Client

United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)

Challenge

KNOWFOR (“Improving the way knowledge on forests is understood and used internationally”) is a DFID funded partnership program that seeks to improve the use of forest knowledge by decision makers across the sector. KNOWFOR  brings together the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Bank Program of Forests (PROFOR).

The original M&E framework failed to show how these three partners were improving their understanding of how knowledge travelled through networks, how audiences interacted with knowledge and what other factors influenced the use of knowledge.

Quite early on it was evident that the partners were all doing good work, but we had no way of proving it, because they were unable to report against the log frame indicators as they were …   We didn’t have the tools, processes and capacity to plan for, monitor and learn from our knowledge sharing and [determine] if uptake occurred (Centre for International Forestry Research program member)

As a result, in the first annual review of KNOWFOR recommended that a new M&E framework be developed so that such work could be captured.

Solution

Clear Horizon facilitated the co-design of an M&E framework that was would produce the information partners needed to understand why knowledge uptake and use was proving successful. This involved a participatory process that focused on understanding what would motivate partners to collect and use program monitoring data as well as what DFID needed to demonstrate progress. 

I am definitely not an M&E specialist and I felt quite out of my depth. But we held our first skype call with Clear Horizon…and I immediately felt at very home and in safe hands because it was a conversation that was very clear and there was no jargon. It was pitched at the right level for me to understand and I thought these people know what they are talking about (DFID program manager)

Clear Horizon’s approach blended innovative design approaches, monitoring tools and aggregation techniques to produce a stream-lined M&E framework that enabled common reporting of key measures across partner organisations, while offering the flexibility partners needed to make the monitoring system useful for them. The framework has enabled KNOWFOR partners to demonstrate their influence on decision-makers/practitioners. But more importantly the use-orientation and Clear Horizon’s close engagement with partners through the framework implementation has changed partners attitudes to M&E and it is now seen as central to project design and organisational learning.

As a client, I am very happy with the work that Clear Horizon has been doing for us and we have a very good and open relationship. I would say that it has been exceptionally good value for money in that it has helped us to turn the program around from scoring a low performance score in the first year…it (the score) has steadily gone up and I think the real achievement has been that the program has been able to win a two-year cost-extension.

In a nutshell, the work with Clear Horizon has been really pivotal in giving focus and bringing together what the three partners have in common. We went from at the beginning a program of three completely separate entities…under one programmatic banner, to a program where partners interact with each other regularly and are very much united (DFID program member).