How well are we helping others?

This question is at the essence of our aid & development work. And to answer it, we must rely on information and feed-back.

There are hundreds of books and WEB sites on Monitoring & Evaluation but few provide a practical path to creating an efficient information and feedback system.

The costs of and time for establishing monitoring systems can be staggering! As a rule of thumb, they are being estimated at about 4% of a project’s budget!

I pretend that monitoring and evaluation can be done in a cost-effective way if... we remember a few essential ‘golden rules’.

  1. Think of your Monitoring & Information system as ‘Democracy at Work’.
  • “Let the ‘People Speak’ for Themselves!”
  • Keep your intended audiences (project stakeholders) in mind at all times.
  • Provide a variety of regular, easy to use and specially targeted feedback reports.
  1. Use commonly agreed indicators to measure success and impact.
  • Make data collection user-friendly.
  • Decentralize information gathering to the village or end-user level.
  1. Involve all participants (financers & end-users of the results) in the project’s planning and impact assessment processes.
  2. Make the information in your system Trustworthy and Credible.
  • Present information that is simple to understand, transparent and convincing.
  • Collect data that is both comprehensive and easy to gather & verify.
  • Slim down data banks of ‘fields’ and ‘indicators’ that regularly are left blank.
  1. Regular reporting should be short and to the point.


My eBook can help you keep these ‘golden rules’ in mind. Download my e-book: management Information Systems - Monitoring and Evaluation Feedback Methods


Some more Tools

Here are some tips for a more effective and participatory information gathering. Download these notes:

 Decentralized and Participatory M&E

Real-Time and GIS Mapped M&E Data

The Advantages of Working with Women and Youth

Tasks and Responsibilities of Staff in an M&E Unit