13.2.2 Why is M&E so essential?

A well-managed M&E system will:

  • Track progress: M&E assesses inputs (expenditure), outputs and outcomes, which enables managers to track progress towards achieving specific objectives. For the OWNP, at national level this means progress towards meeting the UAP targets.
  • Measure impact: M&E reduces guesswork and possible bias in reporting results by asking questions such as: What is the impact of the programme? Are the expected benefits being realised? Is health improving? Is school enrolment rising? Is the use of facilities and services increasing? Is community management expanding?
  • Increase accountability: M&E can provide the basis for accountability if the information gathered is reported and shared with users and other stakeholders at all levels.
  • Inform decision making: M&E provides evidence about the successes and failures of current and past projects that planners and managers need to make decisions about future projects. It should also encourage reflection on lessons learned in which managers ask themselves: What worked well in this project? What mistakes did we make? How can we do this better?
  • Encourage investment: a good M&E system builds trust and confidence from government and donors which will increase possibilities of further investment.
  • Build capacity:a good M&E system supports community participation and responsibility. It encourages the user communities to look regularly at how well their water schemes are working, what changes need to take place in hygiene and sanitation behaviours, what health benefits are resulting and what more needs to be done. It enables a community to build its own capacity, recognise its own successes and record them regularly.

Reporting on monitoring activity is essential, otherwise the information cannot be used. It is no use collecting data and then filing it away without sharing it (Figure 13.3). As noted above, one of the reasons for undertaking M&E is to inform decision makers and enable lessons to be learned–therefore they need to be provided with the information in a timely way for that benefit to happen.

Figure 13.3  Why M&E is important.

13.2.3 Who manages WASH M&E?