The MLE CoP, founded in 2015 by the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA), brings together M&E staff from CIP and partners that are members of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative platform. The CoP was founded to spearhead the harmonization of monitoring data collection across project and partners, and has since its inaugural meeting held in Nairobi sought to equip members to “get better together” at the process of collecting and analyzing key information/data needed to report progress in project indicators. After several discussions, both online and during the annual meetings, members of the team produced a Manual with tools and techniques for collecting monitoring data. The manual, titled “Tools and Techniques for Monitoring Key Indicators of Sweetpotato Interventions in Sub-Sahara Africa: A Practioner’s Manual” was launched at the 2017 annual meeting in Maputo, Mozambique.
This year (2018), the CoP members returned to Nairobi, on February 18, to assess progress made in using the MLE Manual since its launch and to discuss the successes and challenges encountered in using it for M&E data collection. Unlike previously, the 2018 meeting was held for only one day to provide more time for Stata training that followed immediately, and that was aimed at harmonizing the analysis of indicator and other M&E data. Presentations included use of the manual for collection of: baseline and endline survey data in Ethiopia and Tanzania, respectively; vine dissemination data in Kenya and Rwanda; DVM registration and monitoring in Burkina Faso; and the use Open Data Kit for baseline and monitoring surveys in Mozambique and Rwanda. The advantages of the manual were presented, challenges highlighted and opportunities for improvement of the tool to resolve the remaining challenges discussed.
A total of 29 participants attended this year’s MLE CoP meeting and had very positive feedback on the topics covered and presentations made. One participant said, “all the topics presented this year were very good and relevant, and the sequencing of the topics made the meeting very exciting and captivating”. Another participant remarked, “this meeting was short but very rich in content. It has been great listening to different experiences on the use of the Manual”. These, and other, feedback and sentiments were backed by the very positive post-meeting evaluation scores. All (100%) of the participants were mostly or completely satisfied with quality and content of presentations and with the organization of the meeting, while 93% indicated that the meeting somewhat or completely met their expectations. In terms of sessions, 83% of the participants were mostly or completely satisfied the presentations on the use of the manual for surveys. To maintain the interest and use of the Manual, the writing team will meet soon to revise it and address the challenges users encountered.