Categories
Programme design

How to formulate strong outputs

Outputs are arguably not the most important level of the results chain. It is outcomes that should be the focus of a good plan. Ultimately, that´s what counts. However, outputs still matter. Just to be clear: Simply put, outputs refer to changes in skills or abilities, or the availability of new products and services. In plain lingo: Outputs are what we […]

Categories
Impact measurement

Measuring impact of social innovation

Impact. You know the feeling don’t you – you’ve been working on a brilliant initiative, and then someone turns up and asks you “So – what impact are you making”? It’s a fair question – indeed, it’s a question we should be asking ourselves. If we are not making a difference, we are wasting our […]

Categories
Indicators Planning for M&E

Indicators: choose the right angle

Once we have agreed on a clever, limited set of indicators, all seems good. However, we are not yet there. For most indicators, we can choose a specific ‘angle’.

Categories
Communication Reporting

Use change language in reports

An engaging report uses ‘change language’ instead of action language. Hunh? Ok, it’s not as complicated as these big words suggest. Language matters. Let’s look at it closer: ACTION LANGUAGE Action language reflects the completion of a series of activities. An example of action language is: “XYZ supported the peer education of 150,000 girls on […]

Categories
Communication Reporting

Five tips for good report writing

Do you hate report writing? Fed up with writing long, detailed reports that nobody seems to read? But the truth is: report writing IS important. And it can be exciting :-). It can showcase what we have achieved. It is important to show those that have provided the money – taxpayers, communities, donors, charities, etc. […]

Categories
Theory of Change

7 principles of a Theory of Change

A good theory of change (ToC) is based on seven principles: 1. Repeat doing it until you get it right, 2. links are as important as expected changes, 3. risk and assumptions are key, 4. it must be scalable, 5. it is not a results chain, 6. organisations often already have ToCs in place which […]

Categories
Planning Results Based Management

A Theory of Change

Probably as an inevitable result of the buzz in the past few years, many Theories of Change are often useless. One reason for that is – is my feeling – that they are typically not developed in a logical sequence: without a thorough problem analysis, with a possible intervention already in mind, just as the […]

Categories
Adaptive programming Innovation

Stop overthinking: Minimum Viable Product

MINIMUM WHAT?!? Ok. What are we talking about? A minimum viable product – MVP in short – is a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about a possible intervention or product. It is deliberately imperfect; any additional work on it beyond what was required to start learning is waste, no matter how important it might have […]

Categories
Innovation Planning

Innovative programme design

It has always been clear to me: Monitoring and Evaluation depends to a large extent on how development or government programmes are planned and designed. That is why good M&E is strongly linked with good planning and design. In a way, programme design is a natural extension of our skill set in M&E. That is why this blog […]

Categories
Data collection Measurement

The Age of Data

Data, information and knowledge Professional Monitoring and Evaluation is based on hard facts: data, information, knowledge and understanding. Let us take a closer look at these concepts: WHAT IS DATA? As you will know, data is a collection of objective facts, such as numbers, words, images, measurements, observations or even just descriptions of things. In other words: Data is chunks of […]

Categories
Data collection

Our toolbox for primary data collection

To collect primary data (data that we need to collect first ourselves), we can rely on a rather sophisticated tool box– largely from social sciences – that has been developed over decades. There are tools for quantitative and qualitative data collection. Here is a list of some of the important tools available to us:

Categories
Measurement

Measuring = reducing uncertainty

A lot of what we do in Monitoring and Evaluation is related to measuring. And that’s the problem: Many of us think of measuring as something precise. But that’s not necessarily the case in M&E. What we need to be is roughly right. Those of us in Monitoring and Evaluation should carefully considering to this advice […]

Categories
Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring? Evaluation? Isn’t it the same?

Don’t be fooled.  The fact that the terms Monitoring and Evaluation often goes together and is called “M&E” is somewhat misleading. When governments or development organisations use the term “Monitoring & Evaluation”, however, they mean something very specific: Monitoring & Evaluation is about collecting and analysing data and reporting on findings on how well a programme, a policy, a service or an organisation is performing, and […]

Categories
Uncategorized

Mini course in Monitoring and Evaluation

Are you new to Monitoring & Evaluation? Or do you want to briefly brush up your knowledge on key concepts of monitoring and evaluating programmes, services or policies? Why not join my M&E mini course on Udemy? It’s short, to the point and covers the basics. And with a rating of 4.4 stars and 8,000+ […]

Categories
Uncategorized

Want to be a Monitoring & Evaluation professional?

Do you already work in M&E? Or do you consider building a career in M&E? My advice: Do it! To avoid any surprises, here is a very, very, very brief intro into Monitoring & Evaluation (or M&E) as a profession. You may already know that, but: Monitoring and Evaluation is about measuring and tracking results of government and […]

Categories
Innovation Monitoring and Evaluation

M&E needs to change. We need to change.

Monitoring and Evaluation is an exciting area of work because it is currently undergoing rapid changes. Countries and organizations are increasingly taking innovative approaches to monitor and evaluate the performance of programmes, policies, services or organizations. There are several reasons why this is happening. ‘RESULTS’ ARE HERE TO STAY First, citizens, parliaments and donors are rightly demanding to know what results are […]

Categories
Planning for M&E Results Based Management

The result chain: a beginner’s guide

Monitoring and Evaluation is about measuring and tracking results. That is why it is important to understand what results are, and how to distinguish between different levels of the results chain. In general, a “result” is something that happens or exists because of something else that has happened: the results of a football game the final value of a mathematical calculation, or the outcomes of an election. In development and governance, […]

Categories
Indicators

Indicators in the age of Open Data

In the age of open data, indicators must be clear, credible and proportional. It is a game changer for M&E: Communication skills using indicators suddenly become a core qualification. More and more organizations make their data on aid, development and humanitarian flows accessible online as a result of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This year, large donors like […]

Categories
Measurement

Seven steps to measure results

STEP 1: WHAT DO WE WANT TO KNOW? What is the information we would like to know in the future? How often do we want to know it? For example: Our goal is to help 10.000 women increase their income. What we would like to know is a) if this is the case, b) by […]

Categories
Measurement

We can (nearly) measure anything

“We had some great results -but you can’t measure them!” “Not everything that counts can be counted!” “You can’t measure everything!” These are some of the critical arguments we often hear in Monitoring and Evaluation. The reason for this confusion is the common misconception that we in Monitoring and Evaluation always aim for precise, scientific […]