Monitoring and evaluation
This essay seeks to explain monitoring and evaluation and why they are a crucial aspect in any project or plan. It highlights the reasons they have become so widely accepted, used and discussed in development planning. Monitoring and evaluation serves the purpose of bringing information to the forefront and making changes in the existing system of delivery and planning to ensure results only if important considerations are made. There are many aspects involved in the evaluation and monitoring of a project and none can be ignored if we are to ensure an effective and relevant evaluation.2 Definition of terms2.1 MonitoringIs a process of continuous and periodic surveillance of the physical implementation of a programme, through timely gathering of systematic information on work schedules, inputs, delivery, targeted outputs, and other variables of the programme, in order to have the desired effects and impact.
2.2 EvaluationIs defined as a process to determine (as systematically and objectively as possible) the extent to which programme needs and results have been or are being achieved, and analyze the reasons for any discrepancy.3 IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION4 PURPOSES (AND USES) OF MONITORING AND EVALUATIONMonitoring and evaluation is used for a variety of purposes. The purpose for which it is used determines the particular orientation of each evaluation. M&E may be used for the following main purposes:4.1 Management Decision-MakingM&E systems augment managerial processes and provide evidence for decision-making. The question that should be asked is whether the quality of the M&E information provided is appropriate and how well it feeds into existing managerial processes.
Monitoring and evaluation Essay Example
M&E can never replace good management practices; rather it augments and complements management. Some examples of M&E used in this context are decisions on resource allocation, choices between competing strategies to achieve the same objective, policy decisions, and decisions on programme design and implementation. The accuracy of information and the manner in which it is presented become critical for supporting management in their decision-making processes.4.2 Organizational learningThis is the most challenging outcome for M&E, as it presupposes that M&E results and findings help to create learning organisations. However, translating findings into “learnings” challenges even the most sophisticated of organisations. M&E is also a research tool to explore what programme design, or solution to societal problems, will work best and why, and what programme design and operational processes will create the best value for money.
M&E should provide the analysis and evidence to do the trade-offs between various alternative strategies. The information gathered should be translated into analytical, action-oriented reports that facilitate effective decision-making4.3 . AccountabilityPublic officials have a constitutional obligation to account to Parliament. They should be broadly accountable for how they spend public money, how they have achieved the purposes for which the money has been voted and that they have gone about their duties with a high degree of integrity. M&E provides the information, in a structured and formalised manner, which allows scrutiny of public service activities at all levels. This purpose of M&E may account for the perception that M&E is “policing”.
Despite the concerns that many have that one should not pursue M&E only for the purpose of accountability, as it may create suspicion and a culture of fear, when dealing with public funds accountability is critically important. Accountability is governed by the Constitution and legislation such as the Public Finance Management Act, is supported by institutions such as the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission, and failure to adhere to meeting accountability requirements is often met by sanction.4.4 Promoting transparencyOne of the most persuasive uses for M&E, if its findings are made available to a broader audience, is that it promotes transparency, and through this facilitates decision-making and accountability. M&E requires a willingness to be subjected to scrutiny, as findings may be published and made available to the public