October 13, 2015
As we all know, having the right M&E system in place from the beginning is key to a project’s success. However, M&E system design continues to be a major pain-point for many organizations which is why we recently put on a webinar (check out the recorded version above), hosted by Niamh Barry, Global Head of M&E at Grameen Foundation on seven principles of M&E design. The response was massive, making it our highest registered for and attended webinar we’ve put on to date! To recap the webinar, we’ve broken down Niamh’s seven principles to help turn you into an M&E design pro.
While not always the case, yet still, far too frequently, work occurs in silos and there is a differentiation between 1) proposal teams 2) implementation teams 3) M&E teams 4) tech teams. Yet they are all here to ensure successful design and execution of a project.
In order for M&E practitioners to develop the monitoring system, they need to know the project inside and out. This includes the desired changes, the processes by which the change is expected to take place and the resources available to enact the change.
There are so many terms that make M&E an intimidating sector which also facilitates a reluctance to engage with M&E. It is important to turn the terms into simple questions and build the terms in later. For example, don’t tell someone to develop a Theory of Change model, ask them to explain, how they feel the activities developed, will enable them to reach the final goal.
Now to the design part. Keep it simple but never simpler. This comes from a well-defined Theory of Change and set of corresponding indicators, which ensure data is collected based on needs first. Building for data wants and the additional around that complexity can be built in when the capacity is there.
Try to phase in certain tools, so as not to overwhelm the team as they start monitoring. Avoid making monitoring an additional activity, understand the natural touch points that exist in a project and utilize these.
Bad data is almost unavoidable, but keep standards high. Build quality assurance processes to test the data for quality. Also, give constant feedback to programs and M&E teams on acceptable standards.
Need additional insight on ensuring data quality? Check out a recent webinar we held.
M&E is a service to programs and they need to ensure they are meeting their needs and also ensuring products are engaging. For example, make reports as clean, simple and short, organize meetings on these summaries to help people find the time to engage and eventually instil the systems within the general management processes.
If you have any questions, comments for us or Niamh on designing the right M&E system for you, shoot us an email.
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