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Data analysis training for METGE project partners.

12 September, 2018

Story by ILO secondee Neil White from the IPO, Newport, UK.

METGE hosted two days of training for colleagues, bringing in Nathan Ochatum, for some professional guidance.

We understand clearly that data analysis and evidence-based planning are vital to making sure we meet our commitments to the Size of Wales; 10m Trees Programme  and this was achieved surpassing the target  to 15 million trees. METGE is now on course to achieve planting 25 million trees by 2025.

It's an issue for all organisations. But, all too often, poor data collection and auditing led to either poor outcomes or misleading reporting up the line. 

We're committed to avoiding these common errors by ensuring we have strong accounting systems in place. High quality record keeping is vital to the success of our work. We're increasingly moving towards better digital recording methods to complement apps we already use effectively.

This can all seem a long way from the actual work of tree planting and rural development. Isn't data collection supposed to be tedious and boring? It would be a mistake to think that. Our work needs to be run every bit like any other quality business. We owe this to our communities and our donors.


Michael Sunday was leading on this for METGE as the then Project Manager.

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Nathan gave us two days of high standard training. Our initial hopes for outcomes that brought better insights into how we record data, as well a emotional engagement, were achieved. After all, our project is about changing lives for the better. Sometimes data recording can feel mundane and the routine work sometimes doesn't feel like it's achieving much, while in fact its when applied to decision making.

There was a strong appreciation that working partners have a wealth of information available. If we commit to thinking about that imaginatively, and have excellent recording process, our up-line reports to management and donors should become increasingly more reliable.

Our sessions were interactive and there was plenty of opportunity to discuss and challenge the trainer and ourselves about recording methods and current practice.

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It was coincidental that METGE had recently launched the Trello project management recording system within the office. If you're not familar with it, we strongly recommend this or other similar applications for programme workflow management.

If used properly this can achieve some effective scaling of work too. It will show relative levels of importance relevant to tasks as well as over-all volume achievement, over varying timescales.

Partners were left with some very clear principles. Additionally, we gathered administrative recording tools that will specifically improve data collection throughout the tree planting 'cycle', from nursery to farm. This will also drive our nursery evaluation, making sure we monitor and evaluate our product sources, driving improvement and change.

As we begin to establish or Model Village project within METGE, we will use these advanced monitoring tools to enhance work at community level. The evidence collected will strengthen further development. And undoubtedly it will shorten the timescales and routes to achieving excellent standards in rural communities.

Knowing what we do well, and can do better, is important for the future.

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