An innovative approach to measuring outcomes in Afghanistan
Client name: Helmand Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (HMEP)
Duration: 2010 – 2013
Location: Helmand, Afghanistan
Coffey developed a rigorous monitoring and evaluation solution for Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, demonstrating that robust, meaningful and sustainable evaluation is possible even in the most difficult of contexts.
Coffey was commissioned to help the numerous civilian and military agencies working in Helmand make better use of evaluation tools. The ultimate goal was to improve the effectiveness of stabilisation and development projects in the province.
Due to the number and diversity of projects and agencies in the region, many decision-makers were inadequately informed as to how one project affected the outcome of another and the overall impact of intertwining activities was not understood. There was a lack of evidence to inform decision-making on programming and policy.
To devise an evaluation solution that would work in Helmand’s challenging environment, Coffey garnered expertise in a wide range of areas, from research and survey methods to counter-insurgency theory and cultural studies. Our team dedicated weeks of work to understanding the unique context, before tackling each challenge one by one in a systematic manner.
The result was a significantly more rigorous monitoring and evaluation approach than had previously been used in Helmand or, indeed, in many other fragile, conflict-ridden environments. This rigour allowed for a high level of accuracy in measuring the impact of stabilisation and development projects and greatly improved understanding as to which donor interventions were most effective in bringing about stabilisation, countering the insurgency, and promoting the legitimacy of the Afghan government.
Key data on Helmand’s population
The program’s survey of Helmand’s population was the largest ever carried out in the province and is now a key statistical data source on Helmand. Implemented by an Afghan partner, the survey had extensive reach across the province and had been successfully administered every three months since its inception.
Help multiple agencies work together
Our solution facilitated multi-agency work and unity of effort by generating an increasingly reliable data set on Helmand’s population and providing donors with a new decision-making system. For the first time, Helmand’s numerous agencies had a common evaluation platform from which to work. Instead of measuring the outputs of isolated strands of intervention, the program looked at how progress in one strand (education, for instance) related to progress in another (such as health) and how these interventions worked together.
Make data accessible
To ensure that the information gathered was easy to access and analyse, Coffey designed a user-friendly website and database to display the collected information. Users could generate graphs and data in real-time, as well as view timelines to see the progress of certain interventions and progress. Innovative mapping features were also designed so users could visualise the linkages between various types of donor activity and see how dependent they were to one another.
The follow-on to the program, HMEP-Future, was funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Provincial Reconstruction Team and managed by Coffey from 2013 to 2014.