Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is an important part of the successful management of a partnership, as it strengthens the basis for monitoring resources, results and risks, fosters learning in the partnering organisations, and supports the public accountability of the project.
Monitoring and evaluation are two different disciplines – but closely interlinked.
Monitoring allows you to continuously check and document factual results, processes and estimated impact, and use this as a basis for future decision-making and learning.
Evaluation allows you to assess and evaluate progress, results and learnings from the project. You use the data gathered through the monitoring process for the evaluation.
M&E may serve the following purposes:
- Ensure organisational learning and improve future activities and practices.
- Serve as a basis for dialogue on progress between partners and the target group.
- Ensure that the project is on track and in accordance with the set targets.
- Form basis for informed decisions on the future of the joint project.
- Enhance understanding of the broader value-add and risks of the partnership / project.
- Show accountability of the resources used and the results and impact obtained.
Among different partner organisations, CSOs are typically accustomed to conducting comprehensive M&E, due to requirements from e.g. the EU, DANIDA, and other donors.
On the other hand, businesses rarely conduct the same type of comprehensive M&E processes.
This makes it important to agree on the ambition level and scope of the M&E, when defining the project. In addition, make sure that you leverage the M&E expertise of the CSO in a relevant way, and that you agree on how M&E activities are compensated in the project budget.
In the scoping process of the partnership, you should design an M&E framework, which meets the reporting needs of each partner organisation, and if relevant, donors and other stakeholders.
You typically go through four key steps when defining an M&E framework:
Identify Key Performance Indicators, impact targets and scope of M&E activities
Set up a system to collect data and information within the defined scope
Collect data and document inputs, output and outcomes
Analyse data and evaluate significance of outcomes against KPIs and impact targets