Monitoring & Evaluation [M&E] Concept
Currently, the overall understanding on 'how M&E should be done' is changing in development cooperation:
From emphasis on evaluation towards emphasis on monitoring
Much effort has been given to introduce a routine of project evaluation once in every three to five years. Many project-implementing NGOs have started to do self-evaluations annually. However, the recent years have witnessed increasing importance to continuous monitoring. This is done more frequently than the evaluations. But then, these efforts are, invariably, restricted to few aspects of the programme. And in this, the search is always on for the most important issues to be monitored; and about how this could be done from a participatory framework and with better efficiency.
From monitoring of outputs towards monitoring of outcomes and impacts
Monitoring of outputs is nothing new. This has been in vogue for long and is done to evaluate the performance of an organization. However, it is imperative for us to ask: in what way is this beneficial for the target group? What are the outcomes, the results, and the impacts? This has often been neglected as it is more difficult to find out. Yet, it is more important, as the benefit points to the purpose of the project.
From monitoring for accountability towards monitoring for management purposes
Up to now, many funding agencies – particularly in Germany – request monitoring information for the accountability of the funded project. Increasingly NGOs discover that the continuous information on the outcomes and impacts of the project interventions is crucial for project steering. It allows making the fine-tuning of project activities in a way to maximize the impacts.
From monitoring by external experts towards monitoring by protagonists
For a long time, funding agencies expected monitoring and evaluation to be done mainly by external experts as they are expected to be independent and objective. NGOs, however, have for many years appreciated the value of M&E done by the target groups and the project implementers. It is more immediate and facilitates learning processes. However, an external independent expertise is still considered to be very helpful to bring in "a different perspective".
NGO-IDEAs is aware of these trends and challenges against any change in these established concepts. Here, we are trying to find innovative, reliable and efficient solutions for participatory outcome and impact monitoring.