Monitoring and Evaluation
In this section, we will outline several important
considerations to keep in mind as you work towards
setting up a M&E system for your organisation. From
experience it is a good practice to include M&E from
inception when setting up your organisation or a
project. Though often mentioned together, both are
different activities; however they do have in common
“learning”. That is learning from what you are doing
and how you are doing it.
What is Monitoring?
Monitoring involves tracking
your project’s progress by systematically gathering
and analysing information about what you are
doing, who your project or programme is reaching
and whether the activities being implemented are
according to plans. Your monitoring activities provide
the foundation for your evaluation.
What is Evaluation?
This is a comparison you
make between your actual project’s impact against
the agreed-on plans. It looks at the things you have
set out to do, what you have been able to achieve
and how it was accomplished.
Having in place a M&E system is more than just a
database. You must be clear about your overall
objective and think through how to track your
activities and progress in order to make sure you are
achieving your set out goals and objectives including
your vision and mission.
For your M & E to be successful, you must conduct
a baseline. This means that before the project starts
you want to collect data on the state of things before
your intervention. This is the basis for which you will
measure change. Depending on the specific goals
of your project, data to be collected may include
communities, household and/or individuals. The
baseline assessment is an important part of your
organisations M&E system as the data collected
during this phase can be used to refine the project
design. The process is repeated in the course of
the project to track progress, retool and at the end
measure overall impact.
We recommend the following steps in setting up a
M&E system for your organisation.
- Have a M&E schedule
- Ask yourself; what key deliverables is our
M&E system contributing to and what dates
are they due?
- What are our donor/government/
organisational reporting requirements?
- How will we be using the data collected:
for internal programme management, to
feed into annual planning and budgeting,
mid-term evaluation, final evaluation, as a
decision-making tool or regular programme
Your M&E schedule should include indicators to
track progress towards long term sustainability.
Indicators are clues, signs or markers that measure
one aspect of a program and show how close a
program is to its desired path and outcomes. Read
more about indicators here: http://www.mnestudies.
- Define your indicators using your programme or
project objectives. http://www.endvawnow.org/
en/articles/336-indicators.html for information
on how to do this.
- Choose appropriate data collection methods.
Evidence based data is critical in telling the story
of how your project is making impact. To achieve
this, you will need to make careful decisions
about the type of data (information) you need
to collect that will tell your story better. A good
M&E plan provides information on the number
of beneficiaries receiving support from the
project and how this support is bringing about
changes in their lives. Data collection methods
must be simple, easy to use and available to all so
that everyone can learn from the data.
- Start with a paper process first. It is best to
design your step by step M & E process using
paper- based forms at first. Once the system
becomes more advanced you can choose to
automate some aspects. The following questions
will help in designing your data collection system.
Build staff /volunteer capacity for data collection
and design a reference toolkit. As soon as the
system is designed and ready for use, design a
training module and reference toolkit for staff
and volunteers working in the organisation.
Ensure to have in the toolkit possible challenges
staff may face and provide guidance on how it
can be addressed. It is helpful to clearly define
your indicators and guidance on what and how to
Do a test run. We recommend testing your
system before it is fully rolled out. Doing a
practice run of your system from the beginning to
end, will help you spot challenges and technical
issues before your actual implementation of the
- When we visit the field, what data do we
need to collect from our beneficiaries?
- How will these data (information) be
- How will they record the data?
- How will the data be consolidated and
analysed for reporting?
- Whose responsibility is it to coordinate this