15.4.2  Field visits

Field visits are essential for any community-based interventions (Figure 15.6). Field visits should be planned thoroughly in order to be of maximum use. As summarised by UNDP (2009), the following considerations may help in planning an effective field visit.

  • Purpose: Field visits can provide necessary evidence to confirm results reported by kebeles, HEWs, etc. They involve an assessment of progress and problems.
  • Timing: A field visit may take place at any time of the year but seasonal factors should be considered when planning a visit. The focus of the visit may vary, relative to the schedule of the annual work plan.
  • Who should participate: This will vary but joint visits involving teams from project partners are often an efficient way to monitor progress and share information.
  • Dialogue and consultations: The emphasis should be on collecting information on progress being made towards the goals (outputs and outcomes) as well as their quality and sustainability.
  • Findings: Field visit reports should be brief, with an emphasis on actions completed. Reports should be forwarded to appropriate departments and stakeholders for consideration and effective action.
Figure 15.6 A practitioner undertaking a field visit to interview mothers to monitor performance of a WASH initiative.

The content of a field visit report varies depending on the purpose of the visit. At a minimum, it should contain an analysis of the progress towards results, the identification of outputs, partnerships, key challenges and proposed actions. A form illustrating the type of information that could be gathered during a field visit is given in Table 15.3. This form may be changed to suit your particular needs.

Table 15.3 Example field visit form.
Date of visit:
Subject and place of visit:
Purpose of the field visit:
Main challenges in implementation:
Progress towards results:
Prepared by:

15.4.1  Annual work plans

15.5  Methods and tools for evaluation