On the Right Track? A brief review of monitoring and evaluation in the humanitarian sector.

In this review, Action Against Hunger (ACF) looks at responses from 15 agencies on their intentions for evaluation and the data that they are collecting.  

This resource and the following information was contributed by Amelie Sundberg, Neil Dillon, and Maria Gill.

Authors and their affiliation

Saul Guerrero at the time of writing was the Senior Evaluations, Learning and Accountability Advisor at Action Against Hunger UK (ACFUK). He is now the Director of Technical Expertise and Research at ACF USA.

Sophie Woodhead at the time of writing was part of Action Against Hunger’s Evaluation, Learning and Accountability (ELA) Unit and now works as an Independent consultant.
Marieke Hounjet at the time of writing worked as the Advisor for Knowledge, Impact and Collaboration for the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies and she now works as a Senior Analyst, Effective Philanthropy Group, at Porticus.

Year of publication


Type of resource

  • Discussion paper

  • Example
  • Guide
  • Professional development
  • Toolkit
  • Overview
  • Tool
  • Website

Key features

This review set out to answer two fundamental questions: how does the humanitarian sector currently use monitoring and evaluation to measure the quality of its work and how did it get here?

Rather than providing a descriptive analysis of different practices in the sector, the review focuses on three major forces shaping the answers to these questions; the intentions of humanitarian organisations, the choices made along the way, and the way in which monitoring and evaluation data is collected and used to measure quality. 

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I used this resource during the scoping work and desk review for a study on monitoring of outcomes in humanitarian action. I wanted to understand to what extent analysis has already been conducted on the amount of outcome monitoring already taking place. The scope of the paper is broad and holistic, providing a great overview of some of the key challenges that monitoring and evaluation practitioners face. It is based on a data set of more than 1,680 indicators provided by eleven agencies – while not representative, this is certainly a good sample to give indicative trends for practice in the sector.  I liked the breakdown of the paper structure into ‘Intentions’, ‘Choices (what we actually measure)’, and ‘Utilisation’.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This is a useful overview of trends in monitoring and evaluation practice amongst agencies in the humanitarian sector, and identifies key challenges and areas for improvement. It recognises that most organisations are in agreement that they wish to measure impact but at the time of writing were largely unable to do so. This is an interesting read that provides a good snapshot of the sector status quo.


Guerrero, S., Woodhead, S. and Hounjet, M. (2013) On the Right Track? A brief review of monitoring and evaluation in the humanitarian sector. ACF and CBHA. Retrieved from: https://www.alnap.org/help-library/on-the-right-track-a-brief-review-of-monitoring-and-evaluation-in-the-humanitarian

'On the Right Track? A brief review of monitoring and evaluation in the humanitarian sector. ' is referenced in: