423 – IOB – Review of the monitoring systems of three projects in Syria – AJACS, White Helmets and NLA

Implementing assistance programmes in situations of conflict and in warzones is challenging in the extreme. In Syria, where it is virtually impossible for outside experts to be present on the ground, different and more flexible arrangements have to be made to ensure that project implementation is as effective as possible. In a highly constrained environment with fluctuating power configurations and logistical barriers, monitoring project activities becomes an equally daunting task. Yet, for various reasons, it is key that donors, implementing partners and beneficiaries keep each other informed on progress and bottlenecks and that feedback loops are in order.

This study looks into the robustness of monitoring systems that are used in the context of Syria. It examines the monitoring systems for three Dutch-funded programmes to assess whether these provide sufficient guarantees to detect flaws and risks, and how to remedy these. The study does not report on individual incidents. This study does not examine actual progress made by the different projects, nor does it assess their outputs and impact.

Some factors posed limitations to the research. The evolving situation in Syria meant that it had to be carried out in a short time period and, for security reasons, had to rely on remote monitoring rather than field visits to Syria.

The study was undertaken by IOB researchers. Hence, solely IOB is responsible for the findings and conclusions.