April 30, 2012
After a busy weekend, I just received an email today from my BOCAIP coordinator regarding my work schedule when I am in Gaborone. Considering the fact that I will only have 14 work days, I must admit that I first felt a bit overwhelmed by the workload. I anticipate that I may end up working over the weekends, which I don’t mind at all. If I can be of any use to BOCAIP; I will feel good about it.
Based on my experience with the CREATE program evaluation, I think program evaluation & monitoring is something that requires a lot of careful planning including development of evaluation tools to ensure success. At this time, I am not certain if those tools are available at the BOCAIP site or if they expect me to develop those tools. I will bring some of my tools and resources with me, and will adjust them as needed when I am there and when I actually get a chance to get a better understanding of what their priorities are for their program evaluation. I must say that based on my e-mail exchanges with the BOCAIP coordinator, it seems like my mandate is shaping up nicely, and is becoming a more concrete work plan rather than a general one. This gives me an opportunity to do a little bit of planning on my own and some research on non-profit program evaluation.
When I saw my work schedule, I was very impressed by the careful planning that went into it. It seems to me that BOCAIP has good systems in place to keep track of its program and its progress. I noticed that I will be traveling to five different towns/cities from north to south, east to west of Botswana to collect data. I will interview all parties involved including orphans, counselors, caregivers, officers etc. From the program evaluation point of view, this is great because it will give me a good sense of different stakeholders’ needs, expectations and challenges that they may be having and that the program could potentially address.
Since I am on a mission to do my vacation at the same time, from a personal point of view, this is an excellent opportunity for me to get to visit all these places and to get to know the locals at a personal level as being one of them as opposed to visiting them as a tourist. I used the Google map to map the towns/cities that I will visit, if interested, click on the link. It is pretty impressive, eh?
Of course, all the traveling will require a budget from the BOCAIP, and I feel bad that they will be spending money for me to do that traveling considering how tight of a budget they have, and this puts a bit more pressure on me in terms of my own expectations from my work, the stakes are high and I have to do my best to produce some tangible results that they can use for their program.
Since I feel a need to put things in perspective, I will say that this is in a way no different than any project that I do in my daily work so everything will be fine.