Better Monitoring: Help us address the neglected ‘M’ in M&E

By
Jo Hall
Photo of boats forming a river market with Better Monitoring logo overlaid

Effective monitoring is essential for managing performance, however, despite this, monitoring is often undervalued and understood quite narrowly.

While the term “Monitoring and Evaluation” (M&E) is widely used, the monitoring function has not always benefitted from the same level of investment, professionalization and systems strengthening as the evaluation function. Instead, the monitoring function is often relegated to or viewed as a lower-level, technical function. This comes at the expense of really using monitoring to manage performance and maximise impact.

To address this, BetterEvaluation is working with UNICEF to try and improve our collective understanding and practice of the monitoring function. This is part of the Global Partnership for Better Monitoring.

This initiative focuses on trying to elevate the monitoring function to make it more visible and to provide information about how to plan, conduct and use monitoring activities well. The Global Partnership for BetterMonitoring is using the word ‘monitoring’ in its broadest sense to refer to any process to periodically collect, analyse and use information to actively manage performance with the intention of maximising positive impact.

In the first phase of this Better Monitoring initiative, we are working to build out a section of the BetterEvaluation website that focuses specifically on the tasks needed for effective monitoring, and how to do these well. And this is where we really need your help and input.

What we’ve done

We’ve created a draft list of tasks that fall under the monitoring function.

This draft framework for BetterMonitoring sorts the main tasks associated with monitoring into nine clusters. It is modelled on the BetterEvaluation Rainbow Framework but adapted to address the monitoring function specifically. It is not intended to be a step-by-step guide. Instead, it aims to provide an overview of the tasks related to monitoring, and provide links to methods, processes and resources that can be used to undertake each task.

We ran a broad consultation process during September 2021 and were delighted to receive many responses to our questions:

  • What are the primary issues and challenges related to monitoring that you have faced in your work?
  • Whether there are any related tasks that are missing from our draft framework?
  • What key resources or tools would be helpful for people working in monitoring?

Next steps

Following the consultation period we will finalise the framework and start curating content on monitoring for the Better Monitoring arm of BetterEvaluation. We will keep updating the BetterMonitoring page as this work progresses, with the first phase completing at the end of 2021.