Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation and its Rationale

Monitoring and evaluation is part of the management functions of an organization. Monitoring and evaluation at different levels feed into each other.

Monitoring: The ongoing collection of information about the activities and operation of a program. This information is used to determine what the program is actually doing and whether activities are being implemented as intended

 Evaluation: The periodic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs in order to make judgments, improve effectiveness, and/or identify lessons learned.

Monitoring asks: “What are we doing?”

Evaluation asks: “What have we achieved? What impact have we had?”

Types of Evaluations

  • Formative
    • Strengthen/improve activities
    • Needs assessment
    • Evaluability assessment
    • Structured conceptualization
    • Implementation evaluation
    • Process evaluation
  • Summative
    • Examine the effects/outcomes
    • Outcome evaluation
    • Impact evaluation
    • Cost-effectiveness

Rationale for M&E

  • M&E help to make informed decisions regarding ongoing programs
  • M&E ensure the most effective and efficient use of resources
  • M&E determine exactly where a program is right on track and where changes need to be considered
  • M&E help stakeholders conclude whether the program is a success
  • M&E inform subsequent decisions about programs
  • M&E preserve institutional memory

Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks

One of the main purposes of having M&E frameworks is the clarification of the program’s assumptions, goals, and the known or expected relationships among program and environmental factors that may affect the effectiveness of the activities or the outcome of the intervention. Another important purpose of M&E framework design is to define clear levels of results that should occur as the intervention unfolds. These should be realistic and objective impacts that can be measured and assessed.

M&E frameworks rest on the assumptions and objectives of the program within its operating environment. Drawing on those expectations, the M&E framework provides a schematic design showing how various relevant factors, results, and overall outcomes are linked.

In general designing frameworks assists to develop:

  • Clearly understood program/project goals and measurable, long-term, short-term, and intermediate objectives
  • Clearly defined relationships between program/project inputs, processes, outputs, and outcomes, and between program/project activities and the external context (environmental factors)

Goals and Objectives

  • Objectives: statements of desired, specific, realistic
    and measurable program results

    • SMART
      • Specific: identifies concrete events or actions that will take place
      • Measurable: quantifies the amount of resources, activity, or change to be expended and achieved
      • Appropriate: logically relates to the overall problem statement and desired effects of the program
      • Realistic: Provides a realistic dimension that can be achieved with the available resources and plans for implementation
      • Time-based: specifies a time within which the objective will be achieved

Types of Frameworks

Frameworks can be classified in many ways. In this module, we identify four types of frameworks.

  1. Conceptual Frameworks
  2. Results Frameworks
  3. Logical Frameworks
  4. Logic Models
  5. Conceptual Frameworks
    (also known as research or theoretical frameworks)

A diagram that identifies and illustrates the relationships between all relevant systemic, organizational, individual, or other salient factors that may influence program/project operation and the successful achievement of program or project goals.

M&E Purpose of a conceptual framework

  • To show where program fits into a wider context
  • To clarify assumptions about causal relationships
  • To show how program components will operate to influence outcomes
  • To guide identification of indicators
  • To guide impact analysis (causal pathways)