Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation: Passing Fad or the Logical Next Step in Development Methodology?
This paper discusses some of the conceptual and methodological issues that must be addressed in the process of creating and institutionalising a truly participatory approach for the monitoring and evaluation of development efforts. The author suggests that it is important to distinguish between monitoring as a process of regularised observation and data collection and evaluation as a way of systematically organising and interpreting data for management and planning. Biosource flow modeling is offered as one attempt to use participatory methods both in the design and monitoring and evaluation stages of technology development.
Development organisations need to know how effective their efforts have been. But who should make these judgements, and on what basis? Usually it is outside experts who take charge. Participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) is a different approach which involves local people, development agencies and policy makers deciding together how progress should be measured, and results acted upon. It can reveal valuable lessons and improve accountability. However, it is a challenging process for all concerned since it encourages people to examine their assumptions about what constitutes progress, and to face up to the contradictions and conflicts that can emerge. This paper briefly outlines what Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM & E) is, provides examples of where it has been practically applied and examines some of the challenges faced.
Participants in this symposium consider how evaluators can better provide credible and generalizable information about the effects of increasingly complex interventions.