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Quantified qualitative monitoring

Published on: 04/03/2013

An innovative methodology is the Methodology for Participatory Assessment or MPA. The MPA was originally developed by IRC and WSP to quantify qualitative performance evaluations of community-managed water services and sanitation services. The methodology uses scenario scales on which representative community groups score the quality of programme planning and execution against service performance. This enables both communities and programmes to compare the quality of implementation with the quality of service delivery afterwards, and use the data to make improvements.

WSP used the MPA to investigate the links between demand-responsive and gender- and poor- inclusive programme approaches and subsequent service performance. The study revealed statistically significant relationships between quality of project implementation and subsequent service delivery. More local planning decisions by local women and men and more representative, accountable and well-trained local management, gave better performance results 3-25 years later. Thereafter the MPA was used mainly for programme evaluation. Validation of the methodology can be found in Technical paper 38. 

The methodology is now a participatory tool to monitor qualitative performance quantitatively. Monitoring can be both over time and across locations. MPA was therefore renamed QIS, or Qualitative Information System.  It is now used in large sanitation and hygiene programmes at country level (Bangladesh) and across countries (Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam). Indicators and scales are developed with staff in workshops.

Background information and materials referred to in the article:
  • An innovative methodology is the Methodology for Participatory Assessment or MPA
  • Validation of the methodology can be found in Technical paper 38
  • MPA is now used in large sanitation and hygiene programmes at country level (Bangladesh) and across countries

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