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.

OECS Launches EGRIP M&E System with Synergy

In January 2012, Synergy was contracted by the World Bank and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat to design a flexible, web-based Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) information system for the Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project (EGRIP). EGRIP is a World Bank-funded project bringing together the national governments of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & The Grenadines to promote greater efficiency, quality, and transparency in public services through the delivery of regionally integrated e-government applications.

The purpose of the web-based M&E information system is to track the status of the variables outlined in the EGRIP M&E Framework (subcomponents, major activities, intermediate indicators, and outcome indicators), present the data collected in a manner that is easy to comprehend, make this information available to the REGU (Regional Electronic Government Unit) and other stakeholders, and enable user-friendly report generation for stakeholders with different user profiles.

The EGRIP M&E Information System was launched in August of 2012 for use by EGRIP M&E staff, beneficiary agencies in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, and other OECS stakeholders.

2011 DAD CoP Conference Successfully Completed

The Development Assistance Database (DAD) Community of Practice (CoP) is happy to announce the completion of the 2011 Global Conference & Training, which took place from 20-24 June in Synergy International Systems’ Global Learning Center in Yerevan, Armenia. This year’s event brought together about 40 practitioners from 16 countries, including Armenia, Cameroon, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritania, Moldova, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Somalia and Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, and the United States.
The week-long conference consisted of a three-day workshop and a two-day training program. The workshop gave the participants an opportunity to present their country experiences in establishing the DAD or other Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) information systems. In particular, the participants discussed and brainstormed common challenges related to timely and reliable data reporting, challenges to and opportunities for linking M&E systems to decision-making processes, and the sustainability of government management information systems.

The two-day training program, which included ten sessions, was led by senior Synergy staff and covered a wide range of topics such as M&E Data Collection and Quality Assessment, M&E Analytics and Reporting, and the DAD Implementation Process.

The conference also offered an exciting cultural program. The roundtables of the third day of the workshop were held in a scenic location overlooking the 1st century A.D. temple of Garni. The participants also visited a number of historic sites, including the ancient Cathedral of Etchmiadzin and the architectural splendor of the Geghard monastery. The participants also enjoyed the lively and moving sounds of the “Little Singers of Armenia,” a world-famous children’s ensemble that performs traditional Armenian music.

The evaluation survey completed after the conference clearly showed that the event was highly successful in meeting the participants’ expectations. And the participants were unanimously excited about being part of a vibrant community of professionals who can benefit from one another’s experience and knowledge. As Mr. Christopher Oisebe, Chief Economist of Kenya’s Ministry of Finance and the Manager of the Electronic Projects Monitoring Information System (ePro-MIS), put it, “DAD is now a family of practitioners. Let us all continue to strengthen our ties in order to advance our knowledge and skills and to improve our development efforts.”

Government of Sri Lanka Launches INDIS

On June 14, 2011, the Government of Sri Lanka launched the Integrated National Development Information System (INDIS), a web-based application developed by Synergy for the Ministry of Finance and Planning to manage the entire portfolio of development projects, be they financed by domestic or external resources. The launch was attended by senior government officials, including Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Mrs. Malanie Gamage, the Director General of Foreign Aid and Budget Monitoring. Synergy has been working with the Government of Sri Lanka, in close collaboration with UNDP, since the 2004 Asian Tsunami, which heavily affected the country. In 2005, the Ministry of Planning established the Development Assistance Database (DAD) Sri Lanka to track the thousands of post-tsunami assistance projects. From 2005-2010, the system went through successive stages of evolution, from initially tracking only post-tsunami reconstruction to eventually covering the entire external assistance portfolio. But the existence of multiple related but disconnected information systems imposed a serious management burden on the Sri Lankan government. Therefore, the government decided to establish a truly integrated enterprise M&E information system that would provide a complete picture of government performance and national development. Indeed, INDIS goes beyond project monitoring; it also helps assess the performance of ministries and sectoral developments, as well as being a searchable e-registry of all project evaluations.

The INDIS is, at its core, a decision-support tool designed to enable policymakers to assess project performance and results in real-time and take decisions on corrective actions and resource allocation. And its establishment comes at the right time, as the government has recently rolled out a number of key capital investment projects in water resources, energy, and road development.

A major part of the INDIS project was to integrate various government information systems into one unified system to achieve efficient information management, coupled with advanced analytical and reporting capabilities. In his remarks during the launch ceremony, Dr. Fredrick Abeyratne, Senior Programme Analyst of UNDP, thanked Synergy “for doing a wonderful job of integrating systems…and adding new features.”

Government of Iraq Launches the Iraq Development Management System

On June 16, 2011, the Government of Iraq launched the Iraq Development Management System (IDMS) at a high-level ceremony in Baghdad. The event was sponsored by the Iraqi Prime Minister Mr. Nouri Al-Maliki and attended by ministers, governors, and deputy ministers, as well as over ten ambassadors.

The IDMS is a comprehensive bilingual (Arabic/English) web-based application that manages the whole cycle of government and donor-funded development projects in Iraq. It allows ministries to plan, manage, and monitor the full lifecycle of capital investment projects from start to finish in an online environment. It is designed to help monitor the implementation of Iraq’s National Development Plan (NDP) 2010-2014, which envisages about 3000 development projects with a total value of $100 billion over five years.

At a deeper level, this innovative government tool marks a break with paper-based forms of capital investment planning and monitoring used to date, which tended to be burdensome and vulnerable to misuse of public funds. By contrast, the IDMS is an electronic tool that allows real-time collection, analysis, and reporting of development data. Also, by being publicly accessible on the Internet, it can advance government transparency and accountability by showing how public resources are being spent and what development results are being achieved.

According to Christine McNab, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, “the IDMS is a major reform of part of the public sector and an ambitious e-governance application,” and it would not have been possible without “the technical prowess of Synergy International Systems.” It was designed and developed by Synergy for the Ministry of Planning in 2010, with assistance and funding from USAID/Tatweer, UNDP, UNOPS, the EU, and the Government of Spain.

The IDMS builds upon the highly successful Development Assistance Database (DAD), which Synergy developed in 2005 for the Ministry of Planning to manage external assistance for Iraq’s post-conflict reconstruction. Following the successful federal-regional arrangement adopted for the DAD, IDMS will be accompanied by a regional application for the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the two applications will be fully synchronized.

Synergy will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Planning to ensure that all Ministries, Governorates, and donor organizations use the system effectively so as to perform their functions and meet their information needs.

Synergy Participates in Moldova’s AIMS Workshop

In May 31st, 2011, Synergy participated in a workshop on aid information management systems (AIMS) in Chisinau, Moldova. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss ways to improve the Moldovan government’s existing AIMS, known as Integrated Data on External Assistance (IDEA). With the support of UNDP, the State Chancellery of Moldova brought together representatives from the central public administration authorities, development partners, the civil society, and international vendors of AIMS. During the workshop, Synergy shared its experience and know-how in setting up long-running and successful AIMS in various countries.

The workshop reflected the Moldovan government’s commitment to promoting aid transparency and predictability and an evidence-based approach to development assistance.

Synergy to Develop M&E Clearinghouse for USAID Somalia

In April 2011, the partnership of IBTCI and Synergy was awarded a contract for the USAID Somalia Monitoring and Evaluation Project (SMEP) under the USAID Evaluation IQC (Indefinite Quantity Contract). The primary objective of the SMEP is to provide on-the-ground performance monitoring, reporting and evaluation of USAID activities. Synergy will provide the Mission with a comprehensive, Web-based M&E Clearinghouse to track project achievements against overall stabilization goals through a variety of tools for online data collection, analysis, and reporting. This will allow USAID/Somalia to manage its project portfolio, analyze program level geographic and sectoral impacts, and make informed decisions about program management.

Synergy completed an initial needs assessment from 7-20 July 2011. With the information gathered from Mission staff and implementing partners (IPs), Synergy will design and develop the M&E system, which will enable all IPs to report data directly into the online system. The system will include a GIS module for tracking activity locations, funding commitments and disbursements, project status updates and geographic and sectoral outputs. It will also track progress toward Assistance Objectives and outcomes at the Intermediate Result (IR) level, and will help USAID consolidate data to produce quarterly and annual reports.

This five year program is valued at approximately $5-6 million.

Synergy Trains MCA-Lesotho, MCA- Mozambique and MCA-Tanzania on Management Information Systems

In the spring of 2011, Synergy provided training to the Millennium Challenge Accounts in Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania on the effective use of their recently established Management Information Systems (MIS). The MIS is a web-based database system that stores, analyzes, and reports mission-critical data to support results-based management.

The training served to reinforce the capacity of MCA staff on various aspects of the MIS, from data reporting and validation to analytics and reporting. As explained by MCA Lesotho’s MIS Manager, Mr. Litlhokoe Mohlomi, “MCA Lesotho has many sections with specific tasks; MIS helps bring information about those tasks together to show the bigger picture”. Using both theory and practical facilitation methods, various groups of MCA staff got to see the ins and outs of the MIS. Part of the training consisted of the interactive sessions that enabled participants to familiarize themselves with the MIS by performing analytical and reporting exercises.

It is important to note that each MIS is specifically tailored to the particular needs and requirements of the given MCA. Synergy staff continues to travel to Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania to enhance the MIS capacities of these MCA, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that the MCAs will fully manage the MIS by themselves in the future.

Training to Donors on DAD Nigeria

In April 2011, Synergy conducted a week-long training in Abuja as part of the ongoing implementation of Development Assistance Database (DAD) Nigeria. DAD Nigeria is the federal government’s central information system on all external assistance to the country. The training marked the beginning of an intensive capacity development phase following the set-up of the actual online system, which is now fully operational.

Synergy experts trained about 15 donor focal points who have been tasked by their respective agencies to use the system to regularly report data on their development projects. Trainings were also provided to government users and particularly the DAD Nigeria Team of the National Planning Commission (NPC), in such areas as system administration, user management, data validation, and the production of analytical reports. Synergy will continue to work closely with the NPC, as well as the UNDP Country Office, to support the capacity of the Nigerian government to manage the system in a way that ensures the availability of timely and accurate data and that makes policy-relevant information readily available to decision-makers.