Purpose of this M&E Toolkit
As CIVICUS is embarking on its own Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) journey. We are taking the opportunity to create this toolkit as we go, so that we can share our M&E tools, approaches and examples that we use on our various projects. We also want to hear from you and learn how you have been implementing these approaches in your different contexts – as well as promote your tools, approaches and examples on this platform, too.
This publication has been produced with the kind assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of CIVICUS and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
More about CIVICUS
CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world.
As outlined in CIVICUS’ Strategic Plan 2017-2022, we work to strengthen citizen action and civil society toward a more just, inclusive and sustainable World. Our work is guided by our four strategic goals, which reflect our belief that people-powered and collective action is at the centre of transformative change.
How to navigate this M&E Toolkit
This toolkit is set up to help you:
- Search for specific tools if you know what you are looking for, OR
- Provide a process, through the six phases of this M&E journey that you can follow if you want more structured guidance on what/how and when to apply certain approaches and tools
We hope that this allows for a truly user-friendly experience and we encourage you to provide any feedback for improvements and enhancements to both the structure and content of this toolkit.
M&E Toolkit Components
The M&E toolkit includes several tools which follow a similar structure:
- Each tool is aligned to one of the six phases of the M&E journey
- On the left-hand side of the tool, you will see an estimation of time and effort it takes to implement it (this is only a guide though!)
- We have also included the level of difficulty for implementation of each of the tools, ranging from easy (1) to moderate (3) to difficult (5)
- We also indicated the level of M&E capacity required for the tools, ranging from limited (1) (small number of locations, few objectives, limited resources, no specific M&E personnel / support, national focus etc.) to intermediate (3) (i.e. fair amount of funding from more than one source, designated M&E staff / support, parallel multi-year projects etc.) to advanced (5) (i.e. multi-country, multi-donor, social change, many contributors, many stakeholders, project objectives aligned to organisational objectives etc.)
Project M&E Capacity Categories
If you complete the M&E checklist under the Plan Phase (i.e. Step 1), you can use the following Project M&E Capacity Categories to analyse your score:
- 0-2: Project has limited dedicated resources for M&E, minimal to no additional reporting requirements and scope for substantive M&E tools is limited. Basic support to project to be provided and focus on building project M&E capacity and introducing basic tools for data collection, and project will be covered in our organisational reporting processes.
- 3-5: Project has some level of dedicated M&E capacity (human and financial) and M&E/learning forms part of project approach. Some adaptation and less advanced M&E approaches should be used.
- 6-10: Project is well resourced in terms of mature/advanced level of M&E (dedicated project budget, prioritised by stakeholders and embedded in project approach). Current approaches must be reviewed. Only introduce new approaches where there are gaps in measurement. Focus support on refining and advancing current M&E practices.
CIVICUS’ Developmental Evaluation Approach
Developmental Evaluation (DE) is an approach to monitoring and evaluation that recognises and supports the need for continuous monitoring and adaptation of development interventions in keeping with the changing contexts and conditions of interventions. The purpose of DE is strongly centred on improving program design. It aims also to understand the need to adapt to the evolving and dynamic conditions in which the program, project or activity is taking place.
DE provides an opportunity to systematically reflect and document decision-making processes and how a program, project or activity evolves over time. It makes use of what was learnt from the successes, failures and challenges and aims to amend and improve the approach in the course of implementation of the program, project or activity. Have a look at this video by the Innovation for Change (I4C) network to find out more about DE.
CIVICUS’ Developmental Evaluation Framework, integrated in our wider Accountability Framework, now enables CIVICUS to use this evidence to better understand and articulate overall impact as it is based on evidence gathered in real life, unaltered conditions and real time.
Why CIVICUS adopted DE as its approach to M&E
- Learning by doing – In a dynamic and emergent context, our M&E/DE must allow for measurement of changes as they emerge and allow for testing measurement methods that best suit the context.
- Acknowledge complexity – DE approaches must allow for understanding both local/immediate conditions as well as broader scale conditions that may influence program outcomes.
- Critical and creative thinking – DE will help tackle ‘wicked’ problems that are too often seen as an inevitable problem which cannot be worked around.
- Collaborative work – Implementing a DE framework will need to integrate diverse teams and stakeholders.
- Rigorous enquiry – Encourage ongoing questioning of the fitness for purpose of the program approach, and to search for new ways of working around blockages to change; that are considered inevitable and beyond influence.
- Catalyse organisational learning – Our DE will include assessment of results, and on appropriate actions, assumptions and context – triple-loop learning.