Equal access participatory monitoring and evaluation toolkit

This toolkit aims to help communication for development (C4D) organisations to demonstrate the impacts and outcomes of their initiatives, listen to their listeners, continuously learn, and feed this learning back into the organisation and its practices.

It is a key outcome of the Assessing Communication for Social Change (AC4SC) project, which was a successful collaboration between Equal Access Nepal, Equal Access International, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Adelaide, Australia. 

The toolkit is guided by the principles of the Communication for Social Change approach to C4D and participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E). It is based on recent ideas about effective evaluation and evaluation capacity development and learnings from the AC4SC project. This toolkit aims to help C4D organisations to become learning organisations that regularly critically reflect on their work.

It comprises the following modules and tools:

  • Introduction
  • Module 1: Effective communication, feedback and reporting systems in a PM&E process
  • Module 2: Setting objectives and indicators
  • Module 3: Research and PM&E methods
  • Module 4: Critical Listening and Feedback Sessions
  • Module 5: Doing qualitative data analysis
  • Module 6: Getting started and planning for PM&E and impact assessment
  • Equal Access Community Researcher manual
  • The Most Significant Change technique: A manual for M&E staff and others at Equal Access
  • Useful resources, information and tools

Either the whole toolkit or individual modules can be used. The toolkit encourages you to include as many people and stakeholders in your monitoring and evaluation work as possible. Its methods are largely qualitative, because through qualitative approaches you often learn something new and unexpected and gather rich insights into the subtle processes involved in social change. However, it encourages you to use a range of methods, including those that provide useful quantitative data.


This document includes the introduction, modules and resources sections of the Equal access participatory toolkit. These sections are split into separate files, below.

This document introduces the toolkit and the six toolkit modules. It explains how the toolkit can be used, who it was designed for, why it is useful, and where it came from. Participatory monitoring and evaluation are briefly explained, key terms are defined, and the basic principles and processes underpinning the toolkit are outlined.

This module aims to help you understand how to:

  • Analyse stakeholder groups
  • Map communication flows between stakeholders and address communication issues
  • Identify who needs your PM&E outputs, what they need to know, and when they need to know it
  • Assess your communication and reporting capacities and needs
  • Factor in time for PM&E
  • Prevent communication problems

This module aims to help you understand:

  • The concept of indicators and why they are important
  • How to set objectives and indicators
  • How they can help you assess the progress of your project
  • The importance of working closely with stakeholders to set indicators

This module aims to help you understand:

  • How to collect rich qualitative data to understand audiences and the impacts of your programs on them
  • Key qualitative and short survey methods
  • Good facilitation, and its importance in PM&E
  • How to deepen and improve your data

This module aims to help you understand:

  • How Critical Listening and Feedback Sessions (CLFS) can  improve your radio programs
  • The steps involved
  • How it can be used with listeners and for pre and post tests of radio programs
  • How CLFS outcomes can be triangulated with other findings 
  • The challenges and limitations of CLFS

This module aims to help you understand:

  • How good quality qualitative data analysis (QDA) can help you identify program impacts 
  • The steps involved in basic QDA
  • The value of involving others in the process
  • The difference between description and interpretation
  • How to increase the trustworthiness of your findings

This module aims to help you understand:

  • The key steps to effectively developing a PM&E plan
  • How to plan in terms of time, people and resources
  • How to deal with power, gender, literacy and sensitive issues
  • The ethical issues you need to consider when doing PM&E

This manual was developed for community researchers (CRs) who undertake participatory research for Equal Access on their C4D programs. It aims to provide CRs with a good understanding of the research process, the different tools that can be used to conduct participatory research with the community, and how to manage research data and prepare good quality reports.

This document provides details of useful resources that can assist your PM&E work, including development evaluation toolkits and participatory research and evaluation toolkits. It also includes resources and publications on evaluating C4D, the strengths and limitations of various evaluation methodologies and methods, the Most Significant Change technique, stakeholder analysis, and developing a theory of change.

The MSC technique is a tool for collecting, discussing and selecting stories about the significant changes that people experience as a result of your programs. This manual introduces this technique,  helps you understand each step in the technique, and its strengths and limitations, and provides information for training others in MSC.


Lennie, J., Tacchi, J., Koirala, B., Wilmore, M., Skuse, A. (2011) Equal Access Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation toolkit


'Equal access participatory monitoring and evaluation toolkit' is referenced in: