Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a process that helps improve performance and achieve results. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact.
It is mainly used to assess the performance of projects, institutions and programs set up by governments, international organisations and NGOs. It establishes links between the past, present and future actions.
Monitoring; Clarifies program objectives, Links activities and their resources to objectives, Translates objectives into performance indicators and sets targets, Routinely collects data on these indicators, compares actual results with targets
And Reports progress to managers and alerts them to problems
Monitoring gives information on where a policy, program or project is at any given time (or over time) relative to respective targets and outcomes. Monitoring focuses in particular on efficiency, and the use of resources.
While monitoring provides records of activities and results, and signals problems to be remedied along the way, it is descriptive and may not be able to explain why a particular problem has arisen, or why a particular outcome has occurred or failed to occur.
Evaluation deals with questions of cause and effect. It is assessing or estimating the value, worth or impact of an intervention and is typically done on a periodic basis – perhaps annually or at the end of a phase of a project or program.
This is the objective assessment of an ongoing or recently completed project, program or policy, its design, implementation and results. It answers the question “What has happened as a result?”
Evaluation Analyzes why intended results were or were not achieved, Assesses specific casual contributions of activities to results, Examines implementation process, Explores unintended results, Provides lessons, highlights significant accomplishments or program potential and offers recommendations for improvement
Evaluation looks at the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of an intervention. It will provide evidence of why targets and outcomes are or are not being achieved and addresses issues of causality.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING & EVALUATION
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) helps those involved with any type of projects to assess if progress desired is beingachieved.
M&E benefits the key actors involved in community development in the following ways:
(i.e., a company Community Relations Team, a company/NGO partnership, or a company foundation), M&E can improve management. By monitoring progress against defined goals, a project manager can assess what is working and what is not, and from there can determine what changes should be made to a project. This inturn makes it possible to improve the way things are being done in the project organization.
Whether executing a project or supporting it through partnership or funding, M&E can be used to demonstrate progress to internal management and to external stakeholders. Internally, measurable results can justify continued funding and clarify the return on investment of community development efforts to managers and shareholders.
Externally, the results of M&E can demonstrate commitment to and competence in community development, and thus help a company maintain its social license to operate. This makes the companies to make sound decisions concerning major projects undertaken and to know where to invest.
Participating in M&E is an opportunity to influence the design and execution of community development projects. Furthermore, by providing feedback on whether programs are achieving aims in line with community needs and desires, M&E is a powerful accountability mechanism.