The Sustainable Mechanism for Improving Livelihoods & Household Empowerment (SMILE) is a 5 year program designed to improve the well-being of 500,000 OVC and 125,000 caregivers in five states of Benue, Edo, Kogi, Nasarawa States and the FCT. This is being done through enhancing organizational and technical capacity of States and LGAs to coordinate and monitor holistic care to OVC and households (SO 1) and support to civil society organizations to manage integrated and comprehensive OVC programs (SO2). The programmatic accomplishments so far for the FY 2014 are as follows:
SO1. State Organizational Capacity Assessments (OCA): Given the need to establish a baseline of organizational and technical capacity of the state, LGA and CSO and systematically monitor improvements in capacity overtime, SMILE program in collaboration with STEER and other partners developed an organizational capacity Assessment tool (OCAT) in October, 2013. The OCAT was used to conduct capacity assessment for the SMWASD in FCT, Nasarawa, Edo, Benue and Kogi States in November 2013. State capacity improvement plans were developed based on identified gaps. As an initial step towards addressing some on the recommendation from the OCAT, the SMWASD in the 5 states have put in place critical mass committees to coordinate OVC issues.
State Quality Improvement Teams/Technical Working Groups: SMILE coordinators in all 5 states carried out joint planning meetings with the SMWASD in preparation for the formation of state quality improvement teams (QIT) and technical working groups (TWG). The outcome of this process was the development of the terms of reference for the SQIT and TWG.
SO2. CSO selection and sub-granting. SMILE issued an RFA for eligible CSOs in the coverage states. A Bidder’s conference was held in each of the 5 states in November 2013 to explain the program and clarify issues to all intending applicants. A technical review committee comprising SMILE team and the respective SMWASD reviewed the submitted applications out of which 23 CSOs were finally selected after fulfilling the required pre-award assessment criteria. A Process for the signing of sub-agreements with the selected CSOs and funding commenced in March 2014.
An integrated training targeting the different CSO technical, program and finance staff was conducted. A total of 120 (M73, F 47) were trained. The integrated training covered OVC service delivery, M&E and Finance & compliance. Also in a bid to strenghthen award management within SMILE, selected staff of SMILE and partner CSOs took part in a 3 day USG award management workshop in March 2014 organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) regional office.
In a bid to create a platform for learning, knowledge exchange and sharing of best practices, SMILE program established a community of practice (CoP) consisting of the HES and Nutrition technical staff from the 23 CSOs. The first meeting of the CoP took place in March 2014 during which the terms of reference were developed and thematic technical committees were established.
Monitoring and Evaluation
SMILE convened a workshop in December 2013 to develop a monitoring and evaluation frame work for the program. This included a review of the data collection tool and the indicators. Also discussed were the program targets and the distribution of these target to the partner CSOs and strategies to attain these targets.
The National OVC database (NOMIS) was successfully deployed to the 23 SMILE partner CSOs in March 2014. The NOMIS will guide program monitoring and improve data quality. In addition, the revised OVC program data collection tools were deployed to all the CSOs and onsite mentoring on these tools were carried out.