CUHK Social Work Department organises the Jockey Club MEL Institute Project Final Project Pitching Day 2023
With the assistance of a generous donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Department of Social Work launched Phase Two of the Jockey Club MEL Institute Project (the Project) in 2022. It aims to equip practitioners from local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with knowledge and practical experience of the concepts of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL). Building on Phase One’s achievements and social impact, Phase Two strengthens specific training topics as well as adding new training components to promote organisational-level MEL capacity in support of local NGO needs.
Since it started, the Project has generated significant interest. Approximately 120 participants from different social service and professional backgrounds in local NGOs and social enterprises have completed a six-month programme, which consists of a seven-week training course and a four-month mentored practicum.
At the Final Project Pitching Day 2023 held at CUHK, a total of 30 teams, comprising participants from different NGOs and social enterprises, showcased their application of MEL knowledge and programme evaluation skills through five-minute presentations. The event was adjudicated by a distinguished panel including Mr Bryan Wong, Head of Charities (Positive Ageing and Elderly Care) at The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Professor Ilan Katz, Professor at the University of New South Wales, Professor Steven Ngai Sek-yum, Principal Investigator of the Project and Professor in the Department of Social Work at CUHK, and Professor Cinzia Canali, Director of the Emanuela Zancan Foundation, who selected five outstanding teams to be the award winners. In addition, all online and offline audience members were invited to vote for their favourite projects and express their appreciation for those that resonated with them the most.
In his welcoming remarks, Professor Ngai expressed his pleasure at the increasing recognition of the MEL framework among NGOs, and he urged participants to continue using MEL practices to enhance their social impact.
In his closing remarks, Mr Wong acknowledged that the five minutes allocated for each team’s presentation meant they could not fully encapsulate the immense effort they had put in. He emphasised the profound wisdom conveyed by the participants, stating, “For me, you’ve imparted years of wisdom.”
Professor Katz highlighted the importance of shifting the focus towards sustainability and leveraging current work to drive service improvements in the future. He stated, “It’s crucial to contemplate how we can improve our services in the future by learning from our current work and effectively demonstrating the progress we’ve made.”
Professor Canali also expressed her happiness at seeing the participants become masters at evaluating services. She noted that new challenges lie ahead, including continuing to use the new knowledge they have learned from the MEL Project and involving their colleagues to harness their passion.