Hello friends--

I think this is my first time posting and know it is my first time returning to international work after the birth of my child (I have been working continuously locally, however). So I'm a little rusty.

1. To help me design a particular study, I'm wondering if folks can remind me of what could be called "the M&E Ecosystem," e.g., the main elements, species of beings (producers and consumers), and forces of energy that work together to produce what we experience as M&E, however healthy or unhealthy that ecosystem may be. These might include OECD, UN, etc. How would you describe it.

2. And so if we as M&E professionals think about the potential harm that arises for LGBTQ, girls, and women with disabilities (for example)--whether community members, program participants, or staff--from M&E work in countries that have already been impoverished by colonization, enslavement, and capitalism, how would we think about it?

Thanks in advance,

Vidhya Shanker, PhD

Writing from the birthplace of the American Indian Movement, on the unceded homelands of the Dakota people, near those of the Ojibwe people.


"Why impose an alien culture on our culture and then take that as a measure of our progress?" --Usha Jumani

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Hi Vidya,

When i visualise M&E ecosystem, i think of the funding agencies, which demand M&E, the implementing agencies, the external consultants/experts who conduct evaluations, capacity building agencies including academic bodies, VOPEs, such groups and listservs, the community as the stakeholders of the projects and community/ research/ academia at large, the political institutions which consume M&E, etc.

I do not have any thoughts at this moment on the second question you pose, would love to hear from others.



M&E Ecosystem- adding to what Yatin has shared, I would like to emphasise the importance of Citizens and communities in M&E. Is it not power control which pushes them as recipients of M&E? 

Harm- I am a practitioner and would like to share  examples. We were facilitating a participatory evaluation and involved community and NGO in the design of the evaluation. Gradually, the NGO staff opened up and shared that they had not slept the previous night for the fear of evaluation.Evaluation team was coming and they were scared. This fear of evaluation if not addressed can produce data which does not depict the 'real' situation and can harm development.

Not respecting the community and call their work anecdotal stories can frustrate the community  See this blog https://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/community-youth-i-ll...

Evaluation is political and we as evaluation professionals have to identify who is being harmed as a result of interventions, who is missing out and so on. However sharing the real picture might not be acceptable to the commissioners of evaluation.

This is what little I know Vidhya. Hope its useful. All the best for the study.

Dear friends--

Apologies for the delayed reply--I was getting an error message for a while every time I tried to reply from my phone.This time, I'm trying from my computer. What you've shared so far has been very helpful.

i'm writing now with more information: Anthony Maikuri, an international doctoral student from Kenya in Evaluation Studies, and I, a South Asian American who just completed my dissertation in Evaluation Studies, are working on a project initiated by the World Bank, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results-Anglophone Africa, and the Rockefeller Foundation exploring harm in relation to the monitoring & evaluation of nonprofit and nongovernmental projects/ programs. We have done some desk research that we think begins to expand the way that our field of evaluation/ M&E thinks about harm.

To be frank, we think the way our field thinks about harm is limited by its emphasis on technical rigor at the expense of any discussion of ethics, and in fact that the ethical frameworks that are discussed are limited by their Eurocentric underpinnings. We would like to run some of our initial ideas by others who been thinking about some similar things.
We are seeking to interview a handful of folks who meet the following criteria:

1. Have conducted OR experiencedmonitoring and/ or evaluation of a nonprofit or nongovernmental program/ project, whether as:
  • an evaluation or M&E practitioner
  • a program/ project participant
  • nonprofit/ nongovernmental organization staff
  • contracting/ sponsoring agency (foundation or government) staff
2. Have deep and ongoing material, cultural, and/ or linguistic ties to groups that nonprofit/ nongovernmental organizations claim to serve, particularly but not exclusively groups:
  • Representing West, Southern, and Central Africa
  • Representing African America
  • Indigenous to the Americas (North, Central, South)
  • Representing South East Asia
  • Indigenous to the South Pacific
(We have not listed some regions where we already have some representation, e.g., South Asia and East Africa.)

3. Can speak about actual and potential harm to such groups from a perspective informed by personal/ professional/ political understanding of one or more of the following:

  • Gender-based oppression, including homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism
  • Ableism, substance use, or HIV/ AIDS
  • International aid, humanitarian aid, or disaster relief
  • Ecocide, ecological apartheid, or climate change
  • Surveillance, big data, or digital privacy
  • Poverty, racism, colonization, or war

4. Are available for a 1-hour recorded virtual interview in English between September 7 and September 11. (We challenged the lack of translation and interpretation but have no funding or time available for translation as of now.)

If this is you, please email me at shan0133@umn.edu with some preferred times to be interviewed next week.

Thank you!

Hello friends--

Just jumping back on because somehow in copying and pasting and formatting, etc. I inadvertently deleted West/ Central Asia and North Africa. Please forgive me. That is another region that we would love to interview folks from around harm and the M&E cycle.

Thanks so much,



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