While the MEC project addresses a critical issue of making available professional support at the field level for micro enterprises run by the poor, the project can deliver only if adequate policy measures and support systems are in place. It is the responsibility of the SRLM to ensure these.
Important components of policy formulation and support framework are the following.
- Formulating policy to create a conducive environment for MEC groups to function.
- Identifying the requirements of training and follow up for potential entrepreneurs and specifying the roles of MEC groups
- Post-training facilitation of new entrepreneurs and contribution of MEC groups in the process
- Policy on the business plans for potential entrepreneurs
- MEC role in establishing financial convergence with other enterprise schemes
Monitoring and Review
KS-NRO has been clear about the potential problems that may arise during the project life cycle given the dynamic nature of the context as well as the roles and engagement of multiple stakeholders. Therefore, a monitoring and review system has been put in place, which includes the following.
- Quarterly reviews at district and State level
- Annual review at the State level
- Mid-term review by external consultants
In addition to these, KS-NRO has the following systems for regular monitoring of the project.
- Periodic review meetings of mentor MECs at KS-NRO
- Periodic review meetings of MEC groups
Mid Term Review – Bihar and Jharkhand Projects
Mid-term review (MTR) of the MEC projects in the first two States where it had been initiated was conducted during August - September 2015. The review started with a two-day workshop at the National Mission Management Unit (NMMU) of NRLM in Delhi and culminate in a one-day workshop of the stakeholders from both the States to share the findings.
The MTR team conducted field visits in the five district in the two states and held interactions with officials, entrepreneurs, MECs, MEC Groups, and members of the community structure (Self Help Groups - SHGs and Village Organisations - VOs).
Feedback from the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), Jharkhand State Livelihoods Promotion Society (JSLPS), NMMU, KS-NRO, MECs, entrepreneurs, and SHG members had been considered in preparing the report of the review.
After consolidating the observations and learnings from the two States, the MTR report provided a set of recommendations for
- Improvement of the current projects in pilot districts
- Expansion of the project into other districts
- Expansion of the project into other states
The review found that expansion of the project in other districts and States would be worthwhile if the projects draws in from the strengths and limitations of the pilots; mere replication may not be advisable. The report recommends integration of the project with the core strategies and programmes of State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) as well as those of the community infrastructure. The report argues for dedicated project functionaries at district level for better coordination. Policy guidelines for the project should be in place before initiation in other States.