CUHK holds Jockey Club MEL Institute Project Opening Ceremony cum Symposium on Programme Evaluation and Impact Assessment
With the success of phase one, phase two of the Jockey Club MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning) Institute Project, funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and organised by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Department of Social Work has kicked off. The organisations successfully held the Opening Ceremony cum Symposium on Programme Evaluation and Impact Assessment online on 4 November 2022. Professor Alan K.L. Chan, Provost of CUHK, and Mr Bryan Wong, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust’s Head of Charities (Ageing and Elderly Care), officiated at the opening ceremony, with more than 270 participants attending from different parts of the world, including Australia, Italy, Finland, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Phase two will see the project continue for three more years, from 2022 to 2025, providing MEL training to local non-governmental organisation practitioners through training courses, mentored practicum, online learning and community practice. During the opening ceremony, Professor Chan said in his welcome address that the MEL Project reflected CUHK’s commitment to creating impact and value that will make a positive difference to the community. Mr Wong quoted a popular saying, “What gets measured gets improved”, which highlights the essence of the project – to help people to do better. Professionals in the social service sector yearn for a common language, tools and skills to assess the effectiveness of what they do, so they can learn from experience. They are also interested in how to serve more people and serve them better.
Professor Cinzia Canali, Director of Emanuela Zancan Foundation in Italy, gave a very insightful keynote presentation on the topic From “Childhood, First” to Multisite Projects for Fighting Educational Poverty. During the presentation, she highlighted projects that adopted a generative welfare approach, involving the active participation of not only parents and children but also all relevant stakeholders. They collectively participated in open-air experiments for co-creating new ideas and solutions to improve the well-being of children and families experiencing educational poverty in Italy. The projects have also been monitored systematically and evaluated among communities of practice, whose members have discussed the anticipated and actual outcomes of the innovative work.
Professor Steven Ngai, Principal Investigator of the Project and Professor of CUHK’s Department of Social Work, introduced the training courses and the online knowledge hub. The training courses will be delivered by well-known local and international MEL experts, while the mentored practicum will be conducted by local experts from social work, business, media and information technology. Professor Ngai’s introduction gave participants a fuller understanding of the MEL Project and how it can enhance the sustainability of the social service sector by developing NGO practitioners’ programme evaluation capacity to amplify the effect of social services.