How To Ensure Sustainable Monitoring And Evaluation (M&E)?
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) protocols are some of the best ways the NGOs can focus on projects and ensure that they are operating smoothly.
Monitoring & evaluation is a process through which projects are assessed to understand their performance, if they are able to reach their goals & how can they be improved. It acts as an accountability tool for most social impact projects & interventions.
While you might understand what M&E is, many people are still wondering how to effectively implement such protocols to get the best results and ensure projects are run effectively.
In this article, we will look at M&E best practices to ensure that you get the desired results. The step-by-step guide is designed to help any NGO operate its projects efficiently and make sure that you get the results you are looking for. Regardless of the NGO size, you can still take these principles and implement them.
M&E: Best Practices: A Step-By-Step Guide
To ensure that you implement your monitoring and evaluation projects fully, you need to have a plan. A guide of sorts will help you focus on the right aspects and ask the right questions. The more control you have over the projects, the easier it will be to ensure you your results reflect what you have planned:
Establishing A Learning Culture
One of the first things you need to come to grips with is the learning aspect of the project. Rarely will a plan work out perfectly and you might need to make changes on the fly. It is important to establish a learning culture, which entails learning from your mistakes. The data collected from the project can give you a clear indication of the direction you should move into.
While you might have expectations before a project is implemented, you will need to adapt to these expectations. Before a project is launched, we rarely take into account all the smaller aspects like social status and economic changes. However, your M&E process will reveal some of these data and you might need to adapt your expectations accordingly.
Refine Your Approach
Most M&E projects target a broad spectrum to generate a lot of data. However, you will not always need all of this data, which could lead to being overwhelmed with senseless information. When designing your M&E approach, it is best to ask focused questions. These focused questions will sprout forth from your goals which should also be clearly defined.
Multiple M&E Methods
You might have a set plan that is ready to be implemented, but it does not always compensate for some of the variables. Breaking down the M&E process into smaller processes will enable you to approach different aspects of the project. Additionally, you will find that some of the NGOs will also have multiple M&E projects running at the same time to target the gathering of various data.
M&E projects will run along with some of your bigger projects to determine any flaws and issues that could be rectified. However, there are many stakeholders involved with NGOs, and it is best practice to keep all of them involved. Participatory M&E requires us to talk to all stakeholders, understand their perspectives, inspirations, and communicate the results to them so the people who are being affected by your intervention can take a more active role in the monitoring & evaluation.
Consistency Is Key
When you have followed most of the best practices, you must be consistent. M&E projects should be consistent to help generate consistent data. Once your M&E project has run its course, it is also advised by many experts that you jump into the next one. The main goal of any M&E is to ensure that you have consistent and reliable data updates to improve projects.
M&E best practices are extremely important if you want to make the best out of your projects. With these basic principles, you can set your expectations to avoid being surprised and have more accurate results throughout the process. These principles should form the backbone of any M&E project that you are currently running.
Read more about M&E here