At the Freedom Fund, we have important ambitions for what our monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system can offer. The hotspot model – of bringing enough resources, intensity of intervention, length of commitment, selection of partners and accelerated learning together – will often mean we have groundbreaking, useful and sometimes complex results to share.
So far, M&E in the anti-slavery field has been rather modest. There have been very few high quality evaluations, for example. It’s understandable. Having worked in this field for a while, I can say that in the past with such meager and scattered resources, it has been hard to set aside much money from direct liberation activities in order to measure whether it’s working. Just a few oorganisationshave begun actually allocating long-term specialist staff and hard won grants to systematically strengthen their anti-slavery monitoring and evaluation.
It is also one of the most challenging fields of social action in which to do monitoring and evaluation. For example, if it’s effective work, then it tends to be different in each context. What good work looks like with young Ethiopian women returning from domestic slavery in Saudi Arabia is not the same as work in the red-light areas of Bihar or with stone-breakers coming out of bonded labour in Uttar Pradesh. It’s not easy to make a system that is useful in all these extremely different contexts.
Clearly we need to address these challenges and invest in M&E, in order to build sustained support and to learn not just WHAT works but HOW and WHY. So what can we hope for in our monitoring and evaluation?
The Freedom Fund can make a significant contribution to the field through our M&E system and we welcome feedback.