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Monitoring and Evaluation

In the Project Cycle

Why ?
The purpose of monitoring and evaluation is to measure program effectiveness

Monitoring and evaluation helps:

make decisions on implementation
ensure the most effective and efficient use of resources
determine if the project is on track and make any needed corrections
evaluate the impact of the project

What is Monitoring ?
Monitoring is collecting routine data to measure the progress of a project or activity.
It is used to track project performance over time, to make informed decisions about the
effectiveness of projects and the efficient use of resources.
Monitoring is also called process evaluation because it looks at the implementation process
and asks:
How well has the project been implemented?
How much does implementation vary from site to site?
Did the project benefit the intended people? At what cost?

What is Evaluation ?
Evaluation measures how well the program activities have achieved the objectives,
how much the changes in outcomes are due to the project.
The difference in the outcome between having the project or not having the project is
known as its “impact,” and measuring this difference is referred to as “impact

Other Terms
Impact: any effect caused by project activity
including human health and safety, plants, animals, soil, air, water, climate, landscape,
structures, cultural heritage or socio-economic conditions.
Metric: a unit of measure
Benchmark: a chosen level of an indicator, usually a starting point (baseline)
Objective: factual, real; can be measured
A scientific, repeatable result
e.g. how many people have TB?

Subjective: from one person’s view

Can be different for different people
e.g. are we a democratic country?

M&E Plan
The project proposal must include an M&E plan
Provide resources for M&E - time, staff, money
The indicators must relate to the project objective
The data must be reliable
Managers must be willing to use and learn from the results, and follow up
Dissemination – how do you share information and lessons learned

M&E Plans should include..
assumptions regarding context, activities, and goals
relationships between activities, targets, and outcomes
description of measures and operational definitions (indicators and metrics), with baseline
values, monitoring schedule, data sources, and M&E resource estimates
partnerships and collaborations required to achieve results
specific attention to periodic evaluation, with resources allocated at least midterm and at
project end.

M&E looks at progress against the INDICATORS in the logframe

So the first step for good M&E is choice of indicators

What is an Indicator ?
An indicator is a variable that measures one aspect of a project that is directly related to
the program’s objectives
Firstly, a variable whose value changes from the baseline level (at the time the program
began) to a new value after the program and its activities have made their impact felt,
when the variable, or indicator, is calculated again.
Secondly, an indicator is a measurement.
It measures the value of the change in meaningful units that can be compared to past
and future units.
This is usually expressed as a percentage or a number.
Finally, an indicator focuses on a single aspect of a program or project.
This aspect may be an input, an output or an overarching objective, but it should be
narrowly defined in a way that captures this one aspect as precisely as possible.
How many Indicators?
an appropriate set of indicators will include at least one for each significant element of the
project (i.e. at least one per box in a logframe)
a reasonable guideline recommends one or two indicators per result, at least one indicator
for each activity, but no more than 10-15 indicators per area of significant program

A good indicator should:

produce the same results when used repeatedly to measure the same condition or event;
measure only the condition or event it is intended to measure;
show changes in the state or condition over time;
have reasonable measurement costs; and
be defined in clear and unambiguous terms.

Good Indicators

The indicator measures what it is intended to measure

The indicator minimises measurement error
Types of measurement error
sampling error - caused by observing a sample instead of the whole population
non-sampling error – all other errors
subjective measurement - bias from the opinion of each person

Precise Definition
Is defined in clear terms
What you measure and how

not directional – can be positive OR negative
one dimensional – it can be a series of numbers up and down a line
describe a discrete result at a single point in time

Provides a measurement over the periods of time that matter (e.g. the project life)
with data available for all appropriate intervals

With other similar situations
Assists in understanding results across different population groups and project approaches

Additional Factors Influencing Indicator Selection

Data availability
Program needs
Donor requirements

Types of Indicators

Quantitative - an actual number of some output

Qualitative - descriptive observations that can supplement the numbers and percentages
provided by quantitative indicators.
They add to quantitative indicators a richness of information about the context in which
the program has been operating.
Examples include “availability of a clear, strategic organizational mission statement” and
“existence of a multi-year procurement plan for each product offered.”

“For a quantitative indicator you would collect numbers, and for a qualitative indicator you
would collect facts or opinions.”

Confusion exists in what are qualitative and quantitative indicators.
It is clear that quantitative indicators measure changes that can be counted. It is not clear
what is a qualitative indicator.
some say qualitative indicators relate to the quality of the change being measured DFID,
1995) - e.g. women’s political representation: a quantitative indicator could be the
percentage of parliament seats occupied by women, while a qualitative indicator
would describe the quality of women’s political participation.
some say qualitative indicators describe a subjective opinion on an issue or project
But - most do not define indicators as qualitative or quantitative - they assume that all
indicators are by definition quantitative.

Is Qualitative the same as Quantitative?

For example:
A qualitative indicator could be “most village women feel they have a voice at meetings”
But this could be quantitative:
“the percentage of women surveyed who say they have a voice at meetings”
It enables you to show how you know what you are saying is so.

Setting up an Indicator
You must identify exactly how a given concept or behaviour will be measured - the
The Metric is the precise calculation or formula on which the indicator is based.
Calculation of the metric establishes the indicator’s objective value at a point in time.
Even if the factor itself is subjective or qualitative, (eg attitudes of a target population),
the indicator metric calculates its value at a given time objectively
This can be called “Operationalising” an Indicator

You need to be careful about exactly how you define the metric
e.g. “the percentage of HIV+ mothers who have prepartum AZT therapy”
is it – ‘% of those births attended by the health care system’ or ‘% of all births’
is it – ‘% of recorded diagnosed HIV+ women’ or ‘% of all HIV+ women’

In many cases, indicators need to have definitions of the terms used.

For instance, look at the indicator: ‘number of antenatal care (ANC) providers trained’. If
this indicator is used by a program, definitions need to be included.
Providers would need to be defined, e.g
‘any worker providing direct clinical services to clients seeking ANC at a public health
For this indicator then, providers would not include those working in private facilities.
Trained would also need to be defined, perhaps as ‘those staff who attended every day of a
five-day training course and passed the final exam with a score of at least 85%’.