Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ministry of Finance (MoF)

Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP)
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Monitoring and Evaluation Tips

This is the second in a series of M&E Tips sponsored by CTAP Monitoring and Evaluation Department (MED). The purpose is to highlight tips and resources in the area of program monitoring and evaluation and develop the capacity of our stakeholders in this area. We are circulating M&E Tips on a monthly basis. These tips are not meant to provide rigid instructions but to stimulate inquiry and build capacity.

Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation(RBME)

The term results-based monitoring and evaluation appeared in the international development lexicon in 1990s in response to a need for organizations to “demonstrate greater accountability to stakeholders with respect to the use of resources and the achievement of results from development interventions.”
As a management tool, results-based monitoring and evaluation measures how well governments and other organizations implement development projects and how results are being achieved over time. It helps donor agencies, project implementers and beneficiaries to ensure that resources are allocated and used effectively and efficiently to achieve expected results. 
What is Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBME)?
RBME is an exercise to assess the performance of a project on the basis of results and benefits that the intervention is expected to produce.
Why do RBME?
There are several reasons why development programs should do results-based monitoring and evaluation. Some of those are:presentation column

*    RBME provides crucial information about the performance of a program
*    RBME promotes credibility, accountability and confidence on the results of an intervention
*    RBME allows donors to allocate resources for the right interventions and causes
*    RBME assists in identifying promising programs or practices
*    RBME helps in identifying areas where corrective action is required
*    RBME strengthens donor-recipient relationship

In short, RBME enables managers to ‘act with end results in mind’ and assess whether an intervention is achieving its stated goals or not.

How is RBME Different from traditional monitoring and evaluation?
Traditional monitoring and evaluation focuses on implementation monitoring which involves tracking a project’s inputs and activities. Results-based monitoring and evaluation, On the other hand distinctly focuses on a program’s performance and achievement of intended or unintended results at the levels of output, outcome and impact.

How are results defined?
Majority of the organizations define it as “positive changes that occur from a development intervention.” Results are generally stated in a hierarchical manner and have a cause and effect relationship. While it is difficult to find a unanimously agreed terminology for describing results, they are usually measured at three levels.

*    Immediate level: Results at this level are commonly referred to as “outputs.” These are measurable and tangible changes that result directly from a program activities and the expenditure of related resources. Outputs are described as immediate changes towards achievement of the desired ‘outcomes.’ They are usually tracked on a quarterly basis.
*    Intermediate level: At this level, results are expected at a relatively longer term. Intermediate level results are generally called ‘outcomes’ and “represent changes that need to happen in order to achieve the desired long-term results.” It takes an average of two to three years for a normal development intervention to achieve its intermediate level results.
*    Long-term: In RBME literature, results at this level are generally called ‘impacts.’ They are expected to be achieved over a long period of time (e.g. five to seven years).





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Monitoring and Evaluation Department

Monitoring and Evaluation Tips

 This is the first in a series of M&E Tips sponsored by CTAP Monitoring and Evaluation Department (MED). The purpose is to highlight tips and resources in the area of program monitoring and evaluation and develop the capacity of our stakeholders in this area. We are circulating M&E Tips on a monthly basis. We dedicate this series to covering the basics of monitoring and evaluation and why they are remarkably important for the success of a program.

Monitoring is a “continuing function that uses systematic collection of data on specific indicators to equip management and stakeholders of an on-going development program with indications of the extent of progress and achievement of objectives and progress in the use of allocated funds. To put it differently, monitoring is a continuous exercise, which generates information that informs decisions about an on-going development intervention.

Monitoring provides critical information related to and during the implementation of a program. Its inquiries are generally focused on information that is immediately relevant to the implementation of the intervention. Monitoring assists program leaders, donors and other stakeholders to gauge where an intervention is in relation to achieving its intended results.

Evaluation is “the systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project, program or policy, its design, implementation and results.” The purpose is to determine the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Evaluation is also concerned with issues such as worth, including value-for-money, and/or the significance of a development project.

Evaluation occurs at the middle (formative evaluation) or at the end of a development intervention (summative evaluation). Unlike monitoring, evaluation concentrates on broader issues, analyzing both the anticipated and unanticipated outcomes.

Importance of Monitoring & Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are two different but interconnected and converging concepts that are crucial for the success of an intervention or program. These two processes not only help us to determine whether we are on the right track towards achieving our goals but also allow us to reflect on what is or is not changing as a result of our actions. Monitoring and evaluation also allow implementers, donors and stakeholders to be accountable and support one another in the efficient implementation of a development intervention. More importantly, they enable us to assess our mistakes, learn from them and correct them in the future.

CTAP Monitoring and Evaluation Department welcomes any type of constructive feedback for further improvement of this series. If you have any M&E related tips and would like to share it with CTAP and its stakeholders, please let us know. We can be reached at med@ctapafghanistan.org

 

Monitoring and Evaluation Tips