In order to establish an operational monitoring and evaluation program, it would be necessary to formulate strategies from the identified program goals and activities. In the DeKalb Community Based Program scenario, the identified program activities include: setting up personal and small meetings, inviting members of the DeKalb community to turnout for tests with special focus on the youth turnout rates, organizing meeting in education institutions (schools and colleges), targeting working environments (office and company visits) with special focus on middle age group participants, carrying out counseling sessions, and organizing medical and legal support. Hence, the measurable objectives will entail measurement outcomes in the identified group of activities.
- Establish turn out rates of participants in personal and small meetings
- Establish turn our rates for the free HIV/AIDS test with special focus on youth turn out rates.
- Focus on Educational institutions:
- Establish number of Schools and colleges willing to participate in the program
- Establish number of participants in schools and colleges
- Establish turn out rates in Counseling sessions
- Establish number of participants going for medical and legal support
- Measuring Data for Monitoring and Evaluation
The actual extraction of data will be identified using several strategies which will entail the following: extracting data recorded from number of participants during program implementation of respective activities and carrying out research on survey statistics to establish existing trends from previous programs. The advantages of using real time data collection during actual implementation of program activities include: the establishment of the real situation on the ground on program effectiveness and relevance and the possibility to identify and correlation of similar factors. The major disadvantages for this method are the potential occurrence of errors during recording and high cost in terms of data handling equipment and software. In the second option, the major advantages include the relative ease of access to data from survey statistics of similar programs and less impact on cost, while the advantage entails the need to establish similar context/setting and failure to translate the data in some cases.
Hence, considering the fact that community based programs have previously been established in similar contexts, this implies that there is relative ease for determining the efficacy of the program by looking at survey statistics presenting similar scenarios and setting. For instance, data can be collected on:
- Current populations served in existing HIV/AIDS programs like the Ryan White HIV AIDS program (HRSA, 2010).
- Outcome of HIV/AIDS education programs in DeKalb County (Travis, 2009)
- HIV/AIDS tests outcomes in Atlanta from AID Atlanta, which is an NGO that provides support and education for people living with HIV/AIDs (AID Atlanta, 2010).
Obstacles in data collection
There are numerous obstacles that can be experienced when carrying out data collection using survey statistics from existing programs. First, establishing credibility of the data is an uphill task since most of the results from the surveys fail to explain the methodologies employed in collecting the data. Secondly, establishing credible and reliable data sources can present a significant challenge. Finally, establishing surveys from organizations with similar program activities and setting is another major challenge.
- Issue on Evaluation Cost
The data correlates well with the cost of evaluation cost since there is sufficient evidence to show that the scenarios presented are essentially similar. The cost of evaluation is essentially sufficient as it enables the achievement of monitoring and evaluation schedule, inputs, and performance criterion. Moreover, after conducting a proficient cost-benefit analysis of the initial budgetary allocations, it reflects that the monitoring and evaluation costs can be sustained for a significant period of time; however, challenges could be experienced in carrying out post-project evaluation since this will require the implementation of extra cost requirements. In order to amend the budgetary allocations to cover the post-project monitoring and evaluation, it will be important to implement comprehensive data collection techniques that will enable the achievement of this objective.