Community volunteers and activists often want to make the world a better place, making them
action-orientated and often under-resourced. Monitoring and evaluation can sometimes seem
like an unaffordable luxury, an administrative burden, or an unwelcome instrument of external
oversight. But if used well, M&E can become a powerful tool for social and political change.
Monitoring is a periodically recurring task already beginning in the planning stage of a project or programme. Monitoring allows results, processes and experiences to be documented and used as a basis to steer decision-making and learning processes. Monitoring is checking progress against plans. The data acquired through monitoring is used for evaluation.
Monitoring & Evaluation
M&E is an embedded concept and constitutive part of every project or programme design (“must be”). M&E is not an imposed control instrument by the donor or an optional accessory (“nice to have”) of any project or programme. M&E is ideally understood as dialogue on development and its progress between all stakeholders.
In general, monitoring is integral to evaluation. During an evaluation, information from previous monitoring processes is used to understand the ways in which the project or programme developed and stimulated change. Monitoring focuses on the measurement of the following aspects of an intervention:
On quantity and quality of the implemented activities (outputs: What do we do? How do we manage our activities?)
On processes inherent to a project or programme (outcomes: What were the effects /changes that occurred as a result of your intervention?)
On processes external to an intervention (impact: Which broader, long-term effects were triggered by the implemented activities in combination with other environmental factors?)
The evaluation process is an analysis or interpretation of the collected data which delves deeper into the relationships between the results of the project/programme, the effects produced by the project/programme and the overall impact of the project/programme.
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