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Prioritising Wuthathi indicators

Wuthathi has implemented its Indigenous Protected Area Plan, which outlines its key cultural and environmental values and its strategies for managing these. Significantly for this Pilot, Wuthathi have elected that this Plan will also guide their local monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) program to be implemented through this Project.

The IPA Plan also establishes 81 indicators for measuring and tracking the health of key values – whereby each key value has between 5-10 indicators that may measure its health over time. This connection between indicators and key values is the backbone of any effective MER framework and program.

However, 81 indicators is far too many to effectively monitor and evaluate in the scope of this Pilot. This led us to prioritise those indicators that could and should be monitored and evaluated by this project.

The key considerations taken into account in this process included:

  • What indicators are most appropriate for evaluating the health of a value, i.e. what indicators provide the clearest indication of a key value's condition?
  • What indicators are high priority for TOs, the community, or the organisation to evaluate?
  • What indicators are already being monitored by existing activities?
  • What indicators might be evaluated using existing data sources?
  • What indicators have attainable data requirements, i.e. which would be within the resource and capacity constraints of the rangers/CRAs to collect (considering that capacity will be built through this project)?
  • Which indicators could be evaluated within the timeframe of this project? That is, we did not select indicators that needed three or more years of data before an accurate evaluation could be made.

From this process, a short-list of 21 indicators were ‘activated’. Of these 21 indicators, each key value is being monitored by at least 2 indicators.

No indicators were ‘culled’ or removed as part of this activity. Instead, they were marked as in development, or long-term (i.e. the latter part of this project may look towards developing a way for Wuthathi to monitor and evaluate them in the future).

Learning note:

This exercise emphasises that having indicators developed at the same time as the IPA plan (or any healthy country/culture-based plan) is vital. Setting indicators establishes how the health or condition of the values and targets are going to be measured tracked through time. This brings the plan to life and , rather than something that is static

This does not need to be a formal or technical process that is termed ‘indicator development’. Instead, the Wuthathi IPA Plan provides a good example for how this can be done, by asking “How will we know if a key value is healthy?”. Such a question is effectively asking "How will we measure/monitor the health of these key values?", which is behind the formation of meaningful indicators.

Next Step:

The next step with Wuthathi will be to align each of the 81 indicators with the attributes in the Strong People-Strong Country framework. This exercise will provide a preliminary indication of the strength of alignment between the SP-SC framework and one TO group’s local monitoring priorities.

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