Reporting is Everything when Monitoring and EvaluatingReporting is one of those things in Monitoring and Evaluating that you simply cannot run away from at all. In the world of Monitoring and Evaluating of programmes or projects it is highly important that the information comes out properly and in a language were your audience can really appreciate. What do people really want to see? Who are these people anyway? Lets try to understand all of this shall we.
How to Write a Report, Steps you should never forgetYou will discover that report writing is actually a skill and like all reports written in research people are looking for hardcore answers. In the world of Monitoring and Evaluation that isn't anything different. You see, if you want to be really successful in writing Monitoring and Evaluation reports you have to learn to tell a story. People who read your work should be able to first understand what your report is about and how it relates to the Programme or Project.
The reporting of your findings if you come to think of it, actually begins from the planning phase of your Monitoring and Evaluation Journey. When your are planning on the kind of data you want to collect from the target group or target area you have to involve the relevant stakeholders always. Now what are the steps of writing the report, remember it all begins at the planning phase.
Step 1: Review the Programme or Project Strategy
It is important when writing a Monitoring and Evaluation report to review the developmental Programme or Project strategy just so that you remind yourself on what you are about to report on. Remember that you may have collected a lot of relevant as well as irrelevant information. So try to put everything in context before you begin writing your Monitoring and Evaluation report.
Step 2: Compose your Introduction and Conclusion
The next step is to compose the introduction and conclusion of the report. This is a very useful way to ensure that you don't go off key when writing the report but stay on track in answering the key questions such as what was achieved? if it wasn't achieved...Why??? What corrective measures can be taken? The conclusion should tie in very well with the introduction. For instance if your introduction is "To Monitor the progress of the Programme or Project" then your conclusion should report on whether any progress had been made at all. Remember, recommendations are very important.
Step 3: Write the body of the Monitoring and Evaluation Report
Finally, you can begin writing the body of the Monitoring and Evaluation to suite your organization and all key stakeholders alike. Remember that a report should explain the objectives, methodology used, discussion, findings and other relevant sections. Be sure to organize your findings in a neat and proper way and communicate some of your findings by use of graphs.
Key Considerations in Monitoring and Evaluations ReportsDepending on the nature of your organization or the programme/project, you may want to consider how big the report should actually be. For instance if you are writing a report quarterly on outputs being achieved in the implementation period there is no need to make it too lengthly. On the other hand if you are writing an Evaluation report over the long years of implementation, because it is in-depth their may be need for a lot of information.
Always consider your audience when writing a report and do not assume they know everything. Be sure to include a list of acronyms in your report. Make your report very interesting by communicating key findings by using graphs which speak volumes unlike just tabulating a long irritating list of numbers. Interprete your findings in a clear and coincise way and remember to recommend the best possible way to change things for the better. You must understand that the main people you are reporting to are the stakeholders and stakeholders want to see results. The best way to make sure that what you report on is relevent, just refer to the logframe of the Programme or Project document.
There is a lot more things that go into report writing in Monitoring and Evaluation but the key questions you should be asking yourself about your report are the following;
- Does it answer the 'Why' question?
- Does it tie in with the Program or Project Strategy?
- Is it in a language that everyone can understand clearly?
- Is there room for improvement?