A beginners guide to Monitoring and Evaluation

If you have perused the professional field, it is likely that you have seen the acronym ‘M&E’ which means Monitoring and Evaluation. They feature in job roles, project work and departments or units in organizations yet not many understand what the actual concept is all about.

WHAT IS MONITORING AND EVALUATION?

Say you have a project for the design and construction of a new Home; You have planned how all of the work is to be performed, assembled the right team and estimated how much the project is likely to cost.

Would you simply pay the team, go to a hotel and return at the estimated date of completion to move into your new home? NO. This is because you recognize the importance of following up with the work performed to ensure that it corresponds with the plan you made for the work. The regular collection of information about all the activities of your project is what is known as Monitoring.

 It is done to learn from experiences to improve your practices and methods, to account for the resources expended and help you take better and more informed decisions in the future. You see then that Monitoring is a continuous exercise performed throughout the life-cycle of your project. It is to be incorporated into your everyday project work.

Evaluation, on the other hand, is systematically and objectively assessing a completed phase of a project or the completion of the overall project and determining whether the project achieved what it set out to do.

Here are some definitions:

Monitoring
•The systematic and objective assessment of a non-going or completed project,programme, or policy,and its design,implementation and results.
•Evaluation appraise data and information that inform strategic decisions,thus improving the project or programme in the future
Evaluation
•A systematic process of collecting data and measuring progress which indicates project’s performance.
•Monitoring enables organisations to track achievements by a regular collection of information to assist timely decision making,ensure accountability and provide the basis for evaluation and learning

For the building of a Home, evaluation may be set in the phases of building foundation, Roofing and final project completion. Checking the quality of the foundation and determining whether it can actually hold the weight of two floors or three floors or as many floors were planned; the roofing to see if it is properly held by the beams and assessing whether it can prevent unwanted light and water from coming in; The entire building whether it can host intended residents satisfactorily.

Evaluation measures the impact and outcomes of the project and seeks to understand and document why it worked (or why it didn’t work). While Monitoring can be performed by project team and stakeholders, Evaluation is often done by external stakeholders so as to preserve objectivity in their assessment. A hybrid team of External agents and project Staff can also help in producing the most information on the project.

Sample M&E Officer/ Field Staff Job description
•Reviews and revises M&E strategy (including logframe)
•Monitors project activities, expenditures and progress
•Identifies indicators and questions the project seeks to answer
•Reviewing existing M&E systems
•Communicates with project and M&E team about progress and reporting
•Organizes and conduct training
•Prepares and maintains database

As shown above, Monitoring and Evaluation are important in a project and must therefore be carried out by competent professionals

Why do Monitoring and Evaluation?
•Monitoring and evaluation help improve performance and achieve results. More precisely, the overall purpose of monitoring and evaluation is the measurement and assessment of performance in order to more effectively manage the outcomes and outputs known as development results.
•Knowledge of Impact -M&E tells you whether your projects are meeting objectives and having results
•Improved Decision-Making -Information generated through M&E helps you make better decisions about projects
•Greater Accountability and Transparency -M&E data allows donors and others to assess how well and efficiently you are using resources

As with many other skills, Monitoring and Evaluation can be learned and Ritetrac Consulting is one of the top monitoring and Evaluation training centers in the country.

Start a conversation with us today here www.ritetracconsult.com.ng

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