By Florence Mbabazi
Instituted in 2017, the Directorate of Monitoring, Evaluation and Inspection (DMEI), in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is mandated to monitor and evaluate government policies, programs and projects across Ministries, Departments and other Public Institutions. This mandate is ensured through generating evidence (eg. data) on government interventions, good practices, challenges, lessons learnt, and disseminating these to the relevant stakeholders.
However, to fully meet the objectives of DMEI a strategic communication function needs to be formulated. Therefore, DMEI realised a need to deliberately form a team of specialists to be in charge of reporting and disseminating the monitoring, evaluation and inspection results. The design of a country-level Communications Strategy was supported by Twende Mbele – a multi-country peer-learning initiative aiming at strengthening use of monitoring & evaluation systems, processes and results to improve performance and accountability of African governments.
A journey towards the communication strategy
Under the DMEI, the Evaluation Communications Team (ECT) has been working with Twende Mbele to discern different stakeholder needs, and strategies for engagement so as to best build this results-orientation. The first result of this work has been the development of a Communication Strategy that outlines;
- objectives of communication (broadly for the Directorate and for each campaign),
- target audience and key messages,
- channels of communication for effective delivery of the intended messages by each given audience,
- modes of communication,
- personnel responsible for implementing the communications strategy.
Further, we want to work with other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the public to;
- increase awareness of the evaluation process, the results and the actions being taken,
- gain support for government changes resulting from the evaluation
- facilitate stakeholder input into the evaluation process.
Achieving our objectives through implementing the Communications Strategy, we will be able to foster DMEI’s work guiding policy formulation and implementation, improving service delivery, and appropriate resource allocation.
Finding the Audience
The focus of communication actions depends on the nature of the targeted audience and their influence in bringing about the desired changes. The OPM has a wide-range of audiences to communicate information and results with, including citizens, policy makers, and legislators, institutions of learning, researchers, civil society organizations, and other partners. Messaging and communication channels/formats for the different types of stakeholders are tailored according to audience needs based on orientation, perception and influence towards government business.
Communications functions integral for improving engagement with non-traditional actors, for example, reaching out to CSOs to review the National Public Policy on M&E to ascertain its responsiveness to equity and capacity needs of non-government actors. Other, more participatory approaches are already underway, such as Baraza, which are community engagement fora which has been found to be effective in generating feedback on service delivery for improvement.
In the same custom, the audience is the basis for the decisions on the communication channels and tools used in the process of transmitting the intended messages. Again, the diversity of stakeholder requires the ECT to be flexible and adaptable to differing needs and to take a learning approach to communications.
The ECT takes lead in evaluation communication process and at the end of the year will embark on evaluating the communication approaches used. Evaluation of the communication strategy is done retrospectively by reflecting on the objectives that were set during the design of the strategy and measuring performance against them. For instance, OPM will assess the change in policy formulation, service delivery, political support, resource allocation among others, against the initial communication objectives.
Lessons for future success
It is central that the initiators of an effective communication strategy provide a better capacitated to further communication efforts. Additionally, building the capacity of multiple stakeholder groups (particularly working with the media on evaluation) to strengthen their understanding and skills, will also be required. It can be observed that the limited participation in capacity building activities has resulted in weak ownership on some interventions.
For more information on the work of the DMEI or communications in the OPM M&E please contact;
- Acting Director M&E-Mr. Timothy Lubanga
- Acting Assistant Commissioner M&E- Mr.Abdul Muwanika
- Information Scientist M&E Mr. Joseph Muserero
- Twende Mbele National Coordinator M&E-Ms. Doris Kembabazi
- Information Systems Officer M&E- Ms.Florence Mbabazi