Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for Strategic Organisational Capacity Building

Monitoring and evaluation has little value if it does not lead to learning and doing things better. While the principle has been well embraced by many development institutions and projects, putting it into practice is not easy.

Monitoring and evaluation has little value if it does not lead to learning and doing things better. While the principle has been well embraced by many development institutions and projects, putting it into practice is not easy. Without a strong commitment to putting effort into developing and then assessing progress towards organizational objectives, and improved practices, it is impossible to learn and make informed decisions.

The Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) Monitoring and Evaluation workshop for the initiative’s 16 research partners institutions in Yogyakarta, 12-14 May, 2014 started with discussions and practical work to review organizational development objectives, and identify key organizational development targets (over three to five years). This was followed by presentations and discussions on a wide range of available monitoring, evaluation, and learning approaches, work to support partners in strengthening organisational monitoring and evaluation system, and ensure that learning is integrated in every stage – from planning, implementation to decision making of their policy research work.

The workshop introduced a systematic approach including qualitative and quantitative tools to measure progress at five levels: strategy and direction, management, output, uptake, outcome and impact. The workshop provided the opportunity to discuss different approaches including the use of theories of change, and outcome mapping, and their advantages and limitations in different contexts. It also included opportunities for partners to present case studies of how they currently approach monitoring and evaluation and what they are doing to improve it. 

“We find this workshop useful as we learn from other colleagues who have developed and integrated monitoring and evaluation system in their organisation,” said Yesua Pellokila, Operational and Organisational Development Manager from Sajogyo Institute.

One approach that was introduced was using scales or rubrics as a way of assessing and monitoring progress in complex dimensions of organizational performance such as strategic planning or management. Stories, on the other hand, are a very powerful approach to learning. Presenting lessons in appealing story-like format can dramatically improve the accessibility of lessons for wider target audiences, and a rage of different story-based approaches were discussed including Stories of Change. Ensuring that research outputs are high quality is also important, and various approaches to peer-review were also presented and discussed.

“We appreciate a wide diversity among our partners, from the way they develop and formulate their development objectives, to their underlying operating principles, and these all affect their choice of tools to measure progress.  This workshop was designed to enable KSI to provide tailored support to help each partner to decide how to strengthening their monitoring, evaluation, and learning approach systems according to their individual needs and interests,” said John Young, Head of Policy Research Development in KSI.   

The workshop also provided an opportunity for KSI partners to discuss how they would like to contribute to developing and testing new approaches to strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation with the KSI Team. As a result of these discussions, the partners decided to establish two Monitoring and Evaluation working groups: one for developing and using of rubrics and one for developing peer-review mechanisms. 

Representatives of each partner who participates in these two working groups are :

  • Working Group on Monitoring & Evaluation Development
  1. Yesua Y.D.K. Pellokila – Sajogyo Institute
  2. Saiful Umam – PPIM UIN
  3. Intan  Nur Kusuma – SMERU
  4. Ratri Atmoko and Anindita Gabriella– PPH Atmajaya
  5. Viesda Desi Pithaloka – AKATIGA
  6. Sunaji Zamroni - IRE
  7. Indriaswati Dyah Saptaningrum - ELSAM
  • Working Group on Peer Review Mechanism
  1. Anna Margaret - Puskapol UI
  2. Eko Cahyono - Sajogyo Institute
  3. Emmy and Anindita Gabriella – PPH Atmajaya
  4. Fauzan Djamal - AKATIGA
  5. Husni Mubarok - PUSAD Paramadina
  6. Krisdyatmoko - IRE
  7. Nasiatul Aisyah - PKMK UGM

For more reading: 
Six Theory of Change Pitfalls to Avoid

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