For an organisation working in 33 countries with over 700 partners, data management and monitoring and analysis become key drivers for success. VSO recognise the importance of accurate and meaningful data and as such asked Jigsaw to undertake an extensive data verification exercise across the entirety of their operations. The key objectives of the project were as follows:

  • Undertake a field verification of VSO’s partnership data received through their internal monitoring process via a representative sample of VSO partners from countries in Asia Pacific and Africa.

  • Verify the quality of the data generated in VSOs Annual Partnership Review process and provide assurances around the quality or integrity of that data, and identify where improvements need to be made as part of VSOs overall improvement programme.

Jigsaw worked closely with VSO to develop a robust methodology to successfully deliver this project and identified the countries to visit. The countries selected for the face-to-face structured interviews were Bangladesh, India, Malawi and Zambia. One Jigsaw associate travelled to Bangladesh and India and another to Malawi and Zambia. In total 24 face-to-face structured interviews were undertaken with VSO partners, ranging from government ministries to small rural grassroots community-based organisations. Whilst in-country, and in order to get VSO field input, Jigsaw also conducted semi-structured interviews with VSO country directors, project managers and volunteers.

“Jigsaw have been a pleasure to work with. David, Matt and the team have really understood our organisation and provided us with valuable insights into how we can improve.”  - Andrew Caffrey, Head of Impact and Accountability Team, VSO

In addition to the face-to-face interviews, Jigsaw also carried out 28 distance-based interviews with partners over Skype. These interviews involved partners from 24 different countries with a blend of three key analytical variables: size of the partner, sector engagement of the partner, and satisfaction level of the partner.

The analysis of the data enabled Jigsaw to provide VSO with a clear picture of the current quality levels and integrity of the data across the organisation, as well as to highlight a number of practical recommendations for improvements in both data accuracy and the M&E systems. Jigsaw are now working closely with VSO to help implement many of the final report recommendations.

Given the success of the verification exercise, Jigsaw were asked to repeat the process the following year, this time visiting Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda. The verification exercise was structured around five key questions, exploring accuracy, appropriateness, quality, impact and beneficiary input. The data was gathered from a representative sample of partners (15 distance based interviews and 28 face to face interviews) and VSO internationally based staff  (18 interviews). 
Throughout the research process Jigsaw sought to operate alongside the VSO country programmes and partners, undertaking the verification in a manner that was supportive and equipping. Importance was placed on integrated learning, with the Jigsaw team emphasising positive options for improving the internal monitoring tools and processes.