In navigating and managing for impact, M&E is “an integrated process of continual gathering and assessing information to;

i)    Make judgments about progress towards particular goals and objectives; and
ii)    Identify unintended positive and/or negative consequences of action and insights into why.”

Just as we do not wait for the periodic service by mechanics to check whether our car has enough water or oil, we should not wait for the periodic external evaluations to check that everything is going smoothly with our Programmes and make adjustments where necessary.  Instead, it is important to regularly gather, manage and use data and information to help us to adapt and adjust to better realize impact.

Monitoring and evaluation can be used in a number of different ways in order to assist in navigating and managing for impact. These include :

i)    Accountability – demonstrating to donors, beneficiaries and implementing partners that expenditure, actions and results are as agreed or are as can reasonably be expected in a given situation.
ii)    Supporting operational management – providing the basic management information needed to direct, coordinate and control the human, financial and physical resources required achieve any given objective.
iii)    Supporting strategic management – providing the information for and facilitating the processes required to set and adjust goals, objectives and strategies and to improve quality and performance.
iv)    Knowledge creation – generating new insights that contribute to the established knowledge base in a given field.
v)    Empowerment – building the capacity, self-reliance and confidence of beneficiaries and implementing staff and partners to effectively guide, management and implement development initiatives.

The way in which the M&E system is designed and the choice of tools used to implement the system depend very much on the purpose of the M&E system. For example, a system that is primarily for accountability is likely to use participatory data collection and analysis tools than a system designed for both accountability and empowerment.

Resources (click on links to access):

IFAD Guide for Project M&E

Wageningen International PPM&E Resource Portal

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