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Strategic Monitoring and Program Performance Systems


Knowledge and expertise

The staff of John Fargher + Associates demonstrate the knowledge and expertise required to meet the strategic monitoring and program performance systems needs of donor clients and the private sector. 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 strategic monitoring and program performance management.

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 advanced strategic analysis. This foundation in rigorous data collection, analysis and interpretation supports John’s work in strategic monitoring and performance systems. This knowledge and expertise was further enhanced by participation in a World Bank Institute – Evaluation Practice Master class (Hanoi, 2004) and Japan International Cooperation Agency Evaluation Master class (Tokyo, 2006). Through these networks John became an active member of the ADB Management for Development Results Community of Practice.

As Team Leader on the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (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.

John has applied this knowledge and expertise through leading and participating in all phases of strategic monitoring and program performance system development – from scoping (e.g. exploring options for AusAID monitoring of multilateral development partner performance, 2010), design (e.g. developing Water and Sanitation sector program performance assessment framework, 2009; or designing performance assessment framework for Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction 2011), implementation (e.g. designing and implementing performance assessment framework for the Caribbean program, 2011-2014; and the Latin America program, 2013-2014) and analysis, reporting and communication (e.g. implementing semi-annual strategic 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 strategic monitoring at country program scale (e.g. 2011 APPR) and review or development of program performance systems.

John also 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, supervision and implementation missions in more than 30 countries over the past 25 years.

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, Indonesia, Vanuatu and Vietnam); specific design teams (e.g. 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.


Demonstrated experience
John Fargher has advanced skills in developing and using results-oriented performance systems for large, complex programs (e.g. designing and implementing performance assessment framework for Caribbean program 2011-2012 or developing Water and Sanitation sector program performance assessment framework, 2009). He demonstrates the ability to think strategically (e.g. exploring options for AusAID monitoring of multilateral development partner performance, 2010) and use performance information for program improvement (e.g. support to 7 ministries and 6 provinces under the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project [VAMESP], 2004-2008). In addition, John developed particular experience with AusAID Performance and Quality Reporting Systems as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the M&E Expert Panel (MEEP 2009-2012).

John demonstrates advanced understanding of the operational context of international development, of international aid effectiveness principles and best practice in managing for development results. He maintains up-to-date knowledge of the aid effectiveness agenda through active participation in the Asian Management for Development Results Community of Practice. 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 (the sections on Managing for Results and Mutual Accountability). He was actively involved with OECD-DAC (Richard Manning and Hans Lundgren) 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 commitments under the Paris Declaration. For 4 years John led VAMESP (2004-2008), resulting in harmonisation of donor and Government systems for ODA management as well as an aligned monitoring system in Vietnam. He presented this experience to Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, World Bank Institute in Washington DC and OECD DAC Evaluation Network in Paris as well as AusAID. Similarly, in his strategic assessment of options for AusAID monitoring of multilateral development partner performance (2010) John reviewed the common approach used by the Multilateral Organisations Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), the Multilateral Development Banks’ Common Performance Assessment System (COMPAS) and also the Quality of Official Development Assistance Report (QuODA) produced by the Centre for Global Development and the Brookings Institution.

John is able to critically review performance related products, such as program logic and monitoring reports. For example he was the independent peer reviewer of quality at entry for the performance management systems in the Timor-Leste Seeds of Life program design document (2010) and is now the Team Leader for the Technical Advisory Group monitoring program performance (2011-2012). Similarly, John was the independent QAE peer reviewer for the program theory in the next phase of the PNG Sub-National Strategy (2011). This work built on the experience gained as Team Leader on VAMESP (2004-2008), which included critical review of performance management frameworks and monitoring outputs from more than 50 ODA projects implemented by 7 Ministries and 6 Provinces.

John has sound understanding of organisational development, and strategies for building performance systems and culture. His experience of organisational capacity development was enhanced in the past 5 years through study and engagement with members of the AusAID Capacity Development Panel including Heather Baser, Tony Land and Peter Morgan – knowledge that was further developed working under Tony Land for the PNG Sub-national Strategy (2010). John’s post-graduate management qualifications provide him with advanced skills in organisational psychology and change processes. He has applied this understanding through the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of organisational capacity building initiatives for AusAID, DFID, World Bank, partner governments and the private sector – at individual, group and organisational scales. This experience is most strongly in evidence on VAMESP (2004-2008), which the OECD identified as international good practice organisational development for performance management and building performance systems and culture. More recently, John is Vanuatu country facilitator under the AusAID Evaluation Capacity Building Program (2012-ongoing) which includes strategic monitoring at country program scale (e.g. 2011 APPR) and review or development of program performance systems.

As a senior development practitioner with more than 30 years practical field experience, John has experience in building relationships at senior levels of government or development organisations, and is able to build trust and conduct performance dialogue with partner organisations. This is most recently demonstrated with the Vanuatu work mentioned above (2012-ongoing) and was an integral part of his leadership role in VAMESP (2004-2008). It was one of the reasons he was engaged in the 8-member Facilitation Panel under the M&E Expert Panel (MEEP 2009-2012).

John has worked in developing countries since 1980 – his entire career has been as a development practitioner providing long-term and short-term support to partner agencies implementing development activities. During the past 21 years, this experience has included practical monitoring and evaluation work in developing countries ranging from data collection in the field, through capacity development at provincial and national levels to strategic and programmatic reviews at national and regional scales. His developing country experience has been gained through a variety of donors (ADB, AusAID, DFID, GIZ, USAID, World Bank), private sector and national clients. He has worked in ASEAN (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam); Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda); the Caribbean (Barbados, Belize, 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 monitoring surveys in China, Tanzania or Vietnam) through national level (e.g. capacity development for national statistical organisations in Vietnam) to regional and program levels (e.g. Caribbean performance framework or evaluation of GEF). He has planned and implemented field work, facilitated change and mentored counterparts in provincial and national agencies and co-managed activities with Ministry counterparts 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).


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