For anyone looking for an easy to use, practical guide to creating and using a monitoring and evaluation system for development projects, the original M&E Guide from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a document worth downloading.
It was updated in 2015, but the original IFAD M&E Guide is still available, and I recommend it to anyone looking for step-by step guidance in developing and implementing a results-based monitoring and evaluation system – for a large organization or a small one, for a programme or an individual project.
The fact that it was originally aimed at people obviously working on agricultural projects is no barrier to the rest of us, because the writing is clear, and the guide is comprehensive.
It was developed not just for project directors and Monitoring and Evaluation staff, but for government and civil society partners at the community level, providing step-by-step guidance and numerous examples on how to do things such as
- Incorporating monitoring and evaluation in project design
- Writing the M&E plan
- Deciding what to monitor
- Developing logical frameworks,
- Choosing different research methods suitable for collecting data on different types of indicators,
- Developing an annual work plan
- Linking M&E to budget development
- Assessing strengths and weaknesses of indicator variations,…
- and even sample job descriptions and terms of reference for people being recruited to work as project directors, M&E staff, consultants and evaluators assigned to different tasks.
The 2015 version, as I noted above is also available, but I find the 2002 guide easier to work with.
Newer versions exist, but the 2002 IFAD M&E Guide is the easiest to use.