Process Monitoring Illustrative Examples

2018/07/17
Theme: 

Monitoring the processes that affect the quality of life in your community - such as services, environmental quality, infrastructure - doesn't have to be overwhelming and daunting. It is an important part of making positive change and helping everyone - neighbors, government officials, service providers. Monitoring is an important part of gathering data and informing decisions. The most important aspect is developing a well-thought out plan, which can be done by asking several questions, considering the information you have and taking stock of the resources available to you. Below are some small examples to help you think through how you might approach your own project to monitor an issue of importance to you - while the examples might not fit exactly into each issue or situation around the world, but they should provide some important considerations and help you make sure to ask the right questions.

Monitoring Our Local Community: Environmental Clean-up Project

Context

The local organization, Our River Our Home, is committed to promoting environmentally sound water conservation and protection measures on local water sources. Local rivers should be protected so that the entire local community can enjoy. Local water sources should be free of unwanted debris and pollutants for the protection of the environment and the community.

Our River Our Home recently noticed an increase in debris in the local river and is concerned that this increase in pollution may harm the health local residents as well as hinder recreational enjoyment.

Step One: Defining the Purpose and Scope

Our River Our Home would like to have clean rivers for the community to enjoy and believes it is the local government’s responsibility to correct. Therefore, Our River Our Home intends to launch a monitoring initiative with the following purpose:

  1. Gather data on pollution levels in the local river,
  2. Identify any potential causes of the pollution, and
  3. Learn what local government authorities are doing to protect the river.

Our River Our Home realizes that it must first gather information systematically in order to determine the best way to address the problem – including whether to mount an advocacy and/or a public awareness campaign. Members have decided to monitor the river within the current town boundaries.

Step Two: Identifying the Problem

Several local community members – local fisherman and parents alike – have reached out to Our River Our Home to see if the organization has noticed the uptick in pollution and debris in the local river. Community members are concerned that pollution may cause fish to die and could make people who swim in the river sick.

The problem is that there are increased reports of pollution in the river. In order to determine the best course of action to clean the river, Our River Our Home will launch a monitoring initiative to identify pollution levels, identify possible causes and understand what local authorities are doing to address this issue.

Step Three: What is Monitoring Question?

Given the above analysis, Our River Our Home has decided that it’s initiative will answer the following:

  • What is causing the increased pollution in the local river and what are the local government authorities doing to address the problem?

Step Four: Conducting a Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment

Once Our River Our Home conducted a stakeholder analysis during one of its regular bi-weekly meetings. In this session, Our River Our Home wanted to better understand what major forces may be contributing to, be responsible for or simply be interested in the local river. Participants in the session identified the following stakeholders:

Local Town Mayor Parents
Local Town Council Community Members - general
Local Environmental Protection Office Farmers
Fishermen Local businesses

Our River Our Home also took the opportunity of having organizational members together to identify their capacity to conduct such a monitoring initiative. The group determined the following:

Existing Capacity Needed Capacity
Volunteers to collect data Water Specialist
Environmental Specialist Additional financial resources to employ additional specialists/analysts/experts
Lawyer Time (3 months to collect data)
Some financial resources

Step Five: Designing a Plan

Now that Our River Our Home has done the situation and capacity analysis, it can design an initial plan to collect, manage and analyze the data that members collect.

The first part of the design will be to determine what information already exists. For example, they can see if the local government has any reports on water quality. They can also determine if any others (including reporters, academics or other organizations) have done any data collection on the local river. Our River Our Home can do research to see what information already exists and use that as background for the second part of their design.

The second part of the design will focus on what additional information and data will be needed in order to fully answer the monitoring question. This second phase is the heart of the monitoring project. The design plan that Our River Our Home developed looks like this:

Purpose/Question What is causing the increased pollution in the local river and what are the local government authorities doing to address the problem?
Information Type
  • Quantitative Information
    • Chemical analysis of river and wildlife
    • Local government reports/documents
  • Qualitative Information
    • Community Feedback
    • Visual documentation (pictures and/or video)
Data Sources Needed
  • Water Samples
  • Surveys
  • Official Documents
Sample Size
  • River Water Samples: three times a week from three pre-identified locations for 3 months duration
  • Survey: 10\% of community households in city boundaries
Data Analysis Environmental specialist, water specialist, and legal analyst will provide majority of data analysis, with assistance from Our River Our Home organizational staff
Using the Data – Reports and other products Anticipated products:
  • Advocacy Campaign to government to enforce/reform local regulations about pollution in river
  • Public Awareness Campaign to community about littering (if that is a cause)
  • Outreach to local businesses to curb dumping of chemicals near river sources (if that is a cause)

Municipal Budget Monitoring: Health Clinic Service Provision

Context

The local organization, Health For All, is committed to ensuring that all citizens in their municipality have access to quality healthcare. A community’s resilience is bolstered when it is healthy. Health For All has worked for more than 10 years in the municipality to ensure the most vulnerable -- children, elderly and people with disabilities -- are adequately covered. Recently several community members have approached Health For All to complain about longer than usual wait times for service and lack of availability of specialized medical personnel. As an organization that is concerned also about accountability and transparency of government services, as well as an organization that advocates for community interests, Health For All would like to learn more about the current municipal budget for health services to better inform future advocacy projects for adequate healthcare.

Step One: Defining the Purpose and Scope

Health For All would like to have quality healthcare for the community and believes it is the local government’s responsibility to correct gaps. Therefore, Health For All intends to launch a budget monitoring initiative with the following purpose:

  1. Gather details on financial resources allocated to health related services in the municipality,
  2. Document health related expenditures, and
  3. Identify any potential gaps in health care services versus patient needs.

Health For All realizes that it must first gather information systematically in order to determine the best way to address the problem – whether that is through an advocacy and/or a public awareness campaign or some other means. Members have decided to monitor the budget of the one municipal hospital and three local clinics in the community.

Step Two: Identifying the Problem

Several community members have contacted Health For All to complain about a lack of services at the municipal hospital and local clinics. Health For All is part of a network of local organizations with growing concerns about local governments misusing funds from the municipal budget. These recent complaints give Health For All fuel to begin a budget monitoring initiative to see if there is any misuse of funds as stipulated by the annual budget.

Step Three: What is Monitoring Question?

Given the above analysis, Health For All has decided that their initiative will answer the following:

  • What is the current budget allocation and expenditures for health-related services for the municipal hospital and three local clinics and how does this track with community needs?

Step Four: Conduct Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment

Health for All conducted a stakeholder analysis during it’s monthly meeting with network partners. Participants in the session identified the following stakeholders that could help them collect this information:

Municipal Council Medical Supply Vendors
Department of Health Services Staff Patients and families
Hospital and Clinic Administrative Staff Medical labor unions
Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists Other community organizations

Health For All also took the opportunity to have organizational members together to identify their capacity to conduct such a monitoring initiative. The group determined the following:

Existing Capacity Needed Capacity
Network partners Financial Resources to conduct initiative – including for analysis software, additional staff, expert fees
Some volunteers to collect data Additional volunteers for community survey
Accountant/Budget Specialist Time (12 months to collect data)
Community Survey Designer Health Care Expert

Step Five: Design a Plan

Now that Health For All has done the situation and capacity analysis, it can design an initial plan to collect, manage and analyze the information that they collect.

The first part of the design will be to determine what information already exists. For example, they can see if the local government has budget documents. They can also determine if any others (including reporters, academics, or other organizations) have done any data collection on local health services and community health needs. Health For All can do research to see what information already exists and use that as background for the second part of the design.

The second part of the design will focus on what additional information and data they will need in order to fully answer their monitoring question. This second phase is the heart of their monitoring project. The design plan that Health For All developed looks like this:

Purpose/Question What is the current budget allocation and expenditures for health-related services for the municipal hospital and three local clinics and how does this track with community needs?
Information Type
  • Quantitative Information
    • Survey of community needs and attitudes on current services
    • Local government budget documents and related healthcare reports
  • Qualitative Information
    • Community Feedback
    • Health care provider feedback
Data Sources Needed
  • Budgets and available expenditure reports
  • Survey
  • Official Documents
Sample Size Survey: 10\% of community households in municipal boundaries
Data Analysis Health Care and Budget Experts will provide the majority of data analysis, with assistance from Health For All organizational staff
Using the Data – Reports and other products Anticipated products:
  • Budget allocation and expenditure analysis report
  • Advocacy Campaign to government about community’s health-related needs
  • Public Awareness Campaign to community about what municipal budget covers

Monitoring a Local Development Project: Reconstructing a Road

Context

The roads in the province have not undergone major rehabilitation in more than 20 years. Community Space is a local organization that has worked tirelessly to ensure the residents of the province have the infrastructure to engage one another and to engage nature – in both tangible and intangible ways. One of the pillars of the organizational work is to help citizens be able to access natural parklands – a traditional communal gathering place for social events on weekends and holidays. In the last few years, the road to Memorial Park is in need of repair. This park is a favorite among the community – as it is a central gathering spot for families to socialize, have picnics, play games and swim in the lake.

Step One: Defining the Purpose and Scope

Community Space would like to see Memorial Park continue to be a popular gathering spot for the community. This is a core part of its work. The provincial council, which oversees the management of the roads across the province, recently put out a tendering opportunity for companies to rehabilitate/repair the road leading from the local municipality into the park. This is a 20 kilometer stretch of road and also links a number of smaller villages to both the park and larger municipalities.

Step Two: Identifying the Problem

Recently, there have been accusations that the workmanship on community infrastructure projects has not been top quality. Because the rehabilitation of this road is so critical to the Community Space mission, the organization would like to undertake a monitoring initiative of the repair project – from the vendor selection process all the way to the road’s completion.

Step Three: What is Monitoring Question?

Given the above analysis, Community Space has decided that it’s initiative will answer the following:

  • What is the current process for tendering and selecting a vendor for the road project and does the resulting product meet the standards set out in the original tender notification?

Step Four: Conduct Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment

Community Space conducted a stakeholder analysis during its weekly meeting. In this session, they wanted to better understand what major forces may be contributing to, be responsible for or simply be interested in the road repair project. Participants in the session identified the following stakeholders:

Provincial Council Businesses/companies that may bid on the road (and their subcontractors)
Closest Municipal Council Community members
Nearby village leadership Drivers
Environmentalists Local businesses

Community Space also took the opportunity to have organizational members together to identify their capacity to conduct such a monitoring initiative. The group determined the following:

Existing Capacity Needed Capacity
Volunteers to collect data Infrastructure Specialists (materials engineer, urban planner, etc.)
Some financial resources Time (12 months start to finish)

Step Five: Design a Plan

Now that Community Space has done the situation and capacity analysis, it can design an initial plan to collect, manage and analyze the information that they collect.

The first part of the design will be to determine what information already exists. For example, members can see if the local government has regulations that outline the competitive selection process for such tender projects, the available budget, or similar local development planning documents. They can also determine if any others (including reporters, academics or other organizations) have done any data collection on road and other infrastructure conditions.

The second part of the design will focus on what additional information and data they will need in order to fully answer their monitoring question. This second phase is the heart of their monitoring project. The design plan that Community Space developed looks like this:

Purpose/Question What is the current process for tendering and selecting a vendor for the road project and does the resulting product meet the standards set out in the original tender notification?
Information Type
  • Quantitative Information
    • Local government budget documents and related reports
    • Structural or engineering data
  • Qualitative Information
    • Quality of materials used in repair work
Data Sources Needed
  • Procurement process documents
  • Winning bid prospectus
  • Observation documentation (pictures, video of construction)
Sample Size Entire 20 kilometer length of road
Data Analysis Engineering experts will provide majority of data analysis, with assistance from Community Space organizational staff
Using the Data – Reports and other products Anticipated products:
  • Construction analysis report
  • Advocacy Campaign to government about rehabilitation project’s good/bad outcomes to inform future procurements