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Project Information

Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) - Contract 13301
Description of Project

The program was implemented by the SDS' Manila-based secretariat along with five provincial offices in Bohol, Northern Samar, Surigao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Agusan del Sur. This goal has been pursued through two schemes:

  • Focused Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS): involved the facilitation of partner networks in the five target provinces.  In each province, local stakeholders identified three to five strategic areas/themes.  Each of these FOCAS areas/themes was managed by a local FOCAS Management Committee (FMC).  The FMC developed a strategy and a portfolio of linked projects typically implemented by local

  • Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in partnership with local and National Government Agencies (NGAs).  The FOCAS objective was: “Devolved networks of civil society, government and private sector organisations are collaborating to identify and meet local priorities in selected provinces, and creating an enabling environment for further development”. Responsive Activity Scheme (RAS): enabled PACAP to engage widely and flexibly in response to emerging priorities, principally (but not solely) in the southern Philippines .  Typically, RAS partners were established NGOs with proven track records.  These were engaged to implement discrete projects over 1 to 1.5 years.  RAS projects were funded up to Php1.5m per year.  The RAS objective was: “Civil society organisations are innovating and responding to community needs throughout the Philippines and generating a foundation for new development approaches”.

In its recent phase (Jan 2005 to September 2010) PACAP has managed the delivery of 488 grant agreements worth in excess of $21.5M.  These projects facilitated poverty-focussed improvements in 60 of the Philippines’ 81 provinces, benefitting about 332,000 beneficiaries , 61% of whom were women.  Moreover, these interventions involved 281 civil society partner organisations including cooperatives.

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Description of
Services Provided

SDS was responsible for the overall management of the project including all technical requirements. Provide technical and administrative backstopping support to the consultant team. Attended to the day-to-day administrative and logistical requirements of the project. Managed the project’s budget. Closely coordinated with the client and other attached agencies/units. Worked closely with the AUSAID. Prepared, finalized and packaged all project reports and deliverables. Hired and employs all project support staff. 

One critical and significant output of the program was the development of PACAP’s M&E Framework. PACAP’s M&E framework had three (3) components called the Theory of Change (M&E Theory), M&E praxis and M&E practice.  Theory involved the pursuit of coherence at the conceptual level; practice concerned the operationalization of theory.  Praxi is the intersection of theory and practice—ensuring that theory is practically oriented, and that practice is grounded in coherent theory.

M&E was considered an important part of the program design.  Aside from the development of a website dedicated for information dissemination and monitoring and evaluation of projects, the program committed considerable resources to M&E including: a part-time international M&E Specialist, a fulltime local Database Officer, a fulltime Data Assistant, and a M&E Information System (MEIS) Specialist ; and funded out the MEIS software license and support staff.

Several unique and valuable features of the M&E arrangements for PACAP:

  • Actor-centric: drawing on Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), the M&E plan examined program performance from the perspective of the key stakeholders (i.e. those involved in the processes of social change effected by the program).  This helped to ground the performance analysis in the reality of people’s lives.  It being notable that at the time PACAP’s M&E arrangements were planned, an actor-centric approach was relatively uncommon in AusAID programs.
  • Systems approach: the M&E arrangements routinely captured information at all stages of the ‘theory of change’ throughout the life of the program.  This enabled ‘pieces of the puzzle’ to be drawn together to create an overall ‘performance picture’.
  • Integrated risk and performance: integrating the systematic capture of risk data with performance data enabled the identification of meaningful lessons learned.  Arguably, one only becomes aware of some risk factors in retrospect, when a situation turns out to be different from what was anticipated.  Hence the capture of such ‘surprises’ is a valuable way to capture lessons learned.
  • Mixed methods: the M&E arrangements involved a comprehensive mix of both qualitative and quantitative methods.  Drawn together these have provided particularly valuable insights into various aspects of program performance
  • Breadth of data: a strength of the PACAP M&E arrangements was the breadth of data that was systematically captured during the life of the program.  This data not only covered all levels of the design logic,but included a balance of quantitative and qualitative information.  It also integrated performance data and risk data to facilitate a ‘systems perspective’ on program performance.  Data was also captured on a range of cross-cutting themes, including gender and contribution to Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
  • M&E tools: some of the M&E tools developed for PACAP, while not perfect, proved to be valuable instruments.  Of particular note was a ‘Proponent Scorecard’ which was a brief survey (20 questions) implemented annually to provide a snapshot of developing partner capacity across a range of institutional dimensions.  Also, a ‘Project Completion Report’ proved to be a valuable way of garnering a ‘census’ of project information across the diverse PACAP portfolio.  This instrument collected a range of generic/standard information (e.g. gender, MDGs, project management etc.) as well as a range of sector-specific technical information. 
  • Annual Quality Audits: the use of a consistent method to conduct annual quality audits produced valuable trend information during the life of the program.  Furthermore, the use of a blend of both qualitative and quantitative data provided compelling insights into implementation performance.  This in turn triggered valuable internal reflection and continuous improvements.
  • Asynchronous database: PACAP subcontracted the services and software of Aid-IT Solutions to support its M&E data management.  Yet although the MEIS was not without its challenges, it nonetheless provided a technically innovative way of capturing, updating and sharing data from geographically distributed staff, located in ICT-challenged operating context. The considerable success of the PACAP MEIS is noteworthy, especially given the common failings and inadequacies of ‘bespoke’ information system in many other AusAID initiatives.


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Client Australian Aid
Location Nationwide with provincial offices in Bohol, Northern Samar, Misamis Occidental, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Norte
Country Philippines
Period Covered January 2005 - September 2010
No. of Staff Months 1204.00 person-months
Associated Consultant Hassall and Associates International (HAI)
No. of Staff Months
Provided by
Associated Consultant
48.00 person-months