I have used the Value for Money Grid recently to monitor one of our governance projects in Uganda. It was a great experience to hear individuals share what they feel about how ActionAid Uganda's investments in their communities.
The process engaged beneficiaries using the Value for Money (VFM) tool; to capture their feel about the project on their life so far; most especially on: campaigning; trainings and dialogue activities. This enabled measurement of value for money on activities that the beneficiaries have engaged with. The VFM tool was used to give an indication of the outcomes that are attributable to the project, asking questions like: How such engagements have been beneficial with an estimation in their perspective of cost (hence an Indirect cost benefit analysis); to describe intended outcomes and assess the worthiness of project implementation and investment thus far.
While conducting the monitoring exercise; efforts were made towards assessing value for money of the project thus far; clearly showing whether efforts of the project are worth it. This has been conducted in Pader; and Katakwi districts, Ogom and Kapujan Sub Counties respectively.
This process has revealed that; Budget monitoring processes, training of citizen journalists and dialogues within the community are worth the investment as narrated by the community and indicated in the grids plotted during Focus Group Discussions. This indicates positive progress towards achieving the intended impact attributable to the project activities.
In this particular community; the FGD participants indicated that; the community stores are not in use because: (i) the location does not favor the community, it is said that; it is located far from the community; hence limiting access. The participants shared that; this store was located where it is because of individual and political interests; (ii) the group additionally added that; the store was not their primary need. It was indicated that; sensitizing the community about the need for bulk stocking and why it is important should have been the first step. This was reported not to have been initially done.
In a nut shell, I strongly believe that the continuous use of such tools will strengthen programming in ActionAid; if the results are put to use; and or implemented. See attached pictures.