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Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation is increasingly becoming more common as a donor requirement, with greater investment to tangibly measure the impact of their development programmes and initiatives. Although it is important for organisations to measure their societal impact, how effective can these measurements be towards the improvement of future development programmes? Monitoring and evaluation must be an honest conversation between corporates and their stakeholders to study the successes and the challenges to be improved upon in future development programmes.


Demystifying Monitoring and Evaluation

For most development practitioners, the term ‘monitoring and evaluation’ (M&E) doesn’t require an extensive introduction. The importance of organisational measurement cannot be overstated in the world of CSI, in which millions of rands are spent annually on social development programmes that yield little systemic change or sustained impact. Drawing from her extensive experience, Jennifer Bisgard, co-founder of M&E consultancy Khulisa Management Services, writes about why M&E needs more rigorous design and consistent implementation.

Read more: Demystifying Monitoring and Evaluation

CSI Forum: Social Return on Investment

Held in Johannesburg at Tsogo Sun (9 February 2016) and Cape Town at Sanlam (11 February 2016)

Effective monitoring and evaluation is imperative for decision-making, improved project implementation and determining the results of CSI projects and programmes. Social Return on Investment (SROI) – a fairly new concept in South Africa – is but one approach to monitoring and evaluation. It focusses on developing an understanding about whether a company’s CSI project or programme is creating value, and how that value can be quantified. While not a precise science, the monetisation of the value created by a CSI project or programme can be used to effectively communicate the project’s ‘return’ and to motivate for the maintenance or expansion of that project or programme.

Read more: CSI Forum: Social Return on Investment

Monitoring and Evaluation for Impact

When done well, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) can enable non-profit organisations to measure their impact, improve upon and secure funding for their work. However, if not properly integrated into work plans, M&E can be time and resource intensive. Executive director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis, offers broad and strategic perspective on the role of M&E in development, as well as advice on how organisations can plan for, embed and fund these imperative processes.

Read more: Monitoring and Evaluation for Impact

Demystifying monitoring and evaluation

For most development practitioners, the term ‘monitoring and evaluation’ (M&E) doesn’t require an extensive introduction. The importance of organisational measurement cannot be overstated in the world of CSI, in which millions of rands are spent annually on social development programmes that yield little systemic change or sustained impact. Drawing from her extensive experience, Jennifer Bisgard, co-founder of M&E consultancy Khulisa Management Services, writes about why M&E needs more rigorous design and consistent implementation.

 

Read more: Demystifying monitoring and evaluation

Sound monitoring and evaluation builds a strong organisation

It is crucial for non-profit organisations and corporates alike to be able to prove the impact that their social development initiatives are having, in order to secure ongoing and possibly increased financial support. A panel discussion on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), convened on 24 May 2016 at The Trialogue CSI Conference, brought together corporate, non-profit, foundation and academic perspectives, to explore how M&E can be better incorporated into programme-planning and support. Panellists agreed that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has become an essential component of CSI work. Of course, funders want to know what impact their money is having, but the question of why practitioners need to monitor and evaluate their projects and organisations, and what they get out of it, is a more complex one.

Read more: Sound monitoring and evaluation builds a strong organisation

Evaluative Thinking

While monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a growing practice in social development, it is still a largely siloed process, data from which is not always used to inform programmatic improvements for greater overall impact. Dr Fatima Adam, programme director of research and evaluations at Zenex Foundation, explains that evaluative thinking is about embedding an organisational culture of holistic and responsive approaches to work.

 

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Commissioning Independent Evaluations

The Zenex Foundation contributes to improved education outcomes for historically disadvantaged learners in South Africa. Through the interrogation of its own programming, the Foundation emphasises the importance of high quality evaluations for learning which, Dr Fatima Adam explains, are generally underpinned by high quality commissioning processes.

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The MTN Awards for Social Change: Rewarding good M&E

The MTN Foundation, in partnership with Trialogue, launched the MTN Awards for Social Change in 2019, to encourage and reward good monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practice in the non-profit sector. A total of R1 million of prize money was awarded to winning non-profit organisations (NPOs) in each of the three categories, as well as a fourth bonus award winner.

Competition categories:

MTN awarded R300 000 to each of the winning NPOs in the following categories:

me BIS 2019 pg 218 1

 

 

 

Seventy NPOs across the three categories entered these Awards. Entries were shortlisted by Trialogue, with the 20 shortlisted applicants reviewed and scored by three judges. Overall, the judges found that applicants have an appreciation for the value of M&E, building
in processes and checks to monitor and track progress over time. However, such efforts are often limited to the monitoring of outputs, with significantly less emphasis placed on the measurement of changes at outcome level. One of the contributing factors to this is that the pathways to change (theory of change) for interventions are often unclear, such that organisations are unable to clearly articulate how their inputs and activities contribute to the achievement of their stated objectives. Where M&E was done well, organisations shared the findings internally and externally, and used these to improve both project design and implementation.

 

Read more: The MTN Awards for Social Change: Rewarding good M&E

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