners are willing to participate in any ICT project but are discouraged by poorly tailored data collection tool such as long questionnaires and stories which they cannot identify with. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

9. 1. Analysis • Although teachers may know better their learners it is important 9. 1. Analysis • Although teachers may know better their learners it is important also to provide them with clear criteria for choosing learners where not all learners are expected to participate in an ICT project. This helps the project to make similar comparisons where necessary. • There is a need for constant communication and feedback at all times from champions of ICT intervention to ensure proper organisation from all sides and to minimise uncertainties. Therefore social dialogue is fundamental to monitoring and evaluation of ICT interventions for rural development. © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

10. Conclusion Social dialogue is fundamental to monitoring and evaluation of ICT interventions for 10. Conclusion Social dialogue is fundamental to monitoring and evaluation of ICT interventions for rural development. There is always a need for open channels of communication between the researchers and the stakeholders © CSIR 2007 www. csir. co. za

Thank you Charles Phiri Thato Foko Nare Mahwai Thank you Charles Phiri Thato Foko Nare Mahwai