From Theory to Practice: Implementing a Monitoring and Evaluation System in the Irish Red Cross Community Outreach Program, Indonesia

Olga Kim, SIT Graduate Institute


On December 26, 2004, an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It was the most powerful the world has seen in a generation. The epicenter was about 150 kilometers south of Meulaboh and about 250 kilometers from Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province. Over 110,000 people were killed in Indonesia alone with over 700,000 displaced from their homes when their houses were swept away or left in ruins. The tsunami caused unimaginable devastation and the scale of the damages to the local economy, infrastructure, and administration were unprecedented.

As a part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, the Irish Red Cross contributed to the immediate response to the disaster and launched an emergency appeal for the victims of the tsunami disaster on the 27th of December 2004 which raised €31 million thanks to the generosity of many individuals, groups, schools, companies and their employees in Ireland.

The Community Outreach Programme (COP) was one of the IRCS disaster response programs. It was instrumental in supporting, developing and implementing outreach and advocacy initiatives to encourage two-way dialogue between individual beneficiaries, communities, Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement Partners, NGO’s and government entities. The programme was comprised of two essential departments: 1) Communications Department (comprised of print, radio and television media programming); and 2) Community Advocacy Unit. These departments work in collaboration with one another to ensure that tools and mechanisms are developed to correctly identify and allow beneficiaries to “voice” their problems and concerns, and to ensure that response mechanisms are put in place to address and alleviate beneficiary problems and concerns.

“Implementing a monitoring and evaluation system in the IRCS Tsunami Community Outreach Programme” is Development Management II: Program Monitoring and Evaluation course linked capstone paper. It is written as an analysis of the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation system of the IRCS Community Outreach Programme (COP) in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and all the conclusions are based on the experiences from that particular project. This research does not focus on the discovery of a universal, generalizable truth of the M&E in Red Cross activities, nor does it look for cause-effect relationships; instead, emphasis is placed on exploration and description of the Irish Red Cross experience in the region.

The analysis of the system design and implementation was primarily guided by the “10 – steps” model developed by the World Bank. The paper includes description of the program and system approaches, roles and responsibilities of the M&E staff, challenges setting up the system, analyses of the logical framework, components, examples of the routine monitoring and evaluation findings and their application.