Combining the ‘Best of Two Worlds’ in Monitoring and Evaluation of Capacity Development

In this chapter, David Watson compares and contrasts conventional results-based approaches with more innovative M & E options and demonstrates how these combine 'the best of two worlds.' 

"The term ‘monitoring and evaluation’ (M&E) tends to conjure up the immediate impression that it is ‘something which donors want done’. This chapter attempts to demystify the term and argues that this function needs a broader interpretation and can be seen as an integral process in all effective organizations or systems." (Watson, 2010)


  • Notions of capacity: ‘Reductionism’ to ‘systems thinking’
  • Case study evidence of where different approaches to M&E have worked best
  • Planned approaches to capacity development
  • Complex adaptive systems approaches
  • Recent innovations in M&E methodology and applications: The way forward?
  • The accountability issue: Exogenous and endogenous
  • How M&E can contribute to effective capacity development
  • Conclusions for practitioners: Building capacities to deliver


Watson, D. (2010). Combining the ‘best of two worlds’ in monitoring and evaluation of capacity development. In J. Ubels, N. Acquaye Baddoo & A. Fowler (Eds.), Capacity Development in Practice (pp. 239-249). Retrieved from

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