Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes can be among the most effective ways to foster learning . Unfortunately, because M&E is most usually used for accountability, learning has not been established as a primary focus of M&E systems.
I have to participate in a panel discussion on inter-dependence of Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation. I need your help. If you have experiences and inputs please would you share. I will acknowledge your contribution in my presentation and share back what I learned. Please share by 14th April.
Looking forward to learning from your experience.
Glad you have raised an interesting discussion topic, Yes M&E systems were developed to measure things on certain indicators. There has been greater amount of discussion about How to interlink M&E and KM. We (IFAD India Country Office in 2011) had discussion on workshop on Integration of Gender, Knowledge Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation for enhanced project performance. "What we tried to do is to look at M&E and KM together and then M&E and Gender together. Once these were sorted out, we worked as a group to understand gender in KM. We ended with looking at how each of them integrate and overlap in project implementation." My supervisor at IFAD ICO, Ms. Judith (She is connected with you on KM4Dev) was leading this initiative.
IKM Emergent has developed background paper on the topic.
In my opinion, Patrick Lamb's paper on Using KPI in Knowledge Management is one of the finest paper on developing M&E system for KM. I would strongly recommend you to read this paper.
Hope this will help you.
Many best wishes for the panel discussion
Thanks Dilip for giving so much time and thought.
Earlier phase of my career I did KM, then M&E, then Evaluation and now again doing all of them and add a bit of gender and equity to this mix. Beginning to see how inter-linked they all are! I am particularly fascinated by action, reflection and learning cycle.
I wish to refrehs my knowledge on Qualitative Research Methods thorugh online course. Do you have links for the same. Also, if any software for Qualitative analysis that is availabel for free trial version I wish to practice.
I had NVIVO 7 version but got corrupted.
Two resources that are available on DME for Peace and may be useful are,
Evaluation for Strategic Learning, a guidance on how to approach the evaluation process with the intention of supporting future use and learning.
Learning while Doing, Insights from USAID CMM on how to gather and disseminate learning from M&E in conflict affected contexts.
I hope these are useful!
DME for Peace
Thank you Ella for your sharing. Appreciate it very much. Warm greetings!
Thanks for these resources. The paper is especially interesting.
Have e-mailed you a paper. So pleased you are addressing this important topic!
Thanks for a very good question. I work for Worldwide Orphans an International NGO based in the U.S. We operate offices in 5 countries. We have an office in Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa, among other projects, we operate a youth soccer league for close to 600 orphans and vulnerable children. We work with 10 partners - all of them serve orphans and vulnerable children. Many of the children they serve are in the soccer league.
We have a robust M&E and learning system that I help design and administer. Part of the monitoring of the soccer league is capturing youth attendance, satisfaction with the coaching, ect. We have tried to improve female participation in soccer. About 30% of our participants are females. However, we started to notice a drop in attendance among female participants when they get into their adolescent years. In contrast, male participation and attendance meet our targets every year. We needed to better understand these gender differences. (Data from Monitoring activities)
During our yearly evaluation, we used focus groups methods to ask questions of young and adolescent girls to better understand the challenges faced when playing soccer in the league. Recently, we got deluge of information from female participants we were not expecting. Everything from body changes challenges, lack of gender-specific sports equipment and more importantly poor gender-sensitive coaching (even from our female coaches), rude behavior of boys, etc., In addition, we did a survey of elementary school children in the subcity and found that girls preferred participating in track and field three times more than boys reported. (Data from Evaluation and Research activities)
Armed with this information, the staff sat down with female and male participants to understand the data, uncover learning points, and collaboratively develop an action plan. We recently started to redesign our program and curriculum to include more gender-sensitive components (coaching, outreach to recruit, workshops on for boys on gender sensitivity, etc.). We are learning (as an organization) from the very individuals we serve - and by using the data from M&E. In addition, we are in the process of writing a grant to expand our programming for girls to include track and field. (Data from Learning activities)
Thanks for this great experience, Anthony. So what I take away from this is by engaging young people or those affected by the issue/intervention in monitoring is the best way to learn and make changes in the project as they know their situation the best! What has encouraged your staff to get the element of learning in the Monitoring process? Please share.
Very grateful and energised!
Thanks for your comments Rituu! That is a very good summary.
"What has encouraged your staff to get the element of learning in the monitoring process?"
We build it into their job description. In fact, we build M&E and learning responsibilities as part of each staff member's job description and key performance indicators (KPIs). They have to show at their 6mth and 12mth job performance evaluation progress towards the KPIs.
Also, conducting occasional staff surveys about the learning process and the staff saw improvement is job effectiveness and efficiency. We share these results throughout the organization.
We also created a knowledge management database with rich information both internal and external to the organization. That information is shared and used. Youth can bring information to share as well.
I also truly believe our staff care about the girls and boys they serve and look to improve their adjustment. They are not there to solely collect a paycheck. That is important criteria for us when we hire staff. The bottom line is that our staff has a deep commitment to social justice. Part of that commitment is manifested in acquiring a deeper understanding of the forces that impact children (e.g., decrease participation in sport whether it is for females or HIV+ children or street youth).
There are many ways to understand the forces that impact girls and boys. One is by asking questions about the social justice issue. And sometimes the right questions come from the youth we serve. Two is by taking a strengths based approach to M&E and learning. East African culture has a rich oral tradition. In viewing the oral tradition as a strength and not a deficit, the question then becomes how can we create a monitoring and learning system that uses the oral tradition and includes youth in capturing, analyzing, and reporting the data. In our case it was empowering females to have a voice in the sports program and play a significant role in the development of the M&E system and learning. Three, it was leaving your ego at the door. Staff can get territorial if they believe that youth will have unfettered power to influence the program. This can be a challenge. But we make the case rather effectively that power sharing with youth increases leadership, civic engagement, academic achievement, and organizational effectiveness.
There is an old Ethiopian proverb that reads "Advise and counsel him; if he does not listen, let adversity teach him." Our staff listens to youth they serve because it benefits their understand of the work.
Also, Lant Pritchett hasd a concept called MeE. Attached is his paper. He talks about experiential learning as a critical step in the M&E process. He embeds learning in the monitoring process.
Anthony D. Salandy
Awesome pearls of wisom!! Am honoured to learn from you. Appreciation to you and your team. Letting go control is the hardest! When I facilitate participatory processes, the challenge with communities is not as much as changing the mindset of the NGO staff.
I do community engagement, M&E and KM and my experience resonates with you. And I use strengths-based approach called community life competence approach:-)
want to know more as to which areas you need input
We had participatory method of evaluation done with WHO for adolescent health and it was very capacitating experience. But I do not knwo what you wish to know from members.