Now, that’s a question that stumps most people. Some will just start rambling and you are expected to cull out what you want. Some, thankfully, are more clued in and tell you exactly what you wanted to hear.
I have usually found that it is helpful to guide the conversation by mentioning various components of the project/programme and then asking what worked and what didn’t. What were the facilitating and inhibiting/restraining factors? Were there any developments (village – national level) that affected work and how did they deal with it? How would they rate the involvement of the key participants and other stakeholders? If they were given a choice, what would they do differently? What were the consequences/effects ranging from personal to other levels?
In fact, I think that there is a lot of value in consolidating such queries into a check list. This check list can be used periodically at team meetings to generate learnings. The responses can guide subsequent planning. This would help organisational knowledge building. And yes, we could put the answers in the donor reports as well!