Activity Monitoring and Performance Systems
Knowledge and expertise
The staff of John Fargher + Associates demonstrate the knowledge and expertise required to meet the activity monitoring and performance systems needs of private sector and donor clients. John Fargher’s post-graduate management qualifications provide him with advanced skills and knowledge in the methodologically rigorous collection of evidence and use of program theory as part of activity monitoring and performance management. John is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the Australasian Evaluation Society. He is committed to adhering to the ethical standards established by those international professional bodies for the conduct of evaluations.
John has graduate and post-graduate qualifications in science (BAgSc 1980) and resource economics (MNatRes 1996) that required presentation of theses prepared with rigorous methodology, systematic collection and statistical analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and strategic analysis. As Team Leader on the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (VAMESP, 2004-2008) John worked with the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment through the development of, and response to, the Paris Declaration (February 2005). He particularly supported national and OECD efforts relating to the commitments on Managing for Results and Mutual Accountability. This included active contributions to developing the Hanoi Core Statement – the first national response to the Paris Declaration (September 2005). In this role he developed additional knowledge and expertise on international best practice in managing for development results. Through these networks he became an active member of the ADB Management for Development Results Community of Practice.
John has applied this knowledge and expertise through leading and participating in all phases of activity monitoring and program performance system development – from scoping (e.g. monitoring system for World Bank Pastoral Development Project – 2003), design (e.g. monitoring system for Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction – 2011), implementation (e.g. designing and implementing performance assessment framework for Caribbean program 2011-2014) and analysis, reporting and communication (e.g. implementing semi-annual monitoring of capacity development in 13 national PNG agencies by 10 Australian Government agencies with inputs from > 50 advisers and 120 PNG counterparts as part of the PNG Strongim Gavman Program 2010-2012). In addition, John has gained knowledge and expertise specific to AusAID as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the M&E Expert Panel (MEEP 2009-2012). John is now one of 3 country facilitators for the AusAID Evaluation Capacity Building Program (Vanuatu, 2012-ongoing) which includes support to AusAID program managers supervising activity monitoring (e.g. Vanuatu Australia Police Project) and review or development of program performance systems.
John works with communities and counterparts using participatory techniques, which support the rigorous methodology that is the foundation for all performance management systems. This knowledge and experience has been applied in practice on design, monitoring, implementation, and supervision missions in more than 30 countries over the past 25 years.
John has a demonstrated ability to produce methodologically sound performance data that is useful for understanding and improving program performance and feeding into results reporting. He has knowledge, skills and experience in systematic collection and analysis of data. This was one of the reasons he was selected to be the Team Leader of the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (VAMESP, 2004-2008); AusAID M&E Expert Panel (2009-2012) and Vanuatu Country Program Performance Management Help Desk (2012 – ongoing). John applies formal training in statistics and economics to collection and analysis of data (see work sample). He worked with statistical agencies in several countries (e.g. Vietnam, PNG) and contributed to the design of household living standard surveys to collect monitoring data to support program improvement. John supported counterparts in China (e.g. World Bank Pastoral Development Program – 2003), Indonesia (e.g. Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction – 2011), PNG (e.g. Strongim Gavman Program – 2010-2011) and Vietnam (e.g. Quang Ngai Rural Development Program – 2002) to collect and use methodologically robust monitoring data to support management for development results. John uses his economics skills to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternatives to ensure benefits of information exceed the costs of collection and analysis.
In addition to his technical knowledge and skills, John has strong interpersonal and facilitation expertise that is informed by post-graduate training in human behaviour, organisational change and strategy execution. Those skills are one reason why he was selected as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the AusAID M&E Expert Panel (MEEP: 2009-2012). Under the MEEP John provides help-desk mentoring and coaching in performance management to senior AusAID staff (including one FADG), country teams (e.g. currently Caribbean, Latin America, Pacific Regional and Vanuatu); specific design teams (e.g. Cambodia Ending Violence Against Women, Indonesian Higher Education and Indonesia Climate Change) and specific initiatives (e.g. Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction).
John has formal training in statistics and biometry, and has applied these skills in the collection and analysis of data in developing countries since 1980. He has championed the use of goal attainment scaling to enable statistical analysis of qualitative data such as stakeholder perceptions. He has worked with statistical agencies in several countries and contributed to the design of household living standard surveys and the design of statistical components of systems to monitor performance of national poverty reduction and growth strategies. John has worked with donor groups to design, implement and analyse cost effective monitoring for joint portfolio performance reviews. Since 2009 he has worked extensively in Indonesia (5 evaluations, 2 designs, 2 peer reviews), PNG (5 evaluations, 1 design, 2 peer reviews) and Cambodia and Vietnam to support local teams to collect, analyse and use field data and statistics. Before then, John supported counterparts in China, Indonesia, PNG and Vietnam, to use statistics to inform aid effectiveness policy and management for development results at activity, program and national scales. John uses his economics skills to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternatives to ensure benefits of information exceed the costs of collection and analysis.
John has a demonstrated ability to design and use M&E systems, using program logic/theory of change as a basis, for projects or programs in resource-constrained settings. For example, because of AusAID resource constraints, the monitoring system he designed as part of the Caribbean program performance assessment framework (2011) used meta-data from major partners such as the World Bank and CARICOM to monitor change at intermediate outcome level. Similarly, as team leader for the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (VAMESP, 2004-2008) John worked with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to design monitoring tools for disbursement, processes such as procurement and safeguard clearance as well as performance that fitted the capacity and budget constraints in provincial agencies. The effectiveness of this approach led to the monitoring system being institutionalised – it now operates throughout Vietnam in all 63 provinces, covering more than 500 ODA projects.
John has facilitated use of program theory to inform design and use of monitoring systems at country program (e.g. Tonga Economic and Public Sector Governance, 2013; Caribbean program, 2011); sector (e.g. Water and Sanitation under WASH Budget Measure – 2009; or rural development in eastern Indonesia – 2011); initiative (e.g. Timor-Leste Seeds of Life III – 2011/12, Indonesia Tertiary Education Design – 2012, Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Program – 2004-2008); and activity (e.g. guidance note for sub-national programs in PNG – 2010) levels. He has provided technical program theory support for activity monitoring as a member of a Technical Advisory group (e.g. Timor-Leste Seeds of Life III – 2011/12); for the design of monitoring systems (e.g. Vietnam climate change strategic assessment – 2011); and as a designer of new investments (e.g. Cambodia Community Justice Assistance Partnership, Mining for Development Community and Social Development Program and Indonesia Tertiary Education Program – 2011/12). John has also provided program theory capacity development for AusAID staff in the Caribbean (2012), PNG (2010 PNG Sub-National Strategy), Vanuatu (AusAID 2012 Evaluation Capacity Building Program) and Vietnam (2012 QAI support and 2011 inputs to Climate Change Strategic Analysis and Delivery Strategy).
John has a demonstrated ability to work effectively across cultures, communicate complex concepts simply, and facilitate learning from M&E findings with stakeholders. This was one of the reasons he was selected as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the AusAID M&E Expert Panel (2009-2012). John has worked since 1980 in cross-cultural environments – in more than 30 countries. His recent experience includes ASEAN, the Caribbean, China, the Middle East and Melanesia. This experience and his approach to partnership enable him to quickly develop constructive working relationships – whether for short-term supervision missions or longer-term design and evaluation missions. He approach is informed by history and cultural relations that enable him to adapt work programs and tools to each context. For example in Vietnam, he adapted monitoring systems to suit the underlying Confucian culture by ensuring the supply side was responsive to a structured and hierarchical demand side of management. He was coach/mentor to senior AusAID staff in 2011 and provides help desk support to design teams in Indonesia (2011-12) and performance management teams in Vanuatu (2012-0ngoing). The Independent Completion Report for VAMESP II identified John’s ability to gain the trust of national ministry counterparts as one of the key factors in the project’s effectiveness. He works with communities and counterparts using participatory monitoring techniques, which support the rigorous methodology that is the foundation for good monitoring systems.
John demonstrates understanding of the operational context of international development, and experience with a range of aid modalities and delivery partners. He is familiar with recent developments at Busan as well as practical application of the Accra Agenda for Action and the Paris Declaration and their implications for performance management. John contributed to the early drafting and review of the Paris Declaration (sections on Managing for Results and Mutual Accountability). He was actively involved with OECD-DAC and Government of Vietnam in the drafting of the Hanoi Core Statement – the first national response to the Paris Declaration. John contributed to development and implementation of World Bank/OECD-DAC tools to monitor implementation of Paris Declaration commitments. For 4 years John led VAMESP (2004-2008), resulting in harmonisation of donor and Government monitoring systems for ODA in Vietnam. John has experience with a range of modalities: projects (e.g. monitoring system for Quang Ngai Rural Development Program – 2002); facilities (e.g. monitoring system for Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction – 2011); SWAps (e.g. performance framework for Vietnam Education SWAp – 2006) and programs (e.g. monitoring system for Water and Sanitation budget measure – 2009). His developing country experience is gained through a variety of donors (ADB, AusAID, DFID, GIZ, USAID, World Bank).
John has experience in one or more of the regions in which the Australian aid program operates including Africa, Middle East, Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean. He has worked in ASEAN (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam); Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe); the Caribbean and South America (Barbados, Belize, Chile, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Trinidad); China; Europe (Greece, Romania, France, Turkey, United Kingdom) the Pacific (PNG, Samoa, Vanuatu and by desk Solomon Islands); and the Middle East (Armenia, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Yemen). John’s developing country experience has ranged from village and household level (e.g. designing and implementing surveys in China, Tanzania or Vietnam) through national level (e.g. monitoring capacity development for Government of Vietnam) to regional and program levels (e.g. Caribbean performance framework). He has worked in conflict-affected areas (e.g. Aceh, Papua, Mauritania, Iraq); fragile states (e.g. Timor-Leste, PNG) and the poorest areas of middle-income countries (e.g. Nusa Tenggara Timur, Papua Barat and Tay Nguyen).