Synergy to Develop Rwanda’s International NGO Database

Vienna, Virginia, USA – 04 August, 2014 – Rwanda’s process for coordinating the many international NGOs working in the country is about to get a major overhaul. Rwanda’s Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration (DGIE) has engaged Synergy International Systems, Inc., a leading Washington, D.C. area software firm, to develop an Integrated INGO Database in order to better manage efforts to fight poverty and foster socioeconomic development.

The INGO Database, based on Synergy’s IDM™ platform, will enable DGIE to manage critical data on INGO projects in the country and also automate key areas of its interaction with INGOs. With a more complete picture of NGO activities and results around the country, DGIE will be able to identify gaps and overlaps in INGO efforts and improve the effectiveness of projects. This marks Synergy’s second project in Rwanda, alongside the Development Assistance Database (DAD) Rwanda operated by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MINECOFIN), supported by UNDP.

DAD Rwanda  is now recognized as an example of global best practices in how governments can use the DAD software product to set their development agenda, and promote transparency and accountability in international development efforts.

OCD to track Government of Philippines funded DRRM projects through new M&E Information System

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) of the Philippines recently launched its online information system for reporting emergencies and monitoring government-funded projects for disaster prevention and recovery. The importance of this system, officially called the Project Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PMESD), has grown dramatically since Typhoon Yolanda, which caused widespread and unprecedented devastation in the Philippines.

This information technology initiative was motivated by the Philippine Government’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010, which introduced a series of institutional reforms aimed at improving how the government manages and mitigates the risks of natural disasters.

PMESD is designed to provide a comprehensive picture on the implementation, progress, and results of DRRM activities funded under the Government’s Calamity Fund. This government system will streamline the reporting of emergencies by local government units (LGUs) through an efficient online mechanism. It will also support results-driven decision making by OCD and other government agencies by providing critical real-time information on DRRM projects. Furthermore, the PMESD will enable citizens to submit their feedback on DRRM activities, thereby promoting government accountability and transparency.

In January 2014, Synergy trained OCD staff on the operation of the PMESD in preparation for the launch of the system. OCD will administer the PMESD, with regional and local OCD offices reporting to it on an ongoing basis. PMESD will also be capable of speaking with other government information systems in order to exchange data in an automated fashion and thereby prevent information silos from hindering the government’s DRRM policy making.

Synergy was awarded the PMESD project through a World Bank international competitive bidding. The project is funded by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

PROMMES: A powerful performance monitoring and evaluation tool for MCA-Philippines

The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)–Philippines will soon use the unifying Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation System (PROMMES) as its primary tool for performance monitoring, analysis and reporting.

PROMMES will assist the MCA Philippines in effectively managing the five-year $434 million Compact approved by the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Philippines in 2011. The compact includes programs supporting policy reforms, boosting infrastructure development, expanding community-driven development projects, and investing in capacity building and institutional strengthening.

More transparent and effective management of such development programs is a major priority in the Philippines. In the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, President Benigno S. Aquino III states: “The Philippine record of socioeconomic development has been slow and below par in comparison with our Asian counterparts. Despite episodes of positive growth, the benefits have yet to be felt by the majority of Filipinos.” He describes “good governance and anticorruption as the overarching theme of each and every intervention.”

Synergy International Systems has been developing PROMMES to support MCA-Philippines in making evidence-based decisions with rapidly retrievable and insightful data, and ensuring the impact-driven use of MCC investments. The system will be used by all stakeholders including, MCA-Philippines management and Board of Directors, implementing partners, and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Prior to the PROMMES initiative, MCA-Philippines relied on a basic Document Management Systems (DMS). But the evolving number of large, cross-cutting projects carried out by various agencies—and the ensuing proliferation of data—spawned a vital need to establish an all-encompassing system that would provide a comprehensive and real-time analytical picture of the Compact performance and results.

“MCA-Philippines is excited about PROMMES’ impact on making our work more effective,” said MCA-Philippines MIS Director, Ms. Claricel Yuvienco. “We are enthusiastic about working with Synergy International Systems on this information system given their expertise in delivering similar systems for other MCA Compacts in Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.”

According to Dr. David Kocharov, Synergy’s Director of Monitoring & Evaluation, “The MCA-Philippines staff is very diligent, detail-oriented, and constructive in their work attitude.”

Kenya’s e-ProMIS system to manage national development budget

Beginning in the 2013 fiscal year, the Government of Kenya (GoK) has announced that e-ProMIS, the electronic Project Monitoring Information System, will be its main platform for managing the national development budget. “No project will be included in the budget if it is not captured in e-ProMIS,” said Kenyan Economic Secretary, Dr. Geoffery Mwau on behalf of Mr. Joseph Kinyua, Permanent Secretary of the Kenya Ministry of Finance (MoF), to participants in a user training retreat in Nairobi on April 2nd, 2013.

Initiated by the GoK in 2009, e-ProMIS currently tracks budget and performance data for 2000 programs and projects from 41 government agencies, mainly supporting the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030. Christopher Oisebe, the MoF’s Chief Economist, explained that e-ProMIS bolsters the country’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), helping to reduce delayed and incomplete projects, as well as frequent cost over-runs. The web-based platform serves as a unified project information repository, allowing coordinated monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of national, county, and Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects, alongside development partner activities.

e-ProMIS also reinforces new transparency and accountability measures outlined in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, by providing public access to information on government spending. Dr. Mwau stated that enhancements to the system have been substantially informed by user feedback, as well as the Constitution’s new public financial management structures.

Mr. Oisebe noted, “Kenyans are asking for results: ‘You say that you are doing A, B and C, so what?’ Through e-ProMIS we have developed M&E reports like the Annual Progress, Public Expenditure, and Project Implementation reports, to update Kenyans on where we are, and how we are spending the tax payers’ money.”

Synergy Project Manager Emilya Khachatryan observed, “e-ProMIS is a truly ‘whole of government system’ that is fully integrated into the Government of Kenya’s existing processes. High level political support for a system of this breadth is quite remarkable.”

Kenya’s ultimate goal for e-ProMIS is full stakeholder ownership. “We do not just expect you to upload and update information in the system, but also to sensitize your colleagues and clients,” said Dr. Mwau. “The system allows you and the public to send comments to relevant authorities on how to increase accuracy of information and accountability. I urge you to be the e-ProMIS champions in your respective organizations.”

Comoros begins tracking foreign aid online

The development journey of Comoros has not been easy. Formally known as the Union of Comoros, this predominantly Muslim nation of four main islands has endured decades of political instability following its independence from French colonial power in 1975. Located at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel between Tanzania and Madagascar, Comoros is regularly exposed to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and flash floods. Also, most of its food and fuel must be imported.

With approximately 45 percent of its population living below the poverty line, Comoros is now beginning to systematically track its foreign assistance funds via the Development Assistance Database (DAD). The DAD Comoros officially launched 19 March, 2013 with funding from UNDP and the European Union.

DAD Comoros empowers the General Planning Commission of Comoros to track and analyze aid information from donors, ministries, and civil society organizations on Synergy’s integrated aid management information system. Ultimately, Comoros hopes to prepare the nation’s first foreign aid report in 2013.

The General Planning Commission of Comoros discovered the capabilities of the DAD during the DAD Community of Practice conference at Synergy’s Global Learning Center in 2011. Together with participants from around the world, they learned how DAD systems were implemented in other countries to manage aid information and progress toward national development goals.

“Despite facing many development challenges, Comoros shows not only a strong capacity to absorb knowledge, but also initiative in making aid data reporting a systematic endeavor,” remarks Synergy Project Manager, Rudolph Saint Jean.

Synergy to Develop Education Management Information System for the Armenian Government

In November 2012, Synergy was awarded a contract to develop the Tertiary Education Management Information System (TEMIS) of Armenia’s Ministry of Education and Science. The project is financed by the World Bank.

The purpose of the anticipated web-based TEMIS is to improve the operation of tertiary education institutions in Armenia. It will streamline the core business processes by enabling institutions to computerize such functions as the development of departmental and individual work plans, curricula, schedule, and the provision of certificates, diplomas, and academic degrees. Through this system, educational institutions throughout the country, including regional ones, will be able to collect and report educational performance data, thereby aiming to improve the quality, transparency, and monitoring of the Armenia’s tertiary education system.

Synergy Wins Court Case Management System Tender in Lesotho

In July of 2012, Synergy was awarded a Millennium Challenge Account – Lesotho (MCA-Lesotho) contract for the supply and installation of a Case Management and Tracking System for the Kingdom of Lesotho. The project, jointly funded by the Government of Lesotho and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, aims to improve the ability to court administration staff to manage, track, and provide information on the case workflow within a court.

Through this project, Synergy will implement a web-based application that automates the full case lifecycle for the Lesotho High Court, Commercial Court, and Maseru Magistrate Court. Since judiciary processes in Lesotho are currently paper-based and labor-intensive, the client and stakeholders hope that the introduction of the web-based Case Management and Tracking System will change the way in which cases are registered, tracked, and managed.

Supporting Synergy on this project is the Maseru-based firm Techware, who is primarily responsible for upgrading ICT and networking equipment at the courts. Techware is growing company that has quickly become a first choice provider of software development and hardware/ICT installation services in Lesotho.

African Union to Manage its Partnerships through Synergy’s M&E Platform

In May 2012, Synergy was awarded a UNDP contract for the development of the Partnerships Management Information System of the African Union Commission (AUC), which, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is the administrative branch of the African Union. Because AUC forges various partnerships around the world aimed at supporting the African Continent’s development, it needs an effective tool for planning, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating, and reporting on its array of partnerships. The anticipated information system will consolidate all partnership programs and projects in a web environment, together with online data entry, sophisticated analytics, and user-friendly dashboards. This project falls within a broader organizational effort, supported by UNDP, to develop a sound framework for the management and coordination of the Commission’s partnerships.

World Bank Selects Synergy for Disaster Management M&E System in the Philippines

In April 2012, Synergy won a World Bank tender for the development of a Project Evaluation and Monitoring System for Disaster Risk Reduction Management (PEMSD) for the Government of the Philippines. Given the Philippines’s acute vulnerability to natural disasters, the Government has recently undertaken a sweeping policy reform with respect to its disaster preparedness, management, and prevention.

As part of this broader initiative, the PEMSD project will deliver a web-based, innovative, and transparent software solution for monitoring the funding flows and physical results of disaster-related interventions in the Philippines. The software will play a key role in enabling the Philippine Government identify funding gaps, align interventions with the country’s disaster-related priorities, and ascertain project results.

Synergy is carrying it out the project in partnership with its subcontractors Pacific Rim Innovation and Management Exponents Inc. (PRIMEX) and Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative Inc. (EMI).

Synergy Developing First-of-its-Kind M&E System for UN in Tanzania

In March 2012, Synergy was engaged by UNDP to develop a web-based Results Monitoring System (RMS) for the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP) in Tanzania, which, is the common business plan for 20 UN agencies, funds and programs in the country. The UNDAP is the culmination of the “Delivering as One” trend within the UN, the purpose of which is to make UN assistance in countries more coordinated, results-driven, and aligned with country development objectives.

The software platform will help UN agencies in Tanzania to plan, monitor and report against the “One Plan.” In particular, it will facilitate the development of annual work plans and the reporting of planned results and targets.

Launched in July 2012, the UNDAP for Tanzania will be implemented until June 2015, with a total budget of $777 million dollars. In fact, Tanzania is the first country to apply the UNDAP methodology, which means that the Results Monitoring System will be a first-of-its-kind software across the UN system and could potentially be replicated in other UNDAP countries.