Monitoring and evaluation is significant to organizations and projects because it helps:
In many organizations, “monitoring and evaluation” is something seen as a development partner requirement rather than a management tool. Development partners are certainly entitled to know whether projects and programme are effectively executed. But the primary use of monitoring and evaluation should be for the organization or project itself to see how it is doing against objectives, whether it is having an impact, whether it is working efficiently, and to learn how to do it better.
Plans are essential but they are not set in concrete (totally fixed). If they are not working, or if the circumstances change, then plans need to change too. Monitoring and evaluation are both tools which help a project or organization know when plans are not working, and when circumstances have changed. They give management the information it needs to make decisions about the project or organization, about changes that are necessary in strategy or plans.
For project executors M&E can improve management. by monitoring progress against defined goals, a project manager can assess what is working and what is not, and from there can determine what changes should be made to a project.
For companies, whether executing a project or supporting it through partnership or funding, M&E can be used to demonstrate progress to internal management and to external stakeholders. Internally, measurable results can justify continued funding and clarify the return on investment of community development efforts to managers and shareholders. Externally, the results of M&E can demonstrate commitment to and competence in community development, and thus help a company maintain its social license to operate.
For local governments, participating in M&E can inform an understanding of and ability to report on progress in terms of local community development.
For community members and NGOs, participating in M&E is an opportunity to influence the design and execution of community development projects. Furthermore, by providing feedback on whether programs are achieving aims in line with community needs and desires, M&E is a powerful accountability mechanism.
It is important to recognize that monitoring and evaluation are not magic wands that can be waved to make problems disappear, or to cure them, or to miraculously make changes without a lot of hard work being put in by the project or organization. In themselves, they are not a solution, but they are valuable tools. Monitoring and evaluation can: