Monitoring and evaluation are crucial and essential components for tracking a project’s progress and assessing an intervention’s effect on course correction, determining success, and scaling up as needed. Their increasing popularity is credited to their effectivity and efficiency.
Monitoring and evaluation are complementary but have distinct meanings. As the term implies, monitoring entails continuously tracking the progress of an activity. It is a role that monitors the ongoing intervention process to advise project staff, programme managers, and key stakeholders on the project’s success, or lack thereof, in achieving its objectives. It accomplishes this by monitoring inputs, outputs and any output change triggered by input changes. Monitoring is a systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and using the information to see how well goals are being met and help management make decisions.
Evaluation is derived from the root word “value,” which signifies “worth.” It establishes the value or worth of an intervention to provide feedback to stakeholders such as funders and implementers. Evaluation typically reports on the performance of impact indicators, whereas monitoring typically reports on the performance of process indicators.
Monitoring is usually an internal process wherein all project personnel collaborate to develop a monitoring system. On the other hand, evaluation is typically performed by an external agency to measure the success of the project.
Monitoring and evaluation are more than just methods for determining the success or failure of an intervention. They aid researchers in elucidating the mechanisms underlying specific modifications. In other words, they may help an organization design or extract important information from prior and existing operations, which may then be used as the basis for programmatic orientation, reorientation, and planning.
M&E can lead to a variety of possible professional paths. This job spans multiple practice areas, including health, education, and agriculture. Most M&E practitioners specialize in some way, whether in an evaluation approach or area, such as qualitative or quantitative analysis or in a sector like health or education.
As you gain experience and knowledge in M&E, you will find that you are drawn to particular projects or topics and can develop your expertise in those areas. The advantage of a career in M&E is its applicability in various fields of work and study.
A formal master’s degree qualification in M&E or related fields such as econometrics or statistics is desirable. However, experience and a significant understanding of monitoring and evaluation are typically necessary for evaluation positions. Through on-the-job and peer-to-peer learning, evaluative skills are also cultivated and promoted within organizations. It is encouraging to see a rising commitment among international development organizations and donor agencies to enhance their employees’ evaluation skills.
In terms of courses, monitoring and evaluation courses aren’t very common, but options are becoming available. They range from full degrees to short courses, face-to-face or distance learning, and have different difficulty levels.
Tasks and responsibilities of M&E professionals vary depending on the sector, experience, and role. Following is an indicative list of tasks for an M&E professional:
Though there are several course options across the global north for monitoring and evaluation courses, there is hardly any option that caters to global south professionals.
Sambodhi provides one such option, rooted in decades of professional experience facilitating and training monitoring and evaluation professionals.
Sambodhi has over two decades of experience teaching people in monitoring and evaluation globally. We also offer a training and evaluation course that includes theoretical and practical information on every aspect of monitoring and evaluation. Click here to explore the course and begin your journey of becoming an M&E professional!
Kultar Singh – Chief Executive Officer, Sambodhi