Set up a system for meetings on management of and follow-up on project outputs
Sustain accountability to project stakeholders beyond project completion
The objective of this tool is to establish a system for regular management related meetings related to the project outputs, not the organization of meetings during project planning and implementation.
Establishing regular meetings with beneficiaries and other stakeholders of your project helps discussing the performance of the user committee, the quality of services or the required contributions from the community. During such meeting beneficiaries and stakeholders are informed about work of the committee, complaints can be raised and addressed and key decisions can be discussed and agreed upon. To ensure meetings will become a routine in the management and follow-up on project outputs they need to be introduced at the outset of a project and should be accompanied and monitored beyond project completion.
Purpose and link to IQC
Regular meetings with beneficiaries and project stakeholders inform them about priority issues arising from the management of a given water point, sanitation facility or dam. The same applies e.g. for meetings about the follow-up to capacity development interventions. They provide a useful tool for any management committee to improve communication and adapt its work to the needs of their customers and partners. Conflicts between a management committee and customers or county government can also be addressed at an early stage if concerns are addressed in regular intervals. As such meetings on management and follow-up of project outputs contribute to building trust and can lead to increased or sustained willingness to pay for services.
Making such meetings a routine procedure can help addressing manifold problems, including among others challenges, if:
- It is not clear how to receive and handle customer complaints
- It is not clear to whom and how customers can complain
- Some customers refuse to pay
- Some customers give bribe to get water without having paid fees
- Some customers give bribe to not to get disconnected
- Some customers do not trust the committee
- Some meter readings are tempered
- Customers do not know what the money they have to pay is for
- The money collected is not enough to pay the staff and run the water system
- Committee members take important decisions without consulting the customers
- Some committee members and staff abuse their power for private gains
1. Organize regular meetings during project implementation
Showcasing the benefits of regular meetings for the success of your project is the best way to convince those responsible for the management follow-up to continue holding them. During the planning and implementation of your project you should therefore act as a role model for organising good meetings. Proceed as follows:
- Define the meeting agenda and date in consultation with project stakeholders
- Disseminate the information about the meeting well in advance (e.g. 2 – 3 weeks before the meeting) and remind people regularly
- Hold the meeting:
- keep cultural habits in mind (in certain context you may e.g. want to start with a prayer),
- have participants sign an attendance list,
- read and confirm minutes of last meeting,
- review the agenda and add additional items as necessary,
- introduce each agenda item and facilitate discussions and decisions in which everybody with an interest can participate or voice their concerns,
- summarize discussions and guide them towards decisions,
- manage time,
- close the meeting and explain the follow-up
- Document the meeting, including all important decisions and share the minutes with the participants during your next site visit or meeting.
2. Transition the responsibility and facilitation of meetings to a designated member of the management committee
Throughout the implementation of the project you should shift the responsibility for the meetings to a designated member of the management committee. Ask them to gradually take over the tasks for the organization of the meetings listed in step 1 and support them wherever needed. Give constructive feedback to improve meeting practices.
3. Agree on frequency of meetings and support and monitor their organisation after project completion
Once a designated management committee is established you should agree with them frequently they should report on their work and consult beneficiaries and stakeholders. If possible you should attend a few the independently organized meetings. Ask the committee to share the meeting minutes with you, review them and provide comments and feedback. Ask the management committee how you can support them.