Background: The Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) is an Australian Government initiative that aims to build the capacity of partners to plan and conduct quality sport-based activities that address locally identified development priorities. It started in 2006 and was funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and delivered by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). ASOP Pacific Country Programs are delivered in partnership with government and civil society partners in seven countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The ASC engaged Sustineo to assess the relevance and effectiveness of ASOP in the Pacific by considering the efficiency of ASOP program management, its impact, and the sustainability of the program beyond its end date.
Approach: In Phase 1, planning and development phase, Sustineo developed a comprehensive Research and Evaluation Plan (REP). The REP was developed through an extensive process of consultation with the ASC, including numerous meetings and workshops with ASC country consultants, ASC research staff, and ASOP Partners, and scoping missions to seven Pacific countries. Sustineo worked closely with the ASC to strengthen existing project and program-level monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
In Phase 2 (the implementation) Sustineo undertook numerous field visits to work directly with in-country partners. Initially the monitoring frameworks for each site were collaboratively developed and refined with in-country partners. Following this, Sustineo designed and delivered participatory monitoring training in each of the seven countries. This approach combined logic models with strengths-based approaches and participatory evaluation.
This strengths-based approach began by exploring the information partner organisations already used, which aspects of monitoring they found easy, and which they found difficult. Sustineo developed a variation of the World Café technique to encourage discussion and analysis. The Sustineo facilitator first introduced the draft logic models and monitoring questions; they then facilitated a discussion into how existing data could be used, and whether additional methods were required.
Outcome: Participatory monitoring training was delivered to ASOP partner organisations, communities and volunteers in each country. This built the capacity of partners and beneficiaries to monitor the outcomes they considered to be most important. The participants from partner organisations and communities then continued to develop the monitoring and evaluation framework, and select the most appropriate tools for monitoring and evaluation.
The results of Sustineo’s efforts was the development of baseline information on the status of ASOP monitoring by the numerous partners across the seven Pacific countries, and the introduction of tailored tools and techniques that were adopted for the ongoing monitoring of the ASOP program.