By Boru Douthwaite (June 2011)
The CPWF held its first ‘Peer Assist’ evaluation BDC projects and programs on 7th and 8th June, in the beautiful Lauret, near Montpellier. Present were the three Basin Leaders from the Andes, Mekong and Nile, the CPMT and the KM team. We spent a half day on each of the three basins and the final half day discussing issues relevant to all three. The results of the evaluations will be communicated back to projects by 22 June by the Basin Leaders.
The idea of doing the Peer Assist came from the realization, after evaluating our first round of Inception Reports, that making sense of what is happening in projects and BDCs is much better done face to face than virtually, and requires a substantial investment in time. We prepared for the Peer Assist by giving ourselves four weeks to read the annual reports. We wrote our individual comments on the reports into a shared Google Doc. Basin Leaders reacted on what we wrote and we were able to provide important clarifications even before we arrived in Lauret. The Basin Leader and MT-Lead used this document to agree on priority issues to discuss during the Peer Assist.
At the end of the Peer Assist we carried out an after action review to evaluate how it went.
What we liked:
- Annual reporting: rich information provided (2x); informative; specific
- Traffic light rating and Peer Assist doc worked well
- Opportunity of in-depth review of progress with PLs before sharing with MT
- Face to Face meeting is very good, collaborative problem solving, good participation; efficient; timing worked well; nice venue
- Generally, good atmosphere; we are working as a team at different levels
- Got MT to engage with BDCs + projects
- Built rapport with BLs
- BLs on board the global program
- Participation; the interest and genuineness of everyone to learn and improve (2x)
- Openness about issues (2x)
- Good feedback; MT evaluation is helpful and insightful
- We were able to take tough decisions on important pending issues
- The Peer-Assist Process worked
- Just get on with it
- Common view with the MT about BDC progress and action points
- BDC insights into challenges + opportunities through combined AR-comments-F2F
- Confirming opportunities for cross basin exchange
- We need more frequent MT-BLs interaction
- When it comes to (some) novel, different ideas, MT needs a long time to process
What was not so good:
- Resources (time) is limited; there is so much to do
- Too many materials to read and really digest
- Reporting format is repetitive and should be adjusted; Consolidate communication and information activities
- Not much feedback/ comments/ suggestions from other basins. What does this mean?
- Over emphasis on concerns
- BLs need to also evaluate MT if honest dialogue is going to be possible (360 degree evaluation idea)
- Unresolved issues (parking lot)
- While our processes are improving there is still lots of room for improvement
- Balancing great ideas, interests, and time of people
- Stop talking of strategies, just get on with it
- Start with small, concrete things
- Looking forward to seeing the Peer Assist done for all 6 basins; How to do this efficiently with 6 basins?
- TWGs’ relevance to basins still very tenuous