In the last post we introduced you to M&E. Today we continue to talk more about monitoring and evaluation. To catch up click on the link…don’t get left behind. http://www.considr.in/blog/
Let’s start with reminding ourselves about what evaluation is: It is assessing a completed project or a project phase that has been completed. The United Evaluation Group defines an evaluation as an assessment, a systematic and impartial as possible, of an activity, project, program, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector, operational area, institutional performance, etc. It focuses on expected and achieved accomplishments, examining the results chain, processes, contextual factors and causality, in order to understand achievements or the lack thereof. An evaluation should provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful, enabling the timely incorporation of findings, recommendations and lessons into the decision-making processes of the organizations of the UN system and its members.”
Why do we do evaluation then? Evaluation of any given project helps us to draw conclusions about five main aspects of any given of any given project:
Its impact and lastly,
Let’s get deeper into these dimensions.
The extent to which the aid activity is suited to the priorities and policies of the target group,recipient and donor.In evaluating the relevance of a programme or a project,it is useful to consider the following questions:
- To what extent of the programme or project are the objectives still valid?
- Are the activities and output of the programme consistent with the overall goal and attainment of its objectives?
- Are the activities and outputs of the programme consistent with the intended impact?
Effectiveness is the extent to which the project achieves its goals and objectives set by the project designers.In evaluating the effectiveness of a project, it is always useful for organizations to consider the following questions:
- To what extent were the projects objectives achieved and are they likely to be achieved by the end of the projects?
- What are the major factors influencing the achievements or non-achievements of the projects objectives?
THE PROJECTS EFFICIENCY
What does efficiency do? Efficiency simply measures the outputs of the project both quantitative and qualitative data in relation to the inputs. It is an economic term which signifies that the project uses the least costly resources to attain its goals. This process involves comparing alternative approaches to achieving the same outputs, to see whether the moist efficient process has been adopted.
When evaluating the efficiency of a project, it is useful for organizations to consider the following questions:
- Were the project activities cost-efficient?
- Were the set out objectives achieved in time?
- Was the project implemented in the most efficient way compared to the alternatives that had also been put in place?
These are the positive and negative changes produced by a project either directly or indirectly. The project should be concerned with both intended and unintended results and must also include the negative and positive impact of external factors. When evaluating the impacts of a project the organization must consider the following questions:
- What has happened as a result of the project?
- What difference has the project brought to the beneficiaries and lastly,
- How many people have been affected by the project?
THE PROJECTS SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability concerns itself with whether the benefits of the project are likely to continue even after the donor funding has been withdrawn. In many cases all projects have to be financially sustainable.
It is always good to consider the following when evaluating a projects sustainability:
- To what extent did the benefits of the project continue even after donor funding ceased?
- What were the major factors that influenced the achievement or non-achievement of the projects sustainability?
On our next episode we will have a look at.. The Tools and Methods Used in Monitoring and Evaluation.