About Monitoring and Evaluation
What is monitoring and evaluation?
Monitoring and evaluation provides us with a method for learning from experience, analysing capability, planning and allocating resources, and demonstrating results as part of accountability to stakeholders. Monitoring and evaluation are standard parts of any good policy or risk management process. They provide a ‘feedback loop’ within these processes, allowing comparisons between actual and desired states. This enables ongoing analysis, and refinement of decisions and implementations processes, to improve outcomes.
Though often referred to together, monitoring and evaluation involve distinctly different aims and processes:
Monitoring is a continual process that aims to provide management and stakeholders of an ongoing intervention with early indications of compliance with responsibilities, and progress, or lack thereof, in the achievement of results.
Evaluation is about measuring effectiveness. It compares what is happening against what was intended (goals, objectives and targets) and interpreting the reasons for any differences.
Monitoring and evaluation contribute to the organisational and global body of knowledge about what works, what does not work and why. Knowledge gained through monitoring and evaluation should be a core part of organisational learning. Monitoring and evaluation provide information and facts that, when accepted, become knowledge that promotes learning.
The main objectives of monitoring and evaluation are thus to:
- enhance organisational learning and development
- ensure informed decision-making and planning
- support substantive accountability, and
- build capacity and capability
These objectives are linked together in a continuous process. Learning from experience results in more informed decision-making; better decisions lead to greater accountability to stakeholders; all three elements working together make a positive contribution to overall effectiveness.
Useful links, resources and background materials
Comprehensive introduction to monitoring and evaluation, including creating monitoring and evaluation frameworks, conducting monitoring and evaluation, and using monitoring and evaluation information. UNDP encourages nations to develop strong and coherent monitoring and evaluation frameworks that promote learning and performance measurement.
The Independent Evaluation Group is an independent unit within the World Bank. It aims to provide an objective basis for assessing development programs, and to provide accountability in the achievement of objectives. This website contains extensive information on conducting evaluations, and developing evaluation systems. The three reports below are particularly useful:
- How to Build M&E Systems to Support Better Government (report)
- Monitoring and Evaluation: Some Tools Methods and Approaches (report)
- Institutionalising M&E Systems (report)
Background to monitoring and evaluation methodologies, and an outline of how they are used by the Global Environment Facility to monitor policies and procedures.
A news service focussing on developments in monitoring and evaluation methods.
Indicators of Progress: Guidance on Measuring the Reduction of Disaster Risks and Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action – ISDR
This document is a supporting document to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. It is intended to assist national, regional and local bodies in setting priorities for policies, plans and programmes for disaster risk reduction, while regularly monitoring and reviewing achievements against indicators.
Assessment of the Capacity and Capability of the Auckland Region CDEM Group (volume 2) – Kestrel Group, for Auckland CDEM Group
Provides an assessment of the (2006) emergency management capacity and capability of the Auckland region. Based on an independently developed rating methodology. Assesses readiness and response capability.
Doing the Right Things and Doing Them Right – Improving Evaluative Activity in the New Zealand State Sector – New Zealand State Services Commission
Report on initiatives required to enhance the evaluation environment and encourage more effective evaluation in the State sector.