Monitoring and Evaluation dates way back although sometimes its a concept that is totally new to some people or organizations. Significantly, most people in the development world actually acknowledge how important Monitoring and Evaluation truly is. But before we answer why Monitoring and Evaluation is important, we have to know what Monitoring and Evaluation is. There are two words we should understand clearly as project or programme staff, the first is Monitoring and the second is Evaluation. What is Monitoring and What is Evaluation?
Monitoring is defined as the continuous tracking of activities or interventions so as to get regular feedback as to whether things are going as planned and then subsequently corrective action can be taken. Evaluation is an in-depth assessment as to whether there has been any significant change as a result of project or programme. There are many differences between Monitoring and Evaluation but only one will be mentioned which is that Monitoring is done regularly while Evaluation is done midway through the project or programme or at the end of a project or programme. Every project or programme has a log-frame which outlines a summary of what the project or programme would like to achieve over the years of implementation. However what is primarily important in every project or programme officers mind are the indicators. Indicators are by far the most important elements in the process of Monitoring and Evaluation because without them you would have no idea why you are doing Monitoring and Evaluation. Moreover, Indicators demonstrate whether the project or programme is either succeeding or not. Alot of times many projects or programmes have too many indicators while at the same time because of the high demands of trying to track progress or results implementers may find that their Monitoring and Evaluation system is not sustainable. Which brings us to understanding the next big thing, the Monitoring and Evaluation system. Not so fast, this will come in the articles that will be written in future.
It must be said that Monitoring and Evaluation should be seen as a management tool that aids in both your internal and external reporting requirement. Monitoring and Evaluation is surely something that should be embraced in every organization.