Many organisations successfully implement projects and programmes within a given timeframe and budget, and produce outstanding outputs. But have they generated actual results along the lines of what they intended? In development and humanitarian work, it is not enough to pour water and assume that, in doing so, you are supporting the plants. You need to make sure that the actions you are taking are, in fact, benefitting them as you hoped. While this line of reasoning may appear basic, it can take a lot of thought, reflection and practice to begin thinking in terms of outcomes and results, rather than activities and outputs. In order to do so, people need to get down to earth.
The aim of this manual is to help those working in the non-profit sector -- non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil society organisations (CSOs) -- and the donors which fund them, to observe more accurately what they are achieving through their efforts and to ensure that they make a positive difference in the lives of the people they want to help.
Our interest in writing this guide has grown out of the desire to help bring some conceptual clarity to the concepts of monitoring and to determine ways in which they can be harnessed and used more effectively by non-profit practitioners. The goal is to help organisations build monitoring and evaluation into all your project management efforts.
We want to demystify the monitoring process and make it as simple and accessible as possible. We have made a conscious choice to avoid technical language, and instead use images and analogies that are easier to grasp. There is a glossary at the end of the manual which contains the definitions of any terms you may be unfamiliar with.
This manual is organised into two parts. The first section covers the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of monitoring and evaluation; the second addresses how to do it.