M&E Monitoring and Evaluation

 Introduction to participatory monitoring and evaluation

1. The involvement of teachers and parents in the school activities helps the children to develop them in a secure and social environment.


2. The involvement of the community in the development of an agriculture project will ensure the durability of it and ensure a better harvest.


3. The involvement of teachers and parents in the development of the curriculum will make it easier to the government to convince the community of the importance of it.


4. Participation can make a project durable and contributes to the quality of it.



How to explain M&E in a simple way?   Make it understandable for everybody

The teacher is talking to the children:


As you all know the rainy season will start soon so we are going to prepare our school garden. After discussion with the class we decided to seed beans on a well indicated place where the water can remain and where the sun will shine enough. We also developed growth cards (drawing and writing). We decided also to have a talk on the growth evolution of each plant of each child twice in the week (Monday and Friday).So I explained that we are all taking part in the process and that every one of us has an important role to play (planning). Watching everyday the growth of the plant is important to see where we need more water, less sunshine (monitoring). The children understood also very well that we needed to compare our growth cards at harvest time to see why one child had more beans then the other one (evaluation).



What and Why M&E?  


First of all I’d like to explain that in my job as an education advisor I have to evaluate my position after every mission. Did I satisfy the client with my input, was the client happy with my input, did I involve enough people in the execution of the program…? This kind of evaluation is for me also a kind of continuous monitoring or can I call it a continuous self evaluation/reflection? Just to tell this because many consultants, teachers take this part of the M&E very “light”; still a lot of people have problems to self-evaluate themselves and the best way to get use to it is to reflect on your activities every day.After a while it will be easier to transform this reflection in a self-evaluation.I give this advice to many teachers in developing countries, when they come home after a day of hard labor reflects on it, just for five minutes. Think about the moment where the kids were very active, where the kids were bored… It will help you in improving your teaching and classroom practice will become better and agreeable.


Who controls M&E?


I think controlling M&E is in connection with accountability. As a consultant I am executing projects on behalf of USAID in Mali. I feel accountable for the education  program so I am doing

what I can to monitor the project in teacher training and multigrade curriculum development. There is of course control from USAID but this is very participative and there are so many joint meetings that evaluation surprises are rare.


Difference between M&E


 There are many differences in how to conduct an evaluation and when and how the monitoring of a project or activity is conducted.But the most important factor is for me communication; most of the misunderstandings are results of a bad communication. Like it is described in unit 1 monitoring must influence the ongoing planning of the project, but how you can plan or monitor without the stakeholders knowing each other. A school, where teachers really know each other, is showing a coherent group and will stimulate the children and parents (families) to do the same.


When executing an evaluation exercise one has to prepare questions that will enable


him or her to develop an evaluation strategy   (standard questions)



  1. When did the activity start, why was there a necessity to start it, who took the initiative? Which program did you develop to make the project a success?


  1. What are the objectives of the program and of the NGO, who produced the objectives and for who are they meant? How was the collaboration between the different stakeholders?


  1. How many people were involved in all the activities? Did they change in the course of the years? Why did the change? Who changed them? Who are the people that were involved? How were they trained? Who trained them?


  1. What was the target group in the course of the years, did it change? How was the participation of the target group in the project?


  1. Was their any financial help from outside to develop the activities? How flexible were the financers? What was the participation of the locals in the management of  the finances?


  1. Which mechanism has been put in place to make the project sustainable? Were experts involved in this process of the project? How was negotiating with who?


  1. Did you get any help or feedback from the community or the government? Was the community stakeholder? Were they involved in all the project steps?


  1. Did you make regular reports on the activities of the project? Who made these reports?


  1. How long you think the project will go on? Why will it go on that long/short? Who decides on this?


  1. According to your personal view what are the strengths and weaknesses of the project?



Training for youth in Guinée


I was once part of an evaluation in Guinée; I had to evaluate the impact of training for youth (child soldiers) to pick up a new life and a profession. I also had to evaluate the different modules, their impact and the way they could be improved. For this evaluation I had talks with all the stakeholders, from trainers to community members, the youth it self and the parents.After the training in different professions like barber, carpenter, mechanician…the youth went as a trainee in the village and works for some months in his/her profession. After that the trainee had the possibility to start his own business.


The evaluation team : The external evaluator (myself), two trainers of the International NGO, two staff members of the INGO, a member of the community and a translator.


How much control did I and others involved or affected parties had over this process?


The team was totally free to go where they wanted and to ask questions to whom they wanted. The participants in the focus group discussions were totally free to answer all the questions and to give their opinion on the training and the different modules.


What impact did the evaluation have on me?


It was the second time I was involved in such an evaluation but the situation was different. I am in a post war situation and the consequences of the war were terrible.Before the war there was already the problem of the youth not going to school, hanging around in the streets, taking drugs, prostitution… So after the war the situation was worse till this program started. The youth had a big impact on me, the way they told there stories of killing people, in the beginning as an amateur, later on as a professional. They could tell scenes as they were happening on that moment. Many of them do not want to go back to that situation and they are so happy they can learn a profession. They are also very happy they do not have to go back in the streets and that they can help people now in another way.


What impact did the evaluation have on the organization?


The organization was not aware of the problems with the trainings; they did not monitor enough the sessions and the outcomes of the trainings. The admitted that they did not involve enough the youth in the development of the course. About 25 % of the youth left the course because of lack of information to the parents.


What can you generalize about evaluation based on your experience?


-         Evaluation is a team work and has to be well prepared.


-         One has to create a good atmosphere in the FGD.


-         The evaluation has to be very participative.


-         All stakeholders have to be interviewed and implicated.


-         The recommendations after the evaluation have to be taken into account.



Situations where objective, independent monitoring and evaluation is the only way?


I think these situations exist in cases where the project has problems to reach the objectives because of bad management. But of course it is easy to speak of bad management when the stakeholders are not trained in how to manage an NGO or a company.In most of the case when the management is not working well the rest of the staff will not work well neither. There will be a lack of communication (at the work level) and no one will know from the other what s/he is doing in the project.I know a case of an International NGO where the manager has placed all his family members in the project. In this case you cannot have a participative evaluation because the family members will never tell anything bad of the others. In this case we need a conventional approach of evaluation and even monitoring.An external team should monitor the different outcomes of the project and give recommendations to the management. Another external team should evaluate all the outcomes and give right directions without the input of the different aid workers.In this case the outcome of the evaluation will be that the aid workers, programme managers, drivers… will be replaced after this evaluation to create a less “ independent” atmosphere and to progress to a more participative management , monitoring and evaluation.


Sample of an evaluation of a drop out project in slums 


1. Preparation of the evaluation


  1. Rapid needs assessment in the slums:


Materials: check list of the children involved in the project (age, sexe, school history, and family…, conditions of living…)


Questionnaire on the activities of the project to ask to the stakeholders


  1. Focal Group discussions with :


-         School : directors and teachers


-         Community: Parents, neighbors, school comity


-         Community leaders


-         Project stakeholders


2. The evaluation


  1. Team building: the evaluation team(s) will be composed of members of the different communities and stakeholders. The numbers of the team will bdepending on the number of

         children to be reached.


  1. Through focus group discussions (organized as participative and cooperative workshops) we try to find out the strengths and the weaknesses of the project.


  1. School visits: through these visits we want to understand if the children are really happy in this situation, what they went true, how they feel and what can be done more.


  1. Individual interviews with the teachers, directors of school and the parent comity.


  1. Focus group discussion with teachers, directors and parents.


  1. Interviews with the parents (the whole family).


  1. Interviews with the community leaders.


3. The results:


Each member of the evaluation team makes an individual evaluation with his recommendations.The evaluation team meets and drafts a group evaluation with common recommendations. In a big meeting (with all the stakeholders and beneficiaries) the results will be explained. (This will be done in a participative and cooperative way). All the stakeholders have the   possibility to amend the recommendations.

Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:55
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:55
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:56
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:57
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:54
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:53
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:54
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:51