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I wish to share my first experience as a monitoring officer. I work for the Fiji Government as a monitoring officer. When the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit was established in 2009, I was tasked to monitor the implementation of the strategic goals of Government by the Ministry of Health, which was done on a quarterly basis.
When I went to monitor in the first quarter of 2010, I walked into the Ministry wearing my hat as a monitoring officer. After the formulation of my monitoring report, it was time to return to the Ministry to provide the feedback of the previous quarter's performance. I was in for a surprise. It was the first time, a Government Minister of my country sat in a such a forum interested to know what was my view. When the Ministry was notified that I had given an average rating of between 50-60% for their performance, there were a lot of disagreements between me and the Ministry officials.
I stood my ground as a monitoring officer and informed the Ministry that was purely looking at evidence, whilst the Ministry on the otherhand, informed me that there was no communication or discussion done on any pending documentations that I wanted to see.
In moving forward, the Ministry requested that in future, if more consultations could be undertaken between us in order that we are both able to understand each other's work better.
I took that positive criticism on board and have changed my stance of conducting monitoring in the Ministry. I realised that it was a learning process for both of us, whereby I was able in one way enhance the strengthening of their documentation process of work undertaken and at the same time, it taught me to fully understand the different circumstances in which the Ministry was operating.
To-date it is one of the Ministries that I look forward to monitoring every quarter as there is more dialogue before and after the monitoring process has taken place.