A massive part of a CWB trips revolves around the monitoring and evaluation of what each group does in country, monitoring what the children are learning in the way of their ABC-Ts, how the sessions are being run, and how many lives we are managing to effect.
After having done much of the M&E on 2 previous trips, I was once again put in charge of this area – however, the whole process has evolved massively in the last 12 months. It was decided early on that we needed more than one person to oversee the running of the process, and so with the help of Rachel, Sam, and our 2 local coaches: Shami and Dimpho, our mission at the start and end of each session was to assess their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and cricket by randomly sampling 3 independent children, a task easier said then done!
Over the course of the 2 weeks, this process was fine tuned, and turned into a rather slick operation (in which we became experts at head counts!!). We were also able to use the information collected to see whether our coaching was working; whether we needed to push some of the messaging further; and to distinguish which methods worked best for conveying the methods of protection from HIV/AIDS and the skills used in cricket. This allowed us, as a team, to become super efficient in conveying our ABCT’s, with most sessions revolving around 4 stations, with each one emphasising a letter – a technique, which from a quick glance on difference between pre- and post-intervention knowledge, seemed to enhance improvement.
This was particularly evident on festival day on Gabarone, which saw one child, who had taken part in a session earlier that week, not only able to name 3 skills associated with cricket, but without prompt associated them back to the HIV/AIDS messages! A moment that truly took me by surprise, and the team deserve huge credit!
As well as monitoring knowledge, each coach education session also saw names and emails collected, which will hopefully enable us, as a charity, to track their activities within the coaching domain.
Overall, the advancement of M&E has allowed us to get a true picture of how our techniques work, and allow a team to refine their work. In the longer term, it will also allow us to track our work over a sustained period, focusing on schools in which HIV/AIDS messaging may not be so strong, allowing us to structure future projects in a more efficient way.
From Botswana, over and out.
Liam (and the M&E team – Rachel, Sam, Shami and Dimpho)