: PCI

Discussion Forum

Data, knowledge-management, and decision-support systems

By Peer Water Exchange Posted on Tue 07 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi John,

Thanks for the detailed reply. A few questions to understand your operations a bit better:

1. How do you manage your diverse projects across the world? What is the channel for info coming in and out?

2. Data storage: What is your data repository (local and international)?

3. How do you make decisions? When hurdles are encountered in the field, how do make decisions in the local office? HQ? How do make joint decisions? And release required resources?

4. Do you have a long-term M&E plan? If yes, how do you track? What resources do you put in place at planning? How long do you track for?

5. What indicators (broadly speaking, both across all projects and in your WASH projects) do you track? Don't have to get too detailed, but want to know if you are established, figuring things out, or beginning?

Thanks,
Rajesh

Data, knowledge-management, and decision-support systems

By PCI Posted on Wed 08 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Rajesh,

Please find our responses to your questions below...

1. How do you manage your diverse projects across the world? What is the channel for info coming in and out?

PCI is unified in terms of culture, approach and operational/programmatic oversight but decentralized in terms of program management. For each program PCI designates a Project Director based in the field, who is responsible for providing day-to-day project oversight and providing technical leadership and strategic direction to team members to ensure the fulfillment of the project goals and objectives. PCI also has a Country Director in each country responsible for managing staff, program budgets, program innovations, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation systems. Financial and programmatic management of the project is led by the Project Director who reports to the PCI Country Director on programmatic progress, challenges and opportunities.

PCI Headquarters staff provides overall guidance to programs to ensure international programmatic and auditing standards of excellence are met; ensure quality documentation and dissemination of program results among our partners and other implementing agencies; and provide overarching support in the areas of coordination, monitoring and evaluation, human resources and administration, and financial management and reporting. PCI HQ staff maintains regular contact with field staff and makes site visits as needed throughout the implementation of the project to support implementation. Coordinated problem-solving is done through regular contact and collaboration between PCI country offices and headquarters personnel. Routine communication and project management discussions are held through monthly conference calls and supplemented by regular e-mail, Skype, Salesforce Chatter, and phone contact between field and headquarters staff, as needed.

2. Data storage: What is your data repository (local and international)?

PCI has a central location for data storage and collects information using various tools (an organization-wide electronic financial management and reporting system, a Global Information Management System, donor reports, etc.). While data collection and management is important, we are increasingly focused on data/information sharing and connecting people within the organization to enhance learning and improve outcomes. Understanding that informal and more organic mechanisms are often the most productive ways to share, we have incorporated an internal social networking approach within PCI that all staff will have access to within the next 3 years.

3. How do you make decisions? When hurdles are encountered in the field, how do make decisions in the local office? HQ? How do make joint decisions? And release required resources?

See above for how we make decisions and coordinate problem-solving between the field and HQ offices. As for the release of resources, it depends on the nature of the program. For field programs funded in the US, PCI headquarters transmits funds monthly to field cash accounts to pay for the month’s program operations. When donors transmit their funds directly to the field office, the field receives the funds in PCI bank accounts and pays expenses related to the program from their PCI bank accounts. When field expenses are paid by headquarters (such as expatriate employees and indirect costs), the headquarters monthly cash transfer to the field is reduced by that amount. The Finance Unit and Program Operations Unit located at HQ review and record all financial transactions from PCI’s field offices which are transmitted electronically to HQ and imported into an integrated central accounting system with extensive reporting capabilities.

4. Do you have a long-term M&E plan? If yes, how do you track? What resources do you put in place at planning? How long do you track for?

For every project, PCI establishes an M&E plan, set of indicators and means for measuring results. However, we transitioned from simply monitoring and evaluating based on donor-required information to developing strategic information about impact and for which we can use to learn how to improve impact. Hence, PCI doesn’t have an M&E Unit but a Strategic Information for Impact (SII) Unit that collaborates with proposal development staff to design results frameworks, Performance Monitoring Plans (PMP) and Indicator Performance Tracking Tables (IPTT). This structure helps to inform program design, guide program implementation and measure progress, outcomes and impact. The SII Unit works with program management staff upon receipt of funding to expand and apply these tools in accordance with program activities, collect and analyze the data generated and use the findings to enhance and refine program design, activities and implementation.

Typically, we track throughout the life of the project. Generally each program will have a baseline evaluation and final evaluation to assess change. Increasingly PCI is incorporating case/control methods to better assess attribution of a particular intervention. In addition, we are returning to selected projects several years post-implementation to assess the level of sustainability of results as well as structures and processes.

5. What indicators (broadly speaking, both across all projects and in your WASH projects) do you track? Don't have to get too detailed, but want to know if you are established, figuring things out, or beginning?

PCI uses a managing for results (MFR) approach to designing a program which also informs what we measure. Under the MFR approach, you start with the highest level result you are striving to achieve (typically an impact level result), work down through a second tier of causal results (outcome level) and down to a lower level of results (output level). For example, it may be “Reduced burden of waterborne/water-washed diseases” is the highest level result. Here you would measure perhaps diarrheal disease prevalence. Improved access and use of sanitation facilities, increased access and use of clean water and improved sanitation behaviors might be the second tier (outcome). Here you would measure things like water use, latrine use and specific hygiene behaviors. Finally the third tier would be measuring those activities, such as water points constructed, latrines constructed, training on hygiene behavior. The third tier tends to be that which you monitor on a daily basis, the second tier intermittently throughout the project and the first tier at baseline and final.

Regards,
John

Integrated model for programs?

By Lifewater International Posted on Sat 11 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi John,

I'm stepping into the conversation a bit late and am thankful to be able to read through your thoughtful answers to the above questions, which answered many of my own questions.

One question I had related to your programming is if you implement WASH programs as a part of a larger integrated community development program or if they are unique programs? Why? Would this be true of programs you would anticipate bringing to the Peer Water Exchange?

Thanks!
~Pamela

Integrated model for programs?

By PCI Posted on Wed 15 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for your question. Recognizing that the water and sanitation problems facing the communities in which we work are interrelated with other challenges, PCI feels the solutions to these challenges must also be integrated if they are to result in real and lasting change. Therefore many of our WASH activities are integrated and built into broader programs. However, we also have a lot of experience implementing programs that are focused primarily on WASH. It depends on the program. We adapt our approaches based on the needs expressed by the community, local authorities, and other key stakeholders. Our experience in Tanzania provides a good example of two different WASH programs at the community level. PCI began its operations in Tanzania with a WASH-specific program funded by Starbucks Foundation Ethos Water Fund, in which we developed or rehabilitated 72 water points, constructed 336 latrines, promoted health and sanitation, and provided a safe water supply to 30,000 people living in rural communities. PCI has also been implementing a USDA-funded project in Tanzania with the goal of increasing children’s access to education and improving the quality of that education. One of the many ways in which we are supporting this goal is by improving WASH infrastructure in schools and reducing the ratio of students to latrines by establishing safe water and hand washing stations and rehabilitating or constructing new latrines. So while the primary emphasis of this program is focused on access to and quality of education, our WASH activities are playing an important role in achieving that goal.

Does that help address your question? Let me know if I can provide more information.

Thanks,
John

Welcome (and questions about your organizational structure)

By Peer Water Exchange Posted on Wed 01 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear PCI friends,

Welcome to BPN's Peer Water Exchange!

Thank you for your interest in a new way of managing projects and in learning and sharing.

I have a couple of questions on your org structure and information flow and decision-making process:

1. In the many countries you work, what are your different models you adopt?

2. If you have a local PCI team, how autonomous is it? How is the planning and structuring of work accomplished? This is both before approval and funding and after. What decisions regarding project implementation can they make? ... when things do not go according to plan?

3. If you work with a local NGO without having an the ground representative: similar questions as #2.

Thanks. I look forward to working with you.
Rajesh

Welcome (and questions about your organizational structure)

By El Porvenir Posted on Wed 01 May 2013, over 8 years ago

I'll add my welcome as well. I can't see any reason not to include PCI in PWX, I think they will make a welcome addition. We've met PCI here, although I don't have much clarity in how they work, but we've seen them in the WASH network locally - they've been active participants. My understanding is that Nicaragua is winding down though.

I'd be interested as well in knowing if the work is done directly or through partners.

Welcome (and questions about your organizational structure)

By PCI Posted on Tue 07 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the kind words and warm welcome. PCI/Nicaragua been around for over 21 years and we are dedicated to staying in Nicaragua and continuing to work alongside communities to address their needs. To date, PCI/Nicaragua has constructed 117 water systems and over 2,450 latrines, and has organized and trained 117 water and sanitation committees to locally mange water and sanitation systems. We are seeking to build off of this experience and are currently awaiting responses for several new funding opportunities which will ensure that we can continue to meet needs there.

Regards,
John

Welcome (and questions about your organizational structure)

By PCI Posted on Tue 07 May 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Rajesh,

We look forward to working with you as well! Please find answers to your questions below…

1. In the many countries you work, what are your different models you adopt?

Are you looking for the models/approaches we use specifically for WASH or more broadly? PCI employs community-based participatory approaches that allow communities to actively take a role in the identification of problems and the development and implementation of solutions. We use a wide variety of PRA/PLA techniques, general community entry and mobilization approaches, etc. Specific models might include Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Learning by Doing. We don’t typically limit ourselves in terms of models/approaches (we are open to utilizing and adapting to be very situation-specific). In any case, community members are engaged in the identification, planning, design and implementation of WASH programs to ensure local ownership, effective knowledge and skills transfer and, ultimately, sustainability.

2. If you have a local PCI team, how autonomous is it? How is the planning and structuring of work accomplished? This is both before approval and funding and after. What decisions regarding project implementation can they make? when things do not go according to plan?

PCI has local staff and offices in each of the 16 countries where we operate. With 800 total employees, over 95% of PCI’s staff are local nationals based in the field. Aside from a set of parameters (legal, financial, quality assurance, etc.) set by the organization, our country offices are quite autonomous. In terms of planning and structuring of work, it depends on the size and nature of the program but it is always custom-tailored to the local context. PCI recognizes that the water and sanitation problems facing the communities in which we work are intertwined with other challenges, and therefore the solutions must also be integrated if they are to have any hope of resulting in real and lasting change. We work very collaboratively between our HQ team and local field teams, this includes working with local partners, communities, etc. Most implementation decision-making is done locally with technical and operational support from HQ.

3. If you work with a local NGO without having an the ground representative: similar questions as #2.

We have worked with local NGOs/CBOs and networks without having our own on-the-ground representative, but we prefer to work where we do have local staff, roots, collaborative networks, etc. In other words, we are more interested in deepening programming and community connections and not so interested in parachuting in and out of countries or communities. Of course if we can add value in other ways (other than on the ground implementation and partnership ourselves) we are interested in exploring that as well.

Let us know if you need any further clarification on these questions.

Regards,
John


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