Common definitions in Monitoring and EvaluationYou may have had a lot of experience in the field of Monitoring and Evaluation but lets face it, sometimes certain terminologies just don't completely compute. Yes its true, sometimes no matter how hard you try to remember what that terminology is no matter how important it is, you simply just forget how to define it. Lets dive into a few definitions we can remind ourselves a little as we undertaken the Monitoring and Evaluation experience.
1) Activity; Activities are basically the actions that are to be taken in order to produce specific results or outputs. So think of activities as the actions that must be taken. Example of activities include the trainings of field staff in Monitoring and Evaluation, the actual Monitoring and Evaluation process e.t.c
2) Annual Work Plan; The annual work plan are the intended details of activities that are to be performed throughout the course of the year. When you prepare a workplan you are simply attempting to organize yourself in a proper and more systematic way that will allow for effective implementation of activities.
3) Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity; This is not necessarily the number of Monitoring and Evaluation officers you have in an organization. Capacity in this case refers to the ability of an organization to actually perform the Monitoring and Evaluation functions, including the skills necessary to perform them.
4) Performance; The degree to which a developmental intervention achieves its intended results. How then do you measure results in Monitoring and Evaluation? it is by use of performance indicators. Remember there are different types of indicators out there but you have to be sure of the right one. Indicators must always be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound).
5) Sustainability; This simply refers to the possibility that the intended benefits of a programme will continue on over years and years even when developmental support seizes. Why do donors especially emphasis that projects must be sustainable, isn't it obvious? At some point they would like to pull out and hope that the help rendered can produce long term results and continue on. Common even you wouldn't like your two year old baby to remain a baby forever.
6) Assumption; External factors that may affect the progress of the project whether good or bad.
7) Input; The resources that are needed in order to produce the intended outputs such as human resources, financial resources or material resources.
You will be amazed how easy it is for even the most experienced staff to forget these Monitoring and Evaluation definitions. You know what is even amazing, some people still don't know how to define Monitoring and Evaluation. However, you don't really have to know the exact definition for everything, what is important is to have a general idea of what you are dealing with. It would be interesting though to get some of your own way of defining some of these definitions above by placing your comments in the comments box below. Wanna try? Give it a shot!!!