This webpage contains reflections, advice and opinion on M&E, capacity building and related topics. The opinions expressed are my own and the content is not intended to reflect the views of any of my past, present or future employers.
Much of my work as monitoring and evaluation (M&E) professional has not simply been practicing M&E, but developing the capacity of others to practice, manage, support and/or use M&E. I am not alone as other evaluation colleagues have echoed similar experiences. Based on an expert lecture I gave at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., this post identifies ten key considerations for evaluation capacity development (ECB) in organizations. Before we dive into the top ten recommendations, it is useful step back and look at what we are diving into. An organization refers to a wide range of groups ......Read More
Effective M&E capacity development requires a realistic understanding of the context in which M&E capacities are to be developed and used. This includes the organizational structure and culture in which capacity development occurs, as well as the broader operational context that can hinder or enable M&E capacity development. This post presents a checklist of key considerations to inform context analysis for M&E capacity development. A context analysis for M&E capacity development examines the system-wide components of an organization and its operational context to determine the recommended approach to capacity development. It is important to determine not only the organizational need, but ......Read More
The increasing demand for M&E has fostered a surplus of resources on the practice of M&E, but much less on training others in M&E. Furthermore, much of the existing literature on the topic is rather academic, with little discussion of practical pedagogy. We wrote a book on M&E training to help address this, and this post draws from the book to summarize 14 key adult learning principles for M&E training, and brief tips to put them to practice. Adults are self-directed learners that bring to training past experiences, values, opinions, expectations and priorities that shape why and how they learn. In ......Read More
With the increased attention to performance accountability, output indicators, like the number of people reached by services, have understandably taken a backseat of impact indicators used to determine what difference has been made. However, one should not underestimate the importance of and challenges for measuring basic output-level indicators, such as people reached by services (AKA “beneficiaries”). This post will examine this, focusing on the challenges presented by direct and indirect recipients, as well as double counting. It will conclude that there is no universal “recipe” for accurately counting people reached. Instead, approaches can be adapted according to organizational and operational ......Read More
This post is about what to call the people we target in development and humanitarian relief work – that may strike one as mundane, but for monitoring and evaluation (M&E), it is essential to define and clearly understand what we are to measure and report. From “beneficiaries” and “clients” to “target population” and “people reached,” semantics vary, with salient considerations (and complications) for measurement. I will illustrate this by first looking at a couple glitches with the use of “beneficiary,” 2) recognize that semantics adapts to context, and 3) stress the important distinction between measuring outreach versus impact. Whether you work in ......Read More
In our book on M&E training, we present a variety of active learning techniques to engage people in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) training. The “Logical Bridge” activity is one of the earliest that I used, and a good example of how M&E learning can be made fun not only for training, but also as an icebreaker or team-building activity for other events. Logic models are a widely adopted (and adapted) tool for project/program’s design. They summarize the hierarchy of intended results, measurement of these result (indicators and means of verification), and other key assumptions (risks) to monitor. However, logic models can ......Read More