mathematics-1622448_1920The idea for the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) manifesto came from INTRAC’s M&E consultants and associates. We wanted to put together a statement that reflects why we work on M&E, how we think that M&E contributes to strengthening civil society and what our approach is to M&E.

This manifesto briefly sums up the values that will guide our M&E work. Please share your comments and feedback in the comments section below.

INTRAC exists to strengthen the effectiveness of civil society to challenge poverty and inequality, empowering people to gain greater control over their own future. For the past 25 years, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has been a core theme of INTRAC’s as we believe that at its best, M&E can contribute to learning and improvement of work to bring about social change.

Our M&E vision is for a world where people working as part of or with civil society across the world understand and value monitoring and evaluation; where they have the skills and confidence to implement it effectively; and have the power to actually use it to improve their projects and programmes.

We believe that too much M&E has become bogged down in jargon, driven by specialists and the latest tools rather than on what is appropriate to different needs and contexts. M&E is not just for the big agencies, donors and private companies who seem to drive trends. It also has to work for the practitioner on the frontline, for the countless numbers of small and medium-sized civil society- and community-based organisations and individual actors striving for social change across the world.

So what will we do about it? Here we set out eight commitments that will guide our M&E work.

Eight things INTRAC will do to achieve our M&E vision

  • Demystify M&E. We will cut through the jargon and make it simpler for people to understand what good M&E is. We will not over-complicate and will adhere to the basic principle that M&E has to produce practical, visible benefits for people in implementing their work.
  • Encourage a holistic approach to M&E. For INTRAC, ‘M&E’ touches on project/programme design and planning, monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment and learning. We strongly believe that good project/programme design and planning is central to good M&E practice and that learning from M&E is essential for people and organisations committed to improving what they do.
  • Help people to do M&E for and by themselves. Through training, mentoring and sharing experience, we will build people’s skills and confidence to develop and implement M&E systems and approaches without always having to rely on external ‘experts’ or ‘specialists’ (including us). We will support people to challenge those who view M&E as a ‘tick box’ exercise and to practice ‘honest M&E’ that enables CSOs to learn from what isn’t working and to continue to adapt and improve.
  • Build on theory, tailor to reality. We will guide people through the theoretical and technical aspects of good M&E, and then encourage them to innovate and adapt methods and tools that are appropriate to their own realities and contexts, whilst maintaining quality and rigour.
  • Promote participation in M&E. We will use and support others to use participatory approaches to M&E wherever practical and appropriate, so that the people who are providing M&E information, and who are potentially affected by M&E results, also have a say in how it is done and how it will be used.
  • Encourage debate and challenge M&E thinking. INTRAC will engage with donors, commissioners and decision makers on how best to support civil society organisations and actors to learn and improve and to be accountable to citizens, their constituencies, funders and supporters. We will challenge donors to develop M&E requirements and standards that are reasonable, just and useful for CSOs and that reward genuine learning rather than punish honesty in reporting results.
  • Provide value for money from M&E. We will help organisations to develop M&E systems, approaches and practices that are appropriate to their size and resources. We will be realistic about the effort needed to implement M&E and the practical implications on people’s time, and we will consider the future sustainability of M&E approaches and practices as a priority.
  • Share solutions to M&E challenges. For 25 years INTRAC has shared M&E knowledge, practice and learning. We will continue to produce good quality, relevant and accessible M&E publications and resources for a range of audiences including donors, managers and specialist M&E practitioners. At INTRAC we believe in universal, open access to information and collective sharing of resources.