Making relationships count : exploring how Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand can use monitoring and evaluation to develop trust-based relationships with tangata whenua partners : a research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, Institute of Development Studies, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
A culture of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is now widespread in the development sector. Organisations are expected to measure progress and monitor results in order to determine the impact of their interventions. Yet despite relationships being central to effective development, there are very few frameworks or indicators to help measure the quality of trust - as the foundation of relationships. This research investigates ways to measure trust-based relationships. Drawing on a case study of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand (Caritas), along with an extensive literature review, this report explores how Caritas can use M&E to reflect trust-based relationships with tangata whenua partners. Perspectives on M&E and specifically measuring trust, are explored from an Indigenous and Maori world view. Semi-structured interviews with five people representing Caritas and two of its Maori partners disclose behaviours that deepen trust. Through this exploration, an ongoing conversation about culturally competent M&E and the centrality of trust-based relationships in expanding evaluation practice is revealed. The insights expressed are presented as ten indicators of trust. Together with a foundational layer relying on cultural competence
and shared vision, these indicators form a framework with trust at the centre. The ten signs of trust are; face to face, going beyond the minimally required, challenging and questioning, understanding time, interacting in the in-between spaces, listening genuinely, committing as an organisation, contributing funds and contributing new knowledge and connections.
This report concludes that building strong, trusting relationships matters. They do count in order to achieve development that enables shared learning, empowerment and self determination. Cross cultural collaboration will be more meaningful when behaviours taht impact on trust are identified and regularly monitored. The emergent framework can be a practical tool for Caritas to use in monitoring and evaluating trust with its tangata whenua partners. It presents an opportunity to explore and reflect on dimensions of trust from a tangata whenua perspective, opens up the space for more dialogue with partners and invites a more collaborative approach towards doing development.