The Ministry of Finance has led the way in improving and strengthening the capacity of existing mechanisms to monitor, evaluate and report on national outcomes through the delivery and facilitation of several participatory outcomes mapping exercises. An outcomes map focuses on mapping a rationale or causal steps that need to occur to highlight how a project would bring about the longer term outcomes desired. A participatory outcomes map is a strategy, plan or program design and management approach in which the participants including staff, key stakeholders andbeneficiaries together co-construct their strategic or plan theory. According to the Ministry of Finance, the approach aims to achieve the following objectives:
- strengthen the design, monitoring, evaluating, learning and reporting of Sector Plans;
- achieve clarity with Sector Plan coordinating groups about where we are heading with review processes and design of monitoring and evaluation plans; and
- determine whether or not the outcomes we set are achievable.
The Ministry, with the assistance of Mr. Ted Rowley, a monitoring and evaluation specialist from Australia, had been conducting workshops across the 14 sectors on the development of outcomes maps for each Sector Plan since February 2015. The first round of outcomes mapping focused on the broad sectors including economic, social, infrastructure and environment. More specific consultations were then conducted in May 2015 for the 14 sectors, with another follow-up visit from Mr. Rowley and Ministry representatives in August 2015.
Outcomes mapping is anticipated to contribute to strengthening the mandatory Sector Plan annual review process, as well as preparations for the design and development of the upcoming Strategy for the Development of Samoa to replace the existing 2012-2016 document. For the Public Administration Sector, the exercise had provided a new frame of mind to relook and refocus the activities in the Sector Plan following its annual review in August 2015. The Sector has used this platform to reconsider the relevancy of the activities in consideration of the remaining years for the Plan, the available resources and investment, as well as the geographical scope the Plan intends to cover. It is expected that a more focused and specific Sector Plan will emerge following the annual review process and outcomes mapping exercise.
The Sector acknowledges with gratitude the tremendous support provided by the Ministry of Finance through Mr. Rowley to strengthen the key areas mentioned above.