Monitoring And Evaluation
1. Issue in briefGlobally, indoor air pollution is responsible for approximately 1.6 million deaths every year.
Various interventions are available to reduce indoor air pollution and associated health impacts at the household level. Working chimneys and hoods, increased ventilation and improved combustion can reduce concentrations of indoor air pollutants. Reducing human exposure to these harmful by-products of combustion leads to reduce illness.
To implement an intervention Monitoring and Evaluation of Indoor Air Quality, (IAQ) is essential. There is a need for proper design of investigations so that causes of indoor air quality problems and their solutions are clearly understood. Numerous chemical and physical factors influence the indoor concentrations of contaminants. Source characteristics, chemical and physical sinks, rates of air exchange, indoor air flow patterns and occupant activities are some of the factors which need to be considered or measured when monitoring indoor air quality. The multiplicity of these factors makes the task of designing an investigation very complex. Determining the parameters to be measured as well as defining the extent of measurement are critical aspects of designing a study. The process is further complicated by the fact that individuals drawn to such efforts are of diverse professional and educational backgrounds-environmental scientists, chemists, industrial hygienists, social workers, architects, mechanical engineers, public health professionals etc. Thus a common understanding of the basis for conducting indoor air quality measurements is required. Well-conceived designs and protocols form a critical starting point for successful measurement programs.
So the basis of successful M&E program is a good study design and a protocol to conduct the study. Design of a study or investigation can be defined as developing a strategy or approach. This involves a specific statement of goals for the study and translation of these goals into measurable objectives. These objectives need to specify measurement parameters and statistically justifiable sample size. Protocols refer to specific procedures to be followed in conducting a study. To implement a design, a detailed procedure has to be developed to guide sample selection, monitoring, quality assurance, and data analysis. The documentation of such procedural items forms the written protocol of the study.
IAQ monitoring sites in urban areas are usually (i) commercial and office buildings and (ii) residential buildings or houses. The cause of poor air quality in these areas are ventilation, filtration, outdoor sources, household items like old mouldy carpets and linen etc. In urban city buildings, airtight construction, designed to improve energy efficiency, permits less fresh air to enter the home. High efficiency heating and cooling systems constantly re-circulate indoor air so particles and VOCs build up over time.
In the rural areas the chief source of pollution is the cooking fuel and stove, light source in the evening, ventilation etc. In both the areas a statistically firm design for the measurement should be prepared and piloted before implementing the design in the study area. It should include-development of study objectives, data analysis plans and interviewing methods and questionnaire construction, identifying study respondents and determining the required number of such participants. The development of questionnaires relevant to the study area and study objective to explain the cause of variations in indoor air pollutant concentration is an important aspect of monitoring and evaluation.
Instruments needed for monitoring depend on the study parameters and design and of course budget. The monitoring can be laboratory based under simulated conditions or field based. In the Laboratory based study more sophisticated instruments can be used like a gas chromatograph to analyse the air in the room etc, but in a Field study the instruments should be portable and easy to use, preferably powered by battery.
Finally, it is important to demonstrate the sustainability and cultural acceptability of a given intervention. Documenting these impacts will help generate the evidence to convince policy-makers and donors at all levels that household energy interventions work in reducing one of the major global threats to children's and women's health.
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