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Operational Design (Activity and Program)


Knowledge and expertise

The staff of John Fargher + Associates have relevant qualifications that demonstrate knowledge of aid programming and design as well as being appropriate to the operational design needs of donor and private sector clients. John Fargher has formal qualifications in agricultural science (BAgSc 1980), economics (MNatRes (Economics) 1996) and management (Advanced Management Program 1998). John has completed specialist training in evaluation at Oxford University (1998), with the World Bank Institute (2004) and the japan International Cooperation Agency (2004). Nicole Motteux has formal qualifications in participatory social development (PhD 2002) and social science (BSocSci (Hons) 1995). Nicole received additional tuition as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies with Robert Chambers (3 month advanced theory of Participatory Rural Appraisal and other community engagement techniques).

John’s post-graduate management qualifications provide him with advanced skills and knowledge in the practical use of program theory as part of strategic planning and operational design. He has applied this understanding through leading design teams and managing development projects. These skills have been applied in practice on design, evaluation, supervision and implementation missions in more than 30 countries over the past 25 years.

Nicole’s expertise includes linking program theory to on-the-ground situations enabling relevant and effective inputs and outputs to be delivered and efficient monitoring, evaluation, learning and reporting to be applied. He has a keen focus on the management disciplines of strategic development, planning, organisational resources and implementation coordination and he knows how to help teams adopt these to ensure service delivery results.


Demonstrated experience

The staff of John Fargher + Associates have demonstrated experience appropriate to the operational design needs of donor clients and the private sector. Since 2009 John Fargher has contributed to 6 designs for AusAID (Africa Food Security Initiative Phase III, 2013; Cambodia Ending Violence Against Women, 2012; Mining for Development Community and Social Development Program, 2012; Cambodia Law and Justice, 2011; and Vietnam Climate Change Strategic Analysis 2011) and the World Bank (Lake Aibi Protection Project, 2010) and is now working in Indonesia as a design facilitator under the new Internal Facilitated Design approached being trialled by AusAID under the direction of Dr Sue Dawson (Indonesia Higher Education and Indonesia Climate Change Framework). Prior to his long-term team leader role in Vietnam, John was a member of World Bank design teams preparing rural development and sustainable livelihoods investments in China (US$50m Pastoral Development Project – 2002-2003), Tanzania (US$6m Coastal Zone Livelihoods Project 2003), Armenia (US$35m Natural Resource Management and Poverty Reduction Program – 2000-2001) and Turkey (US$185m Eastern Anatolia Watershed Management Program – 1991-1992). In all these designs he developed or provided advice on approaches to aid delivery, implementation options and management arrangements as well as costing models.

John Fargher has appraised activity design documents to ensure they are technically sound and meet AusAID's quality criteria. For example, between 2012 and 2010 John was the independent technical reviewer for quality at entry (QAE) assessments of designs for the Laos – Australia Rural Livelihoods Program (sustainable economic development); Indonesia AIPD-Rural (rural development), PNG Provincial and District Support Program (decentralised governance) and Timor-Leste Seeds of Life III (agricultural productivity). In 2010 he was a member of the World Bank team appraising the Global Environment Facility investment (Lake Aibi Protection Project). In these QAE roles he applied his experience in the practical use of program theory as part of strategic planning and operational design through leading design teams and peer reviewing concepts and designs for AusAID and the World Bank.

Similarly, as team leader on the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (2004-2008) John provided guidance on different approaches to design and assisted many Government of Vietnam design teams to develop robust design plans. He particularly supported many Government of Vietnam design teams to conduct evaluability assessments and ensure designs included adequate performance management systems. This included designs for investments in transport (e.g. World Bank financed Rural Transport Support Program), rural development (e.g. DANIDA/DFID/AusAID funded National Target Program for Water and Sanitation) and education (e.g. World Bank financed Basic Education II project).

In all these design experiences, John provided advice to ensure that designs have clear objectives, outcomes and outputs and clearly articulated and robust theories of change. This included a focus on who would be doing what differently at the end of each program. In more recent designs, especially those in Cambodia and Vietnam for AusAID, John has supported AusAID to translate design concepts into formal agreements with implementation partners and developing scopes of services and basis of payment. In particular, for the Cambodia and Mining for Development designs the technical detail of the scope of services and basis of payment were developed under John’s leadership.

As a member of the M&E Expert Panel (MEEP 2009 – 2012) Facilitation Group John contributed to discussions with senior AusAID staff to provide advice on design processes with Australian Government agencies and departments, country partners and other stakeholders. For example, during design of the Cambodia Law and Justice Program John supported AusAID and the Ministry of Interior to explore options for design processes and management arrangements.

Dr Nicole Motteux has worked in operational design for 17 years in Armenia, Australia, South Africa, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe for national governments (e.g. South Africa and Vietnam), multilateral banks (e.g. World Bank and ADB) and NGOs (e.g. CARE International). Nicole predominately led project design teams consisting of in-country organisational personnel (Vietnam, Australia, South Africa) or acted as the participatory specialist on the design team (Tanzania, Armenia). She incorporates program theory into project design. For example, Nicole designed the Binh Dinh Drought Preparedness Project for CARE Deutschland using clear logic that linked demonstration of water efficient agriculture and farm family capacity development for living with drought with sustainable livelihoods outcomes. This included changes to institutional arrangements (including water property rights). Nicole facilitated CARE Binh Dinh staff and commune families to understand the scope of the project, the delivery mechanisms and governance arrangements. Nicole is confident to work at all levels of government and social groupings and understands that a robust and clear project design supports effective delivery.

John and Nicole are used to supporting teams to develop clear objectives, identify performance indicators and use lessons learned from evaluations to inform design choices and decisions. John and Nicole work with communities and counterparts to use theory of change, program logic, problem tree, solution tree, logical framework, results framework and cause-effect matrix tools to support the setting of objectives and use of measures to monitor progress and effectiveness. These skills have been applied in practice on design missions in more than 30 countries over the past 21 years.

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