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Monitoring and evaluating development as a knowledge industry: ideas in current practice

Working papers

Written by Simon Hearn

In reviewing the requirements of Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) for the development sector, this report examines the barriers to effectiveness and questions that need to be asked.

Addressing these barriers and answering these questions requires recognition of the many interests involved, each with their own ideals, sources of information and avenues for action. In particular they have recognized that decisions on the design, conduct and outcomes of a development initiative are determined by multiple knowledges, those of key individuals, the affected community, the specialist advisors, the influential organisations, and the holistic focus of the initiative in the first place.

A review of the models of M&E most frequently applied in the development sector found that these considered single dimensions of an intervention, rather than attempting to provide an understanding of the whole.

Few if any of the current approaches to M&E take account of the flows of ideals, facts, ideas and actions that make up the iterative learning cycle of any initiative for social change. Even less are they likely to recognize, much less include, the multiple knowledges involved in the course of a development programme.

There is need to develop a framework which encompasses all of these dimensions.

  • Monitoring and evaluating development as a knowledge industry: ideas in current practice

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Simon Hearn, Ewen Leborgne and Valerie A. Brown