Next week, a group of 4-5 of us from IRC will be in Accra with all country teams from the WASHCost project to work together on ‘process documentation’. Starting from a training workshop, the idea behind this workshop has moved forward to become a kind of orientation and training workshop.
The objectives are manifold: a) agree on a working definition of process documentation (what the heck is it?) b) train all staff about the use of photography, video, interviews etc. and c) decide what we are going to document in WASHCost, starting from the ‘hypothesis of change’ of the project.
There’s a few very interesting sides to this workshop:
- It will be the largest workshop dedicated to process documentation since the one we organised in Poland in July 2007 – which resulted in a very nice blog.
- It will not only be about the practice but also a little bit about the theory of process documentation which really needs some agreement. That’s really one of the problems with new trensd and buzz words: everyone uses them in a slightly different way. In Accra, we hope to come up with a common understanding.
- Leading from that, we should be able to capitalise a bit on all kinds of experiences with process documentation from the RiPPLE project, WASPA Asia, EMPOWERS and SWITCH. We have accumulated quite some ideas and insights from this ‘soft monitoring’ work and IRC is dedicated to documenting process documentation (multiple loop learning here this year, perhaps to make a toolbox, some case studies, many examples of outputs available…
- We hope to come up with a better name for ‘process documentation’ and particularly for the person in charge. ‘Process documentalist’ seems to refer to a very scientific entomologist studying hot air, so it’s time to jazz this up a bit and end embarrassment when mentioning the PD words…
- Finally, some partners from CREPA, WaterAid and the resource centre network in Ghana will also participate to the workshop. They should help challenging our ideas and ways of working, and hopefully they will also spread the word about this process documentation work and perhaps take it up in their own line of work.
Another interesting aspect from this work is that it should very nicely complement the upcoming publication about impact assessment planned for later this year.
What I personally hope is to find a place to park process documentation in the hall of concepts that we have produced in the last few years – and perhaps to sound out colleagues and partners on their take of process documentation. I still think that PD is what essentially what intelligent monitoring should cover as well, but since donors are following different frameworks of reference for monitoring, it is no wonder that process documentation is still an undefined and ill-accepted practice among donors. Perhaps the capitalisation work around process documentation will help change this perspective. And perhaps a sexier name would…