Influence of monitoring and evaluation practices on rural district councils’ project performance. A case of Bubi district council project in Zimbabwe.
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In 1915, the Government of Zimbabwe developed a Monitoring and Evaluation policy that stipulated, among other things, that all Rural District Councils should adopt result based management strategies that have Monitoring and Evaluation practices engrained in them. Despite this policy directive, the influence of these practices on project performance are unknown. This study looked at the influence of the M&E key practices of accountability, results measurement, pause, and reflect on Rural District Councils’ projects performance in Zimbabwe. The study was primarily premised on two theories namely, change management theory focusing on unfreezing, changing and refreezing approaches supported by the theory of change approach (TOC). Bubi Rural District was the case study. The quantitative study design adopted Kobo Collect mobile data software for data collection. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions adopted for collecting qualitative data for triangulation. The target population comprised the employees of Bubi Rural District Council, elected councillors, residents and the Council Chief Executive Officer. Data analysis carried out using the Structural Equation Modelling. The results of the study indicated that employees in Rural District Councils appreciate and know the value of pause and reflect practice in monitoring and evaluation but the practice not implemented. Bubi Rural District Council promotes accountability practices such as allowing communities to voice their concerns on the quality of the projects as reflected by a standardized path coefficient with an absolute value of 0.96. However, this is limited by budget restrictions and limited resources available for community involvement activities. The study also showed that Bubi Rural District Council has no mechanism for measuring the progress and success of the Council projects (standardized path direct effect coefficient of 0.012). The key recommendations were that the Rural District Councils should implement the M&E practices to improve project performance. Rural District Council should train teams to plan, coordinate and implement M&E practices to rectify the current situation where there is no team and budget to coordinate these practices. There is a need for further studies to corroborate the findings as this study focused on the Bubi Rural District council only.
Africa Nazarene University