Why do Monitoring Evaluation and Learning?
Why Do Monitoring Evaluation and Learning?
Before you start and throughout your Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) planning it is important to bear in mind why you are doing the MEL. Here are some possible reasons:
What type of evaluation for what type of purpose
1. Reporting externally to funders or convincing potential funders
You may need to refer back to the commitments you made to your funder regarding MEL (if any) and any plans to collect the information agreed. This might include some recognised indicators of impact. If the indicators were not agreed at the start you will be able to include your own ideas. With small projects with small budgets, this will involve a modest amount of straightforward data collection. You may also want to use evidence of project impact to persuade potential donors to fund future work.
2. Trying to improve your project, to meet the needs of the community
This will require participatory methods whereby you work with the community and other local people to establish what is important and how to assess it. You will be able to build up your Theory of Change with the Community (see our Change Pathways Mapping course) and decide how to assess what is important to communities. You may also want to know what inputs are achieving the best results – for example is the training you are giving enabling people to start new practices?
3. Sharing your findings, so that they influence other projects and policies
This will be important to scaling up good practice so it is good to showcase your project and show clearly what impact you have had so that others can be inspired. A combination of recognised indicators and participatory methods would be good, but do not underestimate the power of communities telling their stories of impact.
Activity: Spend a few minutes thinking about your own motivations. Are they listed above or do you have any others? What brings you here? Make your own list in your workbook. Share with colleagues – do they agree?