Photo: Officiating guests at the Opening Ceremony
The Department of Social Work of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has launched the Jockey Club MEL Institute Project (the “Project”). The opening ceremony cum symposium was held today (13 April) at CUHK, officiated by Mr. Caspar Tsui Ying Wai, Secretary for Home Affairs, Hong Kong SAR Government, Professor Benjamin Wah Wan Sang, Provost of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Mr. Bryan Wong, Executive Manager, Charities (Strategy and Business Management), The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
In addition to the opening ceremony, Professor Tiziano Vecchiato, an internationally renowned scholar and expert in social impact assessment, was invited to deliver the keynote presentation: “MEL culture & GIA approach to make the difference: European Experience”. Principal investigators of the Project including Professor Steven Ngai Sek Yum from Department of Social Work, CUHK, Professor Joyce Ma Lai Chong from Department of Social Work, CUHK, and Professor Jacky Cheung Chau Kiu from Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, City University of Hong Kong introduced the training course and online knowledge hub.
Figures: Project opening video (screen capture)
One of the key factors in implementing and maintaining sustainable development in a social service project is to master systematic evaluation mechanisms and methods. Although many NGOs are providing services at high, professional standards, they lack an organised system and resources to evaluate their programmes. They miss opportunities to accumulate highly valuable experience and, in turn, the public may not realise the effectiveness and social impact of their services. The MEL framework provides rigorous and comprehensive training in programme evaluation. With the application of the MEL framework, the effects of services are amplified, thereby improving the capacity and sustainability of NGOs.
Following the opening ceremony, a keynote presentation was held. Professor Tiziano Vecchiato addressed the following questions: “how to monitor, measure, and evaluate the results of social projects in a local community”; “how to do it in a collaborative learning environment between NGOs able to get the most out of the resources available to them”; “how to do it with sustainable solutions and with a better cost result and cost effectiveness index”; as well as “how to value the social impact indexes obtained.” The keynote presentation provided examples of the above-mentioned issues, highlighting the results obtained with multicentre projects carried out in Italy and Europe.
Utilising the methods and tools of programme evaluation will continuously improve the quality of social services, which will eventually bring benefits to society as a whole. Through the Project, the participants should be able to continuously learn and interact, as well as develop suitable programme evaluations to promote the social impact of social services.