Methods and tools for monitoring

There is no one-size-fits-all monitoring tool. We will focus on two of the most common tools used for systematic monitoring, data gathering and reporting applicable at woreda level. These are annual work plans and field visits.

Annual work plans

Annual work plans (AWPs) detail the activities to be carried out by the woreda in the year ahead. The plans are specific to a project and are based on its intended outputs in relation to each intended outcome. AWPs include details of who is responsible for what, time frames and budget. They also serve as useful references for monitoring progress later in the year. A sample annual plan is given in Table 15.2. It provides a template that may be adapted for practical use, as appropriate.

Table 15.2 Annual work plan format – one plan for each project outcome. (Adapted from UNDP, 2009)

Expected outputs Planned activities Time frame Person respon­sible Budget Monitoring framework
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Expend­itures Progress towards outputs
Output 1 targets:

Output 2 targets:

Output 3 targets:

  • Expected outputs (Table 15.2, column 1) should be completed with baselines, associated indicators and annual targets, as applicable.
  • All planned activities, including monitoring and evaluation activities, to be undertaken during the year towards each stated output should be included in column 2. The planned time frame (divided into quarter years), name of the person responsible and the estimated budget required for each activity go in columns 3 to 5.
  • The monitoring framework includes the expenditures and a record of the progress made towards each output (columns 6 and 7). These columns should be completed later in the year based on measurement of the defined indicators. Where relevant, comments should be included on factors that facilitated or constrained achievement of results, including factors such as timing of inputs and activities, quality of products and services, coordination and other management issues.

Field visits

Field visits are essential for any community-based interventions (Figure 15.6). Field visits should be planned thoroughly in order to be of maximum use. As summarised by UNDP (2009), the following considerations may help in planning an effective field visit.

  • Purpose: Field visits can provide necessary evidence to confirm results reported by kebeles, HEWs, etc. They involve an assessment of progress and problems.
  • Timing: A field visit may take place at any time of the year but seasonal factors should be considered when planning a visit. The focus of the visit may vary, relative to the schedule of the annual work plan.
  • Who should participate: This will vary but joint visits involving teams from project partners are often an efficient way to monitor progress and share information.
  • Dialogue and consultations: The emphasis should be on collecting information on progress being made towards the goals (outputs and outcomes) as well as their quality and sustainability.
  • Findings: Field visit reports should be brief, with an emphasis on actions completed. Reports should be forwarded to appropriate departments and stakeholders for consideration and effective action.

Figure 15.6 A practitioner undertaking a field visit to interview mothers to monitor performance of a WASH initiative.

The content of a field visit report varies depending on the purpose of the visit. At a minimum, it should contain an analysis of the progress towards results, the identification of outputs, partnerships, key challenges and proposed actions. A form illustrating the type of information that could be gathered during a field visit is given in Table 15.3. This form may be changed to suit your particular needs.

Table 15.3 Example field visit form.

Date of visit:
Subject and place of visit:
Purpose of the field visit:
Main challenges in implementation:
Progress towards results:
Prepared by:

Last modified: Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:59 AM