13.2.1 What is M&E?

An effective M&E system measures the outputs, outcomes and impacts resulting from the implementation of a project or programme (see Box 13.1). To provide useful knowledge, these results need to be compared with the situation before the project/programme started, which requires baseline data. Baseline data gives information about the situation at the start of a project and provides a point of comparison against which future data, collected as part of a monitoring process, can be compared. Overall progress can be evaluated by comparing the two.

Monitoring requires regular and timely feedback in the form of reports from implementers to project managers so they can keep track of progress.

  • What two types of report are submitted upwards from implementers to managers in the OWNP?

  • Implementers submit WASH reports of physical activities undertaken and financial reports.

These reports provide information about activities and what has been achieved in terms of outputs, and the financial reports give information on budgets and expenditure. Managers can use this information to assess progress and plan the next steps for their project.

Box 13.1 Outputs, outcomes and impacts

There are several words used in M&E that can be confused. They sound similar but have important differences in their meaning.

Outputs are the things produced by the project or programme. In WASH, examples include tangible products like new or rehabilitated wells and pumps, new water supply systems, new latrines and training manuals; they could be events and activities like running a training workshop for technicians, CLTSH promotion in a kebele, or producing hygiene promotion posters (Figure 13.2).

Figure 13.2  Outputs from WASH projects include (a) water points and (b) hygiene promotion materials.

Outcomes are the effects of the outputs, usually in the short- to medium-term. Examples following those above, could be the number of people who now have access to safe water as a result of the new water schemes, attendance at the training workshop or the number of communities that achieve ODF status.

Impacts are long-term effects and consequences. Examples could be a fall in the incidence of diarrhoeal disease, improved school attendance and pumps that last longer because they are well-maintained.

13.2 Monitoring and evaluation in the OWNP

13.2.2 Why is M&E so essential?