Jindra Cekan, PhD
CEKAN CONSULTING LLC
323 11th St., NE
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20002

Data-for-Appreciative-Decision-Making,
Food Security/Livelihoods,
HIV / AIDS Technical Assistance,
Training and Proposals

Jindra Cekan created this Discovery Report as part of her support to USAID's PPL/LER Learning Process.
Download it HERE

International relief and development organizations can learn effectively from their programming and across program implementation, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in order to do the best programming and advocacy now and in the future.  Having processes in place to capture, share as well as evaluate lessons from program implementation is key. Capturing useable data from qualitative and quantitative sources is especially valuable to foster staff and partner learning.  M&E is best when done with, not to, staff. Learning systems need to 'feed' donors as well as track what implementors themselves need to know.  

Helping staff know what has worked best and access and use those key learnings during implementation in order to make adaptive decisions about resources going forward is especially needed.  Staff may also need training to understand how to track, attribute causality and contextualize the ongoing impact of the program and learn from it.  Communities, local NGOs and national governments need to be integrated into and inform Rapid Rural Assessment/ Evaluation learning.  They may need capacity building to explore and explain their needs and capacities to outsiders while building stronger learning systems gathering and using knowledge they already have.  

Taking an appreciative inquiry approach is key - celebrating what works and doing more of it. Finding 'learning champions' can be an excellent way forward to galvanize great work.  Listening to an array of clients is key, and creating systems to roll-up data, manage learning and make leadership decisions is vital.  Such processes may require strategic planning to chart the way forward, or research to understand the underlying local issues as well as donor barriers and requirements. Incorporating what didn't work as well and why is needed as well. 

Building an understanding of the inter-sectoral interactions such are found in food security (agriculture/NRM, health.nutrition, micro-enterprise, safety nets, resilience) requires excellent assessment, project design, collaboration and organizational learning skills.  Bringing together expert teams across sectors and specialties is a skill Cekan Consulting can provide, as we have for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins University.

Jindra Cekan, PhD, Cekan Consulting's principal has 24 years of experience working for non-profit, USAID as well as corporate clients in knowledge sharing and organizational learning, strategic planning, project design, M&E, research and training/ facilitation taking an Appreciative Inquiry approach in Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, Balkans/ Central Asia and Europe.

 

Topical Areas of Expertise

  • Project design
  • Monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
  • Staff training and facilitation
  • Proposal writing/ review, donor reporting and grant management (especially U.S. government)
  • Strategic planning and consulting
  • Research and interviewing
  • Regional foci: sub-Saharan Africa, Balkans/ Central Asia,
    Central America/ Caribbean, Europe

REFERENCE

"Jindra provided head office project management, monitoring and evaluation systems development and communications support for a large-scale, multi-country food security and rural development program in Central Asia. Jindra was able to quickly create order out of chaos! She worked effectively with country teams to put project management and reporting systems in place. Her knowledge of good practices in food aid management and food security program monitoring and evaluation were a great asset to the organization. Jindra consistently provided honest and constructive feedback to the senior management team. She also trained and coached country representatives and new staff members to ensure the systems that she had developed and the knowledge that she had shared were sustained. Jindra brings great energy, integrity and intelligence to her work and I highly recommend her."
- Pat Scheid, Aga Khan Foundation.

"I had the opportunity to work with Jindra in 2006 as a consultant for CRS Kenya. She provided technical assistance and leadership in the design of our MYAP. Jindra was absolutely fantastic to work with as she was extremely organized, provided excellent technical feedback on the proposed integrated food security strategies. She was well read and understood the politics of food assisted programs and produced a final very competitive [and approved] grant document. She works well with a diverse group of people and her insight from having worked with many other agencies definitely assisted us develop a strong proposal. I would highly recommend Jindra."
- Hanna Dagnachew, Chief of Party AIDS Relief, CRS-Kenya.

 "Jindra has provided LWR with a very helpful baseline and a final evaluation in West Africa and most importantly, did it in a participatory way with LWR and partner staff.  Her untiring efforts to provide validated information gathered using participatory methods was precisely what LWR needed and at the same time, she supported LWR’s long term efforts to build staff and partner capacity for evaluation.  She also has a very positive disposition which makes it very pleasant and gratifying to work with her!
- Ms. Heather Dolphin, Lutheran World Relief's Monitoring & Evaluation Manager in Organizational Effectiveness