Sightsavers’ SIM card system
Globally, all programmes are monitored using the Strategy Implementation Monitoring (SIM) card and the programme portal. All individual projects within Sightsavers contribute to their global strategic objectives.
Their M&E approach roots the organisation in evidence based decision making, allowing them to identify gaps and learn and adapt in response to the challenges and achievements experienced during programme implementation. Enabling them to assess high level outcome and impact results, ask themselves the right questions and build institutional knowledge based on evidence and learning, this framework ensures Sightsavers remain accountable to their beneficiaries, partners and donors. Their M&E framework […] is inclusive, participatory and transparent. Operating on both a project and organisational level, M&E has been integrated into the three key parts of project cycle management: design, inception & implementation and evaluation & project close out. Standardised tools, guidance and systems are in place to support the creation and implementation of project M&E frameworks. Throughout the reporting period all projects continued to be designed and monitored using the logical framework approach.
The Programme Portal System
The Programme Portal system was launched in January 2015 to coincide with the annual output statistic reporting process. A series of regional training sessions were conducted in country and the organisation has now moved to quarterly data reporting for all service delivery indicators. This change in reporting frequency and format has led to improved targeted controls and quality of data. The system is user friendly and can be accessed by staff globally. Its reporting function has greatly improved the availability of easily accessible project level data and it has also increased their ability to analyse their data, for example to disaggregate by gender and age and take an overview of the impact of programmes on women and men, girls and boys.
Output statistics are a key method of tracking the implementation of Sightsavers’ project work. They are collated and published at an organisational level and are also used internally to monitor the progress of projects. Output statistics provide key data on performance and enable Sightsavers to ask key organisational performance questions; it is vital that the output statistics are accurate and verifiable.
Evaluations are conducted as a systematic, impartial and objective assessment of their projects, in order to generate insightful, credible information that can be used to inform decision-making, future planning, and to report on and communicate results and achievements. Their evaluations team supports the commissioning and delivery of robust and meaningful evaluations, working to ensure the active use of evaluations to inform their work, improve project design and lead to wider learning.
Sightsavers evaluations criteria include the 5 DAC criteria and 2 additional Sightsavers criteria (Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact, Sustainability, Coordination/Coherence, Scalability/Replicability).
Evaluations trigger management responses
Management responses are developed for all evaluations. Evaluations are currently not published on their website, due to the website redevelopment which occurred at the end of 2015. In 2016 Sightsavers will again publish all Evaluations and executive summaries on their website. In 2015 for the first time they published an annual summary of all evaluations conducted during the year (attached as an annex to this report).
This summary was discussed and approved at the Programme Expert Group and will now also be shared annually with the Sightsavers Ireland board, a good example of improved analysis informing management and governance level discussion and decision-making. Sightsavers already have an internal evaluations page on their intranet and evaluations and management responses are published externally via International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), along with other project data including financial information. IATI aims to make information on spending on aid more accessible to governments, organisations and citizens of developing countries. By making this information available and transparent it aims to stimulate effective partnerships and increase ownership and accountability.
Learning through multiple approaches
Sightsavers continue to learn using various approaches such as, research and learning seminars and specific learning events held globally or in their regions. In 2015 they held their first reflection workshop which focused on refractive error and aimed to consolidate learning and experience from across their projects in this technical area.
The workshop determined Sightsavers’ key principles in refractive error and school screening, which provide overarching guidance as well as key principles. The workshop also produced a finalised sustainability statement. A learning event focused on education and social inclusion approaches was also held in West Africa in September 2015.
Teams also use appropriate approaches in line with their quality standards on learning. Externally, the organisation continued to engage with the rest of the sector through various forums to share its learning, including presentation at webinars and international Conferences, Publications in peer-review journals and improvement of their learning and research pages as part of the website redevelopment.