When “managing for impact” – we try and avoid jumping straight into identifying indicators and, instead, first be clear about the questions we would ask about progress & performance. Once the questions are clear – we then think about what information we would need to answer these questions. 

However, the concept of performance questions can be a difficult one – especially for those that have had very little/no experience with M&E. So for the Zanzibar Programme (ASSP & ASDP-L), we used a set of generic questions and simply asked them to review these (adding/amending as they saw fit) – and focus on identifying the information required to answer these questions. We also tried to break down the questions so they were as simple as possible. For example;

  • To what extent have the expected changes in impact occurred?
  • To what extent were the changes in impact a result of the Programme’s interventions? 
  • To what extent were these changes the right changes to try and influence in order to meet the needs of the community & other stakeholders? 
This appeared to work and the Participants identified some extremely good information requirements to answer these questions. Needless to say, the information requirements they identified reflected a much deeper insight into the context than any M&E expert from elsewhere could ever do! 
If the M&E system is successfully implemented – the ASSP/ASDP-L stakeholders will definitely be having some very rich discussions during their critical reflection forums!