Monitoring and evaluation begins with a baseline study. The purpose of a baseline study is to provide an information base against which to monitor and assess an activity’s progress and effectiveness during implementation and after the activity is completed. The baseline study gathers the information to be used in subsequent assessments of how effectively the activity is being implemented and the eventual results of the activity. Information is gathered through the use of indicators, which focus in on the specific type of information needed for a baseline and to plan a program. More information and sample indicators can be found in Monitoring and Evaluation: Indicators.
Detailed information on baseline studies is available in the Programming Essentials section. Baseline studies should not be confused with needs assessment studies or situational appraisals which collect information in order to design the initiative. General information on needs assessments/situational appraisals is also available in the Programming Essentials section.
The monitoring of a justice sector reform project, which also gathers and analyzes data should be consistent with, but not repeat, the baseline study. Mid-term reviews, project completion reports and other evaluations will judge progress largely by comparing new data with the information from the baseline study.
DR Congo – Monitoring Key to Success
Monitoring a programme effectively can mean a simple change in the timing of implementation. Women for Women International ran a Men’s Leadership Program in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The programme held train-the-trainer sessions in multiple communities, which all rolled out simultaneously. An evaluation of the programme revealed that if the trainings had been sequenced, so as to allow for monitoring and reflection upon the lessons learned in each community before starting the programme in a new community, additional insights could have been gained and programme improvements generated.
Source: Women for Women International. 2007. Ending Violence Against Women in Eastern Congo.