Monitoring and evaluation of HIV/AIDS programmes by Non-Governmental Organisations : a case study of uMngeni Local Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
South Africa is facing a universe challenge in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic as it is the worst affected country in the world with the largest number of people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. While significant numbers of stakeholders have come on board to help the South African government fight the disease, the setting up of effective and efficient Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems has been a challenge. The study focussed on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) managing HIV/AIDS in the uMngeni Local Municipality. NGOs normally operate using resources from funders who in turn requires robust accountability of their fund utilisation. Robust accountability can only be achieved by reporting with the aid of an effective and efficient M&E system. The aim of the study was to evaluate the current M&E systems of NGOs implementing HIV/AIDS programs in the uMngeni Local Municipality; investigate the reporting mechanism of NGOs implementing HIV/AIDS programmes; identify monitoring and evaluation challenges faced by NGOs implementing HIV/AIDS programmes in the uMngeni Local Municipality, KwaZulu Natal; and to make recommendations for the improvement of M&E implemented by NGOs. A questionnaire was distributed to senior managers at NGO’s in the uMngeni Local Municipality, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The data collected were analysed with SPSS version 22.0.The results were presented in the form of graphs and cross tabulations, with other figures being used for data collected from open ended questions. The study revealed that NGOs managing HIV/AIDS in the uMngeni Local Municipality face a number of challenges including a lack of statistical skills; a shortage of qualified staff; a lack of M&E knowledge; a dearth of M&E systems within organisations; inadequate resources; a lack of commitment by staff members; poor stakeholder involvement; poor quality data; and a lack of appropriate M&E tools. The results of the study also revealed that NGOs managing HIV/AIDS programmes in the uMngeni Local Municipality were not referring to best practices when managing M&E systems for their programmes. Recommendations were drafted using the findings of the research, literature reviewed and best practices for monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS programmes. It is highly recommended that through more effective capacity building, NGOs managing HIV/AIDS programmes in the uMngeni Local Municipality will be able to improve existing M&E systems. Designing of the M&E plan along with stakeholder involvement is also crucial in managing HIV/AIDS M&E systems. The allocation of adequate resources for M&E activities should be prioritised for approximately ten percent of the total programme budget. Indicators should be carefully selected and aligned to collect relevant data. NGOs managing HIV/AIDS in the uMngeni Local Municipality could also monitor and evaluate programme activities on a regular basis. They should also have a standard of operation procedure (SOP) for data quality management. Emphasis on programme data quality could also be an action point for effective management of HIV/AIDS M&E system and this can be further strengthened by conducting data quality audits. Finally, NGOs managing HIV/AIDS programmes in the uMngeni Local Municipality should disseminate M&E findings to stakeholders and use data to make informed programme decisions.