Short Virtual Presentation & Digital Poster 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

Building capacity in monitoring, evaluation and reporting for more effective waterway management (#15)

Trent Wallis 1 , Claire Feniuk 2 , Tony Gardner 3
  1. RM Consulting Group (RMCG) Pty Ltd, Torquay, Victoria, Australia
  2. RMCG Pty Ltd, Camberwell, Victoria, Australia
  3. West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Leongatha, Victoria, Australia

Why did you do it?

‘MERI’ (Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement) fills many with dread: the process can be overly bureaucratic, and reporting requirements can feel clunky or confusing. Many project managers end up frustrated they haven’t had the opportunity to tell the real story of their work, it’s achievements and how it contributes to their organisation’s strategic objectives. As a result, MERI can become a burden and a ‘box ticking’ exercise.

What did you do? 

RMCG was engaged by the West Gippsland CMA to undertake a mid-term review of their:

  • Regional Waterway Strategy Implementation Plan
  • 11 funded waterway projects
  • RWS MERI plan.

RMCG used a collaborative approach, aimed at building internal capacity in MERI by working closely with the West Gippsland CMA’s project managers and teams throughout the project. 

What have you learned? 

  • Articulating clear strategic objectives is critical. This builds line-of-sight between project activities and overarching catchment-scale outcomes.
  • Tools like program logics are helpful to outline what you are doing and why, and to identify assumptions and knowledge gaps. These don’t have to involve a fancy template – a whiteboard sketch can be enough!
  • collaborative approach to MERI planning helps build project teams into the process – ensuring that project design, delivery and monitoring is grounded, practical and evidence-based.

Why did it matter?  

The project demonstrated how building internal capacity for MERI can help regional waterway managers to:

  • Improve strategic planning and project delivery
  • Demonstrate impact to investors
  • Make a strong case for future investment.
Download Full Paper