Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Development of Programme Indicators in Monitoring and Evaluation

Programme Indicators are the best!!!

The development of programme indicators is not really a hard thing but its just some people these days don't really know how to formulate them to the best degree possible. You see folks, Monitoring and Evaluation is irrelevent if there are no indicators in a programme or project to measure. Think of it, what would you be measuring even if you had the best Monitoring and Evaluation System in the entire world? Now that we have an understanding of everything, just what are programme indicators and why are they necessary? The thing is this, most people would get the definition right but when it comes to formulation and development that can really, really be a big problem. Lets define things further shall we.

Definition of Indicators, the Real Deal!!

There are so many different kinds of indicators but in a nut shell, an indicator is a means to measure whether there is any progress taking place in the aspects of the programme. So in view of that, there are so many indicators such as input indicators, output indicators, outcome indicators and impact indicators. Indicators simply tell you whether there is any progress or not....GOT IT!!!!! Now why are indicators so important? That will be your home-work to find out but in the meantime we need to know how to develop these indicators. Lets begin the process of actually understanding how to develop these indicators before we dive into Monitoring and Evaluating the programme...GOT IT!!

Development of Indicators

Normally indicators are selected in the planning stage, no two ways about it folks. There are basically two main ways to select indicators..take it or leave it. The first way involves prior selection of indicators and the second comes from formulation of questions. In the first methodology you already have something planned while in the second one you ask a set of questions with the hope of developing an indicator. Makes sense?

There are two main types of indicators you will always come across in a programme as you Monitor and Evaluate. These are quantitative and qualitative indicators. Indicators that you can measure directly such as in the case of numbers or statistics are called quantitative indicators while indicators that cannot be easily measured and are dependent on perception or attitude are the qualitative indicators. So lets say that you have the indicators below as an example;

A) Grape Production among farmers in America

B) Quality of Grape Produce among farmers in America

Which of these two is a quantitative indicator and which one is a qualitative indicator in your view? You guessed right (A) is a quantitative indicator and (B) is a qualitative indicator. (A) can be measured easily using kilograms of produce while quality cannot be easily measured but relies on perception. Ofcourse that can be debated sometimes right?

But when formulating indicators there is one important rule that Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and other programme staff should never, ever forget....Indicators must always be SMART. What does SMART mean, here it is below folks. Monitoring and Evaluation has never gotten this interesting.
  • S- Specific
  • M-Measurable
  • A-Attainable
  • R-Realistic
  • T-Time bound
If you are formulating an indicator for your developmental programme or project don't create indicators that are just going to give you headaches to measure at the end of the day. These are just a few important pointers to getting the indicators you really want for your programme. In future we will go into much detail and really get to scrutinize indicators further. Take Monitoring and Evaluation to a whole different level folks, you better believe it.!


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