The first sessions of today were very focused on participatory monitoring and evaluation. This vital component of GFP programming is something most of the participants at the Advanced Training had previously requested more in-depth knowledge of. Working in countries from Europe, Africa, and Asia, the sheer variety of experiences provides huge potential for horizontal learning.

For that reason, today’s sessions consisted both of vertical learning, where selected staff of GFP Headquarters went through overarching themes and stages of the process. The GFP Pioneers already know what an indicator is. This session was designed in order to help them understand more about how indicators are created, measured, and analysed in order to find out what happened during the programme.

Moreover, the sessions also consisted of horizontal learning, where the Pioneers shared their successes and challenges. That is, the Pioneers briefly presented the conflicts they were addressing, explained why they had selected the impact and outcome indicators they did, and collectively discussed the results. The diversity of the Pioneers, the conflicts they are addressing, and the contexts within which they work made this a valuable and informative learning experience for all participants.

A large part of today’s sessions was also dedicated to sharing challenges the Pioneers had faced in the process of monitoring and evaluating the effects of their programmes. The Pioneers were encouraged to bring up these problems, reflect on them, and suggest ways through which they can be overcome in the future. This collective learning procedure engaged many of the Pioneers and provided several suggestions as to how current participatory evaluation practices can be further improved and how credible evidence of positive change recorded.

Finally, the Pioneers discussed different methods of data collection, such as surveys and focus groups. Again, sharing of successes and failures contributed to horizontal learning of best practices: which method is suitable in what context. This session also involved discussions of different types of questions, open and closed, and suggestions of how to rephrase certain questions in order to properly evaluate the effects of the programmes according to the indicators.

After an intense first half of the day, the Pioneers then made their way to the sports hall in Sport City to experiment with some new sport-based and art-based games. Stay tuned for more updates on what the Pioneers are up to during Advanced Training.