Project Spotlight: An Update on the USAID Monitoring Support Project-east (MSP-E) in Afghanistan

The USAID Monitoring Support Project-East (MSP-E) has been active in Afghanistan since October 2015. Tasked to provide the Afghanistan Mission with supplementary performance data on active USAID projects, Q2 Impact’s third-party monitoring outputs enable client teams to compare information from their own monitoring efforts with an additional source and make evidence-based management decisions on performance.

To achieve these successes, the Q2 Impact Chief of Party (CoP) manages a pooled workforce of direct-hire, functional specialty and support staff, combined with subcontracted field staff and data programmers. This mix offers the flexibility and expertise required to manage remote workforces while producing high quality, timely and accurate deliverables for the client.

Building local national staff capacity has been a key MSP-E focus since the project’s inception. Through the use of guided discussions, self-paced learning, on-the-job training, formal mentoring and classroom instruction, MSP-E management has worked to maximize staff functional performance and growth. Now considered subject-matter-experts (SMEs) in their own right, MSP-E local national staff have embarked on the next evolutionary phase – becoming subject matter trainers.

Since January 2017, MSP-E staff have convened each week to study the ins-and-outs of adult learning and instructional design. Led by the CoP and the MSP-E Capacity Building Team, each one-hour class has been designed to be interactive, discussion-filled, ideas-based and progressive. With topics ranging from the Principles of Adult Learning (Andragogy) and adult learning domains and styles to the industry standard Instructional Systems Development Model (ADDIE), staff dissect training needs into criteria-based performances and measurable outcomes and develop companion curricula to meet these ends. In the coming months, participants will create their own topic-specific curricula and have an opportunity to present their products to their peers in a non-threatening, no-risk classroom setting. Additionally, project management practices, project monitoring and evaluation system design, USAID procurement procedures and policies, and advanced data collection methods (such as simulated focus groups with role-play assignments and specific data collection goals) will be taught and rehearsed to further enhance staff understanding and application of the spectrum of tools and techniques available to data collectors.

The future capacity of MSP-E local national staff to augment their qualifications, continue to produce high-quality MSP-E outputs and enhance their career prospects looks very bright indeed. SMEs do not always make the best trainers; however, the combination of expertise and ability to transfer knowledge to others is a powerful asset, and the MSP-E staff is well on its way to becoming this very type of program success multiplier.

“Knowledge is attained in vain until it’s shared with others”

(A spin on a commentary from the Book of Deuteronomy)