Principles in practice? Ownership in monitoring and evaluation in Vanuatu
Presently, monitoring and evaluation is an aid practice that does not emphasise Ni-Vanuatu ownership. Despite the current aid agenda’s advocacy for ownership, principles of measuring for results and accountability are given preference in this practice. Eighteen participants working in monitoring and evaluation in NGOs and government departments in Luganville and Port Vila were interviewed for this study in April and May, 2013. Through semi-structured interviews they shared their experiences of the practice. They highlighted issues around capacity, kastom and donors, emphasising monitoring and evaluation’s inability to account for the local context and promote ownership. It was found that the current approach to monitoring and evaluation follows a universal model, disregarding country specific features of Vanuatu such as kastom, language and land. However, these features embody the identity of Ni-Vanuatu and define Ni-Vanuatu ownership. They should therefore dictate how monitoring and evaluation is carried out. A move for stronger Ni-Vanuatu ownership of aid practices such as monitoring and evaluation will be complicated and messy. However, approaching monitoring and evaluation through a local lens while employing relationship building and flexibility can lead to increased Ni-Vanuatu ownership of the practice.