Last time I wrote about not letting your data die in a dusty old corner without being analysed. By the same token, the most horror-inducing thought for an evaluator is that a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework that has been created for an organisation, isn’t regularly used and updated.
Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks are the overarching why, what and how to of assessing an organisation or a program’s performance against objectives. They generally include Key Evaluation Questions (KEQs), a program logic, indicators against which progress is measured, data collection methods and timeframes, and evaluative processes and responsibilities. This means they can become quite large documents!
In order that all the hard work that goes into M&E Frameworks is put to good use, it’s essential that it becomes a living document. That is – that it gets updated as programs and goals evolve. For this to happen, it needs both the organisation to take ownership of it, and for there to be a specific position/person responsible to maintain the document. This sometimes requires some knowledge and capacity building!
We’ve recently been working with an organisation to design and implement a new M&E Framework to replace their ad hoc data collection. It’s exciting to hear they have already made changes to the document to mirror changes in the programmatic focus areas. They have also begun to develop new KEQs and indicators! Additionally, data collection methods are being reviewed with their program delivery staff to ensure survey and interview questions will be understood by participants. This really helps to build capacity and embed evaluation practices at all levels of the organisation.
In the case of M&E Frameworks, building a Frankenstein Monster with pieces added on when new programs or goals are added, is a good thing! It’s ALIVE!