Our vision: Environmental, social and political accountability of development cooperation
We address questions like:
- At which analytical level should the results of a specific development project be assessed? Is an impact assessment with proper attribution needed, does a plausibility analysis help or are participatory approaches helpful?
- How can projects be managed, planned, monitored and verified in places with limited access for international staff and limited freedom of movement?
- How can technologies make monitoring more cost effective?
- How can social and environmental risks of small infrastructure projects be avoided and good construction practice be ensured?
- How can beneficiaries be empowered through participatory monitoring and evaluation methods? How to create feedback loops that directly connects project performance with community expectations?
- How can social performance assessment increase the impact of microfinance and its ability to meet clients needs?
Examples of our work:
Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for a Refugee Fund in Uganda
Context: The Refugee Response Fund is a programme that aims at improving basic social services in and around refugee settlements through projects implemented by international NGOs. Since specific measures and locations were not known, an ESMF was required to ensure management of environmental and social risks and impacts of the fund and all of its projects in compliance with international and national standards.
Services: We elaborated the ESMF, which included identifying national legal requirements and analyzing gaps to international standards, as well as providing guidance and tools for the Fund on how to address key E&S issues. In addition, we drafted two Environmental and Social Management Plans (for school construction and WASH measures) to present E&S management measures related to construction and operation of small-scale infrastructure
Approach: We closely cooperated with a local environment consulting firm and adjusted the results to the requirements of a Refugee Fund. We and the consultancy undertook field visits to project regions and possible project sites and extensive stakeholder consultations to comprehensively identify relevant risks.
Toolbox for Remote Management and Monitoring of Development Projects
Context: Managing and monitoring projects and verifying information is challenging when security risks are high and travel is restricted. New technological solutions have the potential to make communication easier and information more reliable. At the same time, local project staff and the project target group can be important players in ensuring project success.
Services: We analysed best practise and developed a toolbox that includes more than 60 examples of innovative approaches to remote monitoring and management. The toolbox also provides guidance on opportunities and risks, remote project cycle management, managing stakeholder conflicts, and addressing technology-related legal and regulatory issues.
Approach: We assembled approaches used in the private sector, the construction sector, development cooperation, NGOs and universities. At several stages of the study, the client was involved through participative workshops and results were presented among a wide range of staff from the client.
SDG contribution tool: Analysing the impacts of a project portfolio in Albania
Context: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the guiding framework for all future development activities. However, there is not yet a recognized methodology on how to estimate the SDG impact of development projects.
Services: We developed a tool to estimate the potential impact of development projects “ex-ante” on the SDGs that takes into account strength and directness of the impact as well as the relevance of the goal to the country. Supported by local expert we applied the tool to the German Development Cooperation portfolio in Albania.
Approach: We based the methodology on a MDG methodology developed by University of Göttingen. The evaluation reviewed project appraisal reports and research on country conditions. We validated the results by drawing on internal expertise and by conducting expert interviews.