Monitoring and evaluating capacity building is notoriously difficult. It rarely takes place partly because stakeholders disagree on fundamental questions of ‘who it is for’ and ‘how it should be done’. Even when it does take place, it tends not to provide meaningful information in a timely manner. This further discourages vital efforts to discover what difference our capacity building is making.

This paper highlights seven big questions that create dilemmas for and can often paralyse monitoring and evaluating of capacity building. Drawing on his practical experience in the field, Rick James suggests some pragmatic ways to deal with these dilemmas. He advocates starting simple, focusing on what is feasible and doing it in such a way as to reinforce NGO ownership of capacity building. And even more important than the M&E system itself are the virtues lived out by the organisations and individuals who use it.


M&E Paper 2: Dealing with the Dilemmas in Monitoring and Evaluating Capacity Building

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