Monitoring CT Programs

Monitoring (general monitoring)

Monitoring plays an important role in all CTs, providing officials with information on how funds are spent, how well the program is carrying out its duties, and whether and how many beneficiaries are being reached.

Establishing a strong management information system (MIS) early in a CT’s life is critical to the program’s success and its potential to scale up.

Programs that use manual information systems or other relatively inefficient systems are unable to grow in the way that a program with an appropriate electronic system can.

  • For instance, Kenya’s CT for OVC was slowed down by its MIS for a time because the system was not designed to handle data for a program as large as Kenya’s became. Its MIS eventually began to create implementation bottlenecks which had to be addressed.
  • Many of the small CTs in SSA have monitoring systems with at least some manual components.
  • For instance, at payment distributions of the Lesotho CGP, a payment coupon and receipt are stamped in a Child Grant Coupon Book which identifies the household through a unique number (Blank 2008). Similarly, most documentation of Zambia’s pilot SCTs has been filed manually. However, a beneficiary database and payment registrar are completed on computers. This information is transported to and from districts and headquarters on CDs (Republic of Zambia 2008).
  • Other programs rely on computer databases that may or may not be able to communicate with other monitoring systems.

Given limited monitoring capacity, Africa's CTs should often focus on primary monitoring priorities while working to improve capacity at identified bottlenecks.

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In this situation, the program should focus on primary monitoring priorities instead of requiring exhaustive tests at all levels of the system, while working to improve capacity at identified bottlenecks.

Stop-gap monitoring should be put in place when necessary as program capacity is developed.

  • This approach has been used successfully by Ethiopia’s PSNP, which established initial monitoring processes, such as quarterly external roving financial audits and an Information Center, that have provided important information to program officials while other existing monitoring processes are being improved (World Bank 2010c). Capacity building in monitoring has been an ongoing process for the program.

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As technological capacity increases in Sub-Saharan Africa, MIS are increasingly being designed with web-based capabilities that enable officials to enter data at decentralized levels without having to transmit information physically.

Kenya’s HSNP has established a web-based system that should be capable of coordinating with other databases in the future (Hunger Safety Net Program). This is an important feature the government can benefit from as it pursues its interest in creating a coherent social protection strategy.

Senegal’s CF-SCT is on the receiving side of similar benefits; it is making use of a monitoring system already developed by the Nutrition Enhancement Program (World Bank 2009b).

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Designing MIS that are able to communicate with other programs’ systems can encourage intersectoral coordination and program efficiencies.

In Eritrea’s RBF, information on health centers will be entered into the project’s MIS and into a broader level health MIS that follows the health facilities (Ayala Consulting 2009).

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It is important that MIS are adaptable to future program expansion and integration with other systems. Compatible designs save both financial and human resources.