15.1 Introduction to monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are critically important aspects of planning and management of any programme. Monitoring is the systematic and continuous assessment of the progress of a piece of work over time, in order to check that things are going to plan. Evaluation is an assessment of the value or worth of a programme or intervention and the extent to which the stated objectives have been achieved. Evaluation is not continuous and usually takes place periodically through the course of the programme or after completion. Together, monitoring and evaluation are a set of processes designed to measure the achievements and progress of a programme. The two terms are closely connected and are frequently combined with the result that the abbreviation M&E is widely used.

  • A town health office is interested in finding out how many families practise solid waste sorting and reuse at household level. Is this monitoring or evaluation?

  • This is monitoring because it is an on-going activity concerned only with counting the number of something, in this case how many families were sorting their waste.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 15

15.1.1 What is M&E?