Using the participatory monitoring approach, Most Significant Change, for an anti-corruption program

CDA Collaborative Learning Projects

Programming on sensitive issues like corruption, gender based violence, or sex work are challenging to effectively monitor due to social desirability bias, the illegal nature of some of the acts, and the challenges of discerning perceptions from reality, to name just a few of the hurdles that have to be cleared.   For the program we were working on, (Kuleta Haki: a network of criminal justice officials and actors in Lubumbashi, DRC who are working to diminish corruption), there were several additional factors that had to be taken into account for our monitoring to inform ongoing program decisions.

Our monitoring choices had to contend with the highly volatile political climate due to the Presidential election in DRC, exacerbated by the prime contender coming from the region where our program was running – Katanga.  Further complicated by the fact that we were working in the justice sector which is a key pillar for maintaining political power – illicitly and legally.  Finally, the nature of our program – a group who will have solidarity and strength to stand up to the established system of corruption – and the safety of participants were of highest importance.   To add to this contextual challenge, our team on the ground was new to the principles central to this engagement: Theory of change programming, adaptive management and participatory monitoring.

Click here:, to continue reading, and learn more about (1) what is most signifciant change? (MSC) (2) why MSC was selected (3) what we actually did (4) did MSC meet our needs?



This post is part of the CDA Perspectives corruption in fragile states series.

Sandra Sjögren, MA, has coordinated development programs for multiple international organizations in the Great Lakes region including Search for Common Ground, Heartland Alliance International, Physicians for Human Rights, and more recently, RCN Justice and Démocratie. In addition to her background in program management, Sjögren has extensive experience in monitoring and evaluation in social field. She has conducted qualitative research studies on reintegration of formerly incarcerated persons in the United States, and she supervised the monitoring and evaluation methodology as program coordinator in the justice sector. Sjögren holds a MA in International Studies from the University of Oregon and a BA in political science from the University of Paris. 

Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church is Principal at Besa: Catalyzing Strategic Change, a social enterprise committed to catalyzing significant change on strategic issues in places experiencing conflict and structural or overt physical violence.  As a Professor of Practice, at the Fletcher School she teaches and consults on program design, monitoring, evaluation and learning. Cheyanne is also a regular author and the curator of the series on corruption in fragile states on CDA Collaborative Learning Projects‘ CDA Perspectives Blog.

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