Developing a monitoring and evaluation plan

Planning for M&E should be part of the design phase of a project and included at the beginning when the objectives of the project are decided. The M&E plan needs to describe how the results will be measured to determine if the project objectives have been achieved.

Assume you want to conduct a hygiene promotion campaign to increase awareness in your community of the importance of handwashing after using the latrine. What do you think could be the results of your campaign? (Your answer should summarise the changes that happen as a result of the activities you organise. The results do not refer to the completion of the activities themselves.)

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You might have thought of:

  • increased knowledge (about the critical times for handwashing, for example)
  • improved hygiene practice (e.g. handwashing)
  • reduction of disease.

A result is not the completion of activities. A ‘result’ is defined as a describable or measurable development change that happens as a consequence of a cause-and-effect relationship (UNDP, 2009). Results include the outputs, outcomes and impacts of project activities. These are linked together into what is commonly referred to as a results chain. The results chain essentially tells us that completion of the stated activities will lead to the outputs; the outputs will lead to the outcomes; and the outcomes will lead to the impacts (Figure 15.5).

Figure 15.5 The results chain.

There are various models, or frameworks, used when planning for M&E. You may come across results frameworks or logical frameworks. These are similar and both methods can be used to ensure a systematic and comprehensive approach to M&E planning.

A logical framework, or simply logframe, links the planned activities, which have been introduced to address the objectives, with the expected results in terms of outputs, outcomes and impacts. It indicates how they will be monitored and evaluated. The logframe allows information to be analysed and organised in a structured way. It encourages clear and specific thinking about what the project aims to do and how, and highlights the aspects upon which the success of the project depends.

A logframe consists of a matrix or table with rows and columns that have a vertical logic and a horizontal logic. An example is shown in Table 15.1.

The rows of the logframe are linked by a vertical logic that corresponds to the results chain (Figure 15.5). In a logframe the impacts are placed at the top and activities at the bottom.

  • Impacts are the long-lasting changes in the situation.
  • Outcomes are changes that can be seen in a shorter timescale.
  • Outputs are completed projects or their products.
  • Activities are the main elements of project implementation.

The columns of the logframe have a horizontal logic that links each of the interventions to their measurement indicators. It has three main parts – results, indicators and means of verification (Table 15.1).

  • Results: the expected results at activity, output, outcome and impact levels (Table 15.1, column 1).
  • Indicators: the measurements used to assess progress (Table 15.1, column 2).
  • Means of verification: this is the source of information required to confirm progress against the indicators. (Table 15.1, column 3).
  • Assumptions and risks (not shown in Table 15.1): external factors that need to be in place or may affect whether the result is achieved (Jensen, 2013).

Table 15.1 Example of a completed logframe for a project to reduce diarrhoeal disease.

Results Measurable indicators Means of verification
Impact level
Reduced diarrhoea incidence Number of diarrhoea episodes in children Demographic and health survey report
Outcome level
Increased number of households who have a latrine Percentage of households having a latrine facility Baseline and follow-up survey reports
Increased levels of knowledge and awareness regarding the importance of using a latrine Percentage of men, women and children who understand the need for using a latrine Baseline and follow-up survey reports
Output level
Increased involvement of CHWs in hygiene and sanitation promotion Number of household counselling visits by CHWs

Mid-term project reports

Implementation reports

Field visit reports

Hygiene promotion leaflets disseminated Number of copies disseminated and used effectively

Mid-term project reports

Implementation reports

Field visit reports

Activity level
CHWs  are equipped with the knowledge and skills to conduct interpersonal communication to promote latrine use Number of CHWs trained in the use of interpersonal communication techniques

Implementation reports

Field visit reports

Hygiene promotion leaflets and other materials developed Number of materials developed Implementation reports

Last modified: Sunday, 14 August 2016, 5:04 PM