Developing Organizational Capacity for Leadership and Monitoring and Evaluation: Southeast Asia and Africa

A SARO participant explains how observed behaviors can demonstrate the practices of a leader. {Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

In June 2010, USAID’s MEASURE Evaluation, phase III (MEval-III) launched a Leadership Development Program (LDP), led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in the Southeast Asia Regional Office (SARO) of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). IPPF is a global organization that works through a network of country member associations and select partnerships with local organizations to provide services and advocate for sexual and reproductive rights around the world.

While leadership and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) have been fundamental elements of IPPF’s strategic plan for some time, IPPF senior leaders felt that more could be done to promote and strengthen these organizational capacities. IPPF approached MEval-III to provide technical assistance to IPPF’s SARO to develop their leadership abilities around data collection and use, and to cultivate an office-wide M&E culture. To work toward these goals, the LDP responded to the following specific challenges identified by Anjali Sen, regional director of SARO, and Heidi Marriot, head of organizational learning and evaluation at IPPF-London:

  • The devalued role of M&E at SARO
  • The perception that only M&E professionals conduct M&E
  • An ongoing disconnect between data collected and decision making

Programmatic, administrative and M&E staff from SARO participated in the LDP, along with a team of senior managers from Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), India’s IPPF member association. The three teams presented results on March 30, 2011.

Based on the success of the SARO LDP, IPPF and USAID asked MSH/MEval-III to provide another LDP, this time for the Africa Regional Office (ARO) in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants again included teams from the regional office including senior staff members from the M&E, finance, programs and administration departments and one team from the local member association, Family Health Options of Kenya. The LDP launched in May 2011 and the teams presented results in March 2012.


As the global IPPF organization moves to a performance-based culture, leadership for M&E has become a core value and focus in the regions. Reporting high quality data in a timely manner throughout the Federation is the cornerstone for decision-making and measuring results.


The teams and regional directors noted specific leadership improvements, including better team work and a greater focus on achieving specific results in a time-bound period. In addition, the participants and the organizations found the tools provided in the LDP to be helpful to them in developing their 2013 annual plans.


The teams all completed and piloted M&E leadership projects in which they developed a clear understanding of their roles as leaders in the M&E cycle. Sample leadership project results include:

  • Development and piloting of a database for technical assistance trips that is linked to the budget system, and allows diverse staff members to track the technical assistance they and others on their team have provided to the member associations.
  • Development of forms and databases to maintain information about clinics and the services provided, including cross-over services between family planning and HIV/AIDS counseling, and to ensure that sex-disaggregated data is collected.

Most recently, and based on the success of the two LDPs, IPPF-ARO requested that MSH/MEval-III facilitate a Senior Leadership Forum for the executive directors of member associations throughout Africa at IPPF’s 60th anniversary conference in Johannesburg, South Africa to promote the critical nature of M&E, and their role in leading their member associations and the region in developing a culture of M&E to support the greater organization’s performance goals. This event took place on November 21 and 22, 2012, and a follow-up results workshop will take place in July of 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ongoing Impact

“One significant outcome of the LDP is that… there has been a real shift in people’s recognition of the importance of monitoring and evaluation,” Marriot said. “It’s now no longer seen as the sole responsibility of those staff or teams who are charged with monitoring and evaluation. There has been a real shift in the monitoring and evaluation culture.” 

IPPF is now a partner in USAID's Leadership, Management and Governance Project. Mr. Elly Mugumya, who represents IPPF in this partnership, has a vision to create learning centers in Africa, and later in other regions, that will specifically focus on leadership development, and bring the network of federation member associations into greater collaboration through improved knowledge management and peer association mentoring.

These two LDPs are just the beginning for a world-wide change in organizational culture.

The USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation is led by Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with Futures Group, ICF International, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, and Tulane University.



Printer Friendly VersionPDF